August 18th, 2010
09:20 AM ET

Reports: Site of Islamic Center up in air


Editor's note: New York Gov. David Paterson joins Larry King in his first interview about the Islamic cultural center controversy. "Larry King Live," 9 p.m. ET Wednesday on CNN.

New York Gov. David Paterson may meet with developers who had been pushing to build an Islamic center near ground zero.

Paterson is set to meet with the group this week to offer them state land to construct the controversial mosque at another location, according to CBS 2 and other news outlets.

However, New York 1 is reporting in an exclusive interview with the developer that he has no intention of budging. Sharif el-Gamal imagined what he hoped the center would mean in a story Tuesday. "A landmark, an iconic building that will have people come and visit it from around the world," he said. "This looks like it is going to be the most famous community center in the world."

The Islamic center's leaders say they plan to build the $100 million, 13-story facility called Cordoba House two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks. El-Gamal has describe the project as an "Islamic community center" that would include a 500-seat performing arts center, a lecture hall, a swimming pool, a gym, a culinary school, a restaurant and a prayer space for Muslims.

iReport: What's your take on the issue?


Filed under: David Paterson • New York
soundoff (1,062 Responses)
  1. Kent

    I was on the fence about this until I read this statement by the developer.

    ""A landmark, an iconic building that will have people come and visit it from around the world," he said. "This looks like it is going to be the most famous community center in the world.""

    Of course they aren't going to budge. They want to build a trophy monument to what Islam did on 9/11. They want all the world to come and see.

    This is wrong! This is adding insult to injury to America.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • N

      Of course it is going to be the most famous community center in the world. They are talking about it non-stop on the news for god knows how long.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • frogman

      Kent, that you for sharing your thoughts. I think that you're assessment is correct.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. Justmyopinion

    So much for religious tolerance...Christians founded this country in order to practice religious freedom, we have lost prayer in schools, Christmas is now "Winter Holiday" , "In God We Trust" is being challenged and so forth. I clearly understand the separation of Church and State, however, the moral fiber of this country has been torn assunder in the name of not offending others. Well....a Mosque near Ground Zero offends me.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • JussaThought

      I hear you ... I understand the point, but I think your anger (or whatever emotion you're expressing) is misplaced. The moral fiber of this country is being destroyed at the family level, not by our government How many people pick church over the NFL on Sunday morning? How many people volunteer to help those less fortunate? Not as many as when I grew up.

      None of that has anything to do with this project.

      When I first heard about it, I was on the fence. This was several months ago, before the echo chamber of today's political climate got involved. What swayed me was hearing the local officials in support of it. If it doesn't offend them, why should it offend me?

      August 18, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Stef

    I wonder if I opend a "Piggery" on the adjoining building would Muslims protest? How would they feel about it?

    August 18, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • frogman

      Stef, do you think that the Muslims will allow non Muslim men and women to mingle freely as we do in the west or will they enforce the separation of western men and women by forcing everyone to observe Shira? Will western women visiting the "Community Center" be required to cover their hair? I mean if this "Community Center" is for everybody then shouldn't everybody's values be respected?

      August 18, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. Greg

    How about relocating it to the Staten Island landfill?

    August 18, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • nick

      Oh you mean where you live. No thanks.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • FedUp

      nick, what are you five years old? When I read your posts I get this picture of a kid somewhere eating their morning Cheerios. Enough with the insults already. Contrary to what your mind tells you, everyone else here is not an "idiot" and have a right to their opinion. And, yes it may not be the same as yours.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Nick – Even if I lived in the landfill I still wouldn't want to live near those pigs.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. citizen

    We have and will always have freedom of religion. The problem with this Mosque is the symbolizm behind it. If the site location is accurate and the opening date is true, add in the naming of this building, what does it really mean? Why does it have to be "this hallowed ground" that was taken down in the name of Islam? Why that date? Why that name which stands for "Isalmic conquering"? There are many mosques, temples, churches built every day in this country. But none of these are being built on "sacred" ground. That's the difference folks.
    Build it somewhere else, on another date with another name = no issues.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brownstain

    A mosque at ground zero in NY is like the US building a consulate at ground zero in Hiroshima.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • nick

      You mean we dont have a consulate at hiroshima? are you sure about that? we are known for being shallow you know.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Brownstain

      Not at the spot where the bomb exploded

      August 18, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Nick – Maybe you would be more comfortable living in another country?

      August 18, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shiki

      Nick respects American values. You people who don't should move to someplace like Iran or communist Russia or China, you'd fit in much better.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. oakhill3

    For anyone who thinks the center should go up, do yourself a favor and read the following investigative article in the Canada Free Press (Yes, Canada, not the US) – Investigative Report: Exposing the Cordoba Islamic Center of Manhattan By Doug Hagmann from Thursday, July 29, 2010. Additionally, there has been research done by others that collaborates what this man has found. Anyone who still thinks the building should go up is naive, in denial, or deliberately keeping their collective heads stuck in the sand. WAAAAY more is at stake here than the simple construction of a "cultural center".

    August 18, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • nick

      ok. whatever. Dan Rather

      August 18, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • frogman

      Thank you oakhill3. Keep up the fight for enlightenment.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      Yeah – the "Canada Free Press" isn't a conservative blog or anything, So I am SURE that there's no bias. My head is above the sand enough to note that you are getting YOUR information from a two-bit, unreliable source. But that's OK, as long as it validates your ignorqance and bias, and doesn't provide an alternate point of view, right? Of course, that would be YOUR sandbox. So before you lecture and pretend taht you have additional information.....well, never mind. We'll just dismiss you. I read the "article, " by the way, and it is biased CRAP.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Shouldn't you be in summer school, Nick?

      August 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • frogman

      WOW Marc that was a little harsh don't you think? Why can't you guys disagree with out being disagreeable? Remember your manners. Didn't your mother teach you that its rude to call people names.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      @frogman – WOW – are you somehow setting yourself up as the champion of the ignorant? Is it because your arguments aren't relevant enough to stand on logic or reason, so you try to divert by whining about manners? I pointed out that the recommended source was BIASED. As such, it's not a reliable "expose,'" which means that it is more validation of pre-held bias and lack of knowledge (vis a vis, "ignorance") than meaningful. Harsh? Only if it hurts to admit that your opinion is based upon emotion and not reason or knowledge.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. db

    Why are we kissing their arce? The developer made the mistake of buying the building. Let them now try to find any NYC unionized workers that will do any renovition or construction on the site, there are none. Let it rot in place until they choose to sell it and them give them pennies on the dollar for their obvious insults. Let them go and find an Islamic Center location that is more appropriate by themselves and start treating others citizens as well as we apparently are that group. In other words, treat all the same. If you don't help others, then don't help them. Leave it in the hands of the private investors.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • N

      yea because everyone has jobs in this economy

      August 18, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Burn it to the ground

      They will just hire illegals

      August 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. westcoastkid

    frogman: Yes, the catholic church has moved on. The question is on to what? The answer ... within many of those churches that sit atop those sacred native sanctuaries the hierarchy of the catholic church now aid and shelter child molester priests. Now they are screwing the natives literally as well!

    August 18, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      Borrowing from the Daily Show – No elementary schools near Catholic churches. It's just too soon.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kris

    This is America, everyone has the right to practice whatever religion he or she wants. So who cares if they build a mosque a couple blocks away, they have the right to since it is America. Islamic people did not attack this country, al queda did. If we start drifting away from this freedom because of that group of terrorists then they win. Come on people show the terrorists what America is all about!

    August 18, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tim

    I've sat back and read a lot about this proposed mosque a few blocks away from ground zero. Personally I can understand why the government has taken issue with this being built where and how it will be. I am believe they have the right to practice their religion and believe as they do. However, I do believe the government should and does have the right to try and change the location of buildings (and not just religious buildings but any buildings which the public does not agree with). In the end it is the land owners decision (as long as it follows all of the zoning regulations). However, is it really "american" of this person to build this where and when he wants to? I don't mean that in the way I am sure most of you will read it. By that I mean has he thought about what his fellow american's feel about this? As it has been mentioned, I would sure find it hard to build an embassy on top of Hiroshima/Nagasaki. I'd find it difficult to allow a "confederate" type of american to build something over gettysburg, etc.

    In my opinion, certain places should be limited based on what has happened there.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • JussaThought

      I see that you're trying to be reasonable ... but the government has already weighed in on this. The local government approved the project.

      Since you brought it up, how do you feel about the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina statehouse? To many people, that flag is the symbol of the worst kind of American ... more than 200 times more people died defeating that flag than died on 9/11. Yet it flies on government property. Should it be removed?

      August 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      As a matter of fact I do find the flying of that flag very disturbing. I understand what the confederation stood for, but it is almost as if it is a slap in the face to everyone that died because of the Civil War.

      For me, I look at it as what would I do. If for example a group of extremists from the United States attacked lets say India, and left the entire country standing still for days, and the change that it laid upon the country was very similar to what happened in the US following 9/11. I would oppose the creation of anything within a 'general vicinity" of that attack. And I use the words general vicinity very broadly here. I would leave it up to the people and the government what they thought would be right.

      August 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • JussaThought

      Tim – That's my point. The local government has weighed in on this. They have determined that the site is appropriate. That's why I don't understand all the hatred. I didn't lose anyone on 9/11 ... I'm sure everyone from the mayor's office to the local cop on that beat either lost someone or directly knew someone who was killed. Yet they found the project worthwhile. Who are we to say that it isn't?

      August 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Art H

    I believe it is a bad idea to setup a mosque, of all things, in the vicinity of the downed WTC buildings. I doubt the "moderate" Islamists would be amenable to setting up a Christian center in or around their holy areas of Mecca/Medina, would they ? They would scream bl00dy murd3r if someone were to suggest it, of course.

    The mosque has got to be moved out into an area that is not this contentious.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. Aghast

    Don't worry folks, to the north of you there is a cancer spreading just as quickly in Canada. I feel very strongly about your situation there. What a disgraceful occurance. Do everything you can to oppose and stop this symbol from being developed in your great country. There are many bleeding hearts here in Canada and it's a tough fight to discourage Muslims and Islam here due to government. Believe me, if it was up to the people there would not be any of it. America is noted for it's strength, please stop the mosque and take back your country.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. Hellotiki

    Offer them some land a few blocks away in the flood zone in Pakistan.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jules

    I have to agree with everybody. What happens with our people that lost their life, Putting the Islamc Center down in Manhattan is not the right thing to do. It would be just like telling them, yeah we dont care about our people. What is wrong with this President that we have. You can tell that he don't care about the AMERICAN PEOPLE. All he i doing is leading us into more HELL...... Sorry but this our my feelings, I do care about the people and the familys that lost there love one in 911 disaster..

    August 18, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
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