Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque

Panel Frees Way for Ground Zero Mosque
Tuesday, 03 Aug 2010 10:25 AM Article Font Size
A New York City panel has denied landmark status to a building near ground zero, freeing organizers to build an Islamic center and mosque there.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission's decision allows organizers to transform the 152-year-old building into an Islamic community center blocks from the site of the Sept. 11 attacks.

National and New York politicians and the Anti-Defamation League have come out in recent weeks against plans for the mosque, saying it disrespects the memory of Sept. 11 victims. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has supported the mosque.

The commission voted 9-0 against granting landmark status to the building. Commissioners said the building didn't meet historic criteria to qualify as a landmark.

The mosque would be part of an Islamic community center to be operated by a group called the Cordoba Initiative, which says the center will be a space for moderate Muslim voices.
But opponents say building a mosque near ground zero would be an insult to the memory of those who died at the hands of Muslim extremists on Sept. 11, 2001.

The commission's job is to determine whether the building is architecturally important enough to preserve, not to consider the merits of the proposed mosque.

Oz Sultan, the program coordinator for the proposed Islamic center, said last week that the building has been changed too much over the years to qualify as a landmark.

"I think a lot of the negativity we're getting is coming from people who are politically grandstanding," Sultan said. "We're
completely open and transparent."

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