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caption="Opponents and proponents of a planned mosque at ground zero clashed at a hearing Tuesday."]
Clash over proposed ground zero mosque dominates hearing
New York (CNN) - Those for and against a mosque near ground zero butted heads during a passionate three-hour hearing of New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission Tuesday night.
Officially the hearing was for taking testimony on whether a more than century-old building is worth preserving, but those pushing for the landmark status are opposed to the mosque and community center at the site where the twin towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed by Islamist hijackers on September 11, 2001.
The contentious nature of the hearing was expected, because if the commission rules the building is not worth landmarking, it will pave the way for the project that is planned there. Opponents dominated the hearing.
"It would be a terrible mistake to destroy a 154-year-old building in order to build a monument to terrorism," one woman said.
"It's called Islamaphobia, pure and simple," said Zead Ramadan while being heckled.
Earlier this month, a community board said the building at the site wasn't architecturally significant enough to landmark.
The project calls for a 13-story community center including a mosque, performing art center, gym, swimming pool and other public spaces.
It is a collaboration between the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative.
The Cordoba Initiative aims to improve relations between Muslims and the West. Read more
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