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July 14th, 2010
06:17 AM ET

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[cnn-photo-caption image=
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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Filed under: American Morning • Top Stories
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. max

    how much did the oil companies pay this couple to cry and this man to say that the oil blowout was "just 1 incident"...i understand people are suffering but if oil companies are not regulated they will continue to have rampant disregard for the ecology and the people that work for them. Why isnt the woman inviting oi exes to visit with these same people?

    July 15, 2010 at 7:50 am |
  2. nancy

    @ MeloN ~~ such a pot stirrer you are. No one is denying anyone's right to practice the religion of their choice. After all that happened to EVERYONE that was killed on 911, there needs to be some kind of reverence for the families.

    To build a Mosque close to that site would be a cold slap in the face to the AMERICAN people. I hope the Mayor denies this ridiculous proposal.

    Wake up America ~~ we've become too complacent again!!

    July 14, 2010 at 11:11 am |

    MUSLIMS who are really living the life of ISLAM, who are GOD (ALLAH) FEARING, stick to their principles. They don't waiver. When they do, they don't JUSTIFY their actions, choices or personal desires by DARING to 'SPIN' THE KURAN and it's instruction to suit their FANCIES. I've even heard the terminolgy applied to those who fall away from the ISLAMIC path, 'RENEGADE MUSLIM'. They don't try to re-interpret THE KURAN to suit their personal, selfish miss-steps! SO, TRUE CHRISTIANS RESPECT THEIR BIBLE TOO!

    July 14, 2010 at 10:53 am |

    Since the establishment of this America, it's been claimed that it was built on CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES. That may have been our founding fathers intentions, but as time has passed, I don't see where those principles are being practiced anymore. POLITICALLY CORRECTNESS has undercut our CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES! How can we even FIX our mouths to start denegrating MUSLIMS, when they're watching us 'CHRISTIANS' treat the instruction of JESUS, and THE HOLY BIBLE the way we do? We 'SPIN' the BIBLE to JUSTIFY OUR EVIL!

    July 14, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  5. MeLoN

    The Germans has nothing to do with Pearl Harbor... hence.. your comparsion is totally wrong.

    July 14, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  6. Spencer J. Atkinson, PFTLD

    Building a Mosque at Ground Zero or anywhere near Ground Zero would be a great trophy for Osama Bin Laden. Perhaps they could build a statue of Osama Bin Laden to place in front of the Mosque as well. Imagine the money and jobs it will bring to the city. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

    July 14, 2010 at 8:50 am |
    • Ryan Mahoney

      I'm sorry people, Osama bin Laden - one crazy Muslim should not reflect on the millions of hard working America loving Muslims who live in New York. There is no conflict here. Any group of people in a capitalist democracy should be able to purchase a building and use it for whatever harmless purpose they like. If Muslims want to worship God there I don't see why Christian, Jews or anyone for that matter should have a problem with it.

      July 14, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  7. Autumn Meadows

    Hell NO! NO! and MORE NO! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!??? and did you guys do ANY research on the name Codobra?? This is the first place they sacked in Europe before the crusades were created to get them OUT!! They invaded Europe Spain was the first and when they defeated the area spain is now they built a mega mosque there...SO WHAT YOU THINK THAT MEANS THEM NAMING THIS PARTICULAR MEGA MOSQUE at ground Zero?? HMM??
    People BETTER wake up and wake up fast! cause we are too passive and too worried about hurting religious sensibilities and you know what muslims are taking advantage of it! If this country allows this mosque to be build as such a sacred place for us we deserve to be Islamified!! just like Europe is right now! Did Japan build a temple next to PEARL HARBOR??? Give me a freakn break!!

    July 14, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  8. Pauly

    Those that argue that the mosque shouldn't be built near ground zero obvioulsy wrongly believe that Islam was responsible for 9/11. Al Qaeda uses Islam to try to justify their terrorism. Much like extremists from other religions used their religion to promote their hate. The world should be glad that a very small percentage of the 1.7 billion Muslims in the world actually support terrorism.

    July 14, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  9. Donielle

    all muslims are not terrorists but to be sensitive...exactly how far away from ground zero would they have to build? and if we're using that reasoning then we'd have to examine that all catholics are not pedophiles but to be sentitive...exactly how far away from schools should their churches be?

    July 14, 2010 at 8:32 am |
  10. Jane - WI

    The objection to the mosque in NYC appears to be it's location rather than the idea that it is connected to Muslims in general. The poster who asked if there is a German Lutheran Church in Hawaii would need to compare it to that church being located right next to Pearl Harbor.

    July 14, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  11. Raul

    Of course not, a mosque there will be a slap on the face of all who died that day and their families. There is plenty of land in the U.S. where they can build it.

    July 14, 2010 at 8:06 am |
  12. Tanya

    I think that it should be seen from both sides. How many more lives are being" snuffed" out because of the war right now. There should be a mix between the religions so that in the future muslims, christians and the people without religion can all come together in peace and and mourn the loss of their loved one together without hatred or seperation that led us to this in the first place.

    July 14, 2010 at 8:05 am |
  13. William

    Building this Cultural Center would be a welcomed addition to all the rich culture experiences that New York has to offer. It's time that we in America stop giving lip service to freedom and diversity and start practicing it. America will be a better place for building this center and maybe just maybe it will go a long way to educate those citizens in America who work 24/7 to divide us.

    July 14, 2010 at 8:04 am |
  14. MeLoN

    FYI... there are Churches in Iraq (not in Iraqi).

    I agree with what Pauly posted. Americans have the right to practice whatever religion they so choose. To stop one from practicing their choosen religion is UnAmerican.

    July 14, 2010 at 8:04 am |
  15. Tehnokat

    What if it was going to be a church or a JCC? Would there be protests from this group for the desecration of a "cemetary" and an historical landmark for other religious groups to use? Such anti-Islamic bigotry should not be tolerated.

    July 14, 2010 at 8:00 am |
  16. Bri

    WOW. What a great segment. Kirin Chetry moderated an intellectual, solid debate on a very emotional subject. Please promote this anchor to a more serious position. The segment was civil, informative and respectful. No biases/

    July 14, 2010 at 7:55 am |
  17. Randall of Texas

    Are you saying that we should move Catholic Churches away from Public Preporatory schools and especially away from grade schools where there are young boys because of the record of Priest abusing young boys and girls?

    July 14, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  18. John Adams

    Is it ok to build a Christian church near the Oklahoma federal building?
    Wait, wasn't Tim McVei a Christian?

    July 14, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  19. MeLoN

    Is your female guest Geller Jewish? It is highly offensive to have her speaking for all Americans.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:43 am |
  20. Pauly

    It never ceases to amaze me how so many Americans believe in our Constitution only when it pertains to their rights. Religious freedom in this country allows every American to practice the religion of their choice, or not to practice any at all. It doesn't protect only those who practice your religion!!!

    July 14, 2010 at 7:41 am |
  21. Nemuel Major

    Adding a mosque in this area simple add insult to injury it would be like building churches in Iraqi... having a mosque in this area would only create problems between citizens of different faiths, In middle eastern countries we follow very strict rules and try to be senstitive to muslims in their home countries and they are not responding in kind.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:40 am |
  22. Karen

    The people who don't want the mosque built are forgetting other issues in history that we are doomed to repeat. Hilter tried to get rid of all the Jews, and now in NYC most people want to eradicate Muslims. If people took the time to try to understand that most Muslims mean no harm. A few bad apples shouldn't ruin what sounds like a place where people can learn about other religions. Aren't we better than that.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:32 am |
  23. MeLoN

    Throughout history Christians have caused more wars, killed and tortured more people than any other religion on the planet so when people act like Christianity is superior to other religions it just shows their bias or ignorance or both.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:27 am |
  24. Rene"

    We are a country of diversity and tolerence or that is what we say we are. If we become hateful bigots that would deny a mosque because of fear then Bin Laden has won this war. Be are better than that. Build the mosque and give a voice to muslims and we can all learn from one another. Christianity has a lot of blood on their hands too by the way.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:25 am |
  25. Joseph Capaldi

    Isn't blaming Muslins for 911 the same as blaming Christians for the murder of every abortion doctor?

    July 14, 2010 at 7:25 am |
  26. sam

    Im sorry, I just dont like your religion. There, now that not racist. Your religion treats women like slaves and we abolished slavery years ago in this country.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:13 am |
    • Ryan Mahoney

      Islam was granting rights to women when in Europe they were still considered property. Women in Islamic countries are presidents and leaders. When will America have a female president? Islam itself holds women in very high regard even if some Muslims fall short of what they should be doing from a religious perpective. If you look at statistics on spousal abuse in America and wage differences you'll see that even this great country has a long way to go in terms of establishing justice and reality for women. Your viewpoint on the status of women in Islam is uniformed at best and bigoted at worst.

      July 14, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  27. MeLoN

    Muslims should have known – that they wouldn't be welcomed in the world's largest Jewish city ... NYC.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:57 am |
    • Ryan Mahoney

      NYC is a place where all people are welcome, can belong and peacefully co-exist. Both Jewish and Muslim citizens offer much to the rich cultural fabric of this great city.

      July 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  28. ed corley

    Apparently this mosque proposal is a subtle monument to the Islamic terrorist. NYC should be able to deny the permit to build on other reasons, perhaps an ordinance of some sort.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  29. mike sey

    American xenophobia at its worst. One hopes there are no shinto shrines or German lutheran churches in Hawaii.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:45 am |
  30. MeLoN

    Good Morning CNN!

    Wanna cause a panic in America?

    Announce that the Muslims are coming.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:45 am |
  31. Muslim

    It is not a Mosque, rather it is a Cultural center.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:35 am |
  32. Terry

    I assume some Muslims lost their lives who worked in those buildings.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:34 am |