NEW YORK (CBS 2) – The controversial mosque planned near Ground Zero was expected to clear a major hurdle on Tuesday, CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois reports.
Currently there’s a building on the proposed site, and opponents were hoping it would be granted landmark status, which would both protect the building and effectively block the mosque from being built.
According to the Daily News, however, the Landmarks Commission was expected to vote unanimously against granting protected status.
Sources told the paper the 152-year-old building does not meet architectural criteria for protection.
Opponents of the Cordoba House recently got the aid of a powerful and unexpected ally: the Anti-Defamation League.
The nation’s leading Jewish civil rights group is dedicated to religious tolerance and civil equality, but its leaders say the plans to build the mosque are simply wrong.
“Ultimately, this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right,” the group said in a statement. “In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right.”
The ADL said it rejects opposition to the center based on bigotry – but many Muslims say that’s exactly what the organization is doing.
“It’s very disturbing,” said Staten Island resident Susan Shafik. “I mean, they’re an anti-defamation league and I feel like the Muslim religion has been defamed because of the terrorist acts.”
Retired FDNY Deputy Chief Jim Riches lost his son Jimmie in the 9/11 attacks. “I think this is all about location, location, location,” he said. “It’s not about religious freedom, it’s not about anything else. It’s all about location…be sensitive to the families.”
Charles Wolf lost his wife, Katherine. He has a bit of a different take on the situation.
“What we’re doing here is, we’re becoming religiously intolerant,” he said. “I want to practice my religion. I’m an Episcopalian. It’s hypocritical of me to tell someone else they can’t practice their religion.”
The Director of the Islamic Center says the mosque — and its location — are designed to bridge the gap to better relations with the West. They stand firm that they have no connection to the terrorists who brought pain to so many.
However, the name of the Islamic Center: Cordoba House, itself is inflammatory. Proponents say Cordoba is a symbol of religious tolerance, but the establishment, planned to be near the site of the largest Islamic terrorist attack on the United States, is named after the seat of power for the centuries-long Islamic occupation of Spain.