New Yorkers protest plans to build mosque near Ground Zero

      About 100 people have strongly protested plans to build a 13-story Islamic community center and prayer space close to Ground Zero (9/11 terror attack site). On Tuesday, an angry crowd turned up at a Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing about the feasibility of the project, but the deliberations soon turned into a turf war. Up for debate is the architectural and historical significance of the existing building, which developers hope to replace with a 13-story community center and Islamic prayer space. But the public testimony quickly dissolved into racially charged tirades against the project, with supporters accusing their detractors of "Islamophobia." The new project has been given a new name -- 51 Park Place The New York Daily News quoted the center''''s spokesman, Oz Sultan, as saying that the new name puts emphasis on the community center aspect of the project rather than on religion. The name was derived from the address of the planned new building, 51 Park Place. Commissioners will debate the matter in private, then vote on whether to proceed or remove it from consideration at a public meeting later this summer.

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