New York body may approve mosque project near Ground Zero

      New York’s Landmarks Preservation Committee is mostly likely to give the green signal to the proposed construction of an Islamic Center and mosque near Ground Zero. According to the New York Daily News, board members intend to vote unanimously against granting protected status to the 152-year-old building that would be knocked down to make way for the project. The Italianate building on Park Place , two blocks north of Ground Zero, simply does not meet architectural criteria for protection from the city, sources with knowledge of the issue said. "The building is not worthy," a source said. "It does not rise to the level of an individual landmark." Opponents of the proposed Islamic community center, formerly known as the Cordoba House but now called Park51, see getting landmark protection as a final chance to stop construction. Opposition to the 13-story center, which backers say will promote interfaith understanding, has become a national issue. Tea Party groups held rallies calling the project an insult to the families of those who died on 9/11; some opponents even claimed it would be used to recruit Islamic extremists. Some said it should be landmarked because it was hit by debris on 9/11. A hearing last month turned into a shouting match and many accused the commissioners of caving to political pressure to support the mosque, which would be run by an imam who has been in the neighborhood for decades. The vote takes place tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at Pace University.

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