Panel Clears Way For Mosque Near Ground Zero - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Panel Clears Way For Mosque Near Ground Zero

NEW YORK (AP) A contentious plan for a mosque near the World Trade Center site got a boost Tuesday as New York City's landmarks panel voted to allow the demolition of the building that the mosque would replace.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission's decision allows organizers to transform the 152-year-old building into an Islamic community center blocks from the site of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Some national politicians, including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and the Anti-Defamation League have come out in recent weeks against plans for the mosque, saying it disrespects the memory of Sept. 11 victims.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has supported the mosque.

The commission voted 9-0 against granting landmark status to the building. Commissioners said the building didn't meet historic criteria to qualify as a landmark.

Group: Mosque will be center for moderate voices
If built, the mosque will be part of an Islamic community center to be operated by a group called the Cordoba Initiative, which says the center will be a space for moderate Muslim voices.

The commission's job was to determine whether the building is architecturally important enough to preserve, not to consider the merits of the proposed mosque.

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