Also from The New York Times this morning, the Ground Zero Mosque efforts cleared a major hurdle when the city historical commission refused to give a building a few blocks from the World Trade Center landmark status. That means plans to build an Islamic center on the site can move forward:
The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9 to 0 against granting historic protection to the building at 45-47 Park Place in Lower Manhattan, where the $100 million center would be built.
That decision clears the way for the construction of Park51, a tower of as many as 15 stories that will house a mosque, a 500-seat auditorium, and a pool. Its leaders say it will be modeled on the Y.M.C.A. and Jewish Community Center in Manhattan.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was scheduled to deliver a speech in support of the mosque Tuesday afternoon on Governors Island.
The proposed mosque has been, not surprisingly, a major political issue, filled with vitriol and dismay.
Among other groups, the Anti-Defamation League opposed the construction of an Islamic center there. The ADL’s statement last week concluded:
Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. 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.