Vote clears way for Ground Zero mosque

(JTA) – A New York City commission vote has cleared the way for the construction of a mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

The City Landmarks Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to deny landmark status to the building located on the site, clearing the way for the construction project, which includes a Muslim cultural center and a mosque.

Other legal challenges could stall the construction.

The Anti-Defamation League on July 31 issued a statement opposing the construction of the 13-story Cordoba House at 45-47 Park Place, two blocks from Ground Zero.

“There are understandably strong passions and keen sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center site," the ADL statement said. "We are ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel — and especially the anguish of the families and friends of those who were killed on September 11, 2001.

"The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found."

J Street, which calls itself "pro-Israel, pro-peace," issued a statement Monday in favor of the building, saying that opposing it represents "anti-Muslim bigotry."

Signs brandished at Tuesday’s vote read "This mosque celebrates our murders" and "Don’t glorify murders of 3,000."

“To cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists,”  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said following the vote.
 

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