August 3, 2010
Amid outrage from angry protesters, the New York City Landmarks Commission declined to grant “landmark status” to a relatively anonymous commercial building in Lower Manhattan (external - login to view) on the grounds that it is relatively anonymous and not of any historical significance at all.
Despite its picturesque graffiti and Burlington Coat Factory sign, this building is not an historical landmark
The reason this sparked so much fury is that the site is part of the planned location of a 13 story Islamic community center, which has been dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque (external - login to view)” by opponents even though it isn’t actually a mosque and isn’t actually at ground zero.
A number of opponents have claimed that building a mosque at the site, even one that isn’t actually a mosque but is just something vaguely related to Muslims, somehow “glorifies” the terrorist attack a few blocks away in 2001. The furore has reached such a point that even the Anti-Defamation League, which is nominally a group fighting for religious freedom, came out against the construction (external - login to view).
The latest public opponent of the construction is Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, who urged the city to block the construction and “take a look at this (external - login to view).”
He is joined by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg insists that freedom of religion still exists in the city, however (external - login to view), and supports the construction of the building.