Plans Made to Tear Down NYC’s “Ground Zero Mosque”

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 8 2014 8:41 PM

Plans Made to Tear Down NYC’s “Ground Zero Mosque”

103947398-new-york-police-officers-stand-guard-in-front-of-the
New York police officers stand guard in front of the proposed site of the Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in September 2010.

Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

The developer who owns the building housing the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” is planning to raze the structure, New York City officials said on Tuesday. The building, called Park51, sits at 51 Park Place in Tribeca, two blocks from the site of the Sept. 11 attacks.

When the Islamic center and prayer space opened its doors in 2011, its proximity to the site of the World Trade Center attacks spurred controversy and protests “that it could become a shrine to the Islamic extremists responsible for the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center,” Reuters reports. The New York buildings authority told Reuters it was reviewing the application that aims to demolish the four-story structure along with an adjacent building. Here’s more from Reuters on the development group Soho Properties that owns the site.

Sharif El-Gamal of Soho Properties has said he eventually planned to construct a $100 million, 13-story Islamic community center on the site, complete with prayer space, recreational facilities and interfaith workshops. But Hank Sheinkopf, spokesman for the developer, would not confirm on Tuesday that the request to demolish the existing buildings was a step towards constructing the larger project… He also would not say where the current Islamic prayer space would be relocated, should the applications to raze the building be granted.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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