The controversial “Ground Zero Mosque” located just two blocks away from the site of the September 11, 2011 attacks might soon be demolished. According to a Reuters report, the New York City real estate developer who owns the building that houses an Islamic community center is planning to raze it down. The building known as Park 51 is located at Park Place in Tribeca, quite close to Ground Zero. Officials from the New York City Department of Buildings have confirmed that they have received an application from the developer to demolish Park 51 along with an adjacent structure. They are currently reviewing the application. Officials expect the developer to build a larger structure at the same spot once the buildings are razed.
Reports say that Sharif El-Gamal of Soho Properties who bought the property near Ground Zero back in 2009 eventually plans to construct a $100 million, 13-story Islamic community center on the site. It would have a prayer space, recreational facilities for people joining the community and would also host interfaith workshops. Park 51, currently hosts a controversial community center which opened in 2011 amid protests. People opposed to the idea of an Islamic Center near Ground Zero claim that the place could turn into a shrine to the Islamic extremists responsible the September 11 attacks.
According to Hank Sheinkopf, a spokesman for Soho properties, any questions regarding the plans for the site currently occupied by Park 51 would only be answered in the future. He refused to confirm whether plans to construct a larger building at the location would go through in spite of the ongoing protests. If the plans for the demolition are indeed approved, there is no word as to where the current community center would shift to till the newer building comes up near Ground Zero.
The location of the much talked about “Ground Zero Mosque” was opposed by people who believed that the presence of an Islamic Community Center near the location of the 2001 attacks by Islamic extremists would be disrespectful to the 3,000 plus people killed in the attacks in which armed hijackers crashed two planes into the iconic 110-storey World Trade Center twin towers. Questions are also being raised about the source of the $100 million funding that the developers of the Ground Zero Mosque are receiving.
There are supporters of the Ground Zero Mosque project as well who believe that the presence of an Islamic Community Center there will help promote a better understanding of the Muslim-American community and its history in New York City.
Do you think an Islamic Center should come up near Ground Zero?
[Image via Bing]