Landmarks expected to clear way for Islamic Center

Sharif El-Gamal

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Board members at the Landmarks Preservation Commission intend to vote unanimously against granting protected status to the building that would be demolished to make way for the mosque planned near Ground Zero, the Daily News reported. The 152-year-old Building On Park Place, two blocks north of Ground Zero, reportedly does not meet architectural criteria for protection from the city and does not rise to the level of a landmark, a source told the Daily News. Opponents of the proposed center, formerly known as the Cordoba House but now called Park51, see getting landmark protection as a final chance to stop construction. Opposition to the 13-story center, which backers say will promote interfaith understanding and religious freedom, has become a nationwide controversy. Tea Party groups held rallies calling the project an insult to the families of those who died on 9/11, while some opponents claim that it will be used to recruit Islamic extremists. A hearing last month turned into a shouting match and many accused the commissioners of caving to political pressure to support the center, which is being developed by Sharif El-Gamal. The vote is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. tomorrow at Pace University. [NYDN]