A mosque is to be built near New York’s Ground Zero where the World Trade Center’s twin towers once stood.
Landmark status has been denied to an old coat factory, clearing the way for the site to be
redeveloped as a 13-storey Islamic cultural centre.
Some relatives of 9/11 victims had hoped the Landmarks Preservation Commission would protect the factory and prevent the development going ahead.
The decision was met with an angry response from several onlookers.
“It’s a disgrace what you’re doing here,” shouted one man from the public gallery.
Critics believe the development is a betrayal of the victims of 9/11.
Barbara Paolucci said: “I am strongly opposed to this and any connections to any terrorists being here in this country, anyone. And this mosque has those connections.”
Megan Putney defended the decision: “I feel relieved. I think that this centre has great potential in bringing several religions together and I feel that with its building, God willing, it will cause a lot of misconceptions to lessen,” she said.
Opponents who have long campaigned against the plans for an Islamic centre believe it would be tasteless to have a mosque so close to the site where Islamist extremists killed thousands of people.
Supporters say it will be a space for moderate Muslim voices.