A New York City community panel has given a stamp of approval to build a mosque near Ground Zero.
The city board voted 29-1 in favor of the Cordoba Mosque, despite a very contentious debate over the building.
New Yorkers are furious over the idea of building a mosque near the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
"The greatest terrorist act against this nation was Pearl Harbor. The second one was the World Trade Center bombing," mosque opponent Lou Camonale said. "Now we wouldn't normally have a Japanese center in Pearl Harbor... this is like pouring salt in the wound of America."
The mosque will also house a Muslim cultural center. Before the vote Tuesday, opponents lined up to voice their outrage.
"This is an insult. This is demeaning," one protestor said. "This is humiliating that you would build a shrine to the very ideology that inspired the attacks of 9/11."
"This house of evil will be the birthplace of the next terrorist event," another in the audience claimed.
Several family members of those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks attended the meeting. Their voices went unheard, however, and the board overwhelming approved the mosque.
"We feel 9/11 very, very much," said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, chairman of the Cordoba House, one of the group's behind the mosque project. "We belong in this area."
Rauf has promised the mosque won't be a recruiting ground for terrorists. Muslims have been praying at the site of the future 13-story mosque since fall 2009.
The recent vote, however, may not be the final approval given.
City officials argue that the building being torn down to build the mosque is a historically landmark. Another hearing is set to decide whether to preserve the building -- which used to house a Burlington Coat Factory.
If the building is deemed a historical landmark, the Cordoba Mosque will have to be built elsewhere. Otherwise, construction of the mosque will begin later this year at the current location.