Ground Zero Green Mosque to Be Nation's First, Barring Political Scuffle

Ground Zero Green Mosque to Be Nation's First, Barring Political Scuffle

It may have angered Republicans, but plans to build a new Islamic community centre two blocks away from the Ground Zero site in lower Manhattan could put a smile on the face of environmentalists after reports suggested the building would become America's first green mosque.

Writing on the influential U.S. website The Daily Beast yesterday, U.S. author and environmental policy consultant Ibrahim Abdul-Matin revealed that the centre would be the first U.S. mosque to be fully compliant with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

Abdul-Matin said the project, known originally as the Cordoba House project, has been rebranded as Park51 to reflect the centre's environmental credentials.

"The mosque (which is more accurately a community center with a prayer space) is located on Park Place in downtown Manhattan," [sic] he wrote, "but the new name also reflects a desire to emphasize the intricate (though widely unknown) connections between Islamic teachings and environmentalism."

The revelation could prompt a fresh bout of apoplexy among Republicans opposed to the proposed development.

Last week, plans for the mosque took another step forward when New York City's Landmark Preservation Commission unanimously voted not to extend landmark status of the building on the site of the proposed project.

However, leading Republican commentators are continuing to wage a ferocious campaign against the project, arguing that the Islamic centre's close proximity to the location of the 9/11 attacks as insensitive.

Outspoken former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin recently crystalised the campaign against the mosque using her Twitter account. "Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing," [sic] she wrote.

Regardless of the controversy the development provides further evidence of the growing popularity of the LEED certification scheme, which requires developers to embrace high standards of energy and water efficiency, and encourages them to use sustainable building materials and renewable energy technologies.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, which runs the LEED scheme, there are now around 14,000 LEED certified projects in the U.S. and 30 other countries and more than 140,000 LEED professional credential holders.

This article originally appeared on BusinessGreen.com and is reprinted with permission.

Photo CC-licensed by mckaysavage.