March 30, 2014: This photo shows the former Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in Syracuse, N.Y. The church will soon be called Masjid Eisa Ibn Marya – The Mosque of Jesus son of Mary.AP
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A city board on Thursday gave a Muslim group the go-ahead to remove six crosses from the roof and spires of a century-old former Catholic church so the now-vacant Gothic structure can be used as a mosque.
More than 200 people had signed an online petition calling on the Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board to deny an application by North Side Learning Center, the church’s new owner, to remove the crosses and build a six-foot chain-link fence.
Before the vote to allow the church alterations, Chairman Don Radke said the board cannot interfere with a decision that involves religious freedom.
About a dozen people who spoke at the meeting were evenly divided for and against the church conversion, The Post-Standard reported.
Petition-signers, who included some local residents and former church parishioners, had argued that the former Holy Trinity Catholic Church was a neighborhood landmark built by German immigrants 100 years ago and removing the crosses would deface the architecture.