NEW YORK – Friends and family members of those who who died on Sept. 11, 2001 (search), entered the International Freedom Center (search) debate this week with a message — the proposed center dishonors the memory of their loved ones.
Rich Pecorella lost his fiancée in the attacks. He and about 100 other protesters said the center, planned for completion in 2010 on the World Trade Center (search) grounds where the twin towers once stood, distracts from the tragedy it's meant to commemorate.
"I think this is sacred ground and should be memorialized and built for the people who died here, and no one else," said Pecorella.
The proposed center is said to be designed to inspire conversations on freedom through exhibits and multimedia presentations. The IFC will be next to the Ground Zero memorial and its creators said it is meant to honor the pursuit of freedom through history.
John Cahill, a top adviser to Republican Gov. George Pataki (search) of New York, said the IFC should not become the focus of political controversy or a partisan agenda.
"We are going to ensure that this freedom center is an appropriate tribute to freedom, not just on 9/11, but on man's march in history. And the idea that we will allow the freedom center to get hijacked by the political right and the political left is something none of us will stand for," John Cahill told FOX News.
Some protestors remain skeptical of the center's purpose.
"Nobody is coming to this site to learn about Ukrainian democracy or to be inspired about the courage of Tibetan monks — they are coming for Sept. 11," said Michael Burke, the brother of a Sept. 11 victim.
FOX News' David Lee Miller contributed to this report.