Islamic group gets OK to cut crosses off former Catholic church in NY despite landmark status

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A city board in upstate New York has given 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.

Board Chairman Don Radke the board cannot interfere with a decision that involves religious freedom. The board voted Thursday to allow the church alterations.

The Syracuse Post-Standard reports that ( ) about a dozen people who spoke at the meeting were evenly divided for and against the church conversion.