‘Religious ground behind no to Mother Teresa’

After it created a controversy by refusing to illuminate the iconic skyscraper in honour of Mother Teresa, the Empire State Building (ESB) management Thursday cited religious ground to justify its stand.

Last Updated: Jun 10, 2010, 16:00 PM IST

New York: After it created a controversy
by refusing to illuminate the iconic skyscraper in honour of
Mother Teresa, the Empire State Building (ESB) management
Thursday cited religious ground to justify its stand.

The management of the 102-storied building had turned
down a request by advocacy group Catholic League to go blue
and white to mark Nobel laureate Mother Teresa`s hundredth
birthday on August 26.

"The Empire State Building celebrates many cultures
and causes in the world community with iconic lightings, and
has a tradition of lightings for the religious holidays of
Easter, Eid ul-Fitr, Hanukah, and Christmas," Anthony E
Malkin, owner of the building, said in a statement.

"As a privately owned building, Empire State Building
has a specific policy against any other lighting for religious
figures or requests by religions and religious organisations."

The top of the world`s most famous building dons a
different colour that corresponds to an important event that
is happening or falls on that day. It goes blue and white, for
instance on World Ocean`s Day or just blue on the day Columbia
University students graduate each year.

The Empire management has come under criticism, not
only for the decision, but also for not immediately revealing
the reasons for the refusal.

There has also been a display of public outrage
against the pronouncement especially in light of Mother
Teresa`s exceptional and decades spanning humanitarian work.

The New York City Council has challenged the decision
of the management.

According to local media reports, City Council Speaker
Christine Quinn had met with Malkin to voice her opposition to
the decision.

CBS News reported City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr has
introduced a bill formally requesting the tribute on behalf of
the City.

"She deserves better. She`s one of the greatest women
history has ever known," he said.

Meanwhile, NewYorkology reported that Brooklyn Borough
President Marty Markowitz said he would light up Brooklyn
Borough Hall in blue and white on August 26 to mark the 100th
birth anniversary of Mother Teresa.

"Borough Hall may not be as tall as the Empire State
Building, but it is Brooklyn’s oldest public building and
one of the oldest in New York City and what better place
than our diverse borough to celebrate not only Mother
Teresa...," Markowitz said in a statement.

The three tiers of the building light have also been
lit up for private functions - most famously pink when Mariah
Carey launched her album and went yellow when the Simpsons
movie came out on DVD, according to the Huffington Post.
It also goes green on St Patrick`s Day and green,
white and orange on India`s Independence Day.

PTI