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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Freedom museum for 9/11 abandoned
New York Governor George Pataki (left) at the unveiling of the International Freedom Center in May 2005
New York Governor George Pataki (left) was a supporter of the IFC
Controversial plans to build a museum celebrating the theme of freedom on the site of the World Trade Center in New York have been abandoned.

New York Governor George Pataki said there was "too much opposition, too much controversy" over the proposal.

Some families of those killed in the 11th September 2001 attacks opposed the International Freedom Center (IFC).

They were concerned that it would commemorate too many other events, and might overshadow a 9/11 memorial.

"Today there remains too much opposition, too much controversy, over the programming of the IFC and we must move forward with our first priority, the creation of an inspiring memorial to pay tribute to our lost loved ones and tell their stories to the world," Mr Pataki said in a statement.

Focus 'too wide'

The IFC was conceived as "a celebration of freedom and tolerance", and would have featured exhibits on Martin Luther King Jr, and documents like the Declaration of Independence and the South African constitution.

It would have occupied an eight-storey building in the corner of the Ground Zero site.

But critics said the site should only be used to commemorate the events of 11 September 2001, not to focus on national and international history and politics.

9/11 victims' families protest against the International Freedom Center
Victims' families said the IFC was ill-suited to the Ground Zero site

Hundreds of victims' families staged demonstrations at the site and circulated petitions.

Police and fire unions joined them in opposition.

"Freedom should unify us. This centre has not," said Mr Pataki, who was a keen supporter of the project.

Jack Lynch, one of the families' spokesmen, said: "I am so happy."

He said he did not object to the IFC per se, "but it's in the wrong location".

The redevelopment of the Ground Zero site has been fraught with controversy.

The design for the Freedom Tower due to be erected on the site has been toned down on the grounds of taste and modified on the grounds of security.

Funding was threatened when the insurance payment on the Twin Towers was lower than expected.

The building is due to be completed by the end of the decade.

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