[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/19/art.palin.0515r4.gi.jpg caption ="Sarah Palin said Sunday that plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero are an ‘unnecessary provocation.’"] (CNN) - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the proposed construction of a mosque and community center near "Ground Zero," the site of the 9/11 terror attack in New York City, calling it an "unnecessary provocation."
"Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts," Palin wrote in a Twitter post Sunday. "Pls reject it in interest of healing."
The former Republican vice presidential nominee also posted a plea to "peaceful New Yorkers," asking them to "pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real."
Plans to build a $100 million, 13-story center - focused on what backers describe as Islamic, interfaith and secular programming - has sparked an emotional debate.
New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to hold a key vote in August on whether an 1850s structure currently on the site of the proposed center should be granted landmark status. Even if landmark status is approved, however, it may not necessarily halt construction of the center.
Voices opposing the mosque dominated a hearing on the subject last week.
"It would be a terrible mistake to destroy a 154-year-old building in order to build a monument to terrorism," one woman said.
The heckling and intense nature of the hearing got to be too much for some participants.
"I'm ashamed to be an American today," said Rakif Gathwari, a Muslim-American, who reminded the crowd that people from many countries and religions died in the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
"I want to prove to this hall that I am a citizen," Gathwari said, holding up his passport.
Some Muslim community leaders say the mosque could provide an opportunity for improving interfaith relations.
The project, according to a Muslim outreach group called the Cordoba Initiative, calls for the construction of a mosque, a performing arts center, a gym, a swimming pool and other public spaces.
- CNN's Deb Feyerick, Julian Cummings, Ed Payne and Alan Silverleib contributed to this report