The New York Times reports that there are some new issues surrounding the hot-button issues that is the planned “Ground Zero Mosque” AKA Park 51. Feisal Abdul Rauf, the mosque’s Imam, which is the prayer leader, will remain on the board of the Islamic Community Center and the mosque. But his role will be greatly reduced as a result; Abdul Rauf, who has gone on international and domestic speaking tours, will no longer raise funds for the project nor will he speak on its behalf.
Sharif el-Gamal, who is Abdul Rauf’s partner in the project and who owns the former coat store where the community center and mosque are planned, announced the split late last week. Â It appears that Abdul Rauf was not “Lower Manhattan” enough for the project. “While Imam Feisal’s vision has a global scope and his ideals for the Cordoba movement are truly exceptional, our community in Lower Manhattan is local,” said Gamal in a statement. “Our focus is and must remain the residents of Lower Manhattan and the Muslim American community in the greater New York area.”
However, other sources have indicated that Abdul Rauf and Gamal also have opposing opinions on the size, scope, commerciality and the interfaith nature of the planned center. They even refer to the project by different names; Abdul Rauf called it “The Cordoba House” while Gamal referred to it as “Park 51,” which is also how most New Yorkers recognize it.
What are your thoughts on the Ground Zero Mosque/Park 51 in 2011?
Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam associated with the development of the Ground Zero Mosque is headed for an international tour of Muslim Countries funded by the State Department, the NYPost is reporting.
The trip is meant to help the Imam gain an understanding of Muslim and Islamic communities in the United States. According to a State Department the itinerary includes visits to Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar.
P.J. Crowley, a State Department rep has stated there will be no fund-raising during his visit and “[Fundraising] would not be something he could do as part of our program.”
Skeptics are saying that the power to meet with powerful business and political leaders in each country is enough to secure funding opportunities in the future.
9/11 victim families continue to be outraged. “Does the State Department have any idea they are sending a guy to the Middle East who is going to be fund-raising perhaps among the very same people he will be meeting with?
“He’s going to the well, and how can they say they do or don’t know what he’s doing?” says 9/11 family member Debra Burlingame quoted in the NYPost article.
“We know he has a fund-raising association with Saudi Arabia,” Burlingame said, noting that the Saudis have contributed money to underwrite programs by the American Society for Muslim Advancement, a not-for-profit that Abdul Rauf runs with his wife and that is one of the sponsors of the Ground Zero mosque.
How do you feel about the State Department funding this trip on behalf of the Ground Zero mosque?