The Imam behind the Park51 development hopes that opening his books will open hearts for his Islamic community center.
In an effort to bolster fundraising and ease any suspicion towards the $100 million dollar price tag for the Park51 Islamic community center, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has allowed the US Government to sign off on all donations made to the development.
Also, according to a report in today’s New York Post, Rauf stated that “the mosque and Islamic cultural center will have a board of directors that will include Muslims, Christians and Jews.” This may be seen as yet another olive branch towards easing dissent towards building a mosque and islamic center near Ground Zero.
The inclusion of an inter-faith board of directors might have been in response to Julie Menin, Chairwoman of Community Board 1’s open column in the Daily News calling for a revised interfaith plan for the Park51 development. In that column Menin states, “I believe it is still possible to bridge the gap without compromising the core principles of what this project is about — not by moving the mosque further away from the site of the attacks, but by bringing other faiths in.”
How do you feel about the US Government being allowed to sign off on all donations made to the Park51 development?
Hisham Elzanaty, the developer and single largest investor in the Park51 Islamic community center vows to move forward with developing a mosque near Ground Zero.
Elzanaty has received national attention in previous weeks after receiving two offers to buy out his stakes in the development from both Donald Trump and the World Chess Federation.
Having spoken only through his attorney, Elzanaty has broke his silence admitting that the mosque was indeed his idea and that he “felt it was a great place for people to pray” and that he “didn’t expect this commotion, this hate, this anger,” according a report from the Daily News.
According to the same article, Elzanaty’s parents were victims of the EgyptAir crash in 1999 and could relate to the plights of 9/11 families having been personally affected by a terrorist attack. “I am one of them. I lived this two years before they did. I will never do anything to harm America.”
Fox 5 News in New York did an exclusive interview with Elzanaty below:
Not one to sit idly on the political sidelines, Michael Moore has called for the building of a mosque not near Ground Zero, but on Ground Zero.
“Why?” Moore asks on his official website, “Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice. I believe in an America that says you have the right to worship whatever God you have, wherever you want to worship. And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and generous people and if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back. And I want to put it at the spot where it was stolen from you.”
After publishing the letter over the weekend, on the 9th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Michael Moore has reported that he has collected $50,000 dollars towards the cause. The proceeds of which will go to Park51’s fundraising efforts which started last week.
The entire cost to build the Islamic community center at Park Place is approximately $100 million dollars.
Amidst this win for the Cordoba Initiative, Park51’s Imam has been “exploring all options” in regards to the controversial mosque and community center. One of the options on the table includes an indefinite postponement of development.
According to an article published in The New York Times the Imam is quoted as saying, â€œWe really are focused on solving it, and solving it in a way that will create the best possible outcome for all. I give you my pledge.â€