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Exploring all options on NYC mosque: Imam

The Imam leading the effort to build an Islamic centre and mosque near the World Trade Center site said on Monday that a resolution to the raging debate over its location is being examined.

The Imam leading the effort to build an Islamic centre and mosque near the World Trade Center site said on Monday that a resolution to the raging debate over its location is being examined.

“We are exploring all options as we speak right now,and we are working to what will be a solution,God willing,that will resolve this crisis,defuse it and not create any unforeseen or untoward circumstances that we do not want to see happen,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said during a question-and-answer session following a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations.

He did not elaborate on whether the options included moving the centre from a site close to Ground Zero. But in response to a later question,Rauf said the proposed location,while controversial,was important.

“We need a platform where the voice of moderate Muslims can be amplified… This is an opportunity that we must capitalise on so the voice of moderate Muslims will have a megaphone,” he said. The Imam said he wanted to clarify a “misperception” that the Islamic center’s proposed site was sacred ground. “It is absolutely disingenuous as some have suggested that the block is hallowed ground,” he said,noting its proximity to strip joints and betting parlors.

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During his remarks,Rauf raised the question of whether the project was worth the controversy. “The answer is a categorical yes,” he said. “Why? Because this centre will be a place for all faiths to come together in mutual respect.” He said: “The world will be watching what we do here… Let us therefore reject those who would use this crisis… for political gain or even for fame.”


New York: Indian-origin author Salman Rushdie has spoken out in support of the mosque near Ground Zero. “It’s just a stupid argument,” Rushdie said at the Brooklyn Book Festival in New York. “Of course they should be able to build a mosque there,” he was quoted as saying by the New York Post. The writer also noted that the controversy regarding the proximity of the mosque near the World Trade Centre made no sense,since the mosque was inside the World Trade Centre itself.

First published on: 14-09-2010 at 02:26:45 am
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