New imam named for NYC Islamic center
New York: The organisation planning to
build an Islamic community center near the World Trade Center
said the imam who has been the public face of the project,
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, will be playing a reduced role in the
The nonprofit group Park51 announced today that it had
named a new imam to help lead religious programming so that
Rauf could focus on other initiatives.
Rauf announced late last year that he would be
starting a global movement that would fight extremism and
promote better relations between people of different faiths
and cultures. He is set to start a national speaking tour
tomorrow in Detroit.
Rauf will remain on the Islamic center`s board, Park51
said in a statement, but the group needed someone who could be
more focused on the day-to-day business of building a local
"Due to the fact that Imam Feisal is focusing most of
his energies and passion on launching this new and separate
initiative, it is important that the needs of Park51, the
Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, take precedence,"
the group said.
The group said that while his vision is "truly
exceptional, our community in lower Manhattan is local. Our
focus is and must remain the residents of lower Manhattan and
the Muslim American community in the greater New York area."
The backers of the community center and mosque are
planning on replacing a defunct clothing store two blocks from
ground zero with a 13- to 16-story building that would hold
athletic facilities, a day care center, art galleries, an
auditorium for cultural events, a Sept. 11 memorial and a
prayer space with room for a congregation of about 1,000.
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