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The developer of the site has said groundbreaking is probably three years away. The non profit group that would run the centre is still being established. A fundraising campaign has yet to begin. Developer Sharif El Gamal has said he plans to borrow most of the money needed to build by selling a type of bond common in Islamic banking.
Khan said she hoped some would agree to be "part of the healing process" and help design the centre's Sept. 11 memorial. Muslims and the nation's Christian majority. is not Rauf's goal.
"It is not enough for me that you tolerate me," he explained to an audience in Jakarta last month. "I want you to love me."
"We went from Spain to North Africa," the Episcopal priest said a crossing of a historic border and crossroads between the Islamic and Christian worlds. "It was a wonderful trip."
been victims of the 2001 attacks.
Whether there is hope for the proposed centre two blocks from where Islamic extremists carried out the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center is unclear.
"We were part of the narrative of 9/11," Rauf said, noting that members of his own congregation, based about 10 blocks from the Trade Center, had Fendi Peekaboo Auction
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and religious leaders of many faiths have been among the centre's most ardent supporters. Relatives of Sept. 11 victims have come out on both sides.
The timetable will give Rauf and his wife, the activist Daisy Khan, more time to make their case that a Muslim institution belongs at ground zero. They envision a 13 to 15 story facility with space for a health club, a day care centre and playground, an auditorium for cultural events, art studios and galleries, a Sept. 11 memorial and a two level prayer room with seating for a congregation of 2,000.
over the centre, rather than ardent critics, although Khan also recently participated in a public panel discussion with Jim Riches, a former New York City deputy fire chief whose son, Jimmy, was killed at the trade centre.
The superheated rhetoric of August and early September has died down, aside from the occasional downtown demonstration, and there appear to be no major governmental obstacles, but the $150 million project still remains on a slow track to construction.
"It was a true dialogue," Khan said of her appearance with Riches. "When he was speaking about his pain, I had tears in my eyes."
After that summer of mistrust and raw feeling, he's looking on the bright side.
Rauf says he hopes to use the platform he gained through the angry debate to turn his small non profit group into a global movement celebrating pluralism.
The debate took a bizarre turn when the leader of a small Christian congregation in Florida said he would call off his plans to burn the Qur'an on the Sept. 11 anniversary if the Islamic centre were moved farther from ground zero. Rauf agreed to nothing not even to meet with Pastor Terry Jones but Jones still ended up changing his mind about burning Islam's holy book.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf saw his plans for an Islamic centre near ground zero derided as a victory mosque for terrorists, exploited as campaign fodder and used as a bargaining chip by a Florida pastor who vowed to burn the Qur'an.
Already, he said, he is exploring opening facilities in other American cities and in Indonesia and Kosovo.
"We went to the brink, in a certain way," he said of last summer's tumult. But he added, "This crisis showed us what was possible. . It showed us that there is actually hope. Hope for a better relationship between America and the Muslim world, both domestically and internationally."
Rauf and Khan said they have begun talking in recent weeks with more relatives of Sept. 11 victims in an attempt to build support for the centre.
As city officials declined to block the centre, critics, including many prominent Republicans, decried it as a slap in the face to the families of Sept. 11 victims. Newt Gingrich compared the centre to Nazis putting a sign next to the Holocaust Museum.
The Cordoba Initiative is a pro Western organization that sent election monitors last spring to Sudan, and Rauf has spent much of his life preaching religious tolerance and the need for people of different faiths to work together.
Rauf and Khan said they would prefer to spend their time talking about issues like gender equity and women's rights within Islam. Khan leads, among other things, an empowerment group Miu Miu Bags 2017 that favours a more visible role for women in Muslim cultural, religious and judicial institutions.
Rauf and Khan have kept their offices for years in the Interchurch Center, a Manhattan office tower packed with Christian religious agencies that was conceived as a space where different denominations could mingle and collaborate.
"We have an obligation. We have a responsibility" to participate in the rebuilding of the neighbourhood, he said. "This centre is an anti 9/11 statement."
His social friends are as likely to be Jewish or Christian as they are Muslim. The Very Rev. James Morton, retired dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, recalled how his family, Rauf, Khan and a rabbi once spent 10 Fendi Bags On Sale
The couple say they were shocked by the emotional nature of the opposition to the Islamic centre project, and regret they did not anticipate the situation ahead of time. Yet they are also insistent that moving the facility to another location would be a mistake.
The couple's courtship of Sept. 11 families appears to be aimed at potentially influential fence sitters in the debate Fendi Handbag Polyvore
In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Rauf said he hopes to see interfaith centres like the one he plans to include inside the downtown Manhattan Islamic centre built all over the world. Each would be dedicated to fighting extremism and promoting better relations between people of different faiths and cultures.
Imam planning Islamic centre sees hope in NYC and beyond after summer of fury
Convincing the country, though, hasn't been easy.
days together on a Mediterranean cruise.
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