The former leader of a proposed Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero in Lower Manhattan has settled a lawsuit in which a donor accused him of spending charitable contributions on himself, both sides confirmed on Friday.
The donor, Robert Leslie Deak, had accused the former leader, Feisal Abdul Rauf, of diverting millions of dollars in charitable donations – meant for the Cordoba Initiative, founded by the imam, as well as the American Society for Muslim Advancement, which is led by the imam’s wife, Daisy Khan – to buy real estate, luxury vacations and a fancy car. It also accused Mr. Abdul Rauf of failing to report approximately $3 million in donations from the Malaysian government.
Mr. Deak, in a statement, said of Mr. Abdul Rauf: “We are now satisfied that neither he nor his wife were involved in any wrongdoing and that the charitable contributions made to the Cordoba Initiative and ASMA were used for proper, charitable purposes. Notwithstanding our differences, we respect the work being carried out by Imam Feisal and Daisy Khan.”
Mr. Abdul Rauf was the spiritual leader of a proposed 13-story Islamic center on Park Place that became a touchstone of post-Sept. 11 controversy, as opponents argued that its proximity to the site of the former World Trade Center was disrespectful to those who died there. Mr. Abdul Rauf stepped down as its leader in 2011 after a falling out with the center’s developer. While the building has recently served as a prayer space, the full center has not been built.
By Feisal Abdul Rauf, Published: April 1, 2011
I founded the multi-faith Cordoba Initiative to fight the misunderstandings that broaden the divide between Islam and the West — each perceived as harmful by the other. Millions of American Muslims, who see no contradiction between being American and being Muslim, are working hard to bridge this gap. It is therefore not surprising that they have become the target of attacks by those who would rather burn bridges than build them, and the subject of recent congressional hearings exploring their “radicalization.”
What myths are behind the entrenched beliefs that Muslims simply do not belong in the United States and that they threaten its security?
1. American Muslims are foreigners
2. American Muslims are ethnically, culturally and politically monolithic.
3. American Muslims oppress women.
4. American Muslims often become “homegrown” terrorists.
5. American Muslims want to bring sharia law to the United States
By JEFFREY GOLDBERG
Sarah Palin has called on “peace-seeking Muslims” to “refudiate” plans by the The Cordoba Initiative, a Muslim organization, to build a mosque and community center near the site of Ground Zero. After someone alerted her to the fact that “refudiate” isn’t actually a word, she deleted the original tweet and sent out two more: “Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real,” and, “Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing.”
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the chairman of the Cordoba Initiative that works to improve Muslim-West relations, argues that religion is a key part of the solution in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He uses the Sacred Text of Islam, the Quran, to show how Muslims and Jews are united and are capable of reaching out to each other through “Abrahamic ethics” as the core of monotheism.