Ex-Leader of Planned Mosque Near Ground Zero Settles Suit With Donor

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.

Some Muslims in U.S. Quietly Engage in Polygamy

According to a report on the NPR program All Things Considered, polygamy is a rare, but quietly present practice in the United States by Muslims. In the report, Muslim women from Guinea discuss the pro’s and con’s of the practice in Islamic contexts – that the husband cannot favor one wife over another, either in love or in how he provides for her, but citing the impossibility of this dilemma. Daisy Khan, who is head of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, says that polygamy is more common among conservative, less educated immigrants largely from Africa and Asia, and more rare among middle-class Muslims from the Middle East. Khan adds that imams generally do not conduct background checks on grooms to check their marital status in their native country. While polygamy in Islam is a blessing according to some because it allows for the having of more children, Abed Awad, a family law attorney says that many men often forget the major responsibilities that go with the practice.