- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The developer in charge of building the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque near ground zero in New York City said Wednesday that there are no plans to move the project to a location seven blocks away.

In an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday, Sharif El-Gamal said, “As an American, as someone who has prospered in this country, as someone who has gotten a lot from the city, this is an opportunity for us to give back.”

The mosque has been the subject of controversy because of its proximity to the World Trade Center, the site of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The proposed site for the mosque is approximately three blocks away from ground zero.

The residents and community leaders of lower Manhattan approve of the project, said Mr. El-Gamal, a practicing Muslim whose father was an Egyptian Muslim and mother a Polish Catholic.

The controversy has “been an eye-opener,” he said. “There is so much work ahead of us. There has been such a misperception about my faith and my belief system. We are peace-loving Americans.”