Imam defends NYC mosque plans, says intentions misunderstood

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The imam behind a proposed mosque and Islamic cultural center at the heart of a national debate defended his plans in front of the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan today, saying that his intentions have been misunderstood and twisted for political gain.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said he's working toward a resolution that will hopefully resolve some of the controversy surrounding the proposed location of his center, which is near Ground Zero.

Rauf did not mention any plans to move the center, but assailed the view that the current proposed locale is sacred or hallowed ground, as some have suggested, pointing out that there are strip clubs nearby.

A Quinnipiac poll out today shows that 70 percent of American voters believe Muslims have the right to build the center near Ground Zero, but 63 percent say doing so would be wrong.

Imam fears moving NYC mosque could inflame tension

Gov. Paterson seeks meeting with mosque developers

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