Monday, August 2, 2010

9/11 Memorial Pledged as Part of Mosque Plan

Wall Street Journal
August 2, 2010

On the eve of expected city approval of a mosque and Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero, backers of the project are pledging to include a memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as part of an effort to allay opponents' complaints that the mosque's location is insensitive.

"We've heard and felt their pain, and we're extending ourselves," said Daisy Khan, a partner in the building and the wife of the cleric leading the effort. "We want to repair the breach and be at the front and center to start the healing."

Offering the first glimpse into how the developers of the $100 million project hope to blunt the persistent criticism, Ms. Khan said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that the board that runs the center will include members of other religions "to protect the interests of the center and to ensure the center has the highest standards of transparency." She also said the developers will explore including an interfaith chapel as part of the final plans.

"The universal values of all religions will be the underpinning of our center," said Ms. Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement. "It will all happen in an atmosphere of interfaith collaboration."