NEW YORK (AP) — The imam leading the effort to build an Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero says there is a "misperception" that the proposed site is sacred ground.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said Monday that the location where the center would be built, two blocks from the World Trade Center, has a strip joint and betting parlors nearby. He says it's "absolutely disingenuous" to suggest that it is "hallowed ground."
He also says the location is important, because it will serve as a platform where the voice of moderate Muslims can be amplified.
Rauf made his remarks before the Council on Foreign Relations.
Rauf says the center will be a place for all faiths to come together. He says "the world is watching what we do here" and that it is important to "live up to our ideal."