‘Ground Zero’ mosque: Developer rethinks unpopular plan

This modern interior vision of Park51 may never be realized: Developer Sharif El-Gamal said he is starting from scratch on building the controversial mosque and community center.

No longer 15 stories. A new name. Severed ties with its original founder.

The controversial project known as the “Ground Zero mosque” is a far cry from its original vision.
“Everything was backward,” lead developer Sharif El-Gamal, 37, told The New York Times. “We’re going back to basics.”

El-Gamal is prepared to scrap the proposed 15-story structural redesign of the Burlington Coat Factory building, depending on the community’s input.

“If the community only wants four or five floors, it’s going to be four or five floors,” El-Gamal said.
He’s even recruited the aunt of a 9/11 victim to his advisory board.

But Barry Zelman, who lost his brother Kenneth in the attacks, said he will not support a mosque so close to Ground Zero, whether it’s four stories or fifteen.

“I believe they have the right to practice their religion,” said Zelman, 56, of Roxbury, N.J. “I still think it’s in bad taste. I still question the location.”

The mosque portion of the building has been rebranded “PrayerSpace.” But it may be five years before the property undergoes any changes, as El-Gamal still needs to raise up to $10 million. He has even severed ties with the project’s original imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf. El-Gamal said the two had personality and philosophical clashes.

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…