Controversial Imam to Tour Nation
FILE- In this Aug. 22, 2010 file photo, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf addresses guests at an iftar dinner hosted by the U.S. Embassy's deputy chief of mission Stephanie Williams, at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Saar, Bahrain, west of the capital Manama. Rauf is now in the midst of a polarizing political, religious and cultural debate over his plans for a multi-story Islamic center that will feature a mosque, health club and theater about two blocks north of ground zero in New York. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)
NEW YORK — The Muslim cleric who hopes to build an Islamic center in New York City near the World Trade Center site is planning to tour the nation to promote the project.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will first speak in Detroit on Jan. 15. The city has North America's largest Muslim population.
Zaheer Uddin, head of New York's Islamic Leadership Council, told The Associated Press on Friday that he thinks it's a good idea for Rauf to address misunderstandings between Muslims and others.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has endorsed the project at the location two blocks from ground zero.
Opponents call it offensive to families of 9/11 victims; proponents have touted the center as a cultural bridge.
Published at 11:15 AM EST on Dec 26, 2010