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posted: 8/2/2011 9:22 AM

NYC mosque developer: Project may take years

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Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The developer of an Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero says it may take years to determine what kind of project Muslims and non-Muslims want.

Sharif El-Gamal tells The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/qXbGwi) that decisions will be made after consultation with lower Manhattan residents and New York City-area Muslims.

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El-Gamal says that in the past year he's built relationships with neighborhood groups. He's recruited a 9/11 victim's relative to his advisory board and sought donors from around the country. He concedes he should have done those things before going public with the project.

He also says he'll only accept money from sources that reflect "American values."

El-Gamal's vision for the project remains unchanged: a mosque, health club, theater and religious and interfaith programming open to all.

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