The religious group and developers behind the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" say they have no intention of moving their project to an alternate site, as has been proposed by New York Gov. David Paterson.
"Cordoba Initiative and Park51 are committed to maintaining the current planned location for the Community Center," reads a statement on the Cordoba Initiative website.
Patersonthat he plans to meet with the backers of the mosque this week to discuss "the possibility of moving it to an alternate site."
But the statement on the Cordoba Initiative website says that Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf is not in the country and adds that "there have been no meetings scheduled between Imam Feisel and Governor Paterson, nor have there been any communications between the offices of Cordoba Initiative and the Governor."
Rauf is traveling to Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on a trip to promote religious tolerance that formally begins tomorrow. A senior State Department official today rejected speculation that the trip - sponsored by the State Department - would be used to raise money for the project. "None of that is true," said the official.
In a statement to Hotsheet yesterday, Paterson Deputy Press Secretary Maggie McKeon said, "We are working with the developers on a staff level but there have not been any formal discussions between the Governor, the Imam or the developer. However, we expect to have a meeting scheduled in the near future."
Paterson has discussed the possibility of offering state land as an alternative site for what has become known as the "ground zero mosque" - actually a proposed 13-story Islamic community center that would include a mosque roughly two blocks from the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
His office did not have an immediate comment on the Cordoba Initiative statement.
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