NYC Imam: No Deal to Move NYC "Mosque"

People participate in a rally against a proposed mosque and Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York, Sunday, August 22, 2010 AP Photo

Updated at 7:52 p.m. ET

A representative for Imam Faisal tells CBS News that any agreement with Florida pastor Terry Jones is false.

Imam Faisal released a statement that reads: "I am glad that Pastor Jones has decided not to burn any Qurans. However, I have not spoken to Pastor Jones or Imam Musri. I am surprised by their announcement. We are not going to toy with our religion or any other. Nor are we going to barter. We are here to extend our hands to build peace and harmony."

In addition, the Florida imam says no deal has been reached to move the site of an Islamic community center near ground zero in exchange for a Florida minister to call off plans to burn Qurans.

Imam Muhammad Musri tells The Associated Press that what he offered was a meeting among the Rev. Terry Jones, the New York imam planning the Islamic center and himself to talk about the Islamic community center location.

Musri is president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida. He says he told Jones that he does not believe the Islamic community center should be built near the World Trade Center site and would do everything in his power to make sure it is moved.

Jones says he believes a deal was reached to move the Islamic community center and would fly to New York Saturday to discuss it. Jones said Imam Muhammad Musri of the Islamic Society of Central Florida told him that officials would guarantee that the so-called ground zero mosque would be moved. "I asked him three times, and I have witnesses," Jones said. "If it's not moved, then I think Islam is a very poor example of religion. I think that would be very pitiful. I do not expect that."

The Islamic community center continues to generate much news. Earlier Thursday Donald Trump offered to buy out one of the major investors in the real estate partnership that controls the site near ground zero where a Muslim group wants to build the 13-story Islamic center.

The offer, though, fell flat nearly instantly.

"This is just a cheap attempt to get publicity and get in the limelight," said Wolodymyr Starosolsky, a lawyer for the investor, Hisham Elzanaty.

In a letter released Thursday by Trump's publicist, the real estate investor tells Elzanaty he would buy his stake in the lower Manhattan building for 25 percent more than whatever he paid.

Scroll down to read the letter released by Donald Trump's office.

Trump says he's making the offer not because he thinks the location is spectacular but because it would end "a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation."

The letter from Trump reads in part:

"As part of the offer, it would be agreed that, if you or your representative were to build a mosque, it would be located at least five blocks further from the World Trade Center site."

Fact Check: The "Ground Zero Mosque" Debate

It's unclear whether Elzanaty has total control over the property, which is owned by an eight-member investment group managed by Soho Properties.

Many Republicans and some Democrats say the proposed $100 million Islamic cultural center and mosque should be built elsewhere where there is no possible association with New York's ground zero. Far more than a local zoning issue, the matter has seized congressional campaigns, put President Barack Obama and his party on the spot - he says Muslims have the right to build the mosque - divided families of the Sept. 11, 2001, victims, caught the attention of Muslims abroad and threatened to blur distinctions between mainstream Islam in the U.S. and its radical elements.

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(CBS)
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