US Muslim leader in ‘megamosque’ row at Ground Zero to speak at peace festival

A MUSLIM leader who spearheaded plans for a controversial Islamic community centre near the site of the World Trade Centre in New York is coming to Scotland.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has recently departed from a project to build the community centre, dubbed a “megamosque” by critics, two blocks from Ground Zero.

He will hold a discussion on Islam in the United States since 9/11 at the Edinburgh Festival of Spirituality and Peace on Saturday, two weeks before the tenth anniversary of the attacks.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The community centre, known as Plan51, sparked a heated debate about the relationship between the Islamic faith and the West since 9/11.

Professor Hugh Goddard, director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, said: “Given the furore in the United States last year following the threat by Pastor Terry Jones to burn a copy of the Koran in public, it will be excellent for audiences in Scotland and the wider UK to hear the American Muslim leader against whom this threat was directed speak about being a Muslim in the USA today, and the wider relationship between the world of Islam and the West.”

The Rev Donald Reid, director of the Festival of Peace and Spirituality, said: “Imam Feisal is an eloquent exponent of how the highest aspirations of Islam and US democracy concur – I can think of no better speaker, therefore, for a festival dedicated to peace in a post 9/11 world.”