Mosque Developer: Money Won’t Come From Iran, Hamas

Exclusive: El-Gamal Says 'Un-American Values' Not Welcome

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The mastermind developer of one of the most controversial mosque projects in recent memory has broken his silence.

In the face of growing opposition, Sharif El-Gamal defended his plans to build an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero in an exclusive interview with Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes.”

In the midst of the furor and madness as evidenced by the recent bickering in the media, outpouring of emotions by residents and countless protests, comes the question: why does an institution dedicated to Muslims have to be built just two blocks from ground zero, hallowed ground of 9/11 where so many were killed by Muslims?

“It matched the needs of my community,” El-Gamal said.

El-Gamal, the developer of the most contentious mosque project in America, answered that question Friday.

“It matched the needs of my Muslim brothers and sisters, my Christian brothers and sisters, my Jewish brothers and sisters, who live and work in lower Manhattan,” El-Gamal said.

The Brooklyn-born Muslim belongs to a Jewish community center, is the son of a Catholic, and married a Christian.

“I did. That’s New York, though. That’s New York. New York welcomes and celebrates pluralism and diversity. That’s what makes New York great,” El-Gamal said.

After ducking many opportunities to talk about the proposed Muslim community center and the controversy around it, El-Gamal gave an exclusive interview to “60 Minutes,” promising the $100 million raised to build the community center will come from all walks of life.

However …

“We will not take money from Iran. We will not take money from Hamas. We will not take money from organizations that have un-American values,” El-Gamal said.

The value of religious freedom has been front and center of this debate, but so have the feelings of 9/11 families, some of which feel the mosque’s location is insensitive.

“This is our graveyard. This is our memorial,” one told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer back on Aug. 23.

The outrage has led to threats.

“I think about my safety, but I’m not worried,” El-Gamal said.

This week El-Gamal was at the Ramadan dinner where Mayor Michael Bloomberg repeated his support for the mosque, but after the dinner when asked if he’d be willing to meet with 9/11 families on the issue, the developer said thank you and walked away. Instead, in the interview he spoke of the overwhelming support from the community board.

“Twenty-nine in favor, one against; that’s … that is my community. This is who I’m catering to,” El-Gamal said.

On Friday the developer kicked off a fundraising campaign that raised $10,000, but supporters admitted they are still far away from raising the $100 million needed for construction and operations.

  • sami

    marie, how did you get this infomration???????????????????????
    it cannot be true………………..

  • Marie

    seriously, do you know this guy has a long rap sheet for assault and disorderly conduct several times over…thathe even assaluted a patron aty the restaurant wher he was a waiter-only 5 years ago…

    where did he get this money from and how in the world does bloomberg & obama endorse this man and this project….

  • sami

    yes bob!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can donate, attend the friday session and you can give than,……..

  • Bob

    If possible, I would like to contribute to the NYC Muslim Community Center.
    This project will go far in demonstrating the positive attributes of the U.S. despite the embarrassing behavior of some nativist conservatives.

  • The New York Muslim Community Center: Why it’s not being funded by terrorists. | The True Account of Lauren

    […] Sharif El-Gamal, the developer of the community center, says he does not know where the money to build the center will come from. He states that they will “hire private auditors and cooperate with all governmental authorities and not take a penny from any group flagged by them” (Source). In an interview with 60 minutes he said: “We will not take money from Iran. We will not take money from Hamas. We will not take money from organizations that have un-American values.” (Source) […]

  • Park51 developer Sharif El-Gamal has a history of run-ins with the law – New York Daily News | Carib Feed - Caribbean News

    […] effort begins for NYC Islamic centerThe Associated PressNew York Times -DNAinfo -CBS New Yorkall 437 news […]

  • sami

    (other than his nose, of cours!!)

  • sami

    does anyon find sharif el gamal a little on the hunky side????????

  • mike s.

    Crimes are committed by members of every race and religion, but you seem to pull the facts that help support your views.
    If you want to compare apples to apples:
    Canada: The Sons of Freedom are a Christian terrorist group.
    India: The National Liberation Front of Tripura forcefully convert people to Christianity.
    Northern Ireland: The “Orange Volunteers” are Protestants that terrorize Catholics.
    Romania: See Iron Guard and Lancieri.

    and the list goes on. Btw, you were saying Muslims are terrible, when by your logic you can also say Americans are terrible.

    • sami

      mike s, this woman is acting islamphobc, so she cant be helped, but i like your ideas alot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • DanTe

    Oh wait, if you compare everywhere where there are Nazi’s sh-!t happens. Than yeah.

    But than that would blow a hole in your “logic” now wouldn’t it?

  • DanTe

    Hey mike s. what does that have to do with everywhere where there are mu-slimes, sh-!t happens – ALL THE TIME ?

    It’s not like everywhere where there are whities, sh-!t happens.
    It’s not like everywhere where there are blacks, sh-!t happens.
    It’s only mu-slimes.

    Your constant attempts to compare apples to oranges just shows how pathetic your “logic” is.

  • mike s.

    Hey DanTe, visit a jail in any state in America. You’ll find rapists, thieves, murderers, arsonists, kidnappers. You bring up children, google “murdered American children”. Your reasoning is awfully wrong.

  • DanTe

    Hey rashid. Politically correct phraseology like yours is cheap. Facts are Facts.

    FACT: Everywhere where there are mu-Slimes, sh-!t happens.

    China — sh-!t happens
    (suicide bombers that kill little children and run amok with metal pipes in the streets)

    India — sh-!t happens
    (mu-slimes burned 100s of hindus alive in packed trains and burned villagers alive while they slept)

    Middle East — sh-!t happens
    (suicide bombers that kill little children)

    Russia — sh-!t happens
    (suicide bombers that kill women and children in crowded theaters)

    South East Asia — sh-!t happens
    (mu-slime thugs who kidnap teachers, school children, nurses, priests for ransom, than murder them all)

    Europe — sh-!t happens
    (suicide bombers that kill little children)

    USA — 9/11 happened

    Goes to reason, no mu-slimes, no sh-!t.
    All these camel turds understand is violence and lies anyway. I say we oblige them by killing them all and than lie about how sorry we are.

    Islam. It’s a disease. And like any other infestations of boils, pox and pestilence, it should be eradicated. You don’t talk to diseases. You eradicate them like you did polio.

    (I note that you cannot refute the FACTS, and has to resort to fascist censorship to hide the truth as my last post was deleted.)

  • sami

    i showed this to my brother and he siad you were ignorant and cant be helped and not to waist my time………..

  • sami

    it was an invitation. for you.

    • Dee

      I decline

  • sami

    how can i be insensistive? I have said that this is a place that can help you! for you!!!!! and this is insensitive? how? a masgid is where you can learn. be open. to it!!!!!!!!!

    • Dee

      I have my own places from which to learn – I certainly don’t need your place. Why don’t you go to the site and pray, maybe money will fall from the sky to help fund it.

  • sami

    dee- annoying? this is a place that can help you. you should go there to laern. i am actaully thinking of you!!! so how is that anoying to you????? dont be rasist.

    • Dee

      I don’t need that place to help me, and don’t think about me, it makes my ears ring. I’m not a racist and YOU are insensitive.

  • Sami

    Anyone not for our cultral centre is a rasist. nothing else for anyone to say. build it.

    • Dee

      You are annoying

  • Maggie

    Rights and Duties .
    “The true all Americans people have some rights to own property but what if any democracy we all discharge our duties? Can any American leaving duties unperformed we run after rights? .”
    If we do this Country will end as a democracy ,respect for the human deads is almost as an human duty that exist since humans are humans . This center inside of a national cemetery is a violation of this duties . But you only hear this man was taking Islamic rights. Why ?
    Answer. He sees Islam primarily as “a form of cultural imperialism” that seeks to impose the ways of seventh-century Arabia on twentieth first-century America. To back this up, he tells of visiting an African-American household and finding that its members “wore Arab clothing, listened to Arab music, and ate Arab food! . . But by Islamic practice stone so women and women can drive or even go to College, but polygamy for men is ok. Weeks ago Times Magazine showed us this Islamic principal ideology , husband can destroy the face of his wife for no other reason that she was to attractive ? What God approve this ? only the Islamic Ala (God)
    Other example last weeks In Islamic republic Pakistan were asking for millions of USA dollars as a help for flows but in Islamic religion what are the priorities, a Islamic cultural center in NY and expend billion of dollars that promote hate or help their people (Islamic), what religion is that Islam? why USA needs to help them ?
    Can you understand this Islamic Religion they can expend money to create dislike for must of (9/11/01) but fail in duties as help Islam people without homes or food Or…. is this center more important …train their people to terrorism a part of the Jihad ?

  • Marie

    Why am I not getting a warm & fuzzy from this man?

    It seems almost forced.

    he is suddenly all thing to all people.

    We have been asking about funding sources from day 1.

    why will they not simply relocate?

  • guy

    way too little and way too late.
    sounds like he had to get permission to say this.
    still not awordof compassion for a single 911 familiy or first responder’s family or the majority of people who say build but build it somewhere else.

  • mike s.

    Point of View, but that doesn’t make all Muslims terrorists. There are white supremacist groups all across the nation, committing acts of violence in the name of white power. Can we say all white people are racists?

  • PointOfView

    I see both points of view on this. But to answer your question “people from all walks of life were killed in 9/11, by people who may be Muslims, i fail to see the connection to Islam as a religion’, the connection is not only that the terrorists were Muslims, but that they performed the act in the name of Islam. It wasn’t a random act that happened to be carried out by people that happened to be Muslim,. This was an act of Jihad, directly pertaining to the religion. This difference is not pointed out very often. THAT is why people are so sensitive about it.

  • dseigler
  • mike s.

    Mosque opposers will say: The mosque is funded by terrorists, the mosque is a symbol of terrorism, the mosque is run by terrorists over and over. All of these comments on every article that cbsnews puts up contains the same comments. If the mosque moves then don’t you think it will still be run by terrorists, and funded by terrorists? What difference does location make? Anti-mosque means anti-muslim. Now please prove to me that these funds are coming from terrorists, prove that these guys are terrorists. You can’t. You are basing your judgments on pure fiction.

  • rashid

    people from all walks of life were killed in 9/11, by people who may be Muslims, i fail to see the connection to Islam as a religion. What this shows, however, is ignorance fed by prejudice and compounded by fear of the other.

    • rita

      Nicely worded “people who may be Muslims”? I am sick and tired of muslims avoiding any responsibilities for September 11.
      Religion has everything to do with it, and not any religion, ISLAM..

      • KPMc

        So Rita… you also blame all Christians for the acts of the KKK and all Catholics for the acts of pedophile priests? Correct?

  • Paul Sipos

    the vote at Community Board One was actually 29 yes, 1 no and 10 abstentions. Abstentions are counted as negative votes so the actual vote was 29 in favor and 11 not in favor, More than one-third vote not in favor. How convenient for Mr Gamal to leave this out. Not surprising.

    • Gizen

      No. For the purposes of a vote, an abstention may be counted as a no, but the people who cast those abstentions were not voting no. They were just choosing not to vote at all. There is a world of difference.

  • DanTe

    Smoke screen.

    Where did he, a waiter, get the $4.8 million initially to buy that building?

    (Now watch some muslime log in using different names to just cast dispersions to this question. Just dispersions with good sound bites, no facts, no datum.)

  • John

    It’ll be interesting to see how they’ll raise the money through various networks and intermediaries thereby masking who the real financiers are….maybe they can hit up our lame duck mayor for a nice donation….

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