Who Is The Man Behind The Ground Zero Mosque?

Developer Of Community Center Has Lengthy Record, With Numerous Arrests Dating Back To 1990

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — As the Ground Zero mosque controversy continues to simmer, questions continue about the background of the man who wants to build the $100 million Islamic cultural and religious center.

Mosque developer Sharif El-Gamal has often been reluctant to answer questions.

After he won the right to tear down the 152-year-old building blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks, El-Gamal got defensive when asked about the mosque by CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

“It’s a community center, if you call it a community center, we would talk,” El-Gamal said.

Kramer reports the developer’s reluctance to talk may have been related to his prior run-ins with the law.

His most recent arrest was in 2005 for assault on a man he met while working as a waiter at Serafina Restaurant, who sublet an apartment from his brother. He reportedly punched the man, breaking his nose and cheekbone and spit on him.

El-Gamal first said he didn’t hit the man, but arrest documents obtained by CBS 2 showed he later conceded “his face could have run into my hand.”

Records showed El-Gamal also had trouble coming up with the $15,000 settlement reached in 2008, and had to pay interest . El-Gamal also has a number of other arrests on his record:

-In 1990, he was arrested in Nassau County and pled guilty to disorderly conduct.

-In 1992, he pled guilty in Nassau to DWI and paid a $350 fine.

-In 1993, he pled guilty in Nassau to attempted petit larceny and paid a $100 fine.

-In 1994, arrested for disorderly conduct in Manhattan.

-In 1998, there was another Manhattan disorderly conduct arrest.

-In 1999, yet another Manhattan disorderly conduct arrest.

A potential problem for the mosque developer is a deposition he gave in the assault case in October 2007. When asked if he was ever convicted or pled guilty to a crime, El-Gamal replied “no.”

Lately, he has been trying to resurrect his image, sitting down for a lengthy 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley.

When Pelley asked if it occurred to him that putting a project so close to Ground Zero would heighten tensions, El-Gamal replied “not at all.”

“I did not hold myself or my faith accountable for the tragedy,” El-Gamal said.

El-Gamal also owes over $227,000 in unpaid real estate taxes and a spokesman for the Department of Finance said interest will be added for each and every day its unpaid.

Another question surrounding the debate is whether the Muslim cleric of the mosque — Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf — knew about El-Gamal’s criminal background and unpaid taxes before partnering with him.

El-Gamal refused repeated requests from CBS 2 Monday to comment on the story.

Photo Gallery: Obama’s Newly Redecorated Oval Office…What Do You Think?

  • MrPhilip Philip Philips

    You break the law once you will break it again. It is a fools wish to believe you and it is a fools wish to keep you near, Because you already have plan up your sleeve and it is not good for those around you. This is not for everybody but only one for the devil is only one and can change its skin.( simple fact, They will use religion to hide their weapons).There are no gods in the temples of thought and no birth on the ground. Do not follow the thoughts of a thinker who breaks the rules for more then once.

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  • Ree

    Statement on the Proposed “Cordoba House” Mosque near Ground Zero

    Newt Gingrich

    July 21, 2010 6pm
    There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for
    double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.

    The proposed “Cordoba House” overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks – is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites. For example,
    most of them don’t understand that “Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term. It refers to Cordoba, Spain – the capital of Muslim
    conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.

    Today, some of the Mosque’s backers insist this term is being used to “symbolize interfaith cooperation” when, in fact, every Islamist in
    the world recognizes Cordoba as a symbol of Islamic conquest. It is a sign of their contempt for Americans and their confidence in our
    historic ignorance that they would deliberately insult us this way. Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for “religious toleration” are arrogantly dishonest. They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City. Meanwhile, there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia. In fact no Christian or Jew can even enter Mecca. And they lecture us about tolerance.

    If the people behind the Cordoba House were serious about religious toleration, they would be imploring the Saudis, as fellow Muslims, to
    immediately open up Mecca to all and immediately announce their intention to allow non-Muslim houses of worship in the Kingdom. They should be asked by the news media if they would be willing to lead such a campaign.

    We have not been able to rebuild the World Trade Center in nine years. Now we are being told a 13 story, $100 million mega mosque will be built within a year overlooking the site of the most devastating surprise attack in American history.

    Finally where is the money coming from? The people behind the Cordoba House refuse to reveal all their funding sources. America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization. Sadly, too many of our elites are the willing apologists for those who would destroy them if they could.
    No mosque.
    No self deception.
    No surrender.
    The time to take a stand is now – at this site on this issue.

  • LiernittY

    Hello guys, I urgently need info on MLA format… I can’t finish my essay. Does anyone know? Cheer help…

  • Joe Stinton

    The only reson for Building this Mosque at this Property is for Muslims to Worship and Praise Their Victory over Americans!! In MHO their all Sleepers waiting to be awakened to Kill Americans!! Remember Ft. Hood, the Virginia Campus, Detriot underwear Bomber, The recent arrest in Amsterdam!! New York at the Theater If it had’nt fizzeled out could have been another Tragedy, like I said SLEEPERS!!!

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    […] Who Is The Man Behind The Ground Zero Mosque? As the Ground Zero mosque controversy continues to simmer, questions continue about the background of the man who wants to build the $ 100 million Islamic cultural and religious center. Read more on CBS New York […]

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    […] Read full article. […]

  • Janiet Turner

    Lets just have ourselves a good old sacrifice of pigs, and I mean the animals that go onk onk. Right on the sight of the mosque. No more fighting.

    • Cosmicpossum

      Already have, we just haven’t told anyone yet.

  • http://rhiannonwaits.wordpress.com Rhiannon Waits

    We have to pull together to stop the Mosque..Wwe have to stay focused.

  • Bruno

    FYI, you cannot stop someone from buying stock in your corporation.
    so much for the “fox news is doing it” theory.

    I do find it ironic that the very people who will be first in line to have a wall dropped on them or be beheaded in a couple of generations when they finally do take over are the ones most eager to welcome these folks to town.

    Read your history. Read their holy book. If you did that you’d be doing anything you could to keep them out of your neighborhood or country.

  • Slider

    So how much has the Prince given, or is that just inside “reporting?”

  • Steward

    What a great place New York is. You got your choice of Muslims, Jews, Chinese, Indians, Ecuadoreans, Somalis, all the rich diversity that made America what it is today.

  • Aliq Shareef

    Ken, I think ignorance is your friend……

  • http://www.luxlibertas.com/who-is-the-man-not-immam-behind-the-ground-zero-mosque/ Who Is The Man (not Immam) Behind The Ground Zero Mosque? | Lux Libertas - Light and Liberty

    […] more at: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/08/30/who-is-the-man-behind-the-ground-zero-mosque/ Social Bookmarking Posted on: 1st of September 2010 in Civil Liberty, Ethics, Politics | […]

  • http://www.usmessageboard.com/politics/131128-sharif-el-gamal-man-behind-ground-zero-mosque-lengthy-criminal-record.html#post2683170 Sharif El-Gamal, Man behind Ground Zero Mosque, lengthy criminal record! - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum

    […] […]

  • Cathman

    It is very clear that this Mosque is the victory celebration of Islam over USA. They have done this before time immemorial.A no of these things happened in India where temples were razed to build Mosques, it has happened in Bamiyan province of Afghanistan where Statues of Buddha were dynamited just few years ago.Sun Temples of Konark were razed to desecrate, Birth place of Ram was razed to build a mosque in Babar’s time called Babri mosque. Babar was the first Mogul Emparer in India There are many many mosque in India like that. There is one solution to present dilemma that instead of this property they should build a grand CHURCH in Saudi Arabia which provided the Terrorists who blew our World Trade Center. So it is going to be payback for them.

  • JWT

    He doesn’t sound any worse than your average politician, just look at John Kerry trying to skip out on his taxes, or Bob Ney conspiracy to defraud the government and what does his arrest record have to do with him building anything?? This is just much Ado about nothing.

  • TJP

    Interesting. So the leader of the mosque project is apparently a violent criminal? That really increases my confidence that the mosque will be used for peaceful purposes…

  • http://www.talkdrudge.com/2010/09/01/tv-who-is-the-man-behind-the-ground-zero-mosque/ TV: Who Is The Man Behind The Ground Zero Mosque?…

    […] Statistics Follow the original link Last Updated: September 1, 2010 0 Comments […]

  • BadCat

    I wonder where the baz headed bugger has the hamas flag and the prayer rug stashed

  • http://johnwsmart.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/for-your-perusal-wednesday-links/ For your perusal…Wednesday Links | JohnWSmart

    […] For your perusal…Wednesday Links Posted on August 31, 2010 by JWS The man behind the mosque has the right…to be a criminal. […]

  • RWordplay

    Mr. El Gamal’s crimes are no worse than those of millions of young men, as well as members of congress and some of America’s most prominent families. As such this is a non-story that is neither instructive nor helpful to those trying to understand the complexity surrounding this issue. What’s more, El Gamal has admitted to his youthful transgressions and has attributed his growing maturity and purpose, to his faith, which has transformed him from a confused youth into a successful business man and a committed husband and father. Mr. El Gamal is by every measure a real New Yorker and deserves our respect…and friendship.

  • Timzor

    First of all, all of your critical thinking skills are really lacking. Listen, What was Bin Laden’s main reason for attacking us? …time is up..The answer is: ..we have bases in their sacred lands Medina etc..

    So what is “ground zero”?
    Answer: Our sacred land.

    Just because you identify yourselves as American does not give you a free pass to be stupid. I am a white American. I am male. I am balding. I am a property owner. Jasus, please try to be smart instead of opinionated!

    SO you learn a new word or two…sharia law…wow
    Maybe you even know what it is …wow

    Maybe you believe one Abrahamic religion is better than another….obviously.

    Please research these things as if you do not belong to any country.

    You will end up with a view and perspective closer to the people who are actually calling the shots.

    Reading these comments makes me really question who among you would really qualify as a good patriot. Read how well rounded our founding fathers were.

    Listening to your favorite news channel will NOT make you a good citizen.

    How depressing…

  • http://www.christianforums.com/t7495530/#post55603308 More news on the mosque developer ... this is getting interesting - Christian Forums

    […] […]

  • GBU28

    As they say in downtown Addis Ababa: “Fugara”. Muslims are inherently distrustful.

  • Mhu Cao

    Apparently, all of these shennanigans are OK under Sharia law. The laws of the unbelievers can be ignored when inconvenient.

  • BikerBen

    Now the next question is: What is the connection between this man and Mayor Bloomberg?

  • gnothead

    SURE seems like a sure fire target for an IRS audit….. ya’ think that is a hint….?

  • gnothead

    SURE seems like a sure fire target for an IRS audit…..

  • Chuck

    This Ground Zero mosque scenario provides further proof that a more appropriate name for the Main Stream Media might be The Fifth Column.

  • William Penn

    One day, this guy’s a waiter; next day, a zillionaire developer. He’s an Al Queda front-man.

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  • Reticent One

    Another disingenuous liar “protecting” the image of a 7th century nightmare in the Arabian peninsula.

  • Barry Soetoro

    Obama is a dirty moslem. Bloomberg is expanding his Dubai office into a middle-eastern “hub,” so he’s bowing to the jihadis on this mosque project. Where are the feminists now?? Do they mind women being forced to wear burkas, then stoned to death, plus daughters who disobey getting stabbed to death in “honor killings?” Where are the gays? The left wing is 100% morally bankrupt, and everything they’ve spouted since the 1970’s is apparently BS, since when true oppression and prejudice and discrimination arrive, the leftists hide under their beds and call mosque opponents “bigoted.”

  • stonebluff

    BOTTOM LINE: A person or group having a right to do something does not make it the right thing to do. Stop the mosque!

  • Jack64

    What’s a lengthy record among Democrat friends?

  • http://bigjournalism.com/jboot/2010/08/31/how-the-new-york-times-continues-to-delude-its-readers/ How the New York Times Continues to Delude Its Readers - Big Journalism

    […] mosque has a very shady past, with numerous arrests and questions about his financing, including a huge past-due tax debt on the mosque […]

  • old_vet

    i say let them build the mosque and when they have their first inaugural service; then fly a dozen C-4 laden drones into the building

  • http://www.powerstroke.org/forum/politics/165842-mosque-developer.html#post2053190 Mosque Developer??????? - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum

    […] Mosque Developer??????? Just out of curiosity……. How does a man go from a mere waiter 5 years ago, to owing more than a cool quarter mil in back taxes and then to multi million dollar real estate developer in such a short time?? Kinda makes you want to look into who, what, where this building is being funded by and how all of these guys are in bed together. Who Is The Man Behind The Ground Zero Mosque? CBS New York- News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the B… […]

  • Lixi

    How does he go from being a waiter in 2005, to owing 15k due to an assault convinction, to getting a $250K mortgage to being the developer behind a $100 million dollar mosque? I’ll stop calling it a Mosque when his community centre allows for gays, lesbians, western-clad women, Jewish people/etc to attend freely. Until then, it’s not a community centre, it’s a divisive centre. Either he made a lot of tips as a waitor.. something stinks here- let’s see how the democrats douse perfume on this.

  • http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/20296 Daily scoreboard « Don Surber

    […] From CBS in New York City: “Who Is The Man Behind The Ground Zero Mosque? Developer Of Community Center Has Lengthy […]

  • Ben In Texas

    Here are your funders of the mosque. you will notice top honors go to a couple of familiar globalists/elitists. If you are going to let youself be manipulated by this rabble rousing play to draw anti-muslim sentiment then you have my sincerest wish that you wake the hell up!

    •Carnegie Corporation of New York
    •Rockefeller Brothers
    •Rockefeller Philanthropy
    •Rockefeller Brothers Fund
    •Global Fund for Women
    •William & Mary Greve Foundation
    •The Sister Fund
    •The Russell Family Foundation
    •Danny Kaye & Sylvia Fine Foundation
    •Graham Charitable Foundation
    •Deak Family Foundation
    •Henry Luce Foundation
    •The Elizabeth Foundation
    •The Ms. Foundation
    •Hunt Alternatives

  • Bryan Abbott

    I hope Allah and Mohamed keep this man from being Assassinated because if someone shot him, it would make the sidewalk very messy and unsanitary and some poor person would have to clean his mess up.

    • Ben In Texas

      Here are the funders, sir. You’re being played by old money elitists that want you to get fightin mad so they can have a profitable war. Wake up.

      •Carnegie Corporation of New York
      •Rockefeller Brothers
      •Rockefeller Philanthropy
      •Rockefeller Brothers Fund
      •Global Fund for Women
      •William & Mary Greve Foundation
      •The Sister Fund
      •The Russell Family Foundation
      •Danny Kaye & Sylvia Fine Foundation
      •Graham Charitable Foundation
      •Deak Family Foundation
      •Henry Luce Foundation
      •The Elizabeth Foundation
      •The Ms. Foundation
      •Hunt Alternatives

  • Mike

    Where is my Comment???? I guess CBS is censoring me since I’m not bashing Muslims like the rest of you bigots!

    • Bryan Abbott

      You are Ameriphobic and a bit of a whiner. Maybe they censored it because they were embarrassed for you and wanted to save you from embarrassing yourself or them any further.

    • Bryan Abbott

      It’s really sad when someone like you feels like they have to call people names in order to make a point. It’s scary how easily you lump the “rest of you” together and call people “Bigots”. Really sad and very scary. I think you are an Ameriphobe Mike. I hope you get some help with your problems.

  • Bryan Abbott

    I would think this man might be the target of assassination. Wouldn’t that be awful?

  • bryanabbott

    I suggest everyone send as much cash as possible to nationalist, right wing groups that are centered in Montana, Michigan, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.
    Send them cash and tell them you don’t like the Mosque.

  • Adela Kostea

    The money is coming from the same place the 19 hijackers came from, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Arab Emirates, etc

  • http://genxtraordinary.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/why-should-we-care-about-the-man-behind-the-ground-zero-mosque/ Why Should We Care About the Man Behind The Ground Zero Mosque? | Gen-X/TraOrdinary.

    […] Who Is The Man Behind The Ground Zero Mosque? « CBS New York- News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and th…. […]

  • guest

    Hmmm.. If Prince al-Waleed’s share of FNC means Fox News is behind the Celebration Mosque, then is Saks First Ave also behind it? Kingdom Holding Company also owns shares in that.

    More seriously, two questions:

    #1 What will be the view from the 13th story of this mosque look like? I’m assuming it will have a stunning view of the pit that is Ground Zero. Such a view will be an incredibly valuable recruiting tool.

    #2 How is this different than a KKK group trying to build an “outreach center” across the street from a Black Church some “other” KKK members burned to the ground? If one KKK group had nothing to do with the burning, should we not be outraged?

    My guess is that rich muslims enjoy viewing the ongoing scar that is Ground Zero, and they want to build a viewing platform so that can share their joy with their brother jihadists.

    Course, I’m still stunned that we still have not rebuilt the twin towers as a sign that we are not beaten nor will we ever be. Are things somehow different in NYC? If contractors are taking a vow not to work on the Victory Mosque, can we sign up somewhere to work weekends and evenings to rebuild it ourselves? What’s the hold up?

  • The Conservative

    You’;ve got more to fear from the CIA & corporate elites than this guy at the mosque…unless he’s in with the government. The’re famous for tampering with & controlling the “enemy”

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