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WCBS 880: Developer Behind Ground Zero Mosque Plans To Build Islamic Museum

Sharif El-Gamal (credit: Getty Images)

Sharif El-Gamal (credit: Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The developer who abandoned plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero now wants to construct a museum there dedicated to Islam.

Sharif El-Gamal has significantly scaled back his plans for the Park Place site, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported. Instead of erecting a 15-story community center blocks a few blocks from the World Trade Center, the developer is planning to build a three-story, 5,000-square-foot museum dedicated to exploring the faith of Islam and its arts and culture.

The building, which would be designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, would also include a sanctuary for prayer services and a community garden.

El-Gamal’s previous plan for the site, the Park 51 project, became a lightning rod when opponents claimed a Ground Zero mosque would be disrespectful to 9/11 victims.

Arab-American groups involved in the planning for Park 51 said they have not been consulted on the new scaled-down version. Sheinkopf said they will be briefed later this week.

The new plans also did not seek input from the imam spearheading the old project.

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