NMAGZ: The coverage grows as Fox News , the NY Post and the New York Daily News have gotten on-board. Following-the Money has “rich rewards” as this detailed article reveals, “Imam Raul may be a little “short on Allah dollars!” If you believe that…we’ve got some swamp-land you can purchase….
Dreams by a Muslim group to build a mosque near Ground Zero may not match its means.
The ambitious and immediately controversial proposal to create the $100 million religious and cultural center does not seem to be backed by any cash.
The American Society for Muslim Advancement, which proposed the center, has assets of less than $1 million, according to its most recent audited financial statement.
A sister organization, the Cordoba Initiative, listed assets of less than $20,000 in 2008. Its tax filings do not disclose at least $60,000 in private contributions, a Post analysis found, raising questions about where the money went.
Deep-pocketed benefactors who have supported the groups in the past include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Foundation, the government of Qatar and the World Economic Forum. But some of the foundations have already backed away from the mosque, which is to be called Cordoba House.
The driving forces behind the project, Feisal Abdul Rauf — a usually media-savvy imam — and his wife, Daisy Khan, have been tight-lipped on financing.
They have said in brief statements that fund-raising has not started, (SNIP) Opponents are suspicious about who will foot the bill.
“I’d like to know who the hell is funding it,” said Bill Doyle, a leading advocate for families of those killed on 9/11. “There’s no question in my mind that somehow the rich Saudis are going to be approached.” (snip)
Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy in Phoenix, (snip) “I don’t believe that there are any foreign interests that would be helpful,” he said. (snip)
The building was purchased in July for $4.85 million by a group of companies tied to real estate developer Sharif El-Gamal. Gamal, who did not return calls seeking comment, presented plans for the mosque to a Community Board 1 committee last month, along with Rauf and Khan.
Gamal, on his Twitter page, said he presented plans to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s office and other city leaders.
“We will make this project happen!” he tweeted on March 24 after meeting with an Islamic doctors group. (snip)
Rauf, 61, who was born in Kuwait and raised in Malaysia, earned degrees in physics from Columbia University and Stevens Institute of Technology. He later became the imam of Masjid al Farah, a mosque in TriBeCa.
Khan, 51, who was born in Kashmir, India, spent much of her career as an interior architect.
The couple owns an Upper West Side apartment and homes in North Bergen, NJ, and Malaysia. Rauf favors Armani and Brioni suits, luxury cars — he was considering a Mercedes E550 sedan — and fine silk and antique prayer rugs, according to Forbes.com.
Rauf and Khan founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement in 1997. The organization sponsors conferences on topics such as women’s rights, and presents cultural programs and interfaith initiatives.
In 2004, Rauf and Khan created the Cordoba Initiative with a similar mission of uniting cultures.
The groups list supporters that include the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation and Danny Kaye & Sylvia Fine Foundation.
But the Ford Foundation said the charity indirectly supported the Society for Muslim Advancement in 2006 with a travel stipend, and will not pay to build houses of worship. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also said it does not fund construction.
Federal tax forms for the Cordoba Initiative show the group’s donations dwindled to zero in 2008 from a high of $80,250 in 2005. But the forms don’t tell the full story.
The Deak Family Foundation, a Westchester County-based charity, gave $30,000 to the Cordoba Initiative in 2008, according to the foundation’s tax filings. That donation was not recorded on Cordoba’s filings.
Another charity, the William & Mary Greve Foundation, gave Cordoba $32,000 in 2007, which the group did not record on its tax filings that year.
John Bennett, a former mayor of Aspen, Colo., who headed the Cordoba Initiative from 2005 to 2008, said he could not explain the discrepancies and directed questions to Rauf and Khan.
The Cordoba Initiative said it received “expert tax advice and is in compliance with all tax laws.”
The Koran clan: Key players in the plan to build a $100M Islamic religious center
* Wife of Feisal Abdul Rauf
* Executive director and co-founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement; director of the Cordoba Initiative.
* Member of an educational advisory group to the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum.
* Born in India.
Feisal Abdul Rauf
* Imam of the Masjid al Farah mosque in TriBeCa.
* Author of “What’s Right With Islam Is What’s Right With America.”
* Born in Kuwait; educated in England, Egypt and Malaysia. Holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a master’s degree in plasma physics from Stevens Institute of Technology.
* Owns three homes, luxury cars, favors Armani suits.
* CEO of Soho Properties. Primary investor in the $4.8 million purchase of 45 Park Place, address for proposed mosque.
* Three companies involved in the purchase of the building are tied to Gamal or to Soho Properties.
* Soho Properties spent $45.7 million for a 12-story Chelsea office building in 2009.
Rauf, Khan are founders of:
American Society for Muslim Advancement
* Nonprofit behind the proposed mosque. Founded in 1997 to “elevate the discourse on Islam and foster environments in which Muslims thrive.”
* Offices in Manhattan and North Bergen, NJ.
* Assets of less than $1M.
* Another nonprofit behind the mosque proposal. Founded in 2004 to promote positive interaction between the Muslim world and the West.
* Offices in Manhattan and Malaysia.
* Assets of $18,255 at the end of 2008.
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NMAGZ: RALLY JUNE 6 at GROUND ZERO. FIGHT ON AMERICA. FIGHT ON!!
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