New York, Sep 21(ANI): Muslim leaders in the United States have said that they stood in support of the proposed mosque near 9/11 Ground Zero.
Addressing a press conference outside of Park51, the proposed site of the mosque and community center, the leaders also said that they have had discussions with the property developer about expediting the construction.
"From the discussion we had with the developer, they are committing to expedite the process, of making sure this project is coherent, has an advisory board from the Muslim community, from the interfaith community, so this project will reflect America in terms of its spirit and its look at the future," The Christian Science Monitor quoted Zaheer Uddin, Executive Director of the Islamic Leadership Council in New York, as saying.
Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid, deputy amir of the Muslim Alliance in North America, made it clear that the mosque issue was an important test of American society.
"We are here as religious leaders at a time when there is religious intolerance and bigotry that is prevailing," Abdur-Rashid said.
"So we wanted to make clear our unified stance in light of the problems that all Americans are facing because when one group is deprived of their rights, all groups are deprived of their rights," he added.
The Muslim leaders' meeting comes a week after a Florida preacher, Terry Jones, threatened to burn copies of the Quran at his church to protest against the mosque.
Jones flew to New York after announcing that he had an agreement from Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who conceived of the Park51 project, to move the mosque.
That announcement proved to be wrong, but Jones suspended the burning of the religious books.
The construction of the mosque has also become a political battleground, where Republicans Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich have come out against the proposed mosque. (ANI)