Imam associated with Ground Zero mosque bows out as leader of project

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New York, Jan 15 (ANI): The controversial imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, who was the public face of an Islamic community center planned near Ground Zero, has bowed out as the religious leader of Park51.

Imam Abdullah Adhami, 44, will be taking on the role of senior adviser.

Adhami will be one of a number of Muslim clerics involved in moving the project forward, said officials of Park51, the nonprofit organization behind the community facility, the Daily News reports.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity to be a key advisor on a project going forward that has enormous creative and healing potential for the collective good in New York City and in our nation," Adhami said in a statement.

Rauf will focus on a public speaking endeavor starting Saturday in Detroit and continuing in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and beyond.

Officials pointed to "this new and separate initiative" as the reason for his reduced role at Park51.

Rauf, an internationally respected authority on Islam in America, was called a slumlord in September after officials in Union City, N.J., found extensive violations at a 16-unit apartment building he owns there. (ANI)

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