Prince says planned mosque should be moved

Oct. 29, 2010 at 9:54 AM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A Saudi Arabian prince says a proposed mosque near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York should be moved because memories are still fresh.

Because the emotions remain high, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal suggested developers of the proposed Park51 Islamic center consider a more "dignified" location, the New York Daily News reported Friday.

"Those people behind the mosque have to respect, have to appreciate and have to defer to the people of New York," Alwaleed said in an interview with Arabian Business magazine, based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. "The wound is still there. Just because the wound is healing you can't say, 'Let's just go back to where we were pre-9/11.'"

The prince's remarks were reported Thursday by ABC News.

Alwaleed hinted extremists were behind the battle against the mosque and urged developers to be more compassionate.

"We can't just say, 'Go to hell.' We cannot do that," he said.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric behind the mosque proposed two blocks from Ground Zero, said he doesn't intend to move the project, the Daily News said.

"While we respect the points of view of other interested observers, we plan to build the community center in this location," Rauf said in a statement.

A month after the 2001 attacks, Alwaleed offered a $10 million donation to the Twin Towers Fund. Then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani turned aside the donation after the prince said the World Trade Center was attacked because the United States allowed Palestinians to be "slaughtered" by Israelis.

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