NEW YORK (AP) — The Muslim cleric who hopes to build an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site say he'll tour the country in an effort "to inspire interfaith understanding" for the controversial project.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told The Associated Press on Friday that "the major purpose is to make people aware of what America means as a country that protects the right to freedom of religion."
Rauf's first appearance is scheduled for Detroit on Jan. 15. The city has North America's largest Muslim population.
The imam said he'll continue to Chicago, Washington, San Antonio and college campuses including Harvard, Georgetown, Yale and the University of North Carolina. He did not release specific dates for his speeches.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Muslim cleric who hopes to build an Islamic center in New York City near the World Trade Center site is planning to tour the nation to promote the project.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will first speak in Detroit on Jan. 15. The city has North America's largest Muslim population.
Zaheer Uddin (zah-HEED' ooh-DEEN'), head of New York's Islamic Leadership Council, told The Associated Press on Friday that he thinks it's a good idea for Rauf to address misunderstandings between Muslims and others.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has endorsed the project at the location two blocks from ground zero.
Opponents call it offensive to families of 9/11 victims.
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.