Muslim leaders in the United States are criticizing New York Gov. David Paterson for his description of the developers of a mosque planned near ground zero as peaceful, "almost westernized" Muslims.
They say the Democrat mischaracterized the Muslim branch known as Sufi (SOO'-fee) and his comment suggests other Muslims are a problem.
In broadcast interviews Thursday, Paterson said Sufi Muslims trying to build the Islamic center two blocks from the World Trade Center site aren't like Shiite (SHEE'-eyet) Muslims. He then said the developers aren't what he would classify as "mainland Muslim."
Shiites are the second-largest branch of Muslims and are the majority in Iraq.
Paterson hasn't responded to a Friday request for comment on the criticism of his remarks.
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