Moving On: Imam Rauf and Daisy Khan No Longer Associated with Ground Zero Mosque Effort

There are continued efforts to build a mosque at 51 Park Place, near Ground Zero

There are continued efforts to build a mosque at 51 Park Place, near Ground Zero. (Photo: Mohsin Zaheer)

NEW YORK—Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan, who used to be the flag-bearers for the campaign to build a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero, have distanced themselves from the project and returned to the organizations they founded, focusing instead on interfaith harmony efforts and dispelling misconceptions of Islam.

Feet in Two Worlds reported on Monday that fundraising efforts to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site continue, with a goal of raising $7-million by September 10, 2011.  Those efforts are being led by real estate developer Sharif El-Gamal.

A close aide to Imam Rauf and Daisy Khan, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Imam Rauf is no longer a board member of the project formerly called Park51, and recently renamed PrayerSpace.

“Imam Feisal is not making any comments about the mosque project and his disassociation from Park51,” said the aide, who added that Rauf “has recently come back from a world speaking tour and these days he is focusing on his new book.”

Rauf and Khan are planning to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on September 09, 2011 by partnering with the Interfaith Center of New York. 9/11 survivors, family members of those who died in the attacks, dignitaries and government officials have also been invited to this event.

The Interfaith Center of New York announced they will hold a memorial floating lantern ceremony in the evening of September 11, 2011 on the south side of Pier 40 on the Hudson River.

These days Imam Feisal Rauf is running his organization, The Cordoba Initiative, which he founded in 2004 as a multinational, multifaith organization dedicated to improving understanding and building trust among people of all cultures and faith traditions.

Daisy Khan, as an executive director and co-founder, is looking after The American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) a New-York based nonprofit organization founded in 1997 to elevate the discourse on Islam and foster environments in which Muslims thrive.

“We are dedicated to strengthening an authentic expression of Islam based on cultural and religious harmony through interfaith collaboration, youth and women’s empowerment, and arts and cultural exchange,” ASMA said in its mission statement.

Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.

AboutMohsin Zaheer
Mohsin Zaheer is a Pakistani-American journalist and editor based in New York whose work spans two decades. He won the New York Community Media Alliance’s Ippies Award in 2009 and has been the beneficiary of numerous Pakistani-American awards. Zaheer joined Daily Khabrain, Lahore (the Urdu-language newspaper with the largest circulation in Pakistan) in 1989 as staff reporter, eventually becoming the Deputy Editor of Reporting. Zaheer moved to the U.S. in 1999 and joined the staff of Sada-e-Pakistan, an Urdu-language weekly, as Editor and set a new trend for Pakistani-American media by reporting on local issues and activities taking place in the U.S. He covered the 9/11 attacks, wide raging issues within the Pakistani-American community in a post 9/11 era, and the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan. Zaheer also launched the Pakistani American community's first online newspaper in 1996, “The Pakistani Newspaper” (, and continues to contribute news stories and columns to Daily Khabrain, Lahore. Zaheer earned his Master degree in Political Science and History from the University of Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan.