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Mosque near Ground Zero: Frequently asked questions

The controversy grows over a proposed mosque near Ground Zero as more politicians enter the fray.

Sharif el-Gamal: The chairman and CEO of SoHo Properties and the main real estate developer behind the project. He was born in New York to a Polish mother and Egyptian father, according to a report in Newsweek. Gamal is a member of Rauf's Manhattan congregation and was also married by Rauf.

Gamal agreed to join the project in 2006, and in 2009, he bought the Park Place property; shortly thereafter, Rauf began holding services there.

Cordoba Initiative: A nonprofit organization founded by Rauf in 2004 to "cultivate multi-cultural and multi-faith understanding across minds and borders." Find the group's Web site here.

7. Why did they decide to build the complex there?

In an interview with Newsweek, Khan said that she, Rauf and Gamal settled on the site because it was large, had the right zoning and also due to its symbolism. "We want to provide a counter momentum against extremism," she said. "We want peace, and we want it where it matters most. This is where it matters most."

8. How big would the complex be?

The center would occupy 97,000 square feet, with an indeterminate number of stories, according to Sultan. The organizers are working to select an architect, a process that could take several months.

9. Are there any mosques already near Ground Zero (and, if so, how near)?

There are at least two other mosques in the neighborhood. The Masjid al Farah, where Rauf served as prayer leader until 2009, sits 12 blocks from Ground Zero. The Masjid Manhattan, which was founded in 1970, is four blocks from Ground Zero, on Warren Street. About 2,000 congregants currently worship at both mosques, Sultan said.

10. What is the history of the project?

The following timeline was compiled from news reports in the New York Times, New York Post, New York Daily News, Newsweek and other outlets.

-- 1983: Feisal begins leading services at the Masjid al Farah in TriBeCa.

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