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Developers of Islamic Center Try a New Strategy
by Anne Barnard
A year after controversy engulfed plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan, the project's developers are quietly moving ahead: In recent months they have hired a paid staff, started fund-raising drives and continued holding prayers and cultural events in their existing building two blocks from ground zero.
But they have also embraced what they call a slower, more deliberate and more realistic approach to the project, acknowledging it will take years of hard work to determine what kind of facilities Muslim and non-Muslim visitors want and need, to raise money, and to build public support.
That means it could be five years before they even try to begin any physical transformation of the property, now a bare-bones building that once housed a Burlington Coat Factory store. And the Muslim center might never become the 15-story, $100 million edifice that the developers had once envisioned, and that some opponents had labeled a "megamosque."
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