US spending $16,000 for imam's Mideast tour

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 18, 2010 23:29




WASHINGTON — American taxpayers will pay the imam behind plans for a mosque near the Manhattan site of the Sept. 11 attacks $3,000 in fees for a three-nation outreach trip to the Middle East that will cost roughly $16,000, the State Department said Wednesday.

The department said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will get a daily $200 honorarium for the 15-day tour to Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which is intended to promote religious tolerance.

Airfare is included, as well as the standard federal government per diem for expenses and lodging in each of the cities he will visit, spokesman P.J. Crowley said. Those per diem rates range from nearly $400 to nearly $500, according to official documents.

Rauf starts his tour Thursday in Bahrain and ends it in the United Arab Emirates Sept. 2. At each stop he is expected to discuss Muslim life in America and promote religious tolerance. He will not be allowed to raise funds for the mosque on the trip, Crowley said.


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