Fundraising effort begins for NYC Islamic center

NEW YORK – The developer behind plans to build an Islamic community center and mosque two blocks from ground zero kicked off fundraising for the project Friday by raising $10,000 in just a few minutes from a congregation of Muslim worshippers.
Sharif El-Gamal announced the start of the funding drive at the conclusion of Friday prayer sessions that have been taking place since last year in the vacant Manhattan clothing store that is to be torn down to make way for the new center.
He said a new nonprofit group had been formed to guide and control the project — a formal step required before the capital campaign could begin.
El-Gamal declined to speak to The Associated Press before the announcement and left the building without speaking to reporters afterward, but his publicity agency confirmed that the nonprofit had been created and had begun raising money.