Imam behind NYC mosque back in US after Gulf trip

NEW YORK – An imam who has become the public face of a proposed Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero has returned to the United States following a taxpayer-funded tour of the Middle East, his wife said Monday.
Daisy Khan said her husband, Feisal Abdul Rauf, planned to comment later this week on plans for a $100 million center that has led to an increasingly vitriolic national debate over religious freedom and the sensitivities of Sept. 11 families. She said they would have no further comments until then.
Khan, who has been a supporter of the project and leads an interfaith center with her husband, said Rauf returned Sunday from a 15-day trip to promote religious tolerance in the Gulf. The trip, paid for by the US Department of State, began Aug. 19 in Bahrain and included visits to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.