The imam leading plans for an Islamic center near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York says the fight over the project could help shape the future of Islam in America.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf says the showdown over the proposed mosque and community center has gone beyond a "piece of real estate."
Rauf says it could spill over to set the tone for wider views toward Muslims in America in the future.
Rauf avoided questions over whether an alternative site is possible.But he stressed efforts to fight extremism in all faiths.
Rauf spoke Tuesday in Dubai near the end of a US State Department-funded trip to the Gulf intended to promote religious tolerance.