MANAMA, Bahrain – The imam leading plans for an Islamic center near the Manhattan site of the Sept. 11 attacks began a US-funded outreach tour of the Middle East Thursday to talk about religious tolerance in America.
The US State Department said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf arrived in Bahrain for the start of a 15-day tour in which he will discuss Muslim life in America.
"He will be visiting mosques," said department spokesman P.J. Crowley. "He will be involved in direct discussions to help people in the countries he'll visit understand the role of religion in our society, how American Muslims celebrate Ramadan, how we emphasize religious tolerance in our society."
The trip — estimated to cost about $16,000 — is funded by the State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs and will include visits to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.