The project, however, was still beset by controversy. Governments of the various donor countries vied for influence, and architect Aly Dadras was fired, allegedly because he hired a Jewish-owned firm as a technical consultant, according to news reports.
In October 2001, the mosque’s imam, Sheik Muhammad Gemeaha, blamed the 9/11 attacks on Jews. He then immediately resigned and returned to his native Egypt.
The next month, his replacement, Imam Omar Saleem Abu-Namous, said he needed proof that Islamic extremists were behind the attack.
Rauf, at this time, had relinquished day-to-day management and was involved in a Washington mosque.
The younger Rauf has remained on the board of the Islamic Center of New York but has devoted his time to his own house of worship, the al-Farah Mosque in lower Manhattan.