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New imam named for Islamic center near ground zero

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, executive director of the Cordoba Initiative, arrives at a Muharraq, Bahrain, mosque where he led midday prayers Friday, Aug. 20, 2010, and spoke briefly with worshipers. Rauf, the imam leading plans for an Islamic center near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York, is on a U.S.-funded outreach tour to Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to talk about religious tolerance in America. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
January 14, 2011 8:02:34 AM PST
The organization planning to build an Islamic community center near the World Trade Center says the imam who has been the public face of the project will be playing a reduced role.

The nonprofit group Park51 announced Friday that it had named a new imam to lead religious programing. It says co-founder Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will focus on other initiatives.

Rauf announced in the fall that he is starting a global movement that would fight extremism and promote better relations between people of different faiths.

He is starting a national speaking tour Saturday in Detroit.

Park51 said Rauf would remain on the Islamic center's board. It says the group needed someone who could be more focused on local matters.

The group named New York City imam Abdullah Adhami as its new senior adviser.

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