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In the United States, a project to build a Muslim cultural center and mosque two blocks from the site of the September the 11th attacks that destroyed New York's twin towers is becoming a fierce debate.
Representatives of the project say the planned 13-story building houses a prayer space, auditorium, swimming pool and meeting rooms. It will not feature either a minaret or dome or any other motif normally associated with mosques.
However, nearly 60 percent of Americans oppose the plan.
Dan Fanelli, New York Resident, said, "I worked in the World Trade Center and was there when the buildings were attacked. I am not stereotyping all Muslims but I think it's just a slap in the face for the mosque to be built over here in lower Manhattan, so close to the sacred grounds over here."
Supporters say the cultural center is a chance to promote understanding of the religion.
Steven Ott, New Yorker, said, "I don't equate Islam with terrorism. I think it's pretty clear to anyone who's read a bit about the attacks, and about Al Qaeda and so on, that their point of view is so far afield from what mainstream Islam is all about that I don't equate Muslims with what happened that day."
The intensifying debate has triggered a press conference by Interfaith leaders in Washington D.C., who have called for tolerance and acceptance.
President Barack Obama has entered the fray, saying he supports the right of Muslims to build there. But later he also clarified he was commenting on religious freedom, not the exact location of the mosque.