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Paterson to meet with mosque developers

Gov. David A. Paterson

ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson, who last week suggested a proposed mosque near ground zero might want to relocate elsewhere, will meet soon with the project’s developers, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Paterson’s office declined to say what the meeting would be about, but Rep. Peter King told The Associated Press that the governor wants to discuss possible alternate locations for the Park51 Islamic cultural center and mosque. King said he spoke with the governor Tuesday.

Representatives of the project said no meeting had been scheduled yet.

Paterson last week offered his help and the possibility that state land could be provided as an alternate site for the center. The project has ignited nationwide debate over freedom of religion and anger over the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The planned $100 million center would be built two blocks from the World Trade Center site, where nearly 2,800 people died when Islamic terrorists flew jets into the twin towers. The project is headed by Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, a Muslim cleric who has worked to improve relations between Islam and the West.

Morgan Hook, a Paterson spokesman, said talks were under way between the governor’s office and representatives of Park51 to set up a meeting between Paterson and the project’s leaders.

Mosque spokesman Oz Sultan released a statement Tuesday saying he did not believe a meeting had been scheduled yet.

“We appreciate the governor’s interest as we continue to have conversations with many officials,” Sultan said.

The Washington Post first reported the talks were under way.