After weeks of heated debate over plans for an Islamic community center near Ground Zero - the site of the 9/11 attacks on New York – it seems Muslim leaders will soon back down, agreeing to move to a new site.

The decision follows a high-profile campaign against the project that included advertisements on New York buses showing images of the burning Twin Towers, an iconic landmark razed when al-Qaida terrorists flew packed passenger planes into them in 2001. The New York Republican party is also said to be planning a hostile television campaign.

Sources in New York said on Monday that Muslim religious and business leaders will announce plans to abandon the project in the next few days.

New York Governor David Patterson said last weekend that Muslim leaders had rejected outright his proposal tto swap the site in for another in Manhattan.

But several people familiar with the debate among New York’s Islamic activists now claim that the leaders are convinced abandoning the site is preferable to unleashing a wave of bitterness towards Muslims.


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