A New York lawyer with ties to the Saudi royal family has said that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is considering moving the controversial Ground Zero mosque to Manhattan's West Village, the New York Post reported Sunday.
Attorney Dudley Gaffin said that the Saudi king may want to buy St. Vincent's Medical Center, which closed after the hospital filed for bankruptcy, and transfer the Ground Zero mosque to a new Islamic center that he would build on a plot at the site, which is in the West Village neighborhood in Manhattan.
Under the plan, King Abdullah will also save St. Vincent's hospital, reopening most of the units that closed when it filed for bankruptcy on April 14, sources said.
Gaffin has been sounding out officials in the city and community about the Saudi king's plan and sources who have heard his pitch said he is floating the idea around to gauge what the reaction might be.
According to Gaffin, King Abdullah wants to save the hospital and move the mosque away from the site of the World Trade Center as a public relations move so he can "show that Muslims can do good works," the sources said.
Tempers heated up in the New York City area over the plans by the American Society for Muslim Advancement and another Islamic group known as the Cordoba Initiative to build a $100 million, 13-story, Islamic cultural center and mosque just two blocks from Ground Zero.
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