Trump wades into NY Islamic center controversy

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- In an effort to end the controversy surrounding a proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan, real estate mogul Donald Trump has offered to buy the property at a 25% premium.

Trump made the offer Thursday in a letter to Hisham Elzanaty, an investor in the Islamic center site.

"I am making this offer as a resident of New York and citizen of the United States, not because I think the location is a spectacular one (because it is not), but because it will end a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation that is destined, in my opinion, to only get worse," he wrote.

As part of the offer, Trump further stipulated that if a mosque is to be built, "it would be located at least five blocks further from the World Trade Center site."

Trump said he would pay cash for the site and close the deal immediately. "Hopefully, something good can happen!" he concluded.

There was no immediate response from Elzanaty.

Trump, who may be best known as the star of the reality TV show The Apprentice, has been investing in New York real estate for decades. His management company, The Trump Group, owns a number of high-rises in Manhattan and operates casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, as well as several golf courses.

The proposed Islamic center, known as Park51, is slated to include a variety of facilities, including a prayer room, a performing arts center, gym, swimming pool and other public spaces. It is planned for a site two blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood.

Critics of the center say it is an affront to survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which was carried out by Islamic extremists affiliated with al Qaeda.

Supporters of the project, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, cite First Amendment rights and the need to express religious tolerance, among other freedoms.

-- The CNN Wire Staff contributed to this report.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,399.67 19.26 0.12%
Nasdaq 4,316.07 57.64 1.35%
S&P 500 1,904.01 17.25 0.91%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.02 -0.82%
Data as of 2:00am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 99.76 2.09 2.14%
Bank of America Corp... 16.26 0.05 0.31%
Pfizer Inc 27.93 0.10 0.36%
Facebook Inc 76.95 1.00 1.32%
Microsoft Corp 44.08 0.45 1.03%
Data as of Oct 20

Sections

Better-than-expected iPhone sales and record Mac sales lifted Apple in its fiscal fourth quarter. More

China's economy has clocked its worst quarter in more than five years, raising concerns over Beijing's ability to meet its own annual growth target. More

In three years, all Chicago high school students will have to take a coding course in order to graduate. More

Host a furniture market. Here's how small town High Point, N.C. rakes in this much money -- twice a year. More

Detroit has 80,000 dilapidated properties and 100,000 empty lots. It's trying to get more people like Antjuan Wyatt to buy them. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.