A controversial Islamic center in lower Manhattan opened quietly yesterday without protests as the developer reportedly admitted making missteps in the campaign to build it.
The Park51 center, which was the target of mass protests by those opposed to an Islamic center close to the site of the Sept. 11 attacks, opened with a photo exhibit of children’s art.
The developer said the group miscalculated by not involving relatives of the victims from the start, the New York Post reported.
“We made incredible mistakes,” Sharif El-Gamal said, the paper reported. “The biggest mistake we made was not to include 9/11 families. We didn’t understand that we had a responsibility to discuss our private project with family members that lost loved ones.”
Rallies against the proposed center drew hundreds of angry protesters. Political leaders have also squared off over support for it.
Courts rejected attempts to block the center, which they said are protected by the Constitution.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Barack Obama also backed the developer’s right to open the center, which is a couple of blocks from the site of the World Trade Center in busy lower Manhattan.