US spending $16,000 for imam's Mideast tour

By: AP
By: AP

WASHINGTON -- The State Department says it will spend about $16,000 on a religious outreach trip to the Middle East for the imam behind plans for a mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday that amount includes a $200-per-day honorarium and the standard U.S. government per diem for expenses in each city on Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's tour, along with lodging and airfare.

Rauf starts the three-nation trip in Bahrain on Thursday before visiting Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, where the trip ends on Sept. 2.

Rauf will be discussing Muslim life in America and promoting religious tolerance on the tour, which has drawn attention because of his plans to build an Islamic center near ground zero.

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