Huffpost New York

Sheik Abdallah Adhami Steps Down As Park51 Imam

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Just when we were starting to get to know him, Sheik Abdallah Adhami is stepping out of the spotlight.

Three weeks after being named as the imam for the Islamic community center near Ground Zero, Adhami said he will no longer be affiliated with the project, known as Park51.

The announcement comes less than a week after news reports of Adhami's controversial views on homosexuality and on Muslims who leave the faith, made the rounds of news sites and blogs.

Adhami described being gay as a "painful trial" and said homosexuality was often the result of sexual abuse.

He also seemed to imply that ex-Muslim's who spoke out against Islam should be jailed.

Last week, the former imam whom Adhami replaced, Feisal Abdul Rauf, told the Buffalo News editorial board that he would be open to changing the site of the proposed center.

Rauf's assertion elicited a gruff response from the project's developer, Sharif el-Gamal, who said Rauf had no authority to decide where Park51 would be located.

Efforts to raise the $100 million necessary to build the community center have just begun.