Controversial Park51 imam out

Liz Goodwin

A controversial imam who was serving as an adviser to Park51—the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero—is stepping down from his post.

"It is important for me now to devote my time to the completion of my book which assists English readers in understanding and facilitating the language of the Quran," said Shaykh Abdallah Adhami in a statement. "I wish the project leaders well."

Adhami drew criticism for past comments suggesting that people who leave Islam should be imprisoned and for saying homosexuality was often rooted in a history of sexual abuse. He was appointed to the post a month ago.

(An early conceptual sketch of Park51's design: AP)