Mosque leader gets tax exemption on wife’s Upper West Side apartment

September 02, 2010 02:30PM

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Daisy Kahn and 201 West 85th Street

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the leader behind the Islamic Community Center, got a valuable tax exemption for the American Sufi Muslim Association, after claiming that 500 of its members prayed daily in an Upper West Side one-bedroom apartment, also listed as his wife’s residence, according to the Post. In 1998, Rauf sought — and was later granted — “church status” for ASMA, which is an exemption from ever having to pay taxes, file returns or reveal the sources of a congregation’s money or how it’s spent, according to the Washington-based Investigative Project on Terrorism, which discovered the group’s claims on the IRS form it filed. Though the organization said it held services at 201 West 85th Street, the 17-story apartment building has no space big enough to accommodate the 450 to 500 worshippers the group said came to pray five times a day. There’s no indication ASMA or any of its officers rented space in the building other than the apartment, the Post said. A year earlier, the imam’s wife, Daisy Kahn, had been named as an ASMA director, stating in corporation papers that the 10th-floor apartment was her legal residence. ASMA, founded by Rauf, now operates under a new name, American Society for Muslim Advancement, and is still receiving the same tax exemption, though records show that it has switched its address several times among buildings in Manhattan and New Jersey. [Post]