The United States is donating nearly $270,000 this year to restore five Islamic sites as part of a worldwide project to support a global cultural facelift, according to The Associated Press.
The funds are being provided under an annual program established by the U.S. Congress in 2001, the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.
The five Islamic projects include:
· 16th century Grand Mosque in Tongxin, China,
· 18th century Golden Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan,
· 19th century minaret in the ancient Mauritanian city of Tichitt,
· Sundarwala Burl -- a 16th century Islamic monument in New Delhi, and
· 18th century Gobaruau minaret in Katsina, Nigeria.
Also funded this year are projects to restore Christian and Buddhist sites, as well as museums, forts and palaces.
“Cultural heritage serves as a reminder of historical experiences and achievements of humanity,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in announcing the 2010 projects last month. “Ancient structures and objects offer important lessons for us today.”
Nearly $6 million is being allocated for some 63 sites in 55 countries around the world. A total of $26 million has been spent on 640 cultural preservation projects in more than 100 countries since the birth of the program.
The public relations trip to the Persian Gulf scheduled for the organizer of the Cordoba House Ground Zero mosque, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is also being funded under the program. Rauf is being sent by the State Department to Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates as a “good will ambassador” to explain U.S. religious tolerance traditions, and how Islam is perceived by the average American.