While certain political elements in the United States have been busy painting an association between the proposed Islamic Center by Ground Zero and terrorist fears, it turns out that one Rye resident with ties to the CIA has provided advice and financial support to the proposed center since 2004.
R. Leslie Deak, who lives at 6 North Island Drive with his wife Moshira Soliman, was profiled in a New York Observer story "Untangling the Bizarre CIA Links to the Ground Zero Mosque" that said in part:
"one of the earliest backers of the nonprofit group, the Cordoba Initiative, that is spearheading the Ground Zero mosque, is a 52-year-old Scarsdale, New York, native named R. Leslie Deak. In addition to serving on the group's board of advisors since its founding in 2004 by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Deak was its principal funder, donating $98,000 to the nonprofit between 2006 and 2008. This figure appears to represent organization's total operating budget—though, oddly, the group reported receipts of just a third of that total during the same time period.
Deak describes himself as a "Practicing Muslim with background in Christianity and Judaism, [with] in-depth personal and business experiences in the Middle East, living and working six months per year in Egypt." Born into a Christian home, Deak became an Orthodox Jew and married a Jewish woman before converting to Islam when he married his current wife, Moshira Soliman, with whom he now lives in Rye."
The Observer story reads like a bizarre spy novel. LoHud.com also carried a follow-up story. Deak has given money to Democratic causes – the very party that is taking heat over the Ground Zero Islamic Center. And according the Coldwell Banker, his home in Rye is available for rent – a mere $18,000/month. Bizarre indeed.