The spiritual leader of a group of New Yorkers planning to build a $100 million Islamic center near the World Trade Center site will return to the U.S. this weekend from a State Department-sponsored tour of Persian Gulf nations.

Feisal Abdul Rauf has been abroad through much of the controversy over the proposed community center and mosque in New York City.

His wife, Daisy Khan, tells The Associated Press her husband is resting in the United Arab Emirates following the conclusion of the trip.

Rauf said in a statement that he was honored to have served his country on the tour and looked forward "to speaking publicly after Labor Day."