August 23rd, 2010
04:13 PM ET

Imam behind controversial New York Islamic center speaks

Mohammed Jamjoom

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://cnnreligion.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/t1larg-rauf.jpg caption="Rauf spoke with the newspaper Bahraini Al Wasat before he was scheduled to appear at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Bahrain." width=300 height=169]

Editor's note: CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom files this report from Abu Dhabi

The imam behind the controversial mosque and Islamic center near New York City's ground zero said Sunday that he hopes the project will develop "an Islamic approach that allows for harmony and understanding among all religions and other ideas."

The remarks from Abdul Rauf, who has rarely spoken to the media since his proposal for an Islamic center set off a firestorm of controversy this summer, came while the imam is on a State Department-sponsored trip to the Middle East.

Rauf spoke with the newspaper Bahraini Al Wasat before he was scheduled to appear at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Bahrain, the newspaper's editor said.

In the interview, to be published Monday, Rauf praised freedoms that Muslims and others enjoy in the United States.

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Filed under: Islam • T1
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Henry Williams

    When I look at the face of this so called bridge builder Imam, I see that he is fake and not true to what he is doing. Muslims have an agenda and one of them is to destroy America. This is what they have under their arms, let terrorism spread throughtout the world, America gets invloved in each of them, extending them thin and weakened spending billions of dollars and thus we lose our place as the giant of the world with other countries like China, Japan at the head who are not anxious about wars. America like the Roman empire will then disintegrate into smaller states becoming countries. America the USSR was like that and now gone. Is that how we want to be?Stop dreaming America and start smelling the coffee.

    August 24, 2010 at 1:41 am |
  2. Daniel

    Does he really think that the people in the United State will listen to him? In my opinion he's just looking for trouble...By the way,how will he find an American construction company to build it?.

    August 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  3. Robert Stroney

    When you try to force a square object into a round area, you find friction. Both sides have to give to receive.

    August 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm |