September 8th, 2010
12:35 PM ET

Imam: We are proceeding with NYC Islamic center

CNN Wire Staff

Programming note: CNN's Soledad O'Brien has an exclusive interview with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf on "Larry King Live" Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET. Submit questions for the imam via iReport here.

New York (CNN) - The imam at the center of an ugly controversy over an Islamic center near New York's ground zero broke his silence Tuesday, just hours after a broad coalition of Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders denounced what they described as a rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry across the United States.

"I have been struck by how the controversy has riveted the attention of Americans, as well as nearly everyone I met in my travels," said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf in an editorial published online by The New York Times Tuesday night.

Read New York Times editorial

"We have all been awed by how inflamed and emotional the issue of the proposed community center has become," wrote Rauf, who has just returned from a State Department-sponsored Middle East trip to promote U.S.-Muslim relations.

"The level of attention reflects the degree to which people care about the very American values under debate: recognition of the rights of others, tolerance and freedom of worship."

The imam was clear about his intentions.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • Islam • T1
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Joe M.

    Good to be an American. Freedom of expression and of speech.. If its all about respect and values why are they stuck on building there prayer center there by ground zero. I don't agree with the Pastor but he also has the right to do what he plans on doing.The famlys. of the 911 act. are given no respect by not taking into account there wishes.... by the Islamics.

    September 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  2. Allan Espos

    I have lived in the Middle East for almost 17 years and both my sons were born there. I still have many friends there and would prefer that my identity be witheld for my and their security.

    Anderson, when the US President says that the New York City mosque should be allowed on religious grounds, I believe he is making a mistake.

    Many believe that Islam is a religion. It is a wrong view of Islam. That is only "part" of Islam. Islam is an ideology that covers social, economic, religious, political, sexual, etc. issues of human existence.

    Therefore, Islam needs to be treated in the same way that you wouldn't want a commune in Washington DC.

    September 8, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  3. Kirk

    I am upset because a few years ago we lost Americans lives because of some extremists decided that they don't like our way of life. Nobody tells them to leave their countries we sure don't go their countries and tell them what to do. I think that center should never open as this is a sacred place for Americans that lost loved ones.

    September 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  4. Abdul Alkayali

    I wish you would host a special program about Islam to teach the American audience of the contribution to humanity and the achievements of this great religion in Mathematics, Science, Art, Folklore, Medicine, Astronomy and much more. Today, we owe Islam many of our achievements in the West. Arabic numbers are used around the world with zero (0) being the most effective number ever invented. As you may know, all computers and electronics operate based on zeros and ones. The first eye surgery to take place was by a Moslem doctor over 700 years ago. Islam founded modern medicine and kept records for future generations so we are able to advance in the west. Anderson, I can go on and on what Islam have done to advance the world. It is a shame that some Americans view Islam as an evil religion. We cannot allow those few radicals to disrupt our nation’s freedom as the constitution of this great nation had giving us. This country is so unique because of the freedom we have to be whom ever we want to be. If we allow some radicals including some politicians like Newt Gingrich, Sara Palin and alike to be involved in religious agenda, we will no longer be the free nation as we are. This will lead us to be controlled by religious fanatics who will destroy us due to their religious beliefs. Please help by hosting special event on Islam so our American brothers and sisters know the truth.

    September 8, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  5. Abdul Alkayali

    For those who have no sympathy for Islam, you are living in the dark ages once again. You are so ignorant, but I don't blame you. You only learn and see the world from the tube. FYI, the west owes its existence and advancement of mathematics, science, space, and medicine, just to name few to Islam. The world uses Arabic numbers to operate computers, electronics, and many instruments as we speak. Some of the right wing Christian nuts hate Islam no matter what contributions Islam had giving the world. It seems to me that the west and its Christian right wings once again wants to go backwards to the Crusades period instead of moving forward and just be Americans. Those right wing nuts no longer tolerate Hispanics, Islam or African Americans. Well, I have news for them: you are no longer the majority of this great nation and you better get use to it.

    September 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  6. Michele Gomis

    Agree with JW Lewis. The mosque is an insult and the islamic world is laughing at us, using our governmentally granted rights and freedoms against us.

    I have absolutely NO sympathy for the islamic world and its agenda. ZERO.

    sign me,
    "politically incorrect and proud of it."

    September 8, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  7. Bala

    I don't care what he says. Ethicalaly is wrong. Muslims never liked peace.

    September 8, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  8. J.W. Lewis

    This Mosque is about aggression and infiltration. The politically correct words and conversation are just that. Look at what is happening in Paris, France. The Imam may be a "moderate" but you can bet he will ultimately be used by the radical Muslim force to advance their cause. It's not so much about religious freedom as a politically/culturally motivated cause. When Americans or any other citizens can go to Iran or any other predominantly Muslim country and walk/worship freely in that country, then we can talk about how peaceful they are!

    September 8, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  9. Sana S

    Hello A.C ,theres a saying that goes your darned if you do and your darned if you dont ...what is all the stir about? i mean are we forgeting that its a mosque or islam center where prayer takes place? and do people not understand that duas:asking for blessing from allah A.K.A god for the 9/11 victims and their families,and what better place for muslims as well as any religious organization to remember them in their prayers?

    September 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm |