September 13th, 2010
10:34 AM ET

Imam calls for moderates to join together, fight extremism

CNN Wire Staff

New York (CNN) - Saying America has let extremists "hijack the agenda," the imam behind a controversial proposal to place an Islamic community center and mosque near Manhattan's ground zero said Monday he wants to create a platform where the voice of moderate Muslims can be amplified.

"This is an opportunity that we must capitalize on, so those who teach moderation will have a megahorn," Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told the Council on Foreign Relations.

"We come together at a time of great crisis and danger," he said. "What began as a dispute over a community center in lower Manhattan has spawned and grown into a much larger controversy about the relationship between my beloved religion and my beloved country, between Islam and America.

"The events of the past few weeks have really saddened me to my very core," he said. "I regret that some have misunderstood our intentions. I'm deeply distressed that in this heated political season, some have exploited this issue for their own agendas."

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Islam
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Jody

    President Obama should step in and try to come to a peaceful compromise with Imam and the Muslims of America and find another location for the mosque, so evey American feel a peacful resolve. After all President Obama did win the Noble Peace Prize.

    September 14, 2010 at 2:34 am |
  2. Linda

    I think to say that anyone opposed to this is a radical is very wrong, not true and somewhat insulting. I have never been a radical or an extremist and I am opposed. I do not believe for a minute that this man did not know what this decision would bring and I believe he is using it to his advantage. These days when interviewed he speaks very softly but he doesn't always and he seems very determined to do it. I think Michael Moor is making a big mistake, he has an opinion and he stated it but I don't think he is right on this one. He also said and you Anderson should have corrected him, about 19 radicals hyjacking this religion that was the known number in this one disaster. There have been many around the world, there are thousands involved at least. Where was the outcry from the Muslims when this happened? Where is the world outcry from the Muslims who hide and help and protect these terrorists on a daily basis?

    September 14, 2010 at 2:17 am |
  3. Annie Kate

    The Iman makes a lot of good points – I do hope he and his associates can come up with a solution agreeable to all and he is right – we shouldn't let the extremists on either side take over the main discourse of our country.

    September 13, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  4. Joseph Kennedy

    Imams all over the Islamic World are the only ones who can bring an end to the senseless violence that seems to erupt in Muslim countries every time someone takes offense over perceived insults!A word or an idea cannot be burned!This Koran almost burning has exposed what drives Islamic Radicalism,IGNORANCE!When the act of burning a book becomes more important than the ideas and words in that book,the philosophy contained in it needs to be examined.

    September 13, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  5. Al

    This is a con job . It's their way or the highway. How come when a Christian is offended that is ok ???? Religious tolerance works both ways , with both side giving concessions . I see its just the Christians and the Jews giving way . You just cannot appease Islam .

    September 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  6. ambria

    Imam should not worry.Christans usually turn the other cheek. We also understand most muslims are conservative God minded people. They deserve to worship here and so do christans.I would be honored to worship alongside such God fearing people (though there is no COC near ground zero). If you really want to make a statement build a place for both. If you did that I think you would be surprised at the outpouring of support and graditude.Now that would be an awesome thing.

    September 13, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  7. Boomer in Mo

    Moderate Muslims could have said a lot in the last nine years. If they have said much, the majority of us have not heard it. If they don't fight to keep their religion, they will lose it and have dithered so long that they may not be able to save it.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm |