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August 12th, 2010
04:49 PM ET

Interview with 'ground zero mosque' spokesman

CNN Radio Correspondent Steve Kastenbaum filed this report from New York:

The leaders of the proposed Islamic community center and mosque near New York's ground zero are addressing their critics by vowing to be open and transparent as the project progresses.

But there have been few opportunities to question the organization’s leadership directly about the project. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Cordoba Initiative’s founder, has been out of the country most of the summer on one of his many international missions aimed at building bridges between Muslims and the West. (The U.S. State Department is sending him on a similar trip soon.)

But the spokesperson for Park 51, the name of the proposed project, agreed to speak with CNN Radio about the verbal attacks launched at his group and the emotionally charged debate swirling around the project.

Oz Sultan discussed whether they failed to anticipate the opposition that sprang up and admitted that they could have done a better job in reaching out to the rest of the country to explain their mission and goals. Sultan said they are committed to a transparent fundraising process and they will not take any money from any source that is on the Treasury Department’s watch list. He claimed they will even apply for Homeland Security funding available for terrorist abatement programs.

Click the play button below to listen to my interview with Oz Sultan.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Houses of worship • Islam • Mosque • New York • United States

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. marilyn clark

    Anyone with a heart can see this IMAN is trying to find a way to peaceful outcome WITHOUT backing out of his plans which would give the radical Muslims the conquest they need to prove their point. Rather than listening with closed ears, why not open up and FEEL what this guy is saying. THIS IS NOT GROUND ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS NOT SACRED GROUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is two blocks away, and they have owned it for something like 20 years. If you SCREAM and YELL and force this not to take place, it will be the beginning of the end of religious freedom in this country. Frankly, due to historical religious "deaths" I personally don't believe religions are completely wonderful, HOWEVER, as an American, I would hate to lose this basic freedom. THINK FOLKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you really want to start a Muslim Holocaust, an Inquisition against all Muslims, or do you want to live by the principles of our constitution, not just when it serves you, but when it serves the people.

    September 8, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.