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August 23rd, 2010
11:43 AM ET

Imam behind controversial New York Islamic center speaks

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.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Iqbal khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNPfLalFOzU&w=640&h=360]

    September 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  2. Iqbal khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpsQaY5oH2c&w=640&h=360]

    September 23, 2010 at 10:06 pm |
  3. Iqbal khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVG6uW9gNwI&w=640&h=360]

    September 9, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  4. Iqbal khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vF9xQyXzD4&w=640&h=360]

    September 6, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  5. Iqbal Khan

    How Bible led me to Islam Watch Jashua Evans check out all
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-9gvgBJhnQ&w=640&h=360]

    August 24, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  6. Iqbal Khan

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=islam+the+misunderstood+religion&aq=0

    August 24, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  7. Jim

    We the Amercians will never forget 9/11, and we will never forgive that is why we Suport and created Isreal and kicked out the filthy Arabs, and we went into Iraq to get rid of Saddam,so what if hundereds of thousands have been murdered,raped and tourchered at least we now have total control over the oil fields, i know Afganistan had nothing to do with 9/11 but since no super power had ever invaded and captured Afganistan we will very soon do that, we soport India who are also doing a graet job in Kashmir so what if 110,000 kasmiries have been killed it happens when there is a war, we also say thank to Serbia for kicking ass of the Muslims there, while in Russsia the chechins have been put back to stone age ,So you Muslims forget what has happened to you ,BUT WE WILL NEVER FORGET 9/11!! GOT IT.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  8. Eric

    I personally think that placing a mosque so close to a place where thousands of people died by a group who were all muslims, that my friends is a bit disrespectful, put it somewhere else! Yes, you are within your constitutional rights to put it there, but come on....if you ask those couple thousand dead victims of 9/11 and if they were here, you are slapping them dead across the face! How do you think they feel, don't you guys have a heart?

    August 24, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  9. Eshinesu

    Traveling,
    the mind wanders
    like a tree.

    August 24, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  10. Keith

    Or maybe Iran's was in respone to the U.S. deploying its "Ambassador of Death" (and now his wife too, I hear, at taxpayer expense of course). I suppose that makes me a candidate for 'hate speech'. Maybe it's all some elaborate ruse and the State Dept. will actually deport him once he's there. The propaganda wing of this adminstration continues to portray this guy like he's Winnie the Pooh or Captain Kangeroo. Add a little length to his beard and a turban and tell me who he looks like? Think 1979. Think Iran. Hmmmm. Tell this "Ambassador of Death" to take his Sharia Law back to where it came from.

    August 24, 2010 at 7:04 am |
  11. MOHAMMED N. RAZAVI

    It is about time that the Muslims in this country go back over seas and teach their "own Muslim brethren" about equality, peace and harmony among the religions. The hundred million dollars would be better spent "EDUCATUNG" Muslinms about the rest of the world. Not teaching Americans about Islam, but explaining true intent of Islam to the Muslim masses. Saudi propaganda and Sharia law education does not need to be promoted, our screens are full daily with pictures of abuse of Muslim persons and women being shown the sharia justice.

    Having said all that, the Muslims do have the right to create a center at a place of their own choosing, regardless of the noises made by Newt and others promoters of stupidity in America, long as they are not promoting laws that are not only against the constitution but against the dignity of what we know as humans, we can not legalize any killing fields. Islamic or our own .

    August 24, 2010 at 1:57 am |
  12. Keith

    I'm confused, did Iran just deploy a drone capable of launching up to four imams called the 'ambassador of death'? Or is Imam Rauf the 'ambassador of death'? Well, I'm sure either way everything will be okay because Neville Chamberlin, er uh I mean President Obama has it in writing that we will have 'peace in our time', or uh I mean assurance from Putin that they won't build a nuke. Oh, well we certainly can trust him.

    August 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  13. AmericanPatriot

    Non-Muslims must pay a large tax. Once a country is following Sharia law, non-Muslims are given the choice between becoming Muslim or becoming a dhimmi. Dhimmis are allowed to practice their non-Muslim religion if they pay the jizya (a tax). If they convert to Islam, they no longer have to pay the jizya. This obviously creates a practical incentive to convert.

    This is ingenious. The tax takes money away from non-Muslims and their competing religions and gives that money to support Islam. The income from these taxes (usually a 25% income tax) helped fund the Islamic conquests during the first two major jihads. They conquered vast lands, most of them already filled with Christians and Jews, many of whom did not convert at first, and their jizya poured huge sums of money into the Islamic war machine.

    Eventually, the numbers of Christians and Jews in those countries dwindled down as they converted or escaped (or in some cases, were massacred), until now, in most Islamic countries, Jews and Christians are very small minorities.

    The tax-the-non-Muslims idea helps the Islamic idea-collection make more copies of itself by suppressing competing religions and financially supporting Islam.

    Several ideas within Shari'a law extend this effect. For example, non-Muslims are not allowed to build any new houses of worship. They're not even allowed to repair already-existing churches or synagogues. This puts the houses of worship of any competing religion in a state of permanent decline.

    Also, non-Islamic prayers cannot be spoken within earshot of a Muslim — again, preventing Muslims from being infected by a competing religion. No public displays of any symbols of another faith may be shown either.

    All of this prevents the spread of any competing ideas, and makes competing religions die out over time. That's why today there are so many "Muslim countries." Almost every other country in the world is made up of different religions, but because of these principles, Islam tends to displace all other beliefs and cultures wherever it becomes established.

    August 23, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
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About this blog

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.