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September 7th, 2010
09:41 PM ET

What would you ask the imam behind the Islamic center near ground zero?

CNN has secured an exclusive interview with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf , the man behind the proposed Islamic center near New York's ground zero. We want you to help generate the questions we ask.

The live interview happens Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on a special edition of "Larry King Live."

Before his editorial in the New York Times was published online Tuesday night, Rauf had said virtually nothing to the news media since the controversy over his project erupted this summer - even after President Obama himself weighed in. The imam has been out of the country for the last month or so.

Now that he's finally talking, what would you ask him?

Let us know by uploading a video question via CNN iReport. At least one of the questions we receive will make it into the interview. [Note: We are only looking for VIDEO questions; feel free to comment below as always, but any questions entered in the comments section will NOT be used on air.]

Here are a couple of questions that I hope get asked:

Leaders of the proposed Islamic center in Lower Manhattan say the project is intended to improve relations between Muslims and the rest of the country. So far though, it has had the opposite effect. Has the project already failed in that regard?

You've been touring the Middle East on behalf of the State Department these last few weeks... What did you tell those Muslims abroad who say that opposition to your proposed Islamic Center is proof that the United States is at war with Islam?

OK, your turn.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • iReport • Islam • Leaders • Mosque • Muslim

soundoff (602 Responses)
  1. family guy

    i have a question for larry ..

    did you get a call from sharon on 9/11 or is it a lie made up by muslims to blame jews for 9/11

    September 8, 2010 at 4:11 am |
  2. Felicia

    THIS IS A HATE CRIME ! This preacher should be charged with a federal hate crime . What point does this prove by upsetting the world . That preacher is threating to start a religious war in our country. As a society the outcry of opinion is hot and the debate doesn't make anything better between muslims,christians, and jews. It only incites violence and the goverment needs to make it acrime to burn a religious doctrine of faith. This isn't a correct representation of faith. I 'M a christian and i support the building of a mosque over grund zero. The muslim community doesn't desrve this kind of disrepect. All muslims aren't violent terrorist and those who are Americans should be able to stand up and support the Muslims with respect of dignity. This is exactly what a hate crime laws are for hatred only brings more hatred.

    September 8, 2010 at 4:02 am |
  3. andyk

    Reality, what reality do you see? First, show me where the quran specifically tells people to wear hijab. Second, the Imam's wife doesn't wear hijab, have you even done your research at all? Third, please tell me if you plan to follow the flawed bible and kill off the canaanites and amalekites including their children and animals... the judeo christian God is either genocidal or a bit flawed... which do you prefer? Lastly, if we're going to take verses out of context, how about jesus saying to sell you cloak and buy a sword. Do you see yourself marching in the parade with your Christian sword... or do true christians just ignore the teachings of the bible? Or wait... could it be that there's context to the verses but that you actually need an education to figure that out... just like with the Quranic verses??

    September 8, 2010 at 12:45 am |
    • Anand

      Can you also explain about Jihad and infedels.

      September 8, 2010 at 1:12 am |
    • Reality

      Andyk,

      You asked "what reality do I see"?

      The reality of Islam:

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 97,172 – 106,047 Iraqi civilians killed mostly due to the Shiite and Sunni suicide bombers.

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,116 killed in action, 902 killed in non-combat situations as of 08/10/2010. Over 40,000 Afgan civilians killed due the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban.

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations

      15) Followed by the daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings every day in the terror world of Islam.

      September 8, 2010 at 8:18 am |
    • MS

      Dear Reality
      , 97,172 – 106,047 Iraqi civilians killed in Iraq are mostly muslim
      Do you realize Al-qaiadah has killed more muslims than any other religion group?
      Do you realize they hate rest of muslims more than they hate other infidels ?
      Don't you think most of muslims hate Al-qaiadah even more than you do?
      Here is why:
      in the eye of a al-qaiadah the fact that I, as a muslim, choose to live in US is enough to justify killing me
      so I am as bad as you in their eye.
      Then add the fact that I am being stereotyped on a daily basis by other fellow americans because I look like them
      Now honestly, do you really think I hate Al-qaiadah less than you do?

      September 8, 2010 at 8:46 am |
    • Reality

      MS,

      You still follow the koran. It makes no difference where you live, you cannot be trusted as noted by the sordid history of your religion:

      . Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the massacre in Mumbai, the assassinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      P.S. We have a free Five Step Program for Deprogramming 1400 Years of Islamic Mumbo Jumbo if you are interested.

      September 8, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  4. Virus

    Any one here believe that all is done for votes of you people, leave the concern of religion, because every religion offers merits and demerits.
    Concept is how much secular we are..

    September 8, 2010 at 12:45 am |
  5. Reality

    Sufi Rauf, do you see yourself and your wife marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade clothed in bright green thawbs and heads topped with blazing green hijabs and flawed korans in your arms shouting "Death to Infidels, Christians and Jews"?

    Let us hope this never happens but as followers of the flawed koran, do you visualize in your minds such an occurrence since this is what the koran teaches?

    September 8, 2010 at 12:37 am |
  6. andyk

    @Jemes: you write about wherever muslims go and "conquer" they build mosques and minarets to mark their victory. Did you ever think that wherever muslims are, they build mosques so that observant followers have someplace to worship. I might note, that wherever christians have conquered, they build churches. Are these victory churches or merely an expression of a deeply seated faith? Your interpretation tells us more about your perverse view of the world than the muslims. And if you don't think christians did that, please explain how europe went from being predominantly pagan to a predominantly christian continent? And where are all the old pagan temples? And how about southern spain, the house of worship built by the visagoths, turned into the grand mosque of cordoba was converted into a catholic church. Finally, Christianity and Islam both seek to spread their message to the entire world... they are sister religions in many senses. Take a comparative religion class and you might realize you're the one practicing this so called paranoid taqiyya garbage you spout.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:33 am |
    • Born in the USA

      Thank you andyk. I wish there were more educated people like you in the USA.

      September 8, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  7. pos josh

    I do not trust this Imam This guy is causing so much trouble for our nation He is trying to greate wedge just before 2010 election He must be on some foreighn GOvt payRoll. he is not uniter he is Instigate violence and disturb the peace.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:32 am |
  8. Maggie

    American is not for hate But we have
    Can this Imam read this "There are no rights whatever without corresponding duties." from Samuel
    Coleridge.

    a)Sharif El-Gamal has racked up numerous building code violations Department of NY contruction - racking up $24,650 in fines last in June , about duties…=0?
    b) A radial Imam that punch and American and latter case found guilty and using Government found for the Low income homes Abuse and have numerous violation in Hudson county NJ. His duties…=0?
    Last in our Face and against the recommendation of all other NYC churches Like Jews, Catholics , Jehovah, Presbyterians and more leaders he declare close punch in our face . his duties…ignored, what does he anticipate?
    America So before you Muslims next critic's about American civilization, see this man is abusing of our science, freedoms as a welfare. He pick his a rights but , Feisal A. Rauf, do not show any duty to NY city , any conformism of peace is a big O in American duties, , What does he expect after he did a 2nd 9/11 , a war?

    September 8, 2010 at 12:18 am |
  9. Jemes

    History is witness, wherever Islam conquer, they build a minaret or symbol that signifies the event,
    generally replacing the structures built by infidels (historically those were churches, synagogues
    or temples). The mosque near the former WTC is just another attempt in that direction using a
    policy of Taqiya. Whenever they did erect those structures, they forgot those were built by
    followers of the "religions of the book" – a recent argumentative tool time and again repeated
    by scholars of peace loving religion to placate Jews and Christians.The problem with Islam it is
    not a religion. It is a quasi-religious political movement that dream of world dominance. Taqiah
    (Fool or hoodwink the infidels if the infidels are large in number) is a Jihadist holy war policy
    deep inside the heart of every practicing Muslim. There is nothing called moderate or radical
    Islam. Both are two sides of the same coin. Believe me or not the moderates are more dangerous,
    english speaking, suite wearing and having perfected the art of lying or Taqiya.
    I don't understand one thing. A religion that has roots in bloodshed, killing of infidels(kafirs),
    how can it be a peaceful religion? How can a person who was slave trader and desert robber be a
    prophet? Were those truly revelations or hallucinations under the influence of narcotics, rightly
    characterized by a former Muslim as satanic verses? Peace loving followers of messenger of peace
    talk of healing touch while arguing for the ground zero mosque. However thousands of relatives
    of 9/11 victims have opposed the construction of the mosque. Relocation of the mosque, keeping
    in mind sensitivity of their feelings would have been a truly healing touch. However, their adamant
    resolve of constructing the mosque near the place where WTC once stood, clearly indicate a
    sinister age old jihadi motive. Taqiya is in roll, taking advantage of western laws, liberalism
    and pluralism. Another question. Does Islam which is a quasi- religious political movement with
    middle aged barbaric practices deserve fair treatment? Is terrorism formally an official
    blackmailing policy of Muslim scholars to force western governments to prove their tolerance
    of Islam or risk attack by the Jihadists? Why should we submit to blackmail (earlier for oil
    and now fear of attack from Jihadists? One out of several satanic verses in the peaceful
    manual says "instill fear in the heart of infidels". I have reasons to believe the fear
    psychosis is working.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:14 am |
    • JS

      Sorry to say : But you keep mentioning Taqiya in your post . Have you read the Quran ? Do you know that the word Taqiya or its variant does not exist in Quran .

      You need to do a reality check and pick the real Quran .

      "Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion, nor drove you out of your homes. Indeed, Allah loves those who deal with equity" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 60, Verse 8.

      "...If anyone killed a person not in retaliation for murder or to spread mischief in the land, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind. And (likewise) if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole of mankind" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 5, Verse 32.

      September 8, 2010 at 4:18 am |
  10. Mr.Blues

    Is there a point you are trying to make by building close to ground zero?

    September 8, 2010 at 12:05 am |
  11. pos josh

    to Imam : Sir what to say In Saudi they burn BIBLE and can practice freedom of religion Forget about Saudi How about your native country pakistan can you practice christianity or synogue in pakistan. Why you instigate this kind of violent nature to our country In the name freedom to worship we lost lot of our freedom which we enjoyed in this great Land ever since the Govt allow this kind Instigators cause trouble we never recovered. we request you find place elewhare whare every one come and worship.
    second quetion you never answered where did you get this money to buy and build a cente. which foreighn Govt is sponcering I know you had big contribution from saudi who are Mastor if this kind radicle ISLAM. not the one many believe in. Whom do you represent. will you gureentee tht no madrasi schools will be conducted in that center
    Thanks.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  12. Reality

    Do you believe in angels? If not, Islam is mute and you live a lie. If you do believe in angels, one assumes you also believe in Santa Clause?

    What sayest about the follow Five Step Program for Deflawing Islam?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
    alone."
    Mohammed spent thirty days fasting in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  13. fern

    I would like to have some background on Imam Rauf – so I'd ask him this: I've read reports that you are a sufi. Please tell us which sufi order you are a member of.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  14. Anand

    To Imam Rauf: Sir, What do you think about Iran and his president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is he evil and anti Islam. Because he supported holocaust. and what about Hamas also they supported by him.

    September 7, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
  15. DTA

    Jihad Jihad Jihad. Behead in the name of Allah. Stone people in the name of Allah. Bomb busses in the name of Allah. Torture (sweet lashings) in the name of Allah. Honor killing (slaughter daughter) in the name of Allah. Public beating if your not dressed correctly, in the name of Allah. Make threats in the name of Allah. Endless crimes against anyone and everyone, in the name of Allah.

    Yea liberals... Allah loves you. Yea tolerant Americans... Allah loves you. Yea politically correct gurus... Allah loves you. Yea news media... Allah loves you. "Fight and slay the infidels" Koran (9:5).

    September 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
  16. Mushrikun

    The imam has the legal right to build the mosque at that location he wanted. The questions to ask him are:

    1. Why that location?
    2. Is the mosque serving a sizeable muslim community at that location?
    3. The timing of the construction? Is it possible that the mosque be built after the ground zero building is constructed?
    4. If the sole purpose of the mosque is to foster some kind of relationship or understanding with non-muslims, is the imam willing to be the bridge to initiate dialogue with the Saudi Arabian authorities for the constructions of church, synagogue and other religious house of prayer in Mecca or Medina? Afterall, the hijackers of 911 were largely Saudis.

    September 7, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
  17. TheRationale

    Why do you expect people to welcome your proposed center when non-Muslims are explicitly banned from entering Mecca?

    September 7, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
    • Saladin

      Why blame individuals for the rulings of another country? It's not something I agree with but this is the US. We've got higher standards, we take a higher road.

      September 7, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
  18. Common Sense

    I saw a Muslim comment about how building this Mosque could start a world war III. I agree. I think most Americans don't have any issues with Muslims but the appearance for lack of sensitivity for Ground Zero is deteriorating relations quickly. We don't want to hate Muslims. We want them to keep practicing and remaining brothers. By all means build the mosque – but somewhere less sensitive.

    September 7, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
  19. Anand

    To Imam Faisel Rauf, Sir Do you know how much trouble you create for our beloved president by putting your word in his mouth "Muslims have the right to build a mosque near New York's Ground Zero" now the whole mid term election plans are jeoparddies. Even his identity is in question. So back off this is the right time. This will end all this argument and than he can focus on fixing economic problem.

    September 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  20. Faith Luke

    Please Amarican People!!! wake up and remove those cancerous cells from our country!!!! they are terrorists!!!!!!
    Look at their imam's face, he looks like the DEVIL himself!!!!!!!

    September 7, 2010 at 10:55 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.