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. drip feed blast

    I couldn't think you are more right..

    October 28, 2011 at 5:11 am |
  2. gb fotos

    Youre truly correct on this writing

    September 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  3. religion.blogs.cnn.com

    What would you ask the imam behind the islamic center near ground zero.. Tiptop 🙂

    April 19, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  4. lisagem

    At first i did not support the islamic center because bloomberg supported it, when he actually declined to have Eid as apublic holiday. now however i know for a fact that this center is an absolute necessity from all of these comments here. most are from ignorance and fear . exactly the same bush used to control us. after all it got them the war in iraq and the ability to siphon off the oil without anyone being the wiser. I am muslim by choice my father was a baptist deacon and my grandfather a roman catholic, i have one brother who was jehovah witness and the other a shango baptist as well as numerous cousins hindus pentecostal etc. intolerance only breeds intolerance. as to building a church in mecca why? what purpose does that serve ? as for stoning the woman who committed adultry well apparently most of you didnt read your bible ie. before modern man decided that God couldnt know the future and the nature of the specie human that he created so occasionally every few years some men pick and choose what should be included or removed form the bible. As for Muhammed SA marrying a 9 year girl bear in mind that 1500 years ago they were more mature and developed than now but i can see how marrying a 9-12 yr old girl is repulsive when we can have her experiment /be public property and have a bunch of bastard babies with non existent baby daddies or many baby daddies running around vs her being married to one man even though in a polygynous marriage where she has the respect of her husbands name and support. as to whether jewish women etc can come pray in the masjid ??? what why would they want to do that??? again people read and educate yourselves. as for women covering themselves i really havent heard anyone object to nuns its almost the same clothes except we are not the brides of christ. i really dont understand the concept of the so called christian god jesus needing a wife plus if he did why so many>???polygny??? anyway the islamic perspective on jesus is that he is the son of Mary held in honor in this world and the next. he is one of the great prophets in islam loved and respected as is joseph, jacob elijah, moses aaron abraham ishmeal isaac etc . and the quran says make no distinction between them as they all preached the same worship ONE GOD with no partners .... any book if read out of context can be misquoted to mean anything ... as for homosexuality being accepted in islam its an abberation and really disgusting seriously have you actually looked at a man acting like a woman its repulsive men are men and should act as men??? my personal take however in the catholic church wher many boys were molested by priests whom themselves were probably abused they dont accept it so why should islam???? every religion has people that are good and bad and they should not be judged by the idiots that do stupid things in the name of religion...

    September 9, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  5. Ray Fulton

    I was in Karachi, Pakistan in 1975 with the U.S. Military when I learned the type of mentality the people had. They had horse drawn carriages awaiting at the port to take people into town where they had a brass factory. Before taking a carriage I told the driver I t would be a one way trip, he happily agreed. Once I arrived at the factory, I gave him the previously agreed sum for the ride. As I came out of the factory, I saw him waiting for me, I declined his offer for a ride. Suddenly, his gentile demeanor became one of rage, insisting I pay him for his wait, I told him no and began to walk toward town
    By the time I got into town, he had amassed a 100 people who berated me and taunted me with sticks and rocks. That experience showed me what ignorant people they were- India should have nuked them but didn't because of U.S. pressure.
    back then. Most Muslims are like ROACHES, take away the food Dumbass Western Countries- they will not appreciate it!

    September 8, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  6. rocketdude27

    Being a moderate mulim is like being a moderate nazi.

    September 8, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  7. rocketdude27

    The elitist, media-generated grand illusion of the Ground Zero mosque imam has begun to collapse under scrutiny.

    New reports from The Record out of Hackensack, N.J., reveal Feisal Abdul Rauf, the would-be Ground Zero imam, owns taxpayer-subsidized apartment buildings in Hudson County where the tenants have made municipal health complaints including rat, roach and bedbug infestations, seeping toilets, leaks, urine-soaked hallways, no heat and no hot water.

    Despite millions of dollars in government subsidies, Rauf has trouble maintaining several small apartment buildings in North Bergen, Palisades Park and Union City.

    From the NewJersey.com report:

    Page after page of municipal health records examined by The Record show repeated complaints ranging from failure to pick up garbage, to rat and bedbug infestations and no heat and hot water.

    Cynthia Balko, 48, of Union City - a longtime tenant of Rauf’s - said she’s had to live with rats, leaks and no heat: “I don’t have anything nice to say about the man.”

    Despite having received over $2 million in public funding for renovations, Rauf’s tenants were forced to file municipal health complaints to seek relief. One such single mother living in a Rauf-owned apartment in Union City said Rauf has not answered complaints.

    From an additional story in The Record:

    To understand her perspective, you need to go to a forlorn corner on the Jersey side - to 22nd Street in Union City and a four-story apartment building owned by Rauf. The locks on a front door are broken and the hallway leading to [Melba] Lopez’s two-bedroom apartment smells of urine.

    Looking east on 22nd Street - back across the Hudson - the Empire State building pokes the sky. On that side of the river, New York’s mayor speaks of Rauf as a symbol of religious freedom and last week invited the Imam’s wife, Daisy Khan, to dinner at Gracie Mansion to honor the Islamic celebration of Ramadan.

    But in Union City, Lopez, a single mother, has another way of describing the man who has time to promote the so-called Ground Zero mosque, but does not seem to have time to answer her complaints about leaks in her toilet.

    Lopez said in the report she has never met the would-be Ground Zero mosque imam but she says she has met Rauf’s wife Khan.

    Lopez said she remembers Khan telling her that she and her husband did not have enough money to fix her leak and other problems in the building. What Lopez did not know was that at the same time, Rauf and Khan were trying to raise money for their mosque project on the other side of the Hudson.

    According to the new reports, Rauf has a long history of taxpayer subsidies and grants for slum properties. There’s even a new revelation of a lawsuit settled in June over what the report terms a suit alleging fraud.

    From the link:

    [T]he suit alleged Rauf and Khan transferred ownership to another firm they owned and then obtained a $650,000 mortgage on the same building from a bank. After the building was damaged by fire in February 2008, Rauf and Khan stopped making mortgage payments to Cockinos, a former key executive at Daibes’ Mariner’s Bank. When Cockinos tried to foreclose, he discovered Rauf and Khan had switched ownership and filed suit alleging “fraud.”

    The case was settled shortly before a June 28 trial, with Rauf and Khan agreeing to pay off the mortgage to Cockinos within the next few years, said the couple’s lawyer, Richard Rosa of Hackensack.

    There is much more on Rauf and Khan’s current financial woes at the link.

    The New York Post reported the site's developers owe hundreds of thousands in back taxes:

    The mosque developers are tax deadbeats.

    Sharif El-Gamal, the leading organizer behind the mosque and community center near Ground Zero, owes $224,270.77 in back property tax on the site, city records show.

    El-Gamal's company, 45 Park Place Partners, failed to pay its half-yearly bills in January and July, according to the city Finance Department.

    Sounds like a good time to raise $100 million for a mosque.

    Reuters is reporting New York is considering granting the group a reported $70 million in public funding.

    September 8, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  8. Steven Foyer

    Newt Gingrich contends that the Islamic cultural center is a symbol of domination.
    But the invasion of Iraq resulted in the deaths of nearly 100,000 Iraqis. And the US has built an Embassy, the size of the Vatican, in the heart of Baghdad. Isn't that more of a symbol of domination ? Rather than an Islamic cultural center in Manhattan ?

    September 8, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  9. Stan Engleton

    According to a Rand study and also a State Department study (2006) of global terrorist incidents, about 25% -30% of all terrorist attacks are committed by Muslims. While about 70% – 75% are committed by people who are not Muslims.
    Then why do commentators like O'Reilly insist that most or all terrorist attacks are committed by Muslims ?

    September 8, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  10. MS

    Simple question for those see the Islamic center offensive.
    There have been a number of priests convicted to child molestation and some other priests for covering the issue.
    Is it fair to: Building church next to a playground is offensive to victims of child molestation?

    There have been many toyota cars with malfunctioning brake some of them leading to fatal crashes.
    Is it fair to say allowing production of any car with a toyota badge is an insult to families who lost love ones in
    fatal crashes caused by toyota cars?

    An honest answer to above questions is appreciated.

    September 8, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  11. Dan from Seattle

    My question to the Imam is to answer if he believes in the tenent of Islam that the ultimate goal is to spread Islam throughout the world and considers anything but Sharia law as not of God. I would also like to have him explain why it is that the greatest turbulances in regions of the world are those countries that are predominately Islamic. If this religion preaches and advocates peace then why do so many from the pulpit preach so much hate and violance specifically towards the US and Israel? Why are so many willing to die in war against us? Why do factions within the religion without remorse kill innocent civilians of thier own faith in suicide bombings? I believe in the right to practice your faith and to live as your conscience dictates. I do not support however anyone whose explicit goal is world domination achieved at any and all methods. Fanatiics are in any religion. Radicals exist in every faith. We must not bury our heads in the sand in the name of "aceptance" to wake up one day finding us battling Islamic fanaticism on our own soil and wonder how it happened.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
    • Bernard Harris

      "We must not bury our heads in the sand in the name of "aceptance" to wake up one day finding us battling Islamic fanaticism on our own soil and wonder how it happened."

      Well said

      September 8, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
    • Skye

      I'm sorry to Bernard Harris...I accidentally hit report abuse when I mean to reply to your comment. I just wanted to give you kudos for your commentary... I also believe that our beautiful country is one day just going to politically-correct itself into the ground.

      September 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Steven Foyer

      Domination ? See any Muslim armies in western Lands ? Or is it the other way around ? All we see is Western Armies in Middle East and beyond Since at least World War I...From Splitting the Ottoman Empire to dominating Iraq to splitting India to making a colony of the Phillipines... most recent history, bub..

      September 8, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
    • Kameyama

      one thing when he is talking to "outsiders" and the gerneal public and quite another when he is talking to true believers.He is practicing taqiyya. Saying one thing to one group and then another truer thing to another group. Islam says it's ok to lie to your enemies (and infidels are your enemies) if you need to. By the way, this also seems to be a trait that many non islamic politicians,particularly liberal ones, have picked up though they don't call it taqiyya. (for example, voting for the Iraq Liberation Act under a democrat president, then denying that anyone had ever said Iraq was a threat and blaming that whole impression on Bush's lies under a republican president within the span of only a year or two. Double speak doesnt' work as well though in the age of google).From Al- Tabari regarding the concept of Taqiyya, referencing the koran: "If you [Muslims] are under their [infidels'] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them, with your tongue, while harboring inner animosity for them. Allah has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels in place of believers except when infidels are above them [in authority]. In such a scenario, let them act friendly towards them."Translation, muslims are forbidden to be friends with infidels. But if they are say a minority controlled by infidels they are allowed to lie and pretend friendship, until they gain control that is. Regarding 3:28, Ibn Kathir (d. 1373, second in authority only to Tabari) writes: "Whoever at any time or place fears their (infidels) evil may protect himself through outward show." he then quotes Muhammad's companion, Abu Darda, who said, "Let us smile to the face of some people while our hearts curse them"; and quotes Mohammads other companion al-Hassan who says: "Doing taqiyya is acceptable till the Day of Judgment".Arafat was famous for saying one thing to the media for example, then immediately going to his allies and revealing his true intent, which was the direct opposite of what he had just said to the media.

      June 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  12. Peggy Norman

    Sir, if Islam is such a forgiving and loving religion then why can you not see the sensitive nature of building a Mosque on ground zero? We all know that Muslims tell Americans one thing and do another-that is no secret, sir. How could such a loving religion condone Shiria law which is a very archaic and abusive law. If Americans are against the Mosque then you should accept that and stop trying to change our way of life. The reason the Islam religion seems so confusing to Americans is that is exactly how you want it to be-confusing to all Americans. Keep us confused and take over our country. We do not need "bad" muslims such as yourself in our free and beautiful country.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • John Rezak

      What is the sensitivity exactly about ? Is anybody associated with the Mosque charged with what happened on 9/11 ? Any American Muslims connected with what happened there ?
      How is this mosque related to Ground Zero or 9/11 ? Seeing a Mosque built by American Muslims who had nothing to do with 9/11 reopens wounds ? Will seeing an American Muslim walk by, who had nothing to do with 9/11 reopen wounds ?
      Besides, didn't the 9/11 terror group state US troops in Saudi Arabia, then sanctions on Iraq and Palestinian occupation as their reasoning for 9/11 ? Thus making it political rather than religious ?

      September 8, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  13. Tom from Tampa

    According to the quran: “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”

    Will you welcome, any or all religions, to freely build places of their worship, on land Muslims may feel is sacred to them?

    In other words: Do you wish for others, what you wish for yourself?

    I personally have no religion, but I have no desire to do to others do, what I would not want done to myself. Do you, a holy man of religion, obey the golden rule that is found in every religion? And yes, I am well aware the opponents of this Mosque, can be seen as being unwilling to follow the golden rule of their own religion, but are you too? Is neither side willing to humbly concede? To do what is right, despite the personal sacrifice? It is truly sad, that a non-religious like myself, can so clearly see the blatant errors of the highly religious.

    Somebody, highly respected and revered in any religion, please, for the love of your God, do something unselfish for a change. Maybe it will catch on.


    September 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  14. Karen12

    I never considered myself to be a racist person, trying to see the good in each individual I met. I would be lying if I didn't see every middle eastern person on a plane after 9/11. I never noticed them before...they were there. Our perceptions tend to change after something so big and evil happens. I have found myself going back to my old ways slowly over the past 9 years. I do question the motives behind building a mosque so close to ground zero. I didn't lose anybody close to me on that day, but the potential was definitely there. So, I ask myself, if I were one of the family members/friends of someone who so innocently died on those hollowed grounds, how would I feel? I would be hurt/offended that a mosque was going up on groud zero. I also look at it from the point of view of the many muslim americans, who are just that americans and I say, they have the right to worship whereever they so chose....freedom of religion given by our constitution. There are good and bad in all kinds of people. I feel sorry for those of you who are so hateful. Life is short. I believe Imam needs to invite others in to teach them how peaceful muslims as a whole actually live. We associate terrorism with being muslim, but that is not the case. Did we as americans not terrorize the people of Iraq when we invaded their country. Terrorism is an act, not a religion/race.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  15. MS

    Simple question for those see the Islamic center offensive.
    There have been a number of priests convicted to child molestation and some other priests for covering the issue.
    Is it fair to: Building church next to a playground is offensive to victims of child molestation?

    There have been many toyota cars with malfunctioning brake some of them leading to fatal crashes.
    Is it fair to say allowing production of any car with a toyota badge is an insult to families who lost love ones in
    fatal crashes caused by toyota cars?

    An honest answer to above questions is appreciated.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  16. A proud Canadian...

    100 million dollars for this place...
    A place that will bridge the gap between Muslims and North Americans...

    Would the 100 million not be better spent back in your Homeland where all this sh1t started... What are you trying to educate us on ???
    That killings in the name of your God is OK?
    Get a grip Muslims !!! Anyone can see thru your scam...
    If you were serious about bridging the gap, you would be spending that 100 million back home in educating the Youths on how NOT to be a terrorist...

    And people let us remember one thing: "All Muslims are not Terrorists"...
    But to be fair...

    " ALL Terrorists are Muslim... "

    September 8, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • MS

      Dear fellow Canadian,
      Another Canadian here, sorry that I am a muslim !! and that might offend you!!
      Regarding 100m, they claim they want to promote moderate Islam which denounce any type of killing I think they deserve benefits of doubt unless proved otherwise.
      All terrorists are muslim?!
      do a little search, on who killed Indira Gandi, India's prime minister.
      Who killed JFK? a muslim?
      About suicide bombing missions:
      Have you heard of japanese pilots in pearl Harber?
      Have you heard of Tamil tigers?( in srilanka)

      All that said, I think that Islam is more prone to radical interpretations which produces a lot of terrorist.
      So muslim leader shall answer this question:
      Why Islam produce far more terrorists than other faith groups? Can that be fixed or the entire Islam and muslim world must be shut down and once and for ever?

      September 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • Smite_Me

      A Proud Canadian:

      I agree with much of what you say; but just a little tip to give you more credence next time you espouse your view – "ALL terrorists are Muslim" is not correct - there are terrorists in Mexico, China, Ireland and many other places all over the world who are not Muslim. You could correctly say, "All of the 9/11 terrorists were Muslim", and be on the mark, however.

      September 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • Stan Engleton

      According to a Rand study and also a State Department study (2006) of global terrorist incidents, about 25% -30% of all terrorist attacks are committed by Muslims. While about 70% – 75% are committed by people who are not Muslims.

      September 8, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  17. tkdchick

    i just really want to know why does it have to built in that location...they are saying they are not trying to be disresepctful to the victims and their families of 911...but it is disrepectful....so i hear not all muslims are evil, then show us...because as far as we can see they want to take over the world and cause death and destruction...if i am wrong about that then they should prove it by building far away from ground zero...if they have any compassion at all then why do they HAVE to build at that location?

    September 8, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  18. John

    Why insist on building this mosque? How many times in one moment must God/Allah not act righteously for all of the right reasons in order to preserve mankind? Promote peace, resolution, not chaos. Chaos needs no assistance.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  19. Mo

    Ladies and gentlemen, Moslems don't want anything from our country and the western other than destroying it, I lived in the Middle East most of my life, I know what this people think , they might smile in your face but inside they hate you, the problem is not the people , the problem comes from Islam itself, when it tell them that Moslems should not take infidel as a manger or president or a leader, it's in they book why CNN and MSNBC and other station saying " we are not attacked by Islam, we attacked by AlQaida".. they like to have better rating maybe, but what attacked us in 9/11 was Islam in it's book .. American go and read .. not talk without reading .. I do speak Arabic and know what in Koran and Islam

    September 8, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
    • Randy Willen

      The invasion of Iraq resulted in the deaths of nearly 100,000 Iraqis. And the US has built an Embassy, the size of the Vatican, in the heart of Baghdad. Isn't that more of a symbol of domination ? Rather than an Islamic cultural center in Manhattan ? Anyone asked the millions of Iraqi refugees what they thought about the US Embassy in Baghdad ?

      September 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • Norton Veda

      Nice try, Mo. Writing in broken English is supposed to make us believe you were really in the Middle East ?

      September 8, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  20. Thomas

    In 90s our beloved late pop John Paul, had given land and permission to build mosque in Vatican city where 100% is Christians but Muslim never given chance to build a church in Mecca or Medina, not even allowed to worship Lord Jesus.

    Ask them, where the money is coming from?

    September 8, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
    • FormerNYCResident

      An that was after a Muslim had tried to kill him !!

      September 8, 2010 at 1:20 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.