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. DFPawlowski

    My 1st Question: Feisal Abdul Rauf have you ever engaged in the practice of taqiyyah, or "holy deception"?
    My 2nd Question: Is Saudia Arabia funding any of the proposed mosque for lower Manhattan near ground zero?

    Under taqiyyah, a Muslim is allowed to lie and say anything to pull the wool over the eyes of the so-called infidel or "unbeliever". My 3rd Question: Is your proposed mosque part of this strategy?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
    • Shariq

      I am amazed at the little tidbits of information people read from somewhere and consider themselves experts. Here are some facts:

      1. Imam is a Sufi/Sunni Muslim
      2. Taqqaiya is only a Shiite tradition. It has not been prescribed in the Quran but was adopted more in the form of a fatwa (or religous legislation issued by an Imam),
      3. Taqqaiya stands for lying about your religous beliefs. Some Shiites believe that in life threatening situations, like when they may be in a hostile Sunni enviornment, they can lie and say that they are Sunnis. That they will be forgiven as long as they repent and become Shiites again once they are safe. Sunnis don't have any such tradition.

      September 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
  2. Bruce

    What is your policy toward a Muslim who converts to another religion?

    How do you feel about Iran's decision to stone to death a Muslim woman accused of adultery?

    What would you advise your fellow Muslims in America to do if their daughter wanted to marry a non-Muslim?

    What is your attitude toward homosexuals?

    Will your mosque be secular or not?

    Why should America be open to Islam when Islam is refuses people of other religions many religious freedoms.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  3. Peter W

    Everything I need to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11/01.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
    • Duk Sausage

      sad..... apparently you didn't learn much

      September 7, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
    • tolerance

      do you know any muslims personally, have you ever learned to look at the person not their religion? Americans have become afriad of what they don't know, we aim our hate at a huge group of men, women and children, it wasn't them who attacked us it was people who didn't care and were blinded by hate. Do we really want to stoop to that level?

      September 7, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
  4. BD70

    Please fact check before you go off on American Muslims. It would enlighten you alot.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
  5. Timothy Donohue

    Would you be at peace within if we the United States, the Catholics and Christians of the United States, blew up say the Kaaba and then built a center near that site? Would you be at peace within knowing the people who destroyed your soil were going to build upon it a center for the beliefs that destroyed it?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
    • Duk Sausage

      dammit people... cut it out..... do you people not remember what you learned in school... do your homework and get the correct answer, not the answer that sounds good.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
    • TJ

      If you are responding to this post, there are two questions, no answers. What are the supposed correct answers you speak of?

      September 7, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
    • purusha

      Dear Timothy Donohue

      Very well said. In your note there are moral, etick and consideration. The truth is always clear and simple and we know that truth in our hearts.

      Kind regards

      September 8, 2010 at 9:45 am |
    • TJ

      I am in no way a racist (that isn't the best word), or a hater of Islam, all I am speaking from, as you so elegantly put it, is from the heart. The hearts of the American people are sensitive and apiece because of a few militant Islamists who despise the Western world. Down from my house is an Mosque I have no problems but on such, now, sacred soil that is Ground Zero is blasphemy and disrespectful injustice to the American heart.

      September 8, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  6. Johnny

    How is it that Muslims around the world want to kill the pastor in Florida who wants to burn the Koran yet we are expected to feel empathy for a mosque on ground zero? How much money did you pay worthless CNN?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
    • Duk Sausage

      Not true... you fail.... now please go and do some research.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
    • Louis

      Oh, I see. Some Muslims from various places around the world clearly means all Muslims.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
    • Mobius007


      September 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  7. coexist

    How can I help my friends and colleagues see the difference between extremists and the average muslim (or Christian or Jew or Hindu)? How can an average American like myself show the rest of the world that we do not fear you or your religion?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
    • Shariq

      By continuing to respect and adhere to the great principles that this country was built upon. By allowing every American to have his/her freedom to practice any religion that he/she wants. Bin Laden said that he will forever change the way Americans live. Don't let him succeed. Stand behind this Islamic Center and other Mosque, Temple, Church, Synagogue that any American wants to build in this country. The haters never cease to hate. They will hate the native Americans, then they will hate the Catholics, then the Jews, then the Japanese, then the blacks, then the communists and now of course the Muslims.. don't let this vicious cycle continue.

      September 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  8. Iqbal khan

    Hello you all improve Ur knowledge check out the following...

    September 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  9. Asher

    A center that helps brings peace and understanding is needed, but how do you intend to prevent radical or fundamentalist Muslims from joining the community center? Also, how will you maintain its peaceful mission without offending or provoking violence from fellow Muslims who have hatred toward the US and Americans?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
    • A curious Wildcat

      How do you prevent some right wing radical from joining a church?

      September 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
    • Shariq

      Violence from fellow Muslims is the least of his worries. People have very recently thrown pipe bombs at Mosques in America, barged in and urinated on prayer rugs, burnt construction materials, etc. None of this has been done by Muslims. If the Imam has any sense, he should fear for his life, not from Muslims.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  10. A Khan

    When I read all comments, I see there are many many opportunists and trying to do politics with this. This is America, we respect freedom and diverse religion as exist in NY today. If he follows the city code and law of this country, nothing should stop him.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
    • A curious Wildcat

      For a long time I was against the mosque...but when I think about what it means to be an American...we have the freedoms of Religion and Assembly. That is what makes our country great. As long as this group is not radical, I see no fault. They have followed all rules and gone through all proper channels. And, if this gentlemen is in fact a U.S. Citizen...it is a shame if he is not able to celebrate his freedom.

      September 7, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
    • Mobius007

      I agree. This Center will be one of the most watched in the nation, likely by multiple intelligence agencies. At the first sign of radicalism, action will be taken.

      Build it, do good work for the community, and prove to us what we hear so often – that Islam is a religion of peace.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  11. Jake

    While I support the building of the mosque and our constiution, I am curious what plans you have you to add to the community, what kind of programs will you run to better the community, what will day to day tasks be like at the mosque?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
    • A curious Wildcat

      I too am curious. As long as nothing radical or detrimental to the United States is going on...why not? It's their constitutional right!

      September 7, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  12. Edmond R.

    How does anyone prevent this proposed Islamic center from becoming a de facto shrine to the 10 hijackers who perished at the WTC, devout muslims all; some of whose ashes likely fell on and about the address?

    Are not all the muslims who were killed by the 10 hijackers considered martyrs to the cause of Islam because they died during an act of jihad by devout muslims?

    Is your firm desire not to relocate the proposed Islamic center linked to the fact some ashes from those who died that day likely fell on and about that location?

    If not, why don't you wish to relocate the proposed center away from the immediate area where the dust clouds from the collapsed towers fell?

    Do you seek to use 9/11 to convert non-muslims to Islam, and intend this center, so far designed to be built only at this location, to be used to achieve that goal?

    Are you accepting video questions only because you wish to identify private citizens who may be against your plans, for future reference by muslim activists?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
    • A curious Wildcat

      As a Christian, I ask this question. If the September 11th Hijackers had acted in the name of Jesus...would you be opposed to a Christian Youth Center being built on the site of Ground Zero? And please be honest in your answer.

      September 7, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
    • Raza Khan

      1. No. According to an average Muslim, those 19 hijackers were terrorists. Nothing less!

      2. Muslims do not believe in ashes and neither do we make shrines of dead people. Dead are dead – gone!

      3. I would wish that they re-locate. But how far do we have to relocate from Ground Zero. Do you have a standard. Is 5 miles, 10 miles, 50 miles, 100 miles.... What mileage would make you happy and why?

      4. Islamic center will have a swimming pool. So if you think that that they can convert some one to Islam over a swimming pool lesson, then perhaps YMCA "T" has a long way to go!

      5. The video question is CNN thingie!!!..... For some reason, CNN likes video questions... remember election debates or you were not paying attention to those video questions?


      September 7, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
    • Edmond R.

      The Prophet Mohammed used his sword on his fellow human beings in order to spread Islam.

      No fundamentalist muslim who undertakes violent jihad in the name of Allah is betraying the fundamentals of Islam.

      Jesus Christ used his heart, his whole heart, and nothing but his heart to preach his message of love.

      Any so-called christian who engaged in any act of terrorism would be betraying the fundamental message of Jesus.

      Also, there have been a number of churches in the Ground Zero neighborhood for years, at least one for hundreds of years.

      September 7, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
    • JS

      @EdmondR :
      Thomas Carlyle in 'Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History,' 1840

      "The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only."
      "A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest. He was to kindle the world, the world’s Maker had ordered so."

      Gibbon in 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' 1823

      The good sense of Muhammad despised the pomp of royalty. The Apostle of God submitted to the menial offices of the family; he kindled the fire; swept the floor; milked the ewes; and mended with his own hands his shoes and garments. Disdaining the penance and merit of a hermit, he observed without effort of vanity the abstemious diet of an Arab.

      Jesus Christ Peace Be Upon Him in his entire life time did not have more than 200 followers . Bible says – offer the other cheek if someone slaps you .. Do Christians follow that ? Modern day Christians are following Paul and not Jesus PBUH . There is not one state in Bible where Jesus Christ PBUH says – Worship me unequivocally ..correct me if I am wrong . Peace

      September 7, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
    • Edmond R.

      It is disingenuous, at best, to ask how far away from Ground Zero is far enough to build any Islamic Center/mosque.
      As though the area blanketed by the dust clouds from the collapses of the towers weren't clear. As though the devastation maybe never happened. Build any Islamic center anywhere away from the physical harm jihadis the caused. Where it can never be seen as a memorial to the 10 devout muslim jihadis, some of whose ashes likely fell there.

      And I am familiar with Gibbon and Carlyle. Neither of them were American victims of Islamic jihad in the violent tradition of the Prophet Mohammed. (Peace be unto everyone )

      September 7, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
    • JS

      @Edmond :
      "It's a hard choice, but we think, it's worth it." – US Secretary of State, Madeline Albright's response2 to a May 11, 1996, 60 Minutes question about the over half a million children killed by the US sanctions on Iraq.
      Anyone (individual or nation ) who kills innocent people are murderers . I see no difference between lunatics who comitted heinous crime in NY and the dropping of atom bombs on innocent civilians in Japan . People can try putting the cloak of religion to justify their acts.. but that does not mean – it is condoned by religion of Islam or for that matter any religion . BTW 400 Muslims also died on Sep 11

      " ... If anyone slew a person unless it is for murder or for spreading mischief in the land it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole humanity." The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 5, Verse 32

      "I command you to do ten things: you must not kill a woman or a child, or an elderly person; do not cut down trees, or vandalize homes, or wound a sheep or camel except if you must eat it; do not drown a palm tree, or burn it, do not be treacherous; do not be cowardly; and you will pass by people who have devoted themselves to monastery life: leave them alone with their devotions." (Book Tarikh At-Tabari, V.3, p.210)

      Terror has no excuses, whether it is carried out by an individual or by a state.
      Sorry – My english is not that good but my intentions are .

      September 8, 2010 at 12:49 am |
    • JS

      The first caliph of Islam, Abu Bakr is reported to have commanded about the rules for war:

      "I command you to do ten things: you must not kill a woman or a child, or an elderly person; do not cut down trees, or vandalize homes, or wound a sheep or camel except if you must eat it; do not drown a palm tree, or burn it, do not be treacherous; do not be cowardly; and you will pass by people who have devoted themselves to monastery life: leave them alone with their devotions." (Book Tarikh At-Tabari, V.3, p.210)

      Terror has no excuses, whether it is carried out by an individual or by a state.

      September 8, 2010 at 1:01 am |
  13. A curious Wildcat

    I would like to know how many New Yorkers are actually opposed to the Mosque. Also, I would like to know how many Mosques are ALREADY present near ground zero. I would also like to add that NYC is different from the rest of the country in that it is HEAVILY congested. A few blocks in NYC is the equivalent density of a few miles in rural Kentucky. Make no mistake, I am a fiercely conservative Christian, and the United States is a "Christian" nation. However, we are also a nation that is built upon liberty...and it is unfair...and despicable...for us to be critical of an established religion seeking to abide in TWO significant freedoms: Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Assembly. I am disgusted by the fear mongering that has sprung up across this country. This blatant bigotry is precisely the cause of September 11...and we should be ashamed of ourselves. We are civilized Americans...not barbaric thugs...we need to act like it.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  14. why

    Do Muslims want power over other faiths? Is their plan the same as the Natzi party?? Islam is not a religion, right?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
    • Duk Sausage

      wow.... go back and do some research....please people. take the time to find out for yourself.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  15. Arnold Goth

    Where is the money coming from? Do you understand the difference between the right to do something & the wisdom in doing it? Do you understand that the American public needs, very badly, to hear that real Muslims hate what the hijackers did & what the Taliban is doing?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  16. Allah

    is it true that PLO was created by the Soviets?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  17. Nathan

    idk know how the government can be so stupid about this. if they truely know that the islamic people want to build a better relationship with americans, then they should also know that in history, after they take over or have a "victory" against a non-islamic religion, they place a mosque as a sign of victory.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
    • purusha

      Dear Nathan.

      Yes, you are right, to see a mosk there would be blasphemy. That is why the only right thing to do at the site 9/11 is to build an interfait/multifait tempel. A beautiful building with architecture from all the great cultures. I know how christians, hindus, buddhists and many other faiths, which have as the core in their religion – love your fellowman and help ever, hurt never – would respect such a project and be able to work together for the one GOD who is love.

      The question is – could a ideology like islam with all their suicide killing of innocent people all over the world day in and day out – be a loving part of it???????

      If the iman really want to connect with the right thoughts – thats is what he should suggest.


      September 8, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  18. Allah

    if a black man wears a bow tie... is it safe to assume he is a muslim??

    September 7, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • Duk Sausage

      Assume means what........

      September 7, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  19. George

    Do you think if the mosque is built at ground zero, that certain nefarious persons will denigrate it, thereby only causing more offense worldwide in the thin skinned Islamic community.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  20. Keith

    Mr. Ambassador of Death, Is it true that since the Israelis have placed vats of hog lard on buses, there have been no suicide bombings by muslims? You know, do not pass go, do not collect 72 virgins because the bomber was defiled?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
    • Mobius007


      September 7, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
    • Duk Sausage


      September 7, 2010 at 8:05 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.