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. Marty

    What were the motives of the person who initially proposed this project and what was he hoping to accomplish?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  2. MEY from UAE

    Hello to all,
    i want to ask ...well.... anyone who has an answer....would this still be the reaction if a church was being built there?
    i don't see the church doing such a "peaceful" job by their "Quran Burning Event"... what kind of a message are they sending?
    Even though iam a Muslim, i don't understand the point of building this mosque/ center...building a 10000 mosques is not the answer to " how to improve the relationships between Muslims and America?"... it never will ...it is a choice for either party to make on their own.

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

      Mey: I also had the same feeling when this debate started, but here is what changed my mind. It has nothing to do with the 9/11 site, this is happening across America. Mosques are being bombed at, being burnt down, being urinated in, people are bringing dogs in while people are praying, and this is happening all the way from New York to LA. Giving up on our right as Muslims to build an Islamic Center would do nothing but encourage the ignorant fools to try and get Mosques out of their neighbothoods, no matter where they live in America.

      September 7, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  3. Nathan

    How much financial aid have you received from Hamas to build the center?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  4. Dennis

    I can almost guarantee, this mosque will never hear the end of it. New Yorkers will protest it and burn Qurans on their front steps. I wonder how the US is going to react when some person does us all a favor and plants an IED at the front steps of the mosque. Hahaha I can bet money on that. So go ahead, plant your mosque in the roaring jungles of New York. Guess who is going to be constantly monitoring every move in your mosque. You guessed right! CIA, FBI, NYPD, New Yorkers, etc. etc. Let me reiterate... YOU WILL NEVER HEAR THE END OF IT AS LONG AS THAT MOSQUE IS ON GROUND ZERO.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
  5. jake

    Does anyone think the Imam is going to tell Larry King what he really thinks? This is all just PR spin. C'mon- this guy has ready refused to condemn Hamas, blamed the US for 9/11. Sure, he'll spin all the nice liberal pc non-sense about peace, love, and Muslims being non-violent. There's no way of knowing what this Imam really thinks or that he won't inspire of one of his followers to yell Allahu Akbar and go kill some infidels for his 72 virgins.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
    • Mobius007

      الله أكبر – The last words you'll ever hear...


      September 7, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
    • JS

      @Jake : Instead of relying on someone elses blog – can you please pick up the real quran and quote the verse that talks about 72 virgins .. I challenge you to produce the verse from the 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.

      "They intend to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will complete His light even though the disbelievers hate (it)" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 61, Verse 8.

      "There is no compulsion in religion. The right path has indeed become distinct from the wrong. So whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All Hearing, All Knowing" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verese 256.

      September 8, 2010 at 1:09 am |
  6. Jeff

    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why you chose THIS SPOT. You couldn't have gotten any closer to the WTC if you tried. The question is WHY this spot? The answer is not in your actions but in your INACTIONS. You knew well before that this would escalate anti Muslim feelings and it has. You have been tested by the American people and they haven't condemed you from building the $100,000,000 mosque – they simply asked you to relocate it. With the VIGOR, AGRESSIVENESS, LACK OF SENSITIVITY on your behalf only SHOWS YOUR LACK OF CARING. Just because you have a RIGHT to do this doesn't mean it's the RIGHT THING TO DO. Obviously your actions are hurting relations between Muslims and Americans YET you continue to pursue this action. Why should AMERICANS bend for YOUR actions? Any other religion, with so much backlash, would simply move. They wouldn't want the headache. But that's where Muslims and Americans are different. Muslims don't think the same way Americans do. Our minds don't work the same. Things you think are wrong we don't think to be wrong and vice versa. On the other hand you have to look at common sense. If 70% of the population, or even 20%, are offended by what is viewed as a VICTORY MOSQUE, why antagonize and provoke us?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  7. Think about it

    America does not have a nice history. Look at slavery, Christians carried out those acts. 1968 MLK was killed so it was not too long ago when Christians did some bad things in history. Should we burn Bibles – no. It was a portion of the Christian Society that carried out these acts and we don't judge them as a whole. Just like Germans, there is about 51 million Germans in the United States alone and the Holcaust took 11 Million lives. We are not buring German flags and raiding all the German towns here in America. There is a group of so called Muslims making a bad wrap for everyone. Burning Quarans is not an answer. There are good Muslims in the World so please try to respect them because the good ones also respect the other religions of the World.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
    • Jeff

      And there are lots of bad Muslims. There is also an IMAM who is antagonizing and provoking Americans by choosing the one spot that would make Americans more pissed than anywhere – right next to Ground Zero. There is no reason for the most expensive Islamic Center in the US to be located there and hurt so many Americans – especially when Muslims and Americans are becoming more divisive BECAUSE OF IT. This arguing back and forth didn't happen until the groundwork was laid out for this Islamic Center and now it's diving the nation. Is it worth it or would it be better just to move it? Your mosque get's built, it doesn't hurt you at all, but the rest of America is happy.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  8. Steve H.

    You said its for everyone in a interview you described all the areas then you said the worship and prayer area would be for Muslims. My question is will you only allow Muslims in the worship/prayer area and if so why? do you see Christians not allowing outsiders to visit? Ive also heard what you say in english here and what you say in your native tongue in interviews overseas is completely different I honestly don't trust you and think this is a power play.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
    • Born in the USA

      What is the Imam Feisal's native tongue? Are you fluent in that language? How did you find out what he was saying was different- did someone tell you or was it the news media????

      September 8, 2010 at 8:17 am |
  9. mowak

    never ever trust a muslim and america will pay i huge price there after if you let islam to spread

    September 7, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
    • Duk Sausage

      ok, back to school for you.......before posting your opinion please make it sound educated.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
    • Dawn

      Mr. (Ms.?) Sausage,

      Your responses make me giggle. Thanks.

      September 7, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
  10. Levi Larrington

    Are you just a patsy to the Saudi friends of the Bush family that financed this whole thing as a wedge for the 2010 election?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  11. Shaheem W. Ali

    Assalamu alaikum & Ramadhan Kareem, Imam.
    I am proud to be an American Muslim convert of 17 years (Alhamdulillah). I understand why the NY Muslim Community would want to celebrate the opening of the Center on 9/11 (first weekend day after Eid & and as a symbol of a new beginning of understanding after 9/11 between Muslims and non-Muslim.) However, understanding that many (non-Muslim) Americans have been fed hateful, inaccurate, and anger-provoking propaganda as to why the NY Muslim Community is celebrating the opening up of the Islamic Center, Mosque & Community Center (claiming it is to rub the noses of Americans into what happened on 9/11, sign of Terrorists Victory, etc.) on 9/11, coupled with the fact that Eid is a three-day event, it seems that it would be better judgment and an affirmative show of respect for other people's (albeit, misinformed) positions on this issue, if the Center is opened on September 12th, rather than September 11th. Since Eid begins on Friday (9/10), the American Muslim Community as a whole can celebrate the Eid Prayer on Friday (9/10), reach out to Churches, Synagogues, Temples, Civic Organizations, etc. on 9/11 to show solidarity against Terrorism of all sorts, and celebrate the opening of the Center on September 12th. Muslims nationwide can uniformly celebrate Eid on the third day after showing solidarity, support and patriotism with other Americans on 9/11. In this way, we are praying the Eid prayer on the first day of Eid, using the opportunity of 9/11 to show solidarity with other Americans, Patriotism to the USA, and take a proactive approach by standing up against Terrorism with other Americans, showing other Americans that we support our great country, publicly stand against Terrorism as an entire American Muslim community, reach out to dialogue with other Americans of different faiths, viewpoints, cultures, etc., and on the last day of our three-day Eid holiday, celebrate our holiday with family & friends, while celebrating the opening up of the new Center. Since each Muslim calendar year changes by 11 days per year compared to the non-Muslim calendar, this would be the only time in which we accomodate others by celebrating on the third day, for many, many years to come. It is about time that we become more inclusive in American society, while keeping our own Islamic identity. Integrating more into the American society as a whole creates less distance among this diverse American experiment that is America. When Brown v. Board of Education was decided, African Americans did not have to change their culture or identity to integrate into the school system, yet the African-American/Caucasian American students, as a whole, fostered a better understanding and respect between the two races/cultures, while they both retained their own unique identities. So too, if Americans who ar eMuslim by faith reach out to various communities as a whole, we can retain our distinct identity while concurrently increasing and strengthening the fabric of American society as One Diverse Society (E Pluribus Unum), loyal to our Constitution, Freedoms, Opportunities, and country. I am certainly on board with this and I believe the vast amount of Muslims in America are, as well. However, you currently have the platform and can be a positive catalyst for this to occur. I ask ICNA, ISNA, CAIR, etc to get the word out about this concept and lets make it happen, Inshallah (God willing).

    September 7, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  12. Pupu

    It is certainly your right to contruct the Islamic center in lower Manhattan, but do you really think that is in good taste? I mean, we would have to right to build a Victoria's Secret next to your center, but would that be very nice of us to do? And would Muslims respect our right to build a Victoria's Secret next to their center or would they blow it up?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
    • Think about it

      Are you saying they don't like sexual clothing? Have you seen belly dancers: originated from that side of the world.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  13. Raza Khan

    My question, as a Muslim would be, what country other than US (people in this country) is funding the Islamic Center? I do not want Saudi Arabian or Egyptian funds whatsoever for this purpose...... Mind you, are you not aware that all of 19 hijackers on 9/11 came from just those two countries and have spoiled the name of Islam for the rest 1 billion Muslims worldwide.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  14. Hussein

    you have been saying this center is aiming to create a better picture for Muslim Americans and Islam in the USA. my question to you is: do you have to build your center that close to G.Z? can't you build it 10 blocks furthur? as you can see this place is not built yet and it is making all of these debates, and are you willing to see any muslim get hurt becasue of you insisting to build this center so close to G.Z?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
    • Raza Khan

      hmm.. 10 blocks away.... are you sure...wait.... maybe 20 blocks....ok..... no no.... wait... 100 blocks.??

      Either you build or you do not.... I am not sure what distance away from Ground Zero criteria one can apply!

      Just a thought!

      September 7, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
    • Jeff

      Raza – you're wrong. The Islamic Center needs to be AWAY from Ground Zero. Perhaps midtown would be fine. It is being built "virtually" on top of it being a couple of blocks away. That's just plain stupid. Anybody would know that this was going to start a backlash so don't act like this is news to anybody. If they chose Times Square I don't think anybody would have said anything. They can pick anywhere for America's most expensive mosque – but not Ground Zero. This IMAM has bad intentions from the start.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
    • Bruce

      We have the right of choice in the US. We can excercise are rights such as freedom of belief and we can relinquish them such as refraning from desrespecting and abusing the rights of others. The choices is the individuals. The wisdom of forcing a community to except such a blatent affront in the mist of the present conflic does not seem to be if the intrests of peace nor Islam. But then niethers is poisining little girls who wish to read nor blowing up old people and childern in the name of God.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  15. Walt

    Hey, if some nut wants to burn the Koran, let him. It's a free country. There are probably plenty of nut cases
    doing it already, anyway. Just don't make a big media deal out of it. It doesn't deserve it.

    If someone wants to build an Islamic center, let him. It's a free country. The second they start inciting violence,
    shut it down. Simple.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
    • Duk Sausage

      Finally, someone with some sense....

      thank you

      September 7, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
    • Ramon F Herrera

      "Just don't make a big media deal out of it."

      It is us, the ones who click, change channels and post comments.

      The media provides the supply, we provide the demand.

      September 7, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
    • Mr.Blues

      The problem is they like to grow their membership to 15-20% of the population, then they start with the violence. They dont cause problems when they are the minority..

      September 8, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  16. Shariq

    Jeff: I grew up in Pakistan, but went to a Catholic school. I was asked by some friends to join them in attending churches around Pittsburgh after 9/11 and talk about the moderate views of Islam, and how the Quran is clearly against the killing of innocent people, no matter what their faith is. A good number of churches refused to let us speak, we were heckled at in many others (people screaming liar! liar! while we were trying to speak). After one person in the Washington, PA region nearly attacked me in a church parking lot, my wife forbid from doing it again. If I didn't fear for my safety, I would still be doing it. There are two major Muslim organizations in the US, ICNA and ISNA. Both have been very pro-active in not only a PR campaign but also speaking to Muslims in the US about how one cannot be a person of the Islamic faith and candone terrorism. Many of these muslims have appeared on CNN, MSNBC etc. while most have been ignored by most of the media. They are a business like any other. The news idustry has been hurt more than most and journalists therefore, have been forced to trade their integrity for whatever sells. Most Americans don't want to hear that Muslims are people just like them. They have have crazy right wingers and crazy leftists, but majority like Americans tend to have moderate point of vew. Unfortunately, it is the minority on the polar ends of society, here and there, that always steals the limelight.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  17. Garion Dillingham

    Do you think you and your wife will be gunned down in NYC or in Rural America? The eye in the Sky is watching you.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
  18. Iqbal khan

    Adhan call for muslim prayer
    check it out then post call for prayers of other religeons

    September 7, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
    • JS

      Just to clarify for non Arabic brothers – Allah means "The God:" in Arabic and is not a "Muslim God" . Jesus PBUH used to refer to God as Alah in his language armaic

      September 8, 2010 at 1:05 am |
  19. Braveheart32

    What would it take for you to say the truth, truth like Muslims can never befriend Christians and Jews. Muslims must fight the infidals. Jihad is a part of Islam and all Muslims must choose this way to please Allah. Beat your wife, it's halal to marry a six year old girl. Deception (Takiya) you can lie to anyone as long as it benefits Islam.
    Also please tell Americans that there is nothing like moderate and radical, Islam is Islam and you cannot cherry pick .

    September 7, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
    • Duk Sausage

      hmmm good point......NOT....... have you ever met a Muslim.... not an extreme Muslim, but an everyday peaceful, law abiding Muslim. you would be shocked at how many there really is....

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

      Never came across the work "Taqiyaa" in the Quran .. I mean the real Quran ( not the blogs) .. This is what the real quran says :
      "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.

      "There is no compulsion in religion. The right path has indeed become distinct from the wrong. So whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All Hearing, All Knowing" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verese 256.

      Fighting is only permitted in self defence in Islam ..
      "And what is the matter with you that you do not fight in the cause of Allah and for those weak, ill treated and oppressed among men, women and children whose only cry is; 'Our Lord, rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors and raise for us from you one who will protect and raise for us from you one who will help"' The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 4, Verse 75.
      Islam stands for peace and against terror .. All those who people including people with Muslim names who harm innocent people are enemies of Islam and Muslims
      Allah means "The God" in Arabic

      September 8, 2010 at 3:29 am |
  20. Raymond

    Is it okay to build a Christian church within a few blocks of the Great Dome in Jerusalem?

    September 7, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
    • A Balanced Thinker

      There already are many, many churches (of all denominations) within blocks of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem! Again, do your homework before making assumptions about Muslims which are just baseless, and which, frankly, make a lot of you sound like a bunch of pre-Holocaust Germans, with their fears about Jews taking over the world. Be careful! Rhetoric is powerful stuff, and we're heading towards dangerous territory with our anti-Islam baiting.

      September 7, 2010 at 9:06 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.