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. DC

    I would ask how he would like to be killed and where he would like to be burried. His answer would clearly indicate that he doesn't belong on our soil building a hate/victory mosque.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  2. Narasimhan

    Kaaba which is the hold muslim site was originally a hindu temple of kaabaleeshwarar(other name of shiva).
    Will the Imam please destroy the Kaaba and give it back to the hindus. Mecca belongs to Hindus.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  3. MIchele

    Do you really expect anyone to believe that this is anything more than display of dominance? For example the Dome of the Rock over King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem or converting competing religion’s buildings into mosques like Church of the Holy Wisdom in Istanbul to show their dominance. Now I undersatand that ground zero was not a religious site, but I truly believe THAT THE INTENT IS THE SAME.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  4. Russ

    I can't believe the number of people that would throw the first amendment out the window because of fear... THAT is what scares me... Home of the brave?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
    • CoffeeClue

      Not fear. Respect.

      September 7, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  5. Narasimhan

    Muslims not only built mosques on destroyed churches they destroyed many holy hindu temples and built mosque on it.
    Lord Ram's temple was destroyed in Ayodhya and a big mosque was built. Somnath temple was destroyed 17 times and mosque was built. Who cares for all these?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  6. Elizabeth

    Mr. Rauf, what would people of the islamic faith say if americans built a community center 2 blocks from Mecca? Even our own countrymen would oppose this as insensitive, inflammatory, offensive and arrogant. Why does it have to be so close to Ground Zero – hollowed soil.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
    • Shariq

      Elizabeth: There are a lot of things that happen in Saudi Arabia that you wouldn't want happening here. Setting your bar so low on your freedoms will come back and bite you some day. Personally, I as a Muslim don't see a problem with a Mosque being two blocks from Mecca. The attendance will be a bit low, but hey if that's what you want. Unfortunately, that's not what the Saudi's want. I grew in Karachi, Pakistan. The busiest part of that city is called Saddar. You can call it the city-center. If you stood facing East on the main road in Saddar, you would be looking at a huge statue of Jesus that stands in front of the St. Patrick Church. This is part of the St. Patrick school campus. Right next to it is the best girls school and college in town called St. Josephs. On the other side of St. Josephs is St. Pauls Catholic school that I attended. Most of my teachers were Catholic, for some reason stricter than most. They always had canes in their hands and you would get a whack for the most minor infractions of the school conduct code.. but I digress. Many of my fellow students were Hindus and Christians. We got along well and not only just respected each other but became life long friends. Sadly, that wasn't the case every where in Pakistan. We were from educated families. There was a vast majority of that country that laid in the darkness of illiteracy, and there it was a diffent story. Minorities were ill treated, Hindu temples were not allowed to be built, Churches were burnt down. My parents were able to explain it to me and my siblings, by telling us that this is what happens when someone is illiterate and doesn't know the difference between right and wrong. My late father, who was educated in the US in the 60s, always used to talk fondly about America. He wanted me to get away from all that mess and come to America. America was a beacon of light not only for him, but most educated Pakistanis at the time. The priciples that it stood for, the freedoms it promised, and how enlightened people were here in general. He wanted me to come here not for financial reasons, I could have gone to the Middle East and made more (or at least saved more), and I could have been closer to home. He wanted me to come here and enjoy the quality of life that he so envied. Unfortunately, the strength of that promise of America, the promise of the freedoms, turned out to be weak. It came crashing down with a couple of buildings on 9/11. The terrorists, from my part of the world, were able to transfuse their brand of thinking and their brand of hatred here that day. I pray that it is not too late and America will be America again.

      September 7, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  7. Milton

    Why they do not allow us to build Church in Saudi Arabia and some Arab countries? Some of these countries, do not even allow us to wear a Cross or carry a Bible with us. All these things, Custom will throw away as soon as you pass thru the Custom.

    Why they want to create problems by constructing this Mosque next Ground Zero? Since Governor Paterson suggested different site, why can’t they accept and peacefully carry out their mission?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
    • Mustafa

      because we proclaim and really believe in Democracy where as Saudia, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, and Pakistan are so called Islamic Republic sadly....!!!

      If you want to be like them, then take one of the state of US and proclaim it as Christian Republic and leave rest of us- US ians to be a real United States of America.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
    • John D.

      the U.S. needs to set an example for these countries

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

    Why won't you reconsider changing the location of the mosque?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  9. jake

    Why 72 Virgins for killing the infidels? 71 too few? Is 73 too many? If he blows himself up while building the bomb, does he still get credit?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
    • JS

      Some of the comments here just show ignorance about Islam . Can someone pick up the Quran and tell me which verse of the Quran mentions 72 virgins . Can someone enlighten me please . USA dropped nuclear bombs on innocent civilians in Japan . By that token – no American should be allowed to step into Japan . How can a bunch of lunatics represent 1.5 Billion Muslims worldwide .

      Mr.Narasimham : Last time I checked , a bunch of hundu fanatics burnt alive a Christian priest and his two sons in a Car in the state of Orissa . Do you want me talk about how Hindusim officially sanctions Apartheid . Do you want me to remind you how Brahmims like you treat low caste Hindus in India .

      September 7, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
    • Charlie

      You can find the answer to that in the Koran.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  10. John D.

    i believe that Muslims have all the rights to build a Islamicas center near ground zero because every Muslim is different from the other there are radical Muslims and there are Muslims who believe in the faith of Islam and live united with others the United States was built on freedom and liberty and Muslims have all the right to do what the like it is like saying every black man can not hold a gun because they will be a threat to the public and only black men can not buy weapons it doesn't seem logical for anyone to accuse every Muslim of being a terrorist because the actions of some.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      don't dilute yourself into thinking that everyone who opposes the mosque at Ground Zero believes all Muslims are terrorists. Most of us just find that an Islamic at that location is not appropriate due to that little day in history dated Sept 11, 2001. You see it was a clear sunny day when about 50,000 men and women minding their own business, raising families and paying off student loans were targeted like ducks in barrel by followers of Islam fighting Jihad on foreign soil. You may have gotten complacent and made peace with it but brother, there are those of us who will NEVER forget.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  11. Cherri Huang

    Why do you want to name your Islamic center Cordoba after the Islamic capital of conquered Spain , captured in 711 by Muslim army? Are you trying to imply that Islam has 'captured' WTC after the 911 incident ? Do you think a less controversial name would be more appropriate and reflective of your intention to build a 'bridge' between Islam and others?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  12. John D.

    i believe that Muslims have all the rights to build a Islamic center near ground zero because every Muslim is different from the other there are radical Muslims and there are Muslims who believe in the faith of Islam and live united with others the United States was built on freedom and liberty and Muslims have all the right to do what the like it is like saying every black man can not hold a gun because they will be a threat to the public and only black men can not buy weapons it doesn't seem logical for anyone to accuse every Muslim of being a terrorist because the actions of some.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  13. George A. Romero

    Are you willing to publically denouce, in the name of Islam, the stoning of that woman in Iran.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  14. Steve H.

    See also what gets to me is all these people say islam is a religion of peace then in same thing they talk like oh we better be careful or we will make them mad and it could lead to more US deaths. To me that clearly shows its not for peace. The rest of the world acts like we should be scared of them look what was done to Iraq over one act of terrorism do you not care about your children you pull it again same or worse will happen. We are not hear to let you get together and walk all over us. We want peace but quite saying you mean peace and then seek our downfall while talking to others it won't end well with you if you do. If instead you let us live and you live to without trying to invade and take over our culture and change our laws we can live at peace but come on we have seen what has gone down in europe and the uk that its not about peace and you guys have bigger plans its not a joke to us your pushing the wrong country.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  15. Verimius

    He's a Sufi Moslem. If you don't know what that means, you don't know anything.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  16. joe

    ask him if it should be premitted to biuld the mosque near the site and burial ground of some manny peaple even though it insults and is pain full to their fammilies .......and how he feels the law should be about burning qurans....no duoble standerd... im againnts the buring but u cant have a duable stndrd

    September 7, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  17. Sunset

    If Islam preaches sensitivity, this is the time for muslims to show it, build the mosque somewhere else.... that will definately be a good guesture and goodwill with Americans will go a long way.... Dont be so rigid you muslims...

    September 7, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  18. Bob

    Placing a mosque at ground zero is a very clear statement in the muslim world: by detroying a western symbol you can replace it with a muslim one. This has nothing to do with being nice, or supporting religious freedom. It is an intentional symbol, a call to arms if you will for the muslim world. Freedom of speech is protected up to a point, you can't yell "FIRE" in a corwded theater and then when people get hurt claim freedom of speech. This is the same. The US cannot allow people to declare war on it from its own soil.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
    • alvi

      it is not being built at ground zero, but two blocks away. i think there should be an interfaith section in it if it were to be ever built

      September 7, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  19. Jon`

    Will they have a reality tv show about the lashings, quartering and stonings us infidels can tune into ?

    September 7, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
    • Think about it

      The United States has history books filled of that kind of violence. Christian violence. Nothing new.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  20. benson

    expect something like this:

    hey Rauf... do you condemn hamas as a terrorist organization?

    Rauf: I will not be drawn into politics... however i will say this... America sucks and they created Osama Bin Laden. 9/11 is Americas fault since they killed more muslims than we have killed Americans... but i will not be drawn into politics...

    September 7, 2010 at 8:13 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.