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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. Muslim Skeptic

    Building this $100,000,000 Islamic Center at its current location was a well calculated and deliberate move – it's proximaty to Ground Zero. It was done to see how far the Muslims can push the envelope in America. There is no other logical reason for choosing this location. They have 2 small ones there now, which are fine, and there is NO LOGICAL reason to build the most expensive Islamic Center in America so close to the biggest terror disaster committed by a group of Muslims that follow the Quran more to the tee than the moderates. The moderates are only holding back because US Law doesn't allow them to practice the true evils of the Quran.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  2. susan

    To me, he looks like a tired man, overwhelmed by the bigotry and hatred he has encountered.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  3. Naor

    I enjoyed your first two questions listed at the end of the article. An additional question I would like asked would be this:

    If Islam is the religion of peace it so claims itself to be, than why couldn't Muslims have protested 9/11 like they did the Danish Cartoonist's depiction of Mohammad? After the cartoons were published, there were mass riots across Europe and the Middle East. Tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands the world over) of Muslims took to the streets to protest what they claimed was "a defamation of Islam" by the Danish Cartoonist's drawing of Mohammad. They claimed it was "Against the teachings of Islam". Yet people still claim that what happened on 9/11, where Radical Islamic terrorists ran planes into the Twin Towers, were also against the teachings of Islam. They too, said that Muslims committing terrorism in the name of Islam was also "Against the teachings of Islam." So my question to the imam would be this. If both the Danish cartoons and 9/11 were considered "defamation of Islam", where were the Muslims protesting across the globe after 9/11? If they mustered tens of thousands to protest a cartoon's defamation of Islam, why could they not muster the same numbers globally to protest what happened on 9/11? Surly if Islam is a religion of peace, than Islamic terrorists murdering in the name of Islam is a much graver offense or "defamation" of Islam than a cartoon? While condemnations were there by Muslim organizations, where were the numbers in the streets? Why can Muslims so easily protest against a cartoon, yet they can not match said enthusiasm in protesting 9/11?

    I know the wording is a little bit weird, but I will leave the semantics down to you (since you ARE the journalist here!). How you word it is not important, however I would very much like to see how this imam answers the basic concept of this question.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  4. Bobby Ray

    Bin Laden tried to blow up this Iman. That in itself makes the Iman OK in my book.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
  5. txdad

    1. wonder how many folks that say the muslims are insensitive are the same folks who scream so loudly about dems being pc?
    2. i believe in our constitution and religious freedom for ALL. this does not make me mamby pampy. it does however make me a patriot.
    3. no, you couldnt build a christian church in some muslim countries. they dont have religious fredom. that's what's supposed to make our nation different.
    4. this imams congregation has been in that same area for 20 years
    5. the book burning sociopath in florida is an embarassment to our country, our ideals, our morals.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
  6. Joe

    You are right M & M.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
  7. Cathy

    When Sharia law is implemented in the U.S., as you endorse, what will happen to the vast entertainment and other industries that are the main stay of our economy? Music, movies, television shows, video games, book publishing, fashion, sports will be forbidden in whole or in part.

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

    Sir: Clearly you have the right to build this establishment. However, also clearly, you are causing real,significant pain to many of the family of victims, the residents of the neighborhood, and many Americans everywhere; as well as significantly *increasing* tensions between Muslim Americans and other citizens. This tension clearly will last for the long-term, not just the short-term. Why do you persist in insisting that the center not be moved to an alternate location, when doing so would diffuse a volitile situation and would be a nice gesture which would help others feel less pain? Wouldn't THAT be more in accordance with the teaching of Islam as well as the wisest and most diplomatic thing to do? The more you persist in this the more pain you cause to others; how could that possibly be the best action to take?

    September 7, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
    • Bobby Ray

      The cultural center/mosque is two blocks from the twin tower site. At the site they are building an underground parking garage and shopping mall. This monument to commerce is being built, literally in the ashes of the victims. Who is insensitive now?

      September 7, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
    • Tim Rigney

      The Iman.

      September 7, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
  9. fjay

    I honestly feel like those against this mosque are racists honestly. I am a Catholic, and i see no reason why they shouldn't be able to build a mosque there...its like saying there should be no churches in Baghdad or Doha. This is insane...Americans are simply trying to say all Muslims are terrorists, and if they really go about burning Qurans, i wouldn't be surprised if the radical muslims try to start bombing again.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  10. M&M

    So, now that the Muslims in America has a taste of the wonderful life, why not work on getting your mother countries to be more civilized and practice the tolerance that you American Muslims are begging everyone else to do. Muslims are the most complacent creatures on the face of this planet. They just sit back while their fellow brothers and sisters are being slaughtered.

    I wish that all the Muslims in the Western world would call for a day of marching in the streets to protest what Iran is doing to the poor woman who is sentenced to death. When you sit silently that means you are in total agreement with it. I think if Iran hears the voice of Muslims from the West their leaders would let that woman go shoot themselves in the head. The pressure needs to come from the Muslim community if the Muslim countries are going to come into the 21st century and be civilized.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
    • MS

      Do you march for everything you disagree with?!!!
      you don't march on street so you are silent so you agree with it!!!!!!
      How about some logic 101?!!

      September 8, 2010 at 7:04 am |
  11. Vithal

    Why can't we build a Church in Saudi Arabia, Mecca in particular?

    September 7, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
    • Bobby Ray

      Because the Saudi's are jerks. We can and should be better than that. If not, the terrorists win.

      September 7, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
    • Mushrikun

      There is a reason why not that many years ago, muslims were referred to as Mohammedans. The cult of Mohammad. Muslims are indoctrinated from young that their religion is perfect and that Mohammad is perfect. They are encouraged to emulate the life of the prophet in every aspects of his life.

      Well, the prophet and his followers managed to conquer many tribes and expanded the territory under their control during his life time. Along the way, he acquired many women from his conquests. What's they have conquered is theirs (Islam) and what that has not come under their control are to be shared or conquered at a later timeframe. That ideology is wrapped around the god of Abraham.

      Hence for non-muslims, we see Muslims as fanatical extremists but they themselves are convinced that they are following the will of Allah by emulating their prophet. Irrational to non-muslims but perfectly logical to muslims.

      September 7, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
  12. Philly

    I read the whole Qu'ran. All later verses super-cede the earlier verses if there are conflicting messages. Bipolar M*@#$^$& goes extra crazy later on in life, acquiring more child brides, and increasingly inciteful and tacitly encouraging of violence, offensive military action. He tacitly set up Abu Bakar and other generals to dominate the world. And I would like to say, M*@#$^$& is a liar. A silly liar, who the hell thinks up a flying donkey-mule 'BURAQ', google it. He was just a madman who wanted to alter his society, largely in his own paranoid vision. How paranoid is the Islamic God? an entity which all free thinking people are superior to. I will repeat that if God has a relationship with humanity in which he nervously demands our obedience and submission to him, like a scientist demanding obedience and submission from the bacteria on his/her petri dish, THAN I AM SUPERIOR TO THAT GOD. AND SO ARE YOU. Any entity that small minded, does not deserve worship. It is paranoid, it is hierarchical. I'm not saying Christianity is great, but at least it pays lip-service to love and is so convoluted that its followers can't use it to galvanize war. The world is already burdened by nation states, why does it have to be burdened by idiotic fairy tales of religion. I posted this three times, not sure why it hasn't showed up.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  13. Eric

    Why haven't more Muslim organizations vehemently condemned the 9/11 bombings? When a self-proclaimed "Christian" commits a vile act in the name of his claimed religion, Christian organizations rush to distance themselves from him. You can see it happening now with the "pastor" in Florida who is threatening to burn the Koran. But when self-proclaimed Muslims commit atrocities in the name of their religion, most Muslims and most Muslim organizations are silent. Where are the coalitions of Muslim organizations standing against terrorism loudly and proudly? By their silence, they communicate to many Americans that they don't really oppose those actions at all.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  14. DC

    I just took a muslim and flushed it safely where it belongs.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
  15. M&M

    Is there a supreme leader of the Muslim's? And I don't mean that dead man they call Mohamed. Is there a live international leader?

    September 7, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
    • Bobby Ray

      They have no Pope-like figure. They also seem to have many different sects, far more than the shia/sunni split. Perhaps that is why there is no unified voice against the violence. A muslim who spoke out against the terrorists would most likely be a special target of violence.

      September 7, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
    • M&M

      Somebody must be leading them. There are only two leaders in the world of religion – God and Satan. The radical behavior going on around the world is not of God! Not saying that all Muslims are radicals but the good ones need to realize that the devil has gotten a hold of their religion and has made it a real stinking sore to the rest of the world.

      September 7, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  16. Bob

    I believe in the constitution, I will defend their rights to worship and thus they can build if you want to.

    I do think this is NOT the act of a moderate, a moderate would take into account the OBVIOUS insulting and provocative nature of this foolish project. This is just as bad as the morally and intellectually challenged group planning on burning the Koran in Fl. Yes they have the right to do so, but it is a stupid provocation that will likely result in violence, anger and probably someones death(our soldiers).

    If you want to, build in the lot behind my house it would be perfect for your Islamic center and I would welcome it. There are several different denominations represented on this street and it's a lovely setting with good road access and zoning.

    How anyone could say this is not provocative is beyond me.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
  17. Joe

    Would Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf while visiting the Middle East on behalf of the State Department visit the Taliban lords and tell them how America is reaching out to improve it's relations with Muslims and that the center he is building in New York is a welcome place for them to visit at any time. It's the radical muslims that he needs to talk with but doubt that he will reach them with his propaganda. It's ironic that the middle east cried for help from the west when Iraq invaded Kuwait. All the 9/11 gang were from Saudi Arabia or Yemen and we hear not a word from Saudi Arabia. Yes they have the cash not the guts to fight their own fights hiding behind terrorist groups all the way. The west showed them how to drill and obtained the Oil. It's quite simple – let the middle east alone. The US owes nothing to Muslims outside the USA. Muslems in the US are Americans first right? If not then they should please leave the US. Mr Rauf can escort them out of the country.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
    • M&M

      Why would he do something so intelligent as talking to the talibans? He likes preaching to the choir.

      September 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
  18. Hanan Jamal

    Im an american muslim, I oppose the decision of making a mosque at ground zero, its a very painful part of history for us as americans, I simply think this imam isnt relizing all the hate he is creating for the muslims that oppose to this! If you are a Imam you should atleast take a vote with the muslims who would be in favor of such a selfish act, Islam does not teach us to be selfish or greedy, Please understand Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf you are about to start world war 3, build the mosque where ever in this big world dont cut up our sewn wounds, 200 muslims died in the trade tower as well!!! we have to stay united, we cant be divided with hate!!!

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

      Mr Jamal you are right this all discussion create more hate and pain so if he really really want to make bridge than he has to retreat.

      September 7, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
  19. MJY

    When Christians and Jews can worship freely in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, etc. and can build a house of worship wherever they need one, then they can build a mosque at Ground Zero. Don't tell us to tolerate your mosque that proclaims victory at the WTC, when you will not allow free worship in your countries. I have no quarrel with moderate Islam, but your Book has 109 Suras that say "kill the Jew," and many, many, that say to kill the Christian as well. My Bible says "Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you."

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

      can you show us one of 109 times Koran says kill jews !!!
      all the killing and Jihad are for the combat which is common sense
      in combat you kill thats what US army does without following Koran
      And explain to me how this is love for enemy:
      You worship Allah and Al-qaiadah worship allah so even you are american and claim you love your country
      I hate you and you can't have place to worship your God.

      September 8, 2010 at 6:58 am |
  20. H

    I would say to him, since he has the ear of Muslims leaders of the world, When he has these Muslim leaders agree that a large non denominational Christian church can be built right next to Mecca with no harassment or retaliations against believers worshiping freely there, don't even bother thinking about a Islamic center teaching Shia near the Trade center, We have been tolerant and open to basically any religion but when it comes to the Christianity or Hinduism or Buddhism house being built next to a Mecca, no way no discussion. I say the same to them until we can all worship in our own facility where and when we want without prejudice.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:04 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.