September 8th, 2010
11:20 PM ET

5 surprises from Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s CNN interview

Five big surprises from Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on Wednesday night:

1. Rauf regrets locating the Islamic center near ground zero. “If I knew that this would happen, cause this kind of pain,” he said Wednesday night, “I wouldn’t have done it.”

2. Rauf says the reason he can’t move the Islamic center now is because of national security concerns, saying parts of the Muslim world would be violently inflamed at the news of the center’s relocation.

“The headlines in the Muslim world will be that Islam is under attack… (there’s) the danger of the radicals in the Muslim world to our national security, to the national security of our troops,” he said.

“If we do move,” Rauf continued, “it will strengthen the argument of the radicals to recruit, their ability to recruit, and their increasing aggression and violence against our country.”

"If this is not handled correctly, this crisis could become much bigger than the Danish cartoon crisis, which resulted in attacks on Danish embassies in various parts of the Muslim world,” Rauf said later. “…. If we don't handle this crisis correctly it could become something which could really become very, very, very dangerous indeed.”

It's a novel argument and was Rauf's central point tonight. Will most Americans buy it?

3. When news first broke about the proposed Islamic center near ground zero last December, there was no controversy around it.

“It was a front-page article in New York Times," Rauf told CNN, “and no one objected. This controversy only began in May, and it began as a result of some politicians who decided to use this for certain political purposes.”

I didn't know that.

4. The New York Islamic Center will include a memorial for those killed in the 9/11 attacks.

The Islamic center had announced this earlier, but I doubt most Americans knew about it.

5. Despite the raging controversy, Rauf sees the current moment as a historic opportunity for Muslims to think about their place in the United States and for the country to think about religious freedom.

There’s “a silver lining here,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to speak about this subject in a manner that is sober, in a manner that is coherent. To look at what we are all about as Americans, to look at what it means to be Muslim in America. To look at how we are going to put back this genie of clash between the West and the Muslim world back into the bottle.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Houses of worship • Islam • Mosque • Muslim

soundoff (583 Responses)
  1. Catherine Klein

    Soledad O'Brien's interview this evening was a disgrace! It was structured in such a way as to feed into the thinking of the lowest consciousness in America. It was disrespectful to a man who has given his entire life to the service of people of all faiths. I am ashamed of interviewing like this. I turned it off in a rage. There are certain things that are wrong, even if they are popular, and I despise the greed of corporate journalism that makes it too weak to stand for what is right. Burning the Quran may be legal but it is anti-American and wrong. This may be the only time in my life I agreed with Sarah Palin on anything. As for Soledad O'Brien ... why was she given such an important interview ... she is way NOT ready for it. This was an opportunity to join the leaders of all faiths and the leaders in our country in calling for the best of what America stands for and CNN chose to call out the worst.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • Asim

      I thought she did a terrific job! She brought the imam back to questions he wanted to dodge. In line with what most americans wanted to ask that fellow.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:07 am |
  2. MA-SJ

    CNN – Is that question from some woman in CA the best you can do?? This is a man who has worked toward common ground for decades – the questions are not 'tough' they are stupid. The media is feeding the right wing evangelists in the US, inflaming this across the country. Soledad, you have sold out.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:27 am |
    • Emeralds

      There is no common ground to fantasy religion. It destroys us all in the end. Those who "believe" in the fairy tale simply will go down on the ship in bliss. While the rest of us will sink in steerage.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:33 am |
    • Guest

      U R right! Let's all go for the real thing! A Page In the Life 'Prismatic' and work forward to the present and c if u can carry what u glean into the future

      September 9, 2010 at 2:49 am |
  3. Reed from NYC

    Another highlight: "Let us be clear here. Calling this 'sacred ground' and what exists there....? We have got to be fair. We can't say a place that has strip joints is sacred ground. We've got to be just. We've got to speak the truth. We've got to have justice for everybody...we are a country of justice for ALL. Not justice for non-Muslims only ....or some groups and not for others. This is what America is all about – we've got to really mean what we say & say what our values are truly about. "

    September 9, 2010 at 12:27 am |
  4. LisaLV

    Sounds like America is still into "separate but equal". That has played out and white America, I'm not mixing any words here because they are the ones that seem to be "so upset" about, white America needs to get a grip. These are all white America; just the ones that believe in the likes of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and of course, the so-called "Pastor" Jones. What's so disgusting is how the media starts the controversary then claim they don't. Word to Media: Handle that "Pastor" Jones. HE'S the disgrace.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:27 am |
  5. General Dr Bad

    OMG!!!! i keep forgeting how blatantly stupid you people are. and as you see never let fact get in the way.
    This "mosque" is being paid for and built by Murdoch, his pimp arab prince and you with money borrowed from china.
    these are ALL "Sunni ' "Arabs"
    YOU borrow money from china and give THEM while THEY rob YOU at YOUR gas pumps with YOUR leaders.
    if YOU want to boycott because of it?
    Boycott Fox.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:25 am |
    • Reed from NYC

      The proposed site was sold by & formerly owned by Mitt Romney.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:29 am |
    • General Dr Bad

      lol, thank you, oh what tangled webs we weave,

      September 9, 2010 at 12:53 am |
  6. Reed from NYC

    Highlight from the interview: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf today on CNN- "The battlefront is not between Muslims & non-Muslims. The real battlefront is between moderates on all sides of all faith traditions...and the radicals on all sides. The radicals actually feed off each other...and in some kind of existential way they need each other....and the more that the radicals are able to control the discourse on one side, it strengthens the radicals on the other side." - Does this sound rational, or does a fearful & forceful fight against this kind of reasoning sound more constructive? Moderation seems to be the very definition of the word "balance", yet the extremists seem hell bent on satiating their egos, which like a cancer, will devour all of us if left to run rampant. It must be confronted like a disease. Extremism is the driving force behind dis-ease in this country as well as the world. It demands attention like a spoiled child, and destroys everything in its path.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:25 am |
    • Youth Voice

      next thing you know, we're gonna get politic vaccinations at school! thanks man, im seeing lots of people with more sense here than on TV

      September 9, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  7. keyboard samurai

    Rights are what you get. Tolerance is what you give
    Rauf and ilk always want rights, and want it now
    When we ask for change and tolerance from the Death to America, mistreatment of women and minorities mobs , we areagain asked to give – time, education etc
    Heal yourself before you ask more from the society that gave you a welcome – I am from a minority too.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:22 am |
    • Emeralds

      Also.. this is tax free right? Like all religions they do not have to pay taxes and can wreak havoc to us all. The young minds today need truth.. They need the adults to open their eyes and ADMIT honestly the emperor HAS NO CLOTHES! Not a SOUL ON THIS PLANET has ever heard from a supernatural ANYTHING and to suggest otherwise and feed it to the young CAUSES WAR with preposterous notions that one delusion is better or more mild than another.

      GROW UP AMERIC|A. Start being a leader for a change and this time, do it admitting the emperor has no clothes.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:30 am |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      Rauf does not want rights. He just wants to show you that you are hypocrites with no principles and a culture of fear mongering and being hijacked by extremists christians and zionists. at the end, he will build his mosque elsewhere and worship the same God in another part of the city. But you will be left looking ultra cheap and torn apart!

      September 9, 2010 at 12:43 am |
  8. john

    Please, let the moheammedism mosque rise in triumph over the remains of the dead patriots who sacrificed their blood on this sacred, hallowed ground. It will be so fitting to see the infidel's Tower of Triumph come crashing down in a cloud of smoke. The Imam says it could become "very very dangerous indeed" Really? Only to those poor souls that should find themselves trapped in the remains of the smoke-filled stairwells of the Tower of Islamic Ttriumphalism as they cry out to their false gods to save them from the burning flames of hell. What goes around- comes around, Imam. But I am sure the good Imam would not be caught dead in the ashes. Just saying.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:21 am |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      i bet most of the people working in the twin towers had no record of military duty. so what patriots are you talking about!! perhaps you mean parrots.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:41 am |
    • Nick

      You don't need military duty to be a patriot.

      September 9, 2010 at 4:35 am |
    • Frogist

      @john: Now that sounds like a veiled threat. So should something happen, will you be dancing on rooftops because american citizens in the center died? Cuz that would make you no better than those you claim to condemn.

      September 9, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  9. utlds

    OMG – did she really say ".....victims of 9/11 bodies buried in future site of mosque...." what is this girl smoking???? has she no interview skills??? the botox has infiltrated her brain !!! the Imam did a great job – thanks to HIM for the education – now lets all put on our big girl & big boy panties and come together for the sake of modeling moderation – and keeping religion and politics SEPARATE GOD BLESS AMERICAN MY HOME SWEET HOMEEEEEEE !!!!!

    September 9, 2010 at 12:20 am |
    • Youth Voice

      this should have a like buton next to it..... 😀

      September 9, 2010 at 12:28 am |
  10. Youth Voice

    AND IMAM IS NOT TRYING TO EFFING SCARE US OR TRHEATEN US!!!! ITS PURE LOGIC!!!!! WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF THEY BURNED BIBLES IN THE MIDDLE EAST? you would say that thats a bad idea to them, if they try to move your church, you'll say, "This will cause outrage in the US"... WOULD YOU? OR WOULD YOU SAY "Oaky, they cna burn our bibles, torahs, move our churches and temples, and we wont care."?

    September 9, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  11. Pramod Poudyal

    a) United State President address on behalf Islam religion when there was raising issue to build masque in near land mark ground zero “Religion should not be tolerate in America everyone has right to practice their religion what they belief and where they believe therefore Muslim also has right to build masque on their private property like anyone else. It’s their constitutional right of freedom of religion” but majority of American people opposed it was the cause of future safety. However U.S. Government not supposes to give them positive aspect to build masque on around that area when it became a national issue. I believe their main prospective was to cover their dark side from the religious superiority but if we study deeply who they are promoting and funding them to build the masque may it seems they are also associates with the twin tower attackers we ever know. It has Press interview with imam of Muslim center of New York City. I like to classified his opinion we all live peacefully in one planet but who disturb in first place they know it we think 24-7 but he say I hate to think why? Also threats us. If he try to come Muslim and non-Muslim faith in one institution he shouldn’t blame the discourse the access of peace and radicals, if they want peace. America not only freedom of religion there is public referendum also Government concerns about the Nation safety where majority of people already rejected he should not had to be there if he is American even he realize later if I knew this would happen cause of this pain I would not done it but he was seeking the peace to finding the way to co-existence it was his wrong path that does not mean the against of Islam religion but he is blaming for those Patriots saying radicals bottom line In my opinion we are on war right now they are creating unnecessary propaganda to divert the American focus in different direction it’s quite extraordinary who knows the game of mind but burning Quran is uncivilized act in civilized nation thank you.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:19 am |
  12. Rich

    And by the way, since when is it's anyone's right to tell anyone to build anything. Not that i like religion, which i don't. You want to pray to a deity, be my guest.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:18 am |
  13. Emeralds

    It is sickening that we must soft shoe with the religious or some other faction of that very same religion will wage war.

    ALL JUDEO CHRISTIAN religions ARE dangerous. And they are fed by LIES told to the children who are born without pre-conceived notions. In order to be a religious leader, you MUST LIE and act as though these mythical beliefs are factual when they are simply bronze aged beliefs in throwing virgins into a volcano so that your crops are better, or killing a human on a cross so that "made up supernaturally caused sins" can be forgiven.

    Sure.. what a swell guy he is... he breeds delusion but it is a mild delusion so that the severe machiavelian minded thugs can take these wrecked children's minds the rest of the way toward violence and shaded piousness.

    If we are going to be a free america, we must stop lying to the children.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:18 am |
    • Peter F

      Sometimes it surprises me how much anger people store up.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:30 am |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      nothing is more dangerous than the people who gave humanity WORLD WAR TWO! and they had little to do with judeo-christianity! and a lot to do with atheism and Godlessness in general.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:39 am |
    • Guest

      @Peter F
      and that's y Sax was invented– but does anybody play it?-Nooo, they'd all rather do this as some kind of penance for missed school assignments in their collective past

      September 9, 2010 at 2:08 am |
    • Nick

      Emeralds is 100% correct... religion is nothing but a man made lie.

      September 9, 2010 at 4:26 am |
  14. Vic

    Is this IMAM trying to scare the US by saying the Muslims may get upset if he pulls out of building his mosque? Who cares, they are already upset with the US. He should have known better to begin with. He is the threat to National Security for starting this mess. Lets face it, the US should not worry about this Tin Horn.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:16 am |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      the irony is that the US does not give two hoots about what the Muslim world thinks to begin with! It never has! which is why 9/11 occurred to begin with and which is why the US illegally invaded Iraq to begin with. If the US cared what Muslims think, we would nt be here listening to this Imam today.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:38 am |
    • Youth Voice


      September 9, 2010 at 12:43 am |
  15. Caroline

    I do not know what happened with Soledad tonight. The Imam's commnents around security is completely valid and was not any kind of a threat - that is takinh what he said totally out of context. The center is the exact opposite of what thet extremeists want to see happen - they want see America lashing out against Islam. By Americans allowing, accepting and supporting peace loving moderate Islam only helps us snuff out extremists. They are against moderate Islam, especially the kind of center that the Imam wants to build. Therefore it is in our best interest to stand by American values and our constitutional rights and welcome this brand of Islam in the United States. It sends a clear message that America is and has always been a nation built upon accepting people from all walks of life, creeds,religions and races. That is the America I was born in and love. The fact that we are now taking what the Imam said out of context only illustrates to the world that we are not a nation that is tolerant. We need to all stand together as one, and create a unified America.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:14 am |
    • Chenille

      This comment is both eloquent and spot-on. Thank you so much.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
    • Roo

      Yea, with "people from all walks of life, creeds,religions and races" let them all stand together as one, and dream on about creating a unified America. It won't ever happen, no more than peace on earth will ever happen. Even Islam is not a unified community, far from it. Mohammed imposed his rule over the whole world by wars and conquests, and the various Islamic countries have been at war ever since, and will remain so. Just wait for Iran to get its nuclear weapons, and see Saudi Arabia shaking with fear. The worst has not even yet come. This dream of peace, unity and universal love among people and countries of completely different backgrounds is utopia. Exactly like the "dialogue of religions" that the Iman so sanctimoniously professes, when in fact it is all about advancing the cause of this Islamic mosque. Have you read how this peaceful man manages his slum buildings in Union City, NJ? He is a disgusting slumlord who lets his tenants live without water or electricity for weeks on end. Nothing like a suave con artist to delude men and women of good will.

      January 14, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  16. chris

    In the United States of America, we have many different forms of radicals, Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., etc., etc. In the United States of America we impose the will of the center upon the wills of these radicals, not by the rule of law, but by the socieally ostracizing radical thought. We do not eliminate radical ideas from being expressed because we recognize that some good ideas come from the fringes; we just do not want America society operating through radical extremes. The Islamic World needs to take heed of this extremely good idea, and take control of its radicals AND STOP BEING RUN BY RADICAL ISLAM OR MORE ACCURATELY THE FEAR OF READICAL ISLAM.

    America will not tolerate bygamy, unequal protection and treatment of women, cruel and unusual punishments, an absence of freedom of expression, an absence of freedom of religion, or the several other Constitutional violations Sharia Law represents. The Islamic World needs to recognize the fact that although the USA has the Constitutional protection of religion in that government shall make no law abridging the freedom of religion, in fact there are multiple restrictions in the USA on religion already, i.e. Orthodox Mormons prohibited from practicing bygamy.

    Take it a step further. The conversation should not be whether one Mosque or Islamic Center should be located at or near ground zero; the conversation MUST be centered on the question of when will Islam commence to protecting the various sects within Islam from each other? When will Islam begin protecting the Syriac Church, the Coptic Church and other non-Muslim religious institutions from Islam, radical or otherwise? When will Islam recognize its very basic and fundamental tenet that society must function and be formed by, through and around Islamic law cannot be tolerated in the USA?

    Sadly, if Islam cannot recognize these facts, it will be uncapable of the changes that the rest of the world needs it to endure, and if Islam is incapable of this evolutionary change of its theology, it will never find the peace much or most of its believers crave, and the rest of the world shudders at the capacity of the radical religious zealot.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  17. Jill

    Until tonight's interview I was very opposed to the building of a Mosque or Islamic Center at Ground Zero. While I always understood that it was well within Imam Rauf's rights to build his center where ever he chose, I was stunned by his choice of locations and the insensitivity and inflammatory nature of this choice. To my great surprise, tonight's interview greatly affected my feelings on this issue. I found the Imam to be articulate, intelligent, genuine and quite persuasive. The anti-Muslim sentiment that currently exists in this country and planned burning of another religion's most holy book are far more disturbing to me than Imam Rauf's efforts to build an Islamic Center aimed at promoting interfaith understanding and providing a place for moderate Muslim Americans. (And no, I am not a Muslim; I am a Jew who supports Israel.) I think that the Imam's concerns regarding the delicacy of this issue and impact that the outcome may have on national security and America's stance in the international community are points that are well taken and worthy of consideration. What a marvelous opportunity to demonstrate to the world that we truly are a pluralistic society that is based upon freedom, including freedom of religion. What a wonderful opportunity for moderate Muslims to take center stage rather than the extremists to whom we are riveted. If the Imam was serious about housing places of worship for other faiths and actively welcoming Non-Muslims into this center be it for sports, classes, interfaith sessions, more power to him!

    Conversely, I was greatly disappointed with Solidad O'Brien's interviewing style. I found her manner unnecessarily aggressive and in fact thought that at times she seemed openly hostile about the plans for the location of the Islamic Center. I found myself wondering if as a resident of the downtown community she had been personally touched by the 9/11 tragedy. She bombarded the Imam with the same questions again and again and often did not give him adequate opportunity to complete his responses. Her stance seemed anything but the objective one I would expect from a seasoned reporter.

    I am not a Muslim; in fact I am a Jew and a supporter of Israel's right to continue to exist as a Jewish State. It is the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Ha Shanah. My most fervent wish for all is a year of peace and hope.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:09 am |
    • Kate


      Well said, and happy new year

      Just sayin'

      September 9, 2010 at 12:11 am |
    • Youth Voice

      Thank you VERY much....
      and I agree, Well said.
      Happy Rosh Ha Shana

      September 9, 2010 at 12:22 am |
    • Emeralds

      Why is it that u think maintaining a phony religion doesn't cause problems down the road? U are a human being before you are "Jewish". Take yourself outside of planet Earth and look down at us.. Our progress as a civilization is being RUINED by religion. Isn't it time to admit this is all a fantasy game which divides the humans in the world. The Old Testament, Torah or whatever u call it is FILLED FILLED FILLED with horrific violence and atrocious acts of cruelty. I say it is time for us all to admit it is TIME TO PUT IT IN THE FICTION SECTION ON A SHELF IN THE LIBRARY and we can get on with world peace.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:23 am |
    • Youth Voice

      another good point, emerald

      September 9, 2010 at 12:26 am |
    • TL

      I agree with your comments about Soledad's interviewing. I have great respect for her work but she did not permit Imam Rauf to completely respond before she jumped in to ask another question. She continued to focus on one point when an interviewer who would have been much educated on this issue – political and religious factors would have been able to build on the pertinent points raised.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:40 am |
    • Neal

      I agree that Solidad O'Brien's structure and unwarranted overly agressive style of interviewing bore no similarity to the even-handed manner a Larry King would have used. Ms. O'Brien's whole presentation was that of a defense attorney, placing the Imam on the defensive. To think that she hosts a program called 'In America' makes the mismatch even more questionable. This Larry King interview, as important and timely as it is, gave no new information and only reinforced the bias against the rights of Islamic Americans. Nothing gained in this one. It would have made good fodder on FOX news; it makes one wonder if CNN is shifting right.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:45 am |
    • Ash

      I agree her interview style was very aggressive, and didn't seem very objective.

      September 9, 2010 at 1:07 am |
    • dcw

      Well said.

      O'Brian conducted one of the most poorly conducted, biased, shallow interviews I have ever seen. In the face of her ignorance, I believe he did very well.

      Am I the only one appalled by the constant recitation of the public polls showing a "huge majority" of the public against the mosque location? When is someone going to say "who cares what the majority thinks?!?!"

      How can this be repeated without a discussion of one of Americas most important Constitutional (and historically important) rights: the right of the minority without regard to the will of the majority.

      Also: the dreary eyed "think of the emotions of the 9/11 victims" has to be confronted. It may be difficult for them to confront, but their opposition to the mosque is wrong. The unease is based on a non-factual foundation; that muslims caused the 9/11 attacks. "Muslims" as a religion caused 9/11 as much as Christianity caused the second world war, or any other of the conflicts that have killed 130 million people within the last 100 years.

      And lets stop with the "ground-zero" stuff. It is a site of a tragic, criminal event. Not the beginning of an epoch. Stop glorifying it.

      September 9, 2010 at 1:08 am |
    • Guest

      Ms. O'brien needs to learn the ettiquets of ethical reporting. She was a bully and disrespectful.

      Growing anti-Islam sentiments... the one thing that both sides need to realize is that both have heir hands dirty and both are responsible for the clean up. Muslims need to ask if this fear against them is really all that irrational given the attrocities committed around the world in the name of Islam and the non-Muslims (US in particular) need to be honest and acknowledge their part in the creation of the Bin-Ladens, take a serious look at their foreign policies and honestly ask why anti-US sentiments exist within Muslim nations.

      September 9, 2010 at 2:17 am |
    • Nick


      September 9, 2010 at 4:20 am |
    • Nick

      I can't believe that we're fighting over man made religions. What a bunch of crap.

      September 9, 2010 at 4:22 am |
    • Chris

      Emerald: I would like to remind you that the three people responsible for the most horrendous genocides this planet has ever seen were all atheists (Hitler, Mao, and Stalin). It's not any one particular belief that causes people to act in murderous ways, but their relationship to that belief, how much their identify depends on it. Hence why you can have peaceful christians/jews/muslims and murderous athiests and conversely, murderous christians/jews/muslims and peaceful athiests. it's not the belief, but the persons sense of identity that is tied to it.

      September 9, 2010 at 5:01 am |
    • Frogist

      @Jill: You are one of the few people, I've heard say they changed their mind. Could I ask what made you reconsider your point of view?

      September 9, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  18. Rich

    What i want to know is when will jesus bring the pork chops?

    September 9, 2010 at 12:09 am |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      jesus did not eat pork, he was jewish. wink wink.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:34 am |
    • Guest

      ...and the last time I saw any pork chops on him was 1967–he tries to keep up with the Fashion

      September 9, 2010 at 1:45 am |
  19. kazz

    #3 is pretty much right on the mark

    September 9, 2010 at 12:07 am |
  20. Andy

    According to Interviewer Soledad O'Brien the case is that Imam Rauf should not build on the site because 71% oppose it. Our forefathers referred to that as the "tyranny of the majority." Ayn Rand, Objectivist philosopher and novelist, wrote against such tyranny, saying that individual rights are not subject to a public vote, and that the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and that the smallest minority on earth is the individual). Some folks interpreted that Rauf was making a veiled threat by suggesting the Muslim world would be upset. What he meant was that the Muslim world and it fact the entire world is looking to see if America is living up to its principles or if it is solely rhetoric. The Muslim extremists are hoping to see America renege on its principles.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:05 am |
    • Youth Voice


      September 9, 2010 at 12:15 am |
    • Jill


      Great points! During WW2, the vocal majority of Germans supported Hitler if not actively, certainly by their silence and complicity in the horrors inflicted by the Nazi Regime. Clearly, the majority should not always rule and our founding fathers were quite wise in constructing a Constitution and Bill of Rights upon which our laws are built and by which personal freedoms are protected.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:29 am |
    • Ross

      Very well spoken.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:58 am |
    • Ash

      I agree.

      September 9, 2010 at 1:04 am |
    • tolerantandchristian

      hahaha. you're not serious are you?..."According to Interviewer Soledad O'Brien the case is that Imam Rauf should not build on the site because 71% oppose it. Our forefathers referred to that as the "tyranny of the majority." WOW. that 71 percentile indicates the desire of the public. It represents a majority. A majority gets the say. It is called a democracy. It is not tyranny to oppose this site. It is VERY SIMPLY freedom of speech (which you and I are exercising ourselves right now).

      "individual rights are not subject to a public vote, and that the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and that the smallest minority on earth is the individual)." This quote does not fit with this issue. This is not an issue of individual rights of Muslims in America (heck I did a job for a guy the other day who could not change out his windows because his house was in the historic district...you would think it would be his right to, but the city said no). If it were not a big deal to New Yorkers and other Americans it would not be the hot button issue that it is right now. Muslims are not being oppressed if the mosque has to be moved elsewhere. They are simply being asked to be tolerant and understanding of Americans' feelings and requests.

      September 9, 2010 at 1:26 am |
    • Don J.

      I love you Andy...THANK YOU!

      September 9, 2010 at 1:48 am |
    • Laurie

      Ayn Rand was a pathological narcissist who was horribly abusive to the people she claimed to love so I don't give a f what she wrote - she was a sham. I'm waiting for this country to grow a pair, start drawing some limits and realigning with the principles and policies that made it great. If the majority of people want no mosque, then no mosque. Boo-hoo for the Muslims. Next topic.

      September 9, 2010 at 3:40 am |
    • Steve

      Here's my question: Why don't they have people like Andy here and Paul a little further up in the comment section, on the panels after these interviews. They always have people with different viewpoints, but they are always on the extreme opposite sides of the argument. Where are the people in the middle ground who aren't consumed with emotion for their side that can take a calm educated look at the topic at hand?

      September 9, 2010 at 3:51 am |
    • Joe

      If you want to know if Islam means peace or not, look at the fruits of the work of Islam. There is no country where Islam is dominant is tolerant and peaceful. Obama likes to mention Indonesia as a good example. Indonesia is not a tolerant country. They burn down churches and other religions' houses of worship. They oppress and persecute minorities. The situation is even worse in Malaysia. What about Turkey? You only need to read CNN to find out how oppressive Turkey is.

      September 9, 2010 at 4:10 am |
    • MS

      Well Said.

      September 9, 2010 at 8:23 am |
    • Frogist

      @tolerantchristian: A majority of americans opposed desegregation too. Are you saying that majority should have had their say? And yes, you have your right to free speech to say you don't like the center. But you do not have the right to compel them to move it. That is a violation of their rights. If this were a matter of kindness, carrying hate-filled signs and yelling is certainly a strange way of showing it. Also this does not relate to a historic site. This location has already gone through the processes required to declare it fit to rebuild.

      September 9, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • MinaC

      I totally agree with Andy. As Americans, we cannot pick and choose who is “deserving” of our constitutional rights, those rights apply to all. I don’t know how CNN got the 70% figure, it seems quite inflated, everyone I had talked to about this issue doesn’t object to the mosque. Also, I agree with the Imam when he said that there shouldn’t be a double standard to call “sacred” the adjacent area to ground zero for building a worship place but not for strip clubs (or other businesses). It’s hypocritical.

      Also, I usually like Soledad’s interviewing style, but this time she came across as confrontational and discourteous. Then, on the panel discussion on AC360, it is ironic how some of the commentators argued that mosque plan was legal but not “wise”. How is wise defined? Isn’t building a center to service the community a wise idea? Are the all Muslim Americans at fault for 9/11? We cannot keep condemning the 2 billion muslims for the heinous acts of few people.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:14 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.