September 8th, 2010
10:17 PM ET

Imam says religion, Islamic center should not be 'politicized'

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the religious leader behind plans to erect an Islamic center and mosque a few blocks from New York's ground zero, said Wednesday night that moving it to another location would embolden Islamic radicals and help them incite violence against Americans.

"If we move from that location, the story will be the radicals have taken over the discourse," Rauf told CNN's Soledad O'Brien on "Larry King Live."

Rauf said he was speaking about "radicals" on both sides of the debate on the Islamic center. "Our national security now hinges on how we negotiate this, how we speak about it."

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- CNN Belief Blog

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

soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. kazmilk

    Where was the muslium out rage when their muslium brothers killed 3000 Americans? Screw you rauf don't spread you BS here in the US. I hear Cuba could use some new renovations.

    September 8, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  2. Gail

    I am extremely disappointed in Soledad's interview regarding the mosque being built in lower Manhattan. I have always turned to CNN for fair, unbiased journalism. Boy, what a disappointment to watch her pander to the right's objections and be downright rude as she gave credibility to the ignorant hysteria. I have been a huge CNN supporter but I sure need to look at that now!

    September 8, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      all american press sucks. try Reuters.

      September 8, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
    • jeff

      Im white muslim. If I was Imam Rauf I would have pwned her really hard. For example why is there US embassy in Iraq the size of Vatican where the US has killed millions of innocent muslim Iraqis? I would tell her where is the moderate westerner speaking out against these wars? I would go on and say why should I apologize for other people's action when you dont apologize for what your government did to millions of muslims in iraq, afghanistan with carpet bombing, cluster bombing, napalm and you dare to talk to me like that. And much more.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:41 am |
  3. Mark from Middle River

    Keegan – it's too late. If either side backs down the sign of weakness would pretty much undermine their core and their base.

    Past the point of either side saving face.

    September 8, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      yes, forget saving Troops lives. it is all about false pride.

      September 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  4. Dave

    I believe in freedom of religion. That said I also believe the Islamic world have to lead by example

    What would happen if:

    We fund a Christian Center, or Jewish Center, two blocks away from Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the holiest meeting site in Islam? Let’s see if the follower of the religion of peace accepts other peaceful religious faiths praying and worshiping there in Mecca?

    Peaceful religions don’t wipe out and suppress other faiths in the Middle East and other countries for believing in something other than Islam.

    If there believe so much in the teachings of Jesus, if there believe in peace, then why Islam virtually suppressed the Coptic Christian communities of Egypt, and other Christian communities in the Sudan etc.. in the spread of a peaceful Islamic faith?

    Let put the challenge to the Islamic world as well, to let us build Christian, and Jewish Community Centers two blocks away from Mecca and other places.

    September 8, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      YEA!! Tell YOUR arab masters start building churches, with your money.

      September 8, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
    • jeff

      Oh my god. I have said this a thousand times.
      Nobody can build a mosque in the country of Vatican only churches. So it cancels out with Saudi. Also mind you from when does America goes by saudi standard I ask?
      There is churches in every other muslim countries basically surprise surprise.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:35 am |
  5. kazmilk

    Hey Roland,
    Let's see how many Baptist Church's we can have built in any muslim country...........none right! So goes intolerance. That imam rauf needs to spread his BS on his own dime. Bacon forever !!!!

    September 8, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      you are what you eat.

      September 8, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • Shan

      Wrong, there are churches in Muslim countries. In Tajikistan, just south of Afghanistan, there are Russian people who have their own churches, and they have never been harassed by the 99% Muslim population, also the churches in Palestine. I have christian Jordanian friends, and they had their own churches back in Jordan. Before you post anything ignorant, make sure your post facts

      September 9, 2010 at 1:30 am |
  6. Keegan

    This reminds me of the times just before world war 2. Germany said many times if you don't let us do this, then we (Germany) will be very upset, and do something you don't like. Germany continued to gain power, and well you know the rest. This is just like letting a hungry pit bull's leash get stretched a little further, eventually the pit bull will get you. if you remember what the Imam said, "if we move this mosque to a different site, the Islamic Radicals will have more reason to attack you." That's basically black mail. Let's not let something that we might not be able to stop get out of hand. Moving the mosque would not be a big deal. Why don't we let every person who opposes the mosque give 1 dollar to them so they could build it somewhere else. I bet this group wouldn't have to pay a cent to build a new mosque if they just moved it.

    September 8, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      what fun would that be?

      September 8, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
    • Kate


      You missed the point behind the warning. AQ and radicals have a very good propaganda machine, but like all propaganda they mix lies in with truth until they find the best message. This gives them extra "truth" to add in, known and public, to warp and say "See? America says it's a land of freedom, but they lie, they won't let the faithful have a place of worship. They hate Islam and we are under attack because the unbelievers won't let us pray" – and behold, another not-so-smart bomb is born.

      It's true, no matter what is done, or not done, the extremists will find a way of twisting it to their own ends, but that one example is a 100% probability.

      So the question becomes, how do we use the center for our own propaganda proving AQ's propaganda is a lie?

      Just sayin'

      September 8, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      Kate, you mean the way Fox-Msnbc-C.N.N and you news do? How dare they. YOU do know Murdosh is one of the people paying for this thing right? him and his pet prince?

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

    Yeah...I went to Mass at St Patricks just down the street from Mecca!

    September 8, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      Mecca California?

      September 8, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  8. General Dr Bad

    and HOw DARE HE be an ARRAGANT bully!!!! WHO does HE think HE IS!! america?
    now stop BAD mouthing your arab sunni masters.
    Thats MY Job.

    September 8, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
  9. mickey

    Rauf was very arrogant during this interview. I saw a man that looked down his nose at O'brien and at America. It's interesting to me that American troops must show respect and sensitivity to Islam by not eating or drinking in front of Islamists druing the day during Ramadan, and must celebrate Christian holidays under the cover of tents, even when on American bases. But Islam show sensitivity and respect for America while in our country? No way!

    September 8, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      its ok Mickey, many of yOUR Troops are to young to drink anway.
      Old enough to Fight,KIll and die.
      but Too Young To have a Beer.

      September 8, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
  10. Meredith

    Islam did not fly planes into the world trade center. Intolerant radicals willing to do terror did. When we become intolerant in response, then the radical extremists have won and America has lost. Fareed Zakari (sp?) was right. If the center is built and we can see what it represents then we will be able to understand. But to fail to build it now would be to give in to intolerance. Even if 99% of people oppose building the center, it should be built as a testament to the strength of American tolerance. Once built that tolerance (which is slower to surface) will emerge.

    September 8, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      i heard bush and the jews did it,

      September 8, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  11. General Dr Bad

    YOU new Here jon? Your Last name LuckY?

    September 8, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      For those of you who wish ot Burn a Quraan? (god willing),
      Make sure you get an Authentic "AL Quraan" not a fake hadith or some lame "Koran" wannabe,
      "Al Quraan" Opens Backwards from your books. it will say "Al Quraan" Not " Koran",
      "Al Quraan " Is a "Hadith" or an "Ahadith", dont let them sunnis slip you a fake hadith)
      how much is copy of Buqari?
      not it wil cost around 30 dollars so dont let them sell you some fake crap for cheaper.
      are the atheist going to also burn bibles?
      should i bring hot dogs? Inshallah.

      September 8, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  12. Seattle

    I believe it is our time, as a country, to live by example. Please keep in mind JFK's infamous quote: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." We have an opportunity to help bridge the gaps between different spiritual beliefs, correct misconceptions and move closer to a society based on respect, tolerance, and acceptance.

    September 8, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      Ameen. R.I.P. J.F.K.

      September 8, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
  13. Richard

    Why is CNlN having so much coverage about Islam?I am disgusted.Who is paying you to do this?
    Search: "Islam is not a religion of peace."Its history speaks for itself!They cheered during 9/11,behead epeople,murder,riot,recite the Quran that tells them to kill Jews to get to Paradise.

    Why is CNN and the whole world appeasing this "bully?"

    Islam is couting on our passiveness in order to 'take over!' WAKE UP!

    September 8, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      uh Richard, YOU are paying for this. and YOUR Troops with THEIR lives. now what is YOUR home town?

      September 8, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
    • Diana

      I agree. Do not let the muslims take over America. This is a few blocks away from ground were there is still human remains from their terror attack.

      September 8, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
  14. Rafael DiCristina

    After this shameful, biased and rude interview by Soledad, CNN has only one option: fire her!

    September 8, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
    • Veronica

      I would hope Soledad was just trying to bring the real passion out in this man. I personally would be proud to pray at the interfaith center and hold hands with all faiths. Do we not remember that God gave people different languages and customs so they would go out and populate the world. I always thought Soledad was fair and unbiased, but like you, I'm not sure anymore.

      September 8, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
    • Wayne Branham

      This was a shameful, biased and rude interview by Soledad. With all the terror spread by the KKK in American history, we as American never abused the Christian religion. Soledad's interview was greatly lacking, when she acknowledge that she was aware of the area of the center and that a strip club was in the area but continue to talk as if a strip club was better then an Islamic center.If she really did her home work , she will find out how fast Islam is growing in America.And many families have muslim relatives.

      September 8, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  15. Jon

    Soledad O'Brien, I think it is time for you to follow Glen Beck to Fox News. Your interview was pathetically ignorant and I am quite disappointed in CNN.

    September 8, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • Bunky

      How refreshing it was to watch Soledad O'Brien actually do the job of a journalist.She insisted he answer the questions. I thought she was remarkable.

      September 9, 2010 at 12:52 am |
  16. Ashby

    I agree with the man on Anderson 360 that said this was so a great opportunity. It is so unfortunate that people are reacting this way. After 9 years it is time to heal. These are not the same people that drove plans into the twin towers, they are ashamed that people who claimed their religion did such a thing. The response to this whole thing is making overt hate ok in our society, and it is not. This is such a slippery slope, once this Mosque construction is denied, they will start to be denied elsewhere, we are headed toward institutionalized discrimination. It is hard to forgive such a thing, but it is reasonable to expect that the personal healing should be able to start by 9 years... I don't know it's hard but we have to start somewhere.

    September 8, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  17. Ariel

    The imams message was very clear: The mosque must be built "or else". Interestingly, this is also the same tactic often used by the mafia. . . So because some Muslims in other parts of the world might not like the fact the the 911 victims families dont want a mosque built at or near Ground Zero, we Americans have to buckle under this pressure? Ridiculous!

    The only solution is a real center for peace with equitable shares amongst diverse groups-not a mosque. If the goal is peace, then this project must work for everyone.

    I also think that the imams inclusive statements were offensive because he insisted on making 'we' and 'us' a part of his own agenda. I didnt authorize him to speak for me as a Jew! He has no right to highjack my identity and speak for "the Jews".

    September 8, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  18. Mike

    Burning Koran's is no less offensive than our enemy's building one of their temples next to one of our most sacred graveyards. We would not allow Japanese Imperialists to build a shrine for their emperor next to the Arizona Memorial in Oahu – nor should Muslims be allowed to build this at Ground Zero. It will be burned to the ground and the next American civil / holy war will erupt if our leadership does not step in and be responsible. Obama is not going to do it, so who will? Some pastor in Florida of a 50 member congregation. We are in serious trouble folks!

    September 8, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  19. Scova Notian

    Looks like the religion of peace is about to drive a mosque down your throughts.
    And yes in our culture a strip joint can be part of sacred land, but the ideology that made it sacred is not welcome.

    September 8, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  20. Mark from Middle River

    Sadly , did we really expect this Iman to say any but that building the mosque where he wants to build is anything but good.

    CNN, please folks are not posting or reading as much anymore on this subject. Can we please get some other faiths and beliefs articles so that we can make this a true belif blog. This section of CNN has so much potential to suqander it on Muslim article after Muslim article.

    September 8, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
    • General Dr Bad

      hey Mark gas bag, you know differance between sunni and a shiite?

      September 8, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
    • Alex from Colorado

      I do not agree with the building of this mosque. Why can't it be built in a different part of New York. Putting it here would simply offend too many Americans that lost family & friends in the 9/11 tradgedy. Its too bad that Imam is too stuck on his decision to consider another location. A little open mindedness to the feedback from Americans would have gone a long way. I think this should come down to a vote amongst American citizens. We are a free democratic country, so let us make a decision as a nation.

      September 8, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
    • Ronnie

      How about a compromise? They can build the mosque near ground zero if they allow the US to build a Christian cross (the same size of the proposed mosque) right next to the Kaba (The Kaba is the sacred building in Saudi Arabi in which Muslims pray towards). That way we can prove to the world that both religions are tolerant? Won't happen? That's what I thought...I guess we are not the only religion who is "intolerant"?

      September 8, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
    • Anthony Sacco

      You won't find catholic or baptist churches built in any Muslim nation! Why do you expect us to let you build your trophy piece at ground zero. Don't forget, It's the Muslims who declared war on us. Don't threaten America by saying if we don't let you build your trophy than you will attack us again.

      September 9, 2010 at 8:22 am |
    • ewm

      Trust in the best of what is America.
      Build your Mosque.
      When my parents bought their home in 1967, our white neighbors were ... offended.

      September 14, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
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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.