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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."

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

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

soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. Naved Yar Khan

    Intolerance in any form ought to be condemned.It is extremism which is of course there amongst religious extermeists.All those opposed to the Mosque are disturbing the public tranquility and the Government is watching while the State has to insure public tranquility,as per the Preamble of the American Constitution.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:18 am |
  2. Steve Foster, California

    I do see serious and valid issues on both sides. But, I also see a unique opportunity for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to create a revolutionary compromise in the form of a global interfaith center, where all people of faith can worship, be educated about the values of one another, mourn and honor the sacrifice of those who have died at the hands of religious extremism, and provide peaceful forums where interfaith dialogues can continue. Given that this issue is now on the world stage, I think the Muslim community, through this center, could be in a position to demonstrate global leadership in interfaith relations by building a foundation that stands for peaceful coexistence in the future.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:53 am |
  3. Fazin

    am a muslim and am for moving the mosque, it is too emotional for americans and sadly americans connect terrorism with muslims so why build there when there is an issue of sensitivity.
    Am sure true muslims would understand if mosque is moved due to religious sensitivity.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:44 am |
    • Carl

      Then tell me why where Muslims around the world celebrating the death of the 3000 people by dancing in the streets? Peacful, not so much. Sensitivity you tell me how sensitive the Muslims where????

      September 9, 2010 at 6:34 am |
  4. Kevin Flannigan Rantoul Illinois

    I'll take a strip club, anyday, all religions, are nothing more than a form of mind control, there is no god, want a god, look up at the night sky. Thats your god, the universe, its where we came from, and where we will go back to. Star stuff, is what your made of, and what you will become in the future. Thats immortailty, the truth is a harsh teacher.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:12 am |
  5. Unprofessional, BIASED, and just plain SCARED

    Who showed up to work today, getting one of the most important interviews of the year, and completely left their BRAIN at home? None other than SOLEDAD O'BRIAN. What a joke to have her interview this guy. She was obviously Unprofessional, BIASED, and just plain SCARED of Islam. UGH, I am so disgusted with her "style!" I would love for her and everyone else to get a freakin HISTORY lesson on the Middle East and get to know Islam through actual MUSLIMS and not through the Islamophobic Hate Monsters who prowl around the Fox News Channel. Seriously, Soledad, do you even know who the Mujahadeen are? Or do you need to watch Charlie Wilson's War, because books are too hard for you? Idiot.

    September 9, 2010 at 4:16 am |
  6. Majid

    I hope they build this center. Good luck to them.

    September 9, 2010 at 3:39 am |
  7. suzy diamond

    How accepting of CHRISTIAN faith is tolerated by Muslims in THEIR country? ANSWER: It's NOT!

    September 9, 2010 at 3:34 am |
    • Fazin

      Don't say wrong things, everyone has their freedom everywhere don't spread misinformation.
      There is no problem in any of the arabian countries my friends are from different different(christians, Hindus etc) religions and they love arabian countries more. Kinda surpring when they have all this freedom back home?
      They just tell u to be respectful, that is all.

      September 9, 2010 at 5:49 am |
  8. Peace and Justice for all

    read it all

    LOOK EVERYONE ! I want to say we need the Islamic center/Mosque because it seems the nation is un-educated about Islam. Islam never supports terrorist, Osama bin ladan and extremist are evil terrorist they do not represent a nation or religion of 1.8 billion muslims, they do not speak for us either. Islam means: submission and obediance, Muslim means: to surrender, and Salam means: Peace. We must try to educate this nation because non-muslims are being feed the wrong messeges, and by not building this center it will be like saying we were the people involved for those terrorist acts, we were victims just as much as anyone in those buildings on 9/11, remember every culture or religion is going to have "rotten apple" like one small example the Oklahoma city bomber he killed those people for his God and his religion, but still we see churches in that town, we are not to punish the whole religion for a very some group of people that don't represent that religion. we want to clear everyones mind Islam doesn't want to kill,we want PEACE read it yourself or ask a local mosque they will be happy to tell you all you need to know. this nation is Islamophobics because they are un-educated and they think they understand Islam, there are even people claming we have verses in the Quran about killing non-muslims, these words are NOT in the Quran but the opposite, JIHAD doesn't mean holy war, it means struggle and strive for anything we do, the only time a muslim can kill or fight any religion muslim or non-muslim is during combat war for self-defence and there are a list of rules for that like:, never harm women, childern, elderly or people working minding there own buisness {like the twin towers victims}, we can only fight for self-defence combat zone and surrender if the opposing team surrenders, it is some what of an eye for an eye theory. Muslims respect ALL religions, so if you choose to burn the Quran read it you'll find what we believe is very similar,and it will show you how much we respect all the prophets and praise Jesus and even a chapter about the virigin Mary, before preforming nazi teachings, innocent civilians Muslims are being attacked all over the world for being a muslim so this proves the nazi theory. I understand there are evil muslims and they are trying to terrorize and erase Islam's true messege a messege of peace and equality, they are trying to kill muslims and change the words of our God sent to our prophet. Islam is stronger then Osama and the terrorist groups these men are murders NOT muslims no one will follow these idiots and God will send them straight to hell in this life and the after. we are a nation of freedom and we clam not to be racist but the non-muslim never even heard the other side with an open mind.
    We need to treat people like we want to be treated so we can stand together to defeat and distroy Osama and these evil groups, but how can we do that, We treat all Muslim like terrorist that is unfair because Muslims are not raised to be evil, we were all created from dirt/clay no one has the right to be more supperior to any other group no matter what we are equal, we give Muslims labels they have no assoication with that, Just like child molesting priest who are the teachers of Chirstainty, not all Chirstians are Molestors we are not to assoiate all Chirstians with evil people form their religion. I never mean to offened anyone I want people to educate themselves towards the people they claim them to be their enimies. PEACE TO ALL I hope this nation keep the consitution of America such as freedom of speech, religion and Peace thank you !

    September 9, 2010 at 2:19 am |
  9. Armani

    Will I ever say that the Catholics that are murdering protestants and people of other faith represent all Christians. Never! those people are the same as the hijackers on 9/11. People of no faith and using the name of religion and god to commit crimes.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:56 am |
  10. Armani

    Mr Captian America, do you think there are multiple gods and in the sky above us gods are having chess games to see who wins? God is universal and one. Religions have come about in different periods of history with different understandings and have been established differently in a variety of geographical areas. For example the hijab (scarf) which people tend to mistake and associate with Islam is in reality a geographical and cultural thing. Muslims in Turkey practice different kind of prayers and have a very unique perspective in clothing and traditions. Again, I say we need to educate ourselves. Islam is not just what you see on your TV or CNN. There are even Chinese Muslims which have been oppressed by the Chinese government. But such a story ever get media attention? No. There is one god, just different interpretations and people use the name of god to commit atrocities like the people who claim to be Muslim and flew those planes. Those were people of no faith.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:54 am |
  11. IMAM Captain America

    Frankly Im just sick of the 24/7 coverage that CNN puts on this one issue. They are obsessed with muslim topics. Maybe they should be the MNN. Muslim news network.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:44 am |
  12. IMAM Captain America

    So according to Armani Muslims and Christians worship the same god, and you think that is an educated view? I agree there is only one true god. So where does Allah fit into the equation? And why dont Christians oppress women and stone people as a punishment. Sorry, but the differences between christianity and islam are endless and the similarities are few.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:42 am |
    • Joseph

      Allah is just the Arabic for GOD, the christians living in the MUslim world refer to God as Allah! GET THE PICTURE?

      September 9, 2010 at 4:37 am |
    • Carl

      No Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God. For a Muslim they call there god Allah, he does not have a son. Christians say the Jesus is God along with God the Father and God the Spirit and all are one. Two very different ideas of God.

      September 9, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  13. Armani

    There are churches all over pakistan. There are churches in Indonesia where majority is Muslim. People just need to educate them selves and I promise the solution is not a hard one. We all believe in the same god. There is only one god people. The Quran is no different then the bible. It shares the same stories. It recognizes Christ and Judas. Just read people and stop believing what you hear. There are enough posers in this world. What we really need are just more educated people.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:35 am |
    • Carl

      Again NO we do not worship the same God. Christians worship Jesus Christ as God the son, then there God the father and God the Spirit and all three are one. The Muslims completly reject this and do not claim the same God. We need to be careful that we do read and understand what we read not just assume the facts

      September 9, 2010 at 7:48 am |
    • Zeke

      I believe your number of Gods is off by one. I would rather that no religious centers of any kind were built near Ground Zero. Religion is the reason those people died.

      September 9, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  14. IMAM Captain America

    Ok Shan. guess we should build a US victory monument in Hiroshima. Im thinking the Japanese would see that as opening an old wound just as the ground zero build will do. While legal in our free society, it just opens old wounds in this country. This only deepens the divide. Legal but in POOR TASTE.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:34 am |
  15. Ken LeBert

    Note to politicians; Every American citizen doesn't live his or her life, to enhance the careers of professional political whores.
    Most people I've spoken to don't really CARE what you think. And they care much, much less what non-Americans think. Muslims need to remember that they were ALLOWED to come here, and they can be MADE to leave.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:29 am |
  16. Shan

    Yes, there are churches in Muslim countries. In Tajikistan, just south of Afghanistan, there are Russian people who have 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 1:28 am |
  17. Bobbie BBBBB

    If the Masque is built under the "Tolerance and freedom flag" I say my freedom is to build a strip club, sex shop and massage parlor next door. HAHAHAHAHA. Then see how holy that ground is.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:23 am |
  18. Suzy QQQQ

    And say what you will, but muslims are mandated in the Kuran to destroy and kill ALL infidels. That just doesnt sound like a peaceful religion.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:19 am |
  19. Suzy QQQQ

    Is CNN so obsessed with pandering to Muslims that they report on nothing else and no other view. While I agree building this is legal, the appropriateness VERY poor and most americans find this a personal insult. Its viewed as a victory monument to 9-11. Can christians build a church in a muslim country, No we would be killed. This "tolerance" is creating anger on main street and CNN seems only interested in spreading the ULTRA liberal viewpoints. How about we agree to no masque at ground zero and no kuran burning. Fair trade now MOVE on CNN

    September 9, 2010 at 1:16 am |
  20. Armani

    For some reason, everyone is forgetting that 30 + MUSLIMS were also killed on 9/11 at WTC. The question should not be if a mosque should be allowed to be built near ground zero. The question should be, are we as Americans going to divide and fight within ourselves over an issue of constitutional right or stand united and show the world what America is really about. Those "people" that flew the planes in to the WTC Towers were of no religion or faith but rather imposers. Every religion has imposers. Look at Ireland and the Catholic imposers there who are committing the same crimes as the "people" who flew those planes. This debate should not be about whose religion is right or wrong. It should be about the common hard working American who wants to live life to the fullest with respect and dignity versus the people who want to steal our dignity away from us, like imposers of religion.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:12 am |
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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.