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September 8th, 2010
08:16 PM ET

Profile: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the NYC Islamic center

The imam has stepped into the fray before.

Once, it was to address a French ban on girls wearing face-covering veils in public schools, other times, a Swiss prohibition on minarets and the burning of churches in Malaysia.

In those instances, he reminded his fellow Muslims of Islam's teachings: The burqa is a matter of style that only some Muslim countries embrace; the minarets are a matter of architecture, not religion; and firebombing churches did not sit well with Allah.

"If Muslims curse the Christians," he wrote for a Malaysian newspaper in January, "then the Christians will curse the Muslims. And people will curse Allah, and Allah will hold us responsible for that."

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Janice Fortin

    As long as people are naive enough to believe that Islam is a "religion", NO country in the world is safe. It dictates to a host government instead of assimilating, and that should never and cannot be tolerated if the free world is to survive.
    Assimilation of all incoming foreigners to host country is mandatory under the pain of deporttion. This will discourage, and hopefully, eliminate uncivilized practices of stoning, and the mutilation of young girls, the degradation of all females in society.

    November 25, 2010 at 6:03 am |
  2. 2+2=5

    To put it quite simply, Welcome to The United speds and ADD of America. RRrrrr. Take a good look at how pathetic we are. We have to be sat down like a child and explained things because we didn't do any learning or research or have common sense for that matter. Derka Derr. Wake the hell up America.This is an example of how stupid you are lately. Your kids claim we are at war with Muslims, really? how? where? What the hell are we even talking about anymore. Sad state of affairs with today's lack of understanding what more can you do? you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

    September 9, 2010 at 3:15 am |
  3. Hilary

    Where to begin, first it REALLY bother's me and MANY American friend's I have who are Muslim's and have been for twentey year's how other American's have this us against them train of thought. I am PROUD to be an AMERICAN and I am PROUD to be a MUSLIM. What REALLY shock's me is there is already from my understanding a Mosque close to Ground Zero and NO ONE has had an issue with that???????????? Definitly this Mosque should have been built somewhere else, but the people who are responsible for 9/11 what they did was NOT Islam. I was very impressed with this Imam. Something people really seem to forget is Muslim's were also killed on 9/11 also and Muslim worker's were first responce pulling people out on 9/11. I REALLY think all of this anger is over other thing's first it's directed at President Obama, even black's and now Muslim's. Are we going backward's???? I am saddened beyond belief that other American's are SO frustrated that they are doing thing's like burning a Quaran??? To burn a BOOK first of all and then a Religous Book. This man has not even read it??? Isn't he suppose to be a Religous man HIMSELF???

    September 9, 2010 at 2:32 am |
  4. alli

    Why does this sound like a threat by the Imam to Americans? “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. If we do move, it will strengthen the argument of the radicals to recruit, their ability to recruit, and their increasing aggression and violence against our country.” It absolutely is a threat by the Imam, not a concern of his...and him pretending that it is a concern of his is insulting.

    September 8, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
  5. Nancy

    If the muslim community respected this burial ground of thousands of those who lost their lives and their families, their would not be a debate about where this mosque should be placed. "Ground Zero" from 9/11 is a "Cemetary" to many New York families and families all over the world. This cemetary is sacred ground to many people who survived the terrorist attack. To have a mosque even near "Ground Zero" is absolute disregard and muslims, "Yes", this is just one more example of the Muslim community taking over this country. 3,000+ people were killed by terrorists on that fateful morning, but thousands of extended families were affected and also traumatized on that day. This would not be an issue in any other country because other countries would not allow us to tell them what we will do. This is another show of strength and abuse by the Muslim community. That mosque needs to be built away from "Ground Zero"! Why, Anderson Cooper, are you always behind the other countries and how can you support this on-going debate. There should not be any question!

    September 8, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  6. Richard Field

    I meant that Patreus is no doubt writing about how to deal with Muslim extremists. I wish this site might have an edit ability.

    September 8, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
  7. Richard Field

    I am disgusted at the moment to be an American. We are supposed to stand for religious freedom. The underbelly of American society has now been clearly shown–religious intolerance. The Imam Rauf has the right to build a mosque in land that he owns. The protests only show the world that we don't abide by religious tolerance, but mypopic and hateful religious intolerance. All of you objectors out there, consider some facts. This mosque has been running in an old building for a number of years, pre- 9/11. You're not objecting to a mosque in the area, you're objecting to a mosque fast-lift. Is this terribly important? Do you object to your neighbor's upgrades? You were all a bit late on this one. Second, what do you intend to prove, particularly in the face of a peaceful Imam? Is his comment on the effect that this might have in the Muslim world odious to you? Well our own General Patraus has made the same comment. What will you burn with him now? No doubt there are insidious Muslim extremists writing out military handbooks. The formally mentioned General among them. Let's censor them. Oh heck, everything is infected by Muslim extremism, so take up your arms and watc h carefully for that Muslim Barack Obama on your radar.

    What idiocy! Do you folks really take yourselves seriously?

    September 8, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
    • 2+2=5

      Same ole song it would seem. Nice post, well put. They even put our soldiers at risk, and the mission, while attacking others for the same thing. Well it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize whats really been going on lately, another massive propaganda push to prepare for the big brainwashing in the next election. Can't wait. Fear, fear, and more fear. Certificate, Muslim, Terrorism, hate, religious intolerance, race, lack of education, all coming to a town near you!

      September 9, 2010 at 3:26 am |
  8. RR

    Soledad O Brien was putting words into the Imam's mouth! When did he mention the word "mistake"? When did he mention "retribution"? And why didn't SHE answer HIS question when he asked her where she thought they should have a mosque built? If New York is his city, then he should be allowed to build whatever he wants on HIS property! Ignorant people like Soledad and her 71% of Americans need to get their facts straight – it's not SACRED land, and if it is, why are there bars with drunkards, and strip joints allowed permission without protests, to be built there????

    September 8, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  9. Jay

    I agree with the Imam; he is very responsible and respectful of US values, which is also what Islam teaches. However, I sensed a lot of hostility from Soledad towards the Imam. Why? Is she representing the right wing extremists? She should be a neutral reporter.

    She keeps mentioning that 'majority (70%) of Americans are against building the mosque at the location'. So what? During the civil rights movement the majority of whites were against 'equality for blacks' but it was the right thing to do. As long as the Constitution allows it, the Muslims have a right to build the mosque at this location.

    Thus I would have preferred CNN to be more sympathetic towards the Muslims as they are under siege and attack by right wing extremists.

    September 8, 2010 at 10:12 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.