September 17th, 2010
11:40 AM ET

Amid furor, 'ground zero mosque' imam leans on interfaith crisis management team

When Feisal Abdul Rauf learned earlier this month that a fundamentalist Florida pastor was flying to New York in hopes of meeting with him, the imam contacted Christian friends for advice on how to respond.

A handful of Christian leaders discouraged Rauf from meeting the Rev. Terry Jones - who’d threatened to burn Qurans unless Rauf moved his proposed Islamic center and mosque further from ground zero - and organized a phone call with Jones last weekend to urge him to cancel his Quran burning.

Jones had sent mixed messages about the event, first saying he had cancelled the burning but then announcing that he was rethinking whether to have the event.

“Jesus’ love and grace would have never resulted in such a hateful act,” said Jim Wallis, a progressive evangelical leader who advised Rauf about the meeting and helped organize the call. “So the faith community unified and mobilized.”

After hearing from Wallis and other Christian leaders, Rauf declined the meeting with Jones, who never went through with his event.

With the controversy over the site and substance of his proposed Islamic center now spanning the globe, the imam is relying on an informal cabinet of faith-based advisors, many of them Christian and Jewish, for crisis management advice and moral support during the most difficult public crisis of his life.

In interviews with roughly a dozen of these advisers, no one claimed to know exactly how the imam planned to resolve the crisis and move forward with his plans for the Islamic center.

But some associates say the controversy has prompted Rauf to take his project in a more pronounced multi-faith direction.

“He’s open to advice and he’s talking to us about creating a true interfaith presence and I hear him forming that now,” said the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, director of the religion department at the Chautauqua Institution, an interfaith study center in New York State.

Rauf declined interview requests for this story.

“Some of our talks are pastoral, since this is a very difficult time for Feisal and Daisy,” said Campbell, referring to Rauf’s wife, Daisy Khan. “They are taking a lot of heat and so the question is how you help them when they’re under attack?”

Adds Rev. James Parks Morton, former dean of New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine: “Most of the religious leaders in the city are very supportive of him and his vision.  But this has turned into a really very serious thing.”

Rauf’s powerful interfaith support group is a testament to the imam’s robust engagement in global interreligious dialogues over the last decade. The circle of leaders is providing a unified front of support for him and his project in the face of extraordinary public criticism.

But the informal advisory cabinet is populated mostly by proud religious liberals who strongly support Rauf’s Islamic center and who are indignant at much of the criticism aimed at the project, raising questions about the group’s ability to help move the project forward amid the public furor.

“Rauf’s position is coming purely from an interfaith position of ‘you love us, we love you,’ ” says Akbar Ahmed, an influential Islamic studies professor at American University. “He’s not putting the Islamic center in the context of American society and culture today. He’s disconnected from it and he’s not thinking through the consequences of his actions.”

Friends say that some of the imam’s interfaith work is inspired by his father, an Egyptian-educated imam who helped pioneer interfaith dialogue in the United States in the 1960s and ’70s and who helped secure land for Manhattan’s first full-scale mosque.

But Rauf’s friendships with religious leaders whom he’s relying on through the current crisis mostly grew out of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. After 9/11, many influential Christian and Jewish progressives began reaching out to their Muslim counterparts for the first time.

Those Christian and Jewish leaders wanted to better understand Islam and to help combat rising anti-Islamic sentiment in the U.S. Rauf, who hails from Islam’s mystical and moderate Sufi tradition, emerged as perhaps the nation’s chief explainer of Islam to non-Muslims.

Of course, most critics of Rauf’s proposed Islamic center - which polls indicate include the vast majority of the country - cite the project’s proximity to the site of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center as the basis of their opposition to the project.

But the attacks catapulted Rauf, who was previously focused on interfaith work in New York and on his small mosque in the city’s Tribeca neighborhood, onto national and global stages.

“The events of that day in 2001 pulled me out of the warm mahogany pulpit in my mosque twelve blocks north of ground zero in New York City,” he wrote in his 2004 book What’s Right With Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West. “Inundated with requests to ‘explain the Islamic viewpoint,’ I hurried from one television and radio interview to the next, trying to explain in a few sound bites the depths of the issues.”

At a televised panel discussion on religious fundamentalism in New York shortly after 9/11, Rauf first met the evangelical Wallis, who heads a social justice group called Sojourners.

Rauf discussed Muslim extremism, while Wallis talked about Christian radicalism. Another speaker addressed Jewish fundamentalism, sending a message that Islamic extremism is hardly unique.

A few months later, Rauf was invited for the first time to the World Economic Forum, which had moved from its usual location in Davos, Switzerland to New York as a show of solidarity after the 9/11 attacks. There Rauf met another influential Christian progressive, Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Welton Gaddy, with whom he became friendly through subsequent trips to Davos.

While providing a high-profile support base amid the current firestorm, such friendships have also seemed to shield Rauf somewhat from the public outcry over his proposed center.

“Our conversation was friendly because it was between friends,” Gaddy said of his recent interview with Daisy Khan on his radio show, State of Belief. “I have been very clear with Daisy that if people are opposed to the project on the basis that it is Islamic that that is unconstitutional.”

The circle of like-minded friends and advisors may have also blinded Rauf early on to the project’s capacity for generating outrage. The Rev. James Forbes, Jr. senior minister emeritus of New York’s Riverside Church - one of the country’s most influential mainline Protestant congregations - said that he dined with Rauf on the Fourth of July and that the then-mounting criticism never came up in conversation.

“We just had a wonderful dinner together… discussing the excitement about what he was attempting to do, to build a place that followed our interfaith sensibilities,” Forbes said. “I don’t recall lamenting how awful the reaction was to the idea.”

Rauf has also formed close relationships with progressive Jewish leaders since 9/11, modeling his proposed Islamic center largely on the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan and on New York’s 92nd Street Y, an influential Jewish cultural institution.

Rabbi Joy Levitt, Executive Director of the JCC in Manhattan, declined interview requests. A spokeswoman for the 92nd Street Y, Beverly Greenfield, said that Rauf had no formal contact with the institution over his proposed Islamic center, called Park 51.

Some of Rauf’s Jewish allies have taken a behind-the-scenes role helping him through the Islamic center flap, worried that their full-throated support could anger Jews that have criticized Rauf over statements regarding Israel.

“Of all the Muslims I can think of, I can’t think of anyone who’s been more present in the Jewish community,” said a prominent New York rabbi who asked for anonymity out of concern that he’d alienate some supporters.

Some of Rauf’s friends said he appeared to be taking their advice to do a few long-format interviews, including one last week with CNN and an appearance this week at the Council on Foreign Relations, in an attempt to fully explain his vision and to avoid having sound bites taken out of context.

Asked if he’d consider compromising on plans for the center, Rauf told the Council on Foreign Relations Monday that “everything is on the table,” though he has said that moving the center could dangerously inflame parts of the Muslim world because it would look like he was giving into anti-Muslim sentiment.

Plans for the $100 million, 13-story center include a 500 seat auditorium, classrooms and conference rooms, space for social events, a 9/11 memorial, a pool and a gym.

At the Council of Foreign Relations, Rauf continued to stress the project’s interfaith aims, saying it “will be a place for all faiths to come together as partners, as stakeholders in mutual respect.”

Some of Rauf’s friends and supporters in the faith world are convinced that the worst is behind him.

“My hope is that with the pressure of September 11 over and with this crazy, hateful Florida threat averted, there could now be a more thoughtful process on how to implement this great vision that Feisal and Daisy have,” said Wallis. “Now there will be some time to think this through.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • 9/11 • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Islam • Mosque • Muslim • New York • United States

soundoff (334 Responses)
  1. Halogens

    If the Imam were even remotely sincere about bringing people together rather than seeking his own interests he would simply yield to wishes of the majority and move this thing. Instead, he politely dismisses the 70+% majority as hysterical, unenlightened, and ill-informed and presses on with his agenda as if those people didn't even exist. Wow! Did I just describe a belligerent Imam Rauf or Barack Obama?

    September 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • Robert

      Let's not forget his veiled threat that Muslims will attack the US if his is forced to move the location of his victory mosque.

      September 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
    • tjc369

      Just like the threat John McCain made that said terrorists would attack again if Barack Obama was elected President. Threat? Ha, you're ridculous.

      September 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • Robert

      @tjc369, what the hell does that have to do with Rauf's claiming his mosque project is about building bridges to non-Muslims while at the same time ignoring the wishes of so many Americans, many of them non-Muslims? He is only concerned about what he wants.

      September 17, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  2. Bobby

    Someone needs to tell this guy that in America we do not have to like anything. Build your mosque and move on. Whine louder when there are protests at the door every day.

    September 17, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  3. stephen douglas

    ...the informal advisory cabinet is populated mostly by proud religious liberals...

    Figures – the L word at work. No one with half a brain would support this project and specifically this Imam. Read more about what a great character he is at:


    He needs to spend some time getting his business in order instead of attempting to ram this mosque down the throats of over 65% of Americans who think it is wrong.

    September 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  4. holiday

    the funds for the Rauf mosque are tainted with Hamas money. check it out.

    September 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  5. stephen douglas

    Here is what gets me in this article..."and he’s [now] talking to us about creating a true interfaith presence"...As most of us figured, Imam Rauf's original idea was totally about Islam with all other details being back burner afterthoughts. For those who are opposed to this mosque, we are not a bunch of biggots or rednecks, or politicians seeking more exposure. The facts are that had the Muslims continued with their small prayer center that currently exists, no one would have said a word. However, attempting to build a huge, towering, mosque so close to the location of the murder by MUSLIMS is far more insidious or insulting than any cartoon ever drawn of Muhammad. There are Muslims who agree it is wrong to pursue this mosque at this location, but most won't speak out in fear of retaliation – so much for the religion of peace and tolerance.

    September 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • tjc369

      Oh really? But they've spoke to you about it?

      September 17, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      There have been a few posts – not enough – although I am not seeing any here, where Muslims have agreed the mosque in that location is not a good idea, and they understand the hard feelings. If a couple have spoken out, there are more who have not, and the only reason for them to not speak out is fear of retaliation.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
    • Saba

      I am a Muslim and I agree that building that mosque/center so close to Ground Zero is a terrible idea. I consider it to be extremely inconsiderate towards the victims and families of 9/11. If they want their damn Islamic center built so badly, why not pack up and move it somewhere else? It is a terrible reminder of the terrorist attacks against the United States and its people, not to mention completely unnecessary. It's already doing more harm than good – and it hasn't even been built yet!

      September 17, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      Saba...If you are really a Muslim, THANK YOU! There are sensitivities, morals, ethics, and understanding involved with this issue. Not many Americans would dispute the fact that Muslims have the RIGHT to build the giant mosque at that location, but over 65% are against it for the issues I mentioned. And now, you, a logical, understanding Muslim, speaking out, means there have to be others against this mosque. And for the record, I will throw rocks at Islam all day long, but I do not have bad feelings for the people. This is not about hating people, it is all about hating the religion and what it represents. Thanks again – I hope more people see your remarks.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  6. MRC

    I really do worry about what the country my kids are growing up in is turning into. I worry even more about what the state I live in (Texas) is turning into. I really do hope that New York City can act as a beacon of hope with people like Rauf and Bloomberg leading the way.

    September 17, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      I hope you are joking....Bloomberg and Rauf leading the way?

      Most terrorism experts agree: it is not "if" we are attacked again, but "when." Right now, a silent battle is being waged everyday using naive pawns who want to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya" with Muslims. Islamic charities, the ACLU–even presidential candidates are all pawns in a stealth holy war, unwittingly (or intentionally) advancing the jihadist agenda not by violence, but through endeavors designed to acclimate and subject us to Islamic law.

      Exactly like Rauf and Bloomberg.

      So, please, tell me you are joking...right???

      September 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
    • Edgar Friendly

      "Right now, a silent battle is being waged everyday using naive pawns who want to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya" with Muslims. Islamic charities, the ACLU–even presidential candidates are all pawns in a stealth holy war, unwittingly (or intentionally) advancing the jihadist agenda not by violence, but through endeavors designed to acclimate and subject us to Islamic law."

      Once again, in an age where nobody can pick their nose without it showing up on WikiLeaks or some gossip blog five seconds later, someone assumes a massive conspiracy that completely defies all logic.

      September 17, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Asinine


      see you could have backed up your asinine rant with some sort of fact, but no, its better to spew hatred and misinformation.

      i hope you know how we are viewed around the world is probably how you view muslims/people of the islamic faith.

      do everyone a favor and take the tinfoil off your head and grow a brain

      September 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      Asinine...tin foil is what gives me my special powers....

      September 17, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • Surge

      Oootie,pootie, do not worry my little one. Your parents were worrying at their time, but see, everything came out to be fine.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  7. prwilt

    Many people in NY claim to be against the site of the Islamic center and not Islam. They claim it to be an emotional reaction to the events of 9/11or concerns of it being funded by extremists. A real test of whether it was religious bias (Islamaphobia) or not would be for the people protesting the Islamic center to put aside their emotional reactions sit down with Imam Rauf and figure how they could help him come up with the monies to build the center on a new site. This should help dismiss concerns about the center be funded by extremists and by supporting the effort, even though it was on a new site. And getting involved with learning and understanding the faith, not becoming Muslim, (I do not promote any religion to anyone. I believe this is a personal issue) should help minimize the concerns with other Muslim nations of our distrust of the Islamic faith verses that of the extremists.

    Every window allows passage both ways. People on each side have to determine where they wish to go. Forward or back.

    September 17, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  8. tropicgal

    Run Run Run go away and leave us in PEACE!

    September 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • geoffreyf

      Bigotry hates beauty. Yours will fade as your hate pervades and deepens into the hideous wrinkles that develop in your face. i've never seen a beautiful bigot. Beauty is more than skin deep and hatred like yours will manifest in your face. Simple statement of fact ... look around you ... hatred doesn't look good. Remember my words when they are fulfilled.

      September 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • massms

      In addition to all their other intimidation, the Muslims are now threatening us with disfigurement by wrinkles, a fate worse than death! Does this apply only to women or will it happen to men, too?

      September 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  9. tropicgal

    The only people that have been stonewalling are the developers and Rauf who think this will all mellow out. I got news for them I won't mellow out until they duck and run!

    September 17, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
    • geoffreyf

      I got news for you tropicgal ... there is nothing to wait for. Legally, they can do it whenever they like. Yes, bigotry always "Mellows out" in this country. ALWAYS and those who perpetrate it or use it for political purposes do sometimes get some short term political gain, but over an election cycle or two ... it loses big time. You obviously were not alive during the cvil rights era. NOTHING that has been said about Imam Rauf even touches on what was slung against civil rights leaders in the '60s.

      September 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  10. Jeffrey Allen Miller NY

    I find it odd that for a man who says he is intent upon bringing peaceful relations - that he needs advice on how to deal with Christians and others. That then shows a fundamental problem, I think, with muslim leadership. Treat me as you wish to be treated and if you need to ask what that means, then you had better allow someone else to take charge.

    September 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  11. Jim

    What u people don't understand are two basic facts:
    1- Islam has arrived in america and its here to stay. Muslims are being treated in US the same way how jews were treated in europe and how blacks were treated in US in last century and thats why they hate u, and muslims will remebr this 10 or 20 or 30 years from now, when the new generation grow up. The sooner u realize and accept them, the sooner u can get on with ur pathetic lives.
    2- its all politically motivated by people like palin and the like, once the elections r over you won't here a peep about this controversy and u stupid people are playing into their hands.

    September 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
    • Spence Hoffman

      I think jews and blacks should be highly offended by your outrageous comparisons.

      September 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
    • Najeh

      You are the MAN Jim.

      September 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • Steve Hayes

      We accept Muslims. They problem is they apparently cannot live with anyone else, even themselves!

      September 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      Blacks, Jews, and other immigrants or displaced people were attempting to integrate and become part of the American culture. They were not making demands for special laws, special clothing, special eating – they took care of their special needs as part of their own, unique culture. Muslims are attempting to change our culture and way of life to meet their demands, and if we don't like it, they will blow us up, or fly an airplane into your office, or cut your head off as your family watches. So, they are not the same as other groups who have come to America.

      September 17, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      I have not kept up with any politicians about this whole episode. All I (and at least 65% of Americans) needed to hear was that Muslims were planing to build a huge mosque within spitting distance of the twin tower attacks and that got me following this thing. It won't go away after the elections, fool. It is not about politics.

      September 17, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
    • tjc369

      Is that why this has been in planning for over a year and it just comes up now. That makes sense.

      September 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
    • Cretaceous1

      it won't be staying in the US if left up to me and my associates!

      September 17, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
    • Anna

      I dont see this type of Back lash against Hindus and Buddhists.. Millions of them are here too

      September 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
    • Edgar Friendly

      "They were not making demands for special laws, special clothing, special eating"

      Uh, Orthodox Jews make all those demands and nobody cares. That's just one example off the top of my head.

      Why don't you try stepping outside your caucasian bubble for once in your life and actually go somewhere where people of different cultures are living together? You're so blatantly ignorant of the world around you I can only assume you've never been more than 200 miles from Lincoln, Nebraska or something.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      edgar friendly....Uhm, what about that blowing up other people and cutting off heads thing, you failed to address that with regards to Jews and Blacks. I live in a huge city, and although Jews do have some special needs, they don't attempt to alter the laws or culture in order to ram their needs down our throats. Maybe you need to stick with singing Kumbaya as Muslims continue their stealth assault.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
    • stephen

      Majority of Americans do not mind a mosque in their own neighborhood. That's the true sign of hate! Good point Jim!

      September 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
    • stephen

      1. Hindus and Buddhists are happy to live under American Laws
      2. Hindus and Buddhists – when was the last time you heard "Death to America" from them?
      3. Lets play a game of association.. No thinking involve. Rabbit ... big ears, Cars.. wheels, Terrorists... Hindus. Now your turn Anna.

      The only problem I have with Hindus and Buddhists is that they do not preach enough of "we are a peace loving religion." Because if you preach it enough, it will come true.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • Mike

      You are absolutley correct in your diagnosis of this mockery made out of the American public. We are all puppets being played by there hands. LOL this is always how it is. I know exactly what you mean and i think the same exact way. Once the elections are gone you wont hear anything about this issue or the creation of new jobs, nor the falling economy. We have more homeless and poor people in this country, right now as i type, than we have ever had at any other point in time, in this countrys history. Its time for us to grow UP!

      September 17, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
    • Dale

      I don't have a problem with freedom of religion in the U.S. It's one of the fundamental concepts our country was built on. However, when I hear the Muslims are wanting to build a mosque so close to ground zero, I have to question their motives. At best, it is in extremely bad taste. What's so wrong with building it somewhere/anywhere! else in our wonderful country?
      Very bad taste, indeed!

      September 20, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  12. benson

    this wasn't about the Nov elections until Obama opened his fat stupid mouth.

    September 17, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  13. sisi

    Jeremy Baker – common whats your real name? Mohamed something I'm sure.

    September 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  14. Eric

    The men were arrested in London at 5.45am on the second day of the pope's visit. Sources say they are believed to be Muslim.

    September 17, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  15. Keith

    After the November elections this non-issue won't be brought up again. But because this is an election year, the sane members of this country get to sit back and watch the crazies get themselves riled up over something that doesn't matter.

    September 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • Spence Hoffman

      yeah, you're right. this is all about the Nov elections and nothing to do with 911 or Islamic imperialism...

      September 17, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
    • Najeh

      Right on the money......

      September 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
    • Logic

      Wrong.. This is about Islamizing the country. A path , similar to the one France is taking, and one you never want to take for the sake of freedom. Islam-based countries are like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. Countries founded on Christian principles have freedom and democracy in their blood.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
    • Dana

      Logic: Like Turkey or Indonesia? Both overwhelmingly Muslim countries with a dedication to secular government, democracy, and social stability. Not only that, but the Turks are an older nation than about 4/5ths of European nations.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
    • really?

      Are you serious? Pretty much every Christian country has had a period when it was punishable by death to not worship the right god. That goes for being catholic or the right version of protestant too.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
    • Edwin

      Keith: I think Spence and Logic help prove your point - right now, they are posting just like everyone else. After the elections, they will still post about an islamic takeover, but nobody else will read.

      It is a stunt designed to anger conservatives, to get them to contribute money to political causes, and (more importantly) vote.

      To be fair, the Imam seems to have a very big ego (maybe even a bit of a megalomania complex), but there is nothing controversial about his renovation. But add a few key words like "mosque" and "ground zero" - even though they are not really related to the renovation - and suddenly it takes center stage.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  16. Jeremy Baker

    sagebrush shorty, why cant people like you just live and let live. This guy branches out hand has reached out to other reiligious leaders which he has been a part of for years. He is a peaceful person. Equality is going to happen in this country. It has happened before and it will happen again, get over it.

    September 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Najeh

      You are good. Keep talking.......

      September 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
    • treeplantr

      Whatever you say Neville Chamberlain...

      September 17, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
    • Conguero

      let's put up a gun shop and a shooting range at Dealey Plaza. I'm sure no one would care. It's not like it's holy ground or anything. "the imam is relying on ....moral support during the most difficult public crisis of his life." Build the mosque anywhere else – crisis averted! Oh wait, I forgot about the threats of retaliation.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
    • sagebrush shorty

      He is a slumlord ,pure and simple. Just another phony self-proclaimed holy man advocating a Stone -age religion while ripping off his tenants. Wake up and smell the hypocrisy!

      September 17, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • objectiveguy

      I was married to a muslim (heavy emphasis on the WAS part), and met and socialized with many, many muslims. They have a very strong common thread: They smile to your face, pretend to be your best friend, try to convince you they are the most honest people you've ever had the good fortune to meet, and would then stab you in the back with the same smile on their face. Wake up to reality–these are NOT a peaceful people, and in fact, they loathe any and all non-muslims. They will tell you any crock of sh** they think you want to hear, and act completely offended if their "integrity" is called into question. They can't even stop fighting among themselves, let alone with outsiders. It is naive and dangerous to think that this Imam and his mosque plans are well meaning–they are not!

      September 17, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
    • Dana

      Sagebrush, Islam is an Iron age religion, not a stone age religion. Noob.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
    • delphin

      @objectiveguy: i have a hard time believing you. just because one person was like that does not mean that all muslims are crackpots. muslims have been a significant part of this country for over a hundred years have been silently contributing to the progress and success of this democracy. the vast majority if muslims in the US are educated and progressive. i agree with you that some are weird but that also begs the argument that you will find the crazies in *all* religious groups.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
    • Jeff G.

      The people you refer to do not know or speak for God. The reference to Neville Chamberlain is most humorous, as the accuser resembles far more closely the faction that Chamberlain attempted to appease. Thats the ugly truth about America at the moment.

      September 17, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
    • treeplantr

      @Jeff G. – If you think living under Sharia law is what you want, keep being open to everything. There is a season, turn, turn, turn...

      September 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  17. Robert

    See all you bigots and Islamaphobes, you can ignore Rauf's comments about blaming US policy for the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks, or his support of Sharia law, or his unwillingness to condemn Hamas even after they killed 4 Jews including a pregnant woman because he has friends of all faiths. Now let's all join hands and sing kumbaya...

    September 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • Dana

      I can't tell if you are trying to be satirical or not, but...

      Imam Faisal has never supported Sharia Law. He didn't refuse to condemn Hamas, he simply had reservations about calling them a terrorist organization (and so do I). He also said nothing that wasn't true about 9/11 and American policy. We were attacked as a direct consequence of our conduct abroad (though some of it is virtuous and admirable, some of it is downright dastardly)

      September 17, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
    • Xugos

      He has condemned it, he did it on ABC I think.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  18. Spence Hoffman

    I don't think talking to Jim Wallis really counts as "contacting a christian".

    September 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • geoffreyf

      Then read the article ... what part of "Most" of the Christian and Jewish community do you not understand?

      September 17, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  19. jim

    Clearly a man who will listen to anyone, and be guided by no one. A politician and nothing more!

    September 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
    • William

      In the end, as he threatens the US by way of the muslim world's reaction, he plans to ram this mosque down our throats.

      September 17, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
    • VR

      What a clever move. Rauf was stinging Rev. Jones all along until eventually past the 9/11 deadline. Meanwhile, he never even planned to meet with him. And this is what you call a good faith? Interfaith?

      September 17, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
    • VR

      Meanwhile, Rauf is going for support to his liberal allies instead of having a dialog with his opponents who are the majority of us. What kind of building the bridge is this?

      September 17, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  20. Spence Hoffman

    Oh no! The GZ-Mosque Imam and JIM WALLIS are pals? This is worse than ever! Get the #e!! out out NY Rauf!

    September 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
    • mcauleysworld

      Rauf has specifically refused to condemn HAMAS, on over a dozen occassions he has been asked to concemn HAMAS and has refused to do so stating, and I quote, ""I'm not a politician," replied Rauf. "I try to avoid the issues. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question. ... I'm a bridge builder. I define my work as a bridge builder. I do not want to be placed, nor do I accept to be placed in a position of being put in a position where I am the target of one side or another." ... the first tiem Rauf stated this was during an ABC radio inetrview ... he has repeated this exact position many times since ...

      The HAMAS issue is not a political one .... the HAMAS question is a question of religous ethics ... or reliigous moarlity ... the issue is one of direct consequent to what we, as American's believe .... The HAMAS charter states the following, "Israel exists and will continue to exist until Islam shall rise up and "obliterate" it .... When Imam Rauf is asked to condemn HAMAS he is being asked to cndemn the basic concept of militant Islam ... that any faith, religion or people have a "right" to "obliterate" any other Faith, religion or people ... A very basic concept to every American .... A very basic and simply thing for any "man of peace" to condemn .... No faith, relgion or people have the right to obliterate any other .... The Imam should be willing to state as much .... FYI ... HAMAS should be capitalized ... it is an acronym of Harakat al Mawqawama al Islamiyya meaning "Islamic Resistance Movement." The word HAMAS also means "zeal." ...

      Google HAMAS Charter for yourself ... you will find that the 1st three tenants state the following:

      "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

      "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "

      "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

      Strangely, Imam Rauf is also a defender of the genocidal regime in the Sudan. The Government of the Sudan has been charged by the United Nations International Criminal Court with multiple charges of "Genoicde" and 'Crimes Against Humanity", yet Imam Rauf denies the genocide in Dafur and is a chief defender and apologist of the Sudanese Government ... Google Imam Rauf, Cordoba Initiative Sudan; Cordoba Initiative Dafur Sudan and/or Cordoba Initiative Suadn American Muslim Magazine .... When asked about the Genocide in Dafur, Imam Rauf could only state that with the withdrawal of UN Peacekeepers from the region, Peacekeepers who defended the woamn and children of Dafur from Gewnocide, that with that withdrwal, now the time was ripe for the US to "redefine" it's relationship with the Sudanese Government ... "redefine" .... The good Imam refused to call for an end to the Genocide, he refused to even admit that 'egnocide" was occuring ..... How is this a "man of peace" or a "bridge builder".

      September 18, 2010 at 11:22 am |
    • honestanon

      Enough already. This 'conversation' isn't moving fast enough.
      Try to watch this. Then think. Research this and understand exactly what they're doing.
      FGM = Female Genital Mutilation

      Exactly what's it going to take to open the eyes of Americans?
      This is happening in England – NOW

      From the Guardian in the UK - dated 25 July 2010

      September 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
    • honestanon

      CNN refused to embed it.

      Here's a link
      Remove $ signs


      September 18, 2010 at 4:27 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.