Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the religious leader behind plans to build an Islamic center and mosque a few blocks from New York’s ground zero spoke for the first time on Wednesday night on Larry King Live. Speaking with Soledad O’Brien, the Imam spoke about the growing controversy surrounding the proposal to build an Islamic Cultural Center close to Ground Zero.
‘If we move from that location, the story will be the radicals have taken over the discourse,’ Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on ‘Larry King Live.’
‘The headlines in the Muslim world will be that Islam is under attack.’
But some critics decried his assessment.
‘The whole national security thing: that’s a veiled threat,’ Andy Sullivan, a union construction worker who wants all New York construction workers to boycott the proposed Islamic center, said on CNN’s ‘AC 360’ Wednesday night. ‘He’s saying ‘you make me move’ and, guess what, the whole radical Muslim world is coming after us.’
‘This is a turf war,’ Sullivan said.
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The imam, who repeatedly said his mission was to promote peace and build a bridge among faiths, said he was also 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.’
As for the ‘Burn the Quran day’ in Florida slated for September 11 by a Rev Terry Jones?
Worry over what some observers have termed ‘Islamophobia’ has been heightened by a Gainesville, Florida, church’s plan to burn copies of the Quran on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
Rauf said he hopes the church reconsiders. ‘It is something that is not the right thing to do.’
‘With freedom comes responsibility,’ he said. ‘This is dangerous to our national security and is also the un-hristian thing to do. … Jesus said to love your enemy. We are not your enemy.’