Imam: Mosque will help us all get alongBy JEREMY OLSHAN
New York Post
August 23, 2010
The imam who is behind plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero insisted yesterday that the prayer space and community center will actually improve Islamic relations in the United States.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who was in Bahrain yesterday as part of a 15-day tour of the Middle East funded by the US State Department, said the intense controversy over the plan is a good thing.
"The fact we are getting this kind of attention is a sign of success," he told a gathering at the US ambassador's residence there. "It is my hope that people will understand more" of the culture.
In an interview with Bahrain's Al Wasat newspaper, he also said America's sweeping constitutional rights are more in line with Islamic principles than laws imposed by some Muslim nations.
"I see the [Declaration] of Independence as more compliant with the principles of Islam than what is available in many of the current Muslim countries," he said.
Rauf is in the Middle East on part of a US effort to generate a dialogue with the Muslim world.
Critics have complained that the US government has released virtually no details about the trip.
Rep. Pete King (R-Long Island) yesterday demanded that the State Department lift the veil of secrecy surrounding Rauf's trip as soon as the iman returns home.