AP—Imam behind NYC mosque faces divisions over center

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has long worked to bridge divisions, be they fissures between interfaith husbands and wives or political chasms separating the United States and the Muslim world.

The 61-year-old clergyman is now in the midst of a polarizing political, religious and cultural debate over plans for a multistory Islamic center that will feature a mosque, health club and theater about two blocks north of ground zero. He is one of the leaders of the Park51 project, but has largely been absent from the national debate over the implications of building a Muslim house of worship so close to where terrorists killed more than 2,700 people.

Though Rauf has said the center, which could cost more than $100 million, would serve as a space for interfaith dialogue, moderate Muslim practice and peaceful prayer, critics say it will create a base for radical, anti-American Islam. Some critics have also asked where the funding for the center might originate and whether it may come from sources linked to Muslim extremists.

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Posted August 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. libraryjim wrote:

What the article doesn’t state is that more and more ‘moderate’ Muslim voices are also coming out against the location of this project, and questioning the ‘moderate’ status of the Imam.

August 29, 2:50 pm | [comment link]
2. Scott K wrote:

Yes, he’s obviously not moderate; look at what he wrote:
He has strongly opposed acts of violence in the name of Islam.

“The Quran allows fighting only in defense - when we are attacked or thrown from our homes or denied our basic rights because of what we choose to believe,” he writes in his 2004 book.

“But even in those cases where fighting is allowed, the Quran never allows the killing of innocent people.”

The annex of his book includes a 2001 fatwa, or religious ruling, signed by five Islamic scholars, that permits Muslims to fight for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

He also writes that there is no circumstance under which the Prophet permitted suicide, and says so-called “martyrdom operations” are unsupported by Islam.

“It is a phenomena that no civilized society - in the Muslim world or the West - should be content to accept,” he said.

Clearly an extremist.

August 30, 12:13 pm | [comment link]
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