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Imam Feisal Watch: Let’s Try It Again, Where’s the Man Behind the GZ Mosque?

August 18, 2010
Claudia Rosett
8/16/2010

Where exactly is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the $100 million Ground Zero mosque project? I keep asking because weeks after he stopped answering any questions about his “Cordoba House” plans, there is still no answer.

By now, there is information in Rauf’s silence. He launched his Ground Zero mosque and Islamic center project in the name of “dialogue,” “outreach” and “bridge-building” in lower Manhattan. In doing so, he trampled on raw feelings, and set off a divisive debate. Rauf’s apparent dismissal of public questions as not worth his time, while he travels to the Middle East on U.S. taxpayer money, suggests enormous contempt for the American public.

Rauf dropped out of sight weeks ago, and as far as I can discover, he hasn’t answered any questions from the press since Reuters spoke to him by phone on July 22nd. (When I surprised him at his office in Malaysia on July 30th, Malaysian time, after his New York office said he was traveling and unreachable, he got right back off the phone to return to an “important meeting,” and then referred all further questions back to his office in New York.)

And now… the rest of the story. …..

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 21, 2010 3:06 pm

    Is Rauf responsible for creating a divisive debate? Or is the debate and the “trampling of feelings” more a result of how this has been presented in the media?

    The initial media coverage of this issue has been highly selective. I recently wrote a blog post titled The “Ground Zero Mosque”: What is the true motivation behind this debate? in which I try to explore what this debate is really about. Everything has been skewed from the beginning. The name “Ground zero mosque” conjures up an image of a mosque built on the actual ground zero site.

    In reality, it’s a mostly building not viewable from the site…a building damaged in the 9/11 attacks, and part of the building is already used for Muslim worship. Furthermore, the Muslim community in the neighborhood pre-dates not only the 9/11 attacks, but goes back even before the completion of the World Trade Center. The discussion of “Hallowed Ground” also is misleading. When I saw this collection of photos of random sights in the neighborhood within two blocks of ground zero, my viewpoint changed even further.

    I was surprised by the response to my blog post. The readers expressed frustration at how they were misled by the media. A majority of my friends, including both liberals and conservatives, reacted negatively when they learned of this “ground zero mosque”–but many of them expressed backlash of frustration when they saw what was really going on here. It’s always important that we look at the whole picture instead of jumping to quick conclusions.

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