NY imam says mosque fight worth the controversy

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Assalamualaikkum wrb Alagai Makkal.
Let us all doa that if there is goodness in this project,May Allah SWT bless this and stop all the hurdles.Aaameen,Aameen,Yaa Rabbal Aalameen

Wassalam
President
MAMJ

Source : http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100913/ts_nm/us_usa_mosque_2

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque near the site of the September 11 attacks in New York was worth the controversy because it aired difficulties faced by Muslims in the United States, the center’s imam said on Monday.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, asked rhetorically whether building the center was “worth all this firestorm,” and answered “categorically yes.” Rauf and other organizers of the project have repeatedly rejected moving it from the planned location two blocks from the site of the toppled World Trade Center.

He acknowledged, however, that pressure to move the center had risen in recent weeks as it became a national political issue.”We are exploring all options as we speak right now and we are working through what will be a solution, God willing, that will resolve this crisis,” Rauf said, without elaborating on what he was considering.

A poll released on Monday by Quinnipiac University found 63 percent of registered U.S. voters said it was wrong to build a mosque so close to what many consider hallowed ground. Some 2,000 people gathered on Saturday — the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — near the site of the proposed center to defend it or rally against it.
An obscure Florida preacher outraged Muslims around the world with his plans to burn copies of the Koran that same day.

Although the preacher canceled his plans, Rauf said this highlighted that events in New York were being watched “all over the world.” “Our example speaks loudly to the whole world,” Rauf said. “What happens here will have ripple effect.”

Rauf, born in Kuwait to Egyptian parents, came to the United States in 1965 at age 17 and became a U.S. citizen in 1979. He peppered his 20-minute speech with references to his love of the United States, including American football, mentioning that his niece was in the U.S. Army.

But he said U.S. Muslims were facing difficulties in much the same way other minorities had in the past, and said his proposed center — with prayer spaces for other religions — was aimed at promoting acceptance.

“The challenge of fitting in is often made more difficult by rejection, he said, referring to past experiences of “Jews and Catholics, Irish and Italians, blacks and Hispanics.”

U.S. Muslims “must overcome” discrimination and be recognized as full-fledged Americans, he said.

“Now it is our turn as Muslims to drink from this cup.”

The Quinnipiac poll of 1,905 registered U.S. voters taken last week found 38 percent held a favorable opinion of Islam, while 40 percent had an unfavorable opinion.

Half of those polled also said that mainstream Islam is a peaceful religion, “rather than a religion which encourages violence to non-Muslims,” it said.

The telephone poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

(Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Eric Beech)

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