Ground Zero Imam: Why the Mosque Is Important

Rauf says Cordoba House will have Christian, Jewish prayer spaces
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2010 7:58 AM CDT
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf walks to the podium to make his speech during an Iftar ceremony hosted by the Dubai School of Government in Dubai, United Arab Emirates last month.   (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

(Newser) – The proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero will include prayer spaces for Muslims, Christians, Jews, and a multifaith memorial dedicated to the victims of 9/11, the imam behind the project says. "I am very sensitive to the feelings of the families of victims of 9/11," Feisal Abdul Rauf writes in a New York Times op-ed piece, adding that he did not comment on the controversy sooner because he has been traveling, and felt it would be inappropriate to comment from abroad. "We will accordingly seek the support of those families, and the support of our vibrant neighborhood, as we consider the ultimate plans for the community center."

"Above all, the project will amplify the multifaith approach that the Cordoba Initiative has deployed in concrete ways for years. Our name, Cordoba, was inspired by the city in Spain where Muslims, Christians, and Jews co-existed in the Middle Ages during a period of great cultural enrichment created by Muslims," the imam writes. President Obama and Michael Bloomberg's support for the project "sent a powerful message about what America stands for," Rauf writes, pledging to make the project "a center for unification and healing" and clearly identify all the center's financial backers.

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