'Ground Zero' Imam to Tour US to Promote Islamic Center
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf says he doesn't mind controversy
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2010 7:54 AM CST
In this image taken from video and released by CBS, Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf is seen during an interview with Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes," Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010, in New York.   (AP Photo/CBS)

(Newser) – Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf—of the infamous Cordoba House, or “Ground Zero mosque”—has planned a national speaking tour to promote the planned community center and mosque and foster inter-faith dialogue. Wait, you’re thinking, won’t that just reignite the controversy around the project? “Controversy has never been a problem for me,” Rauf tells the New York Times. “I think the controversy of last summer helped initiate a discourse that has been very good for the country.”

Rauf was on a speaking tour in the Middle East at the height of the controversy, and says the episode was seen as an “amazingly positive thing” there. “The idea that the Jewish mayor of New York would be our most outspoken defender, well, I think that really touched people,” he said. Rauf’s US tour will visit Detroit, Chicago, Washington, San Antonio, and various colleges. None of the events will be open to the general public however, because of the death threats he’s received.