CAIRO – As the controversy over a project to build a mosque and Muslim center near the 9/11 site in New York is gradually subsiding, the man behind the project is becoming more hopeful that one day he would see his dream come true.
"The dream is still alive," Imam Feisal Abdul-Rauf told The Charlotte Observer in an interview, published Saturday, June 25.
"Whether it happens there, whether it happens at another place, it's going to happen."
The planned center, which would include a mosque, a swimming pool, a preschool and a 9/11 memorial, has stirred a national debate in the United States.
Opponents argue that the planned building would be an insult to the memory of the 9/11 victims, but advocates say that the mosque would send a message of tolerance in 9/11-post America.
"These centers are very important in establishing interfaith relations between faith communities," said Abdul-Rauf who spent much of his life preaching religious tolerance and the need for people of different faiths to work together.
"We felt our time has come to establish a community center that speaks not only to issues of American Muslims who are in the process of finding their American legs but also in establishing the kind of relationships between the American Islamic community and the American non-Muslim faith communities, where there are a lot of shared values."...
It's a wonder he can say this stuff with a straight face (and without his nose growing to gargantuan proportions).