"Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (Arabic: فيصل عبد الرؤوف, born in 1948 in Kuwait) is an Arab-American Muslim imam, author, and activist whose stated goal is improvement in relations between the Muslim World and the West.
He has been Imam of Masjid al-Farah, a New York City mosque since 1983. He wrote three books on Islam and its place in contemporary Western society, including What's Right with Islam is What's Right with America. Abdul Rauf founded two non-profit organizations whose stated missions are to enhance the discourse on Islam in society. He has condemned the 9/11 attacks as un-Islamic and called on the U.S. government to reduce the threat of terrorism by altering its Middle Eastern foreign policy."
This is the man behind the movement to build Park51, a proposed 15-story structure, including a mosque, cultural center and auditorium intended to promote greater interfaith dialogue. It has been portrayed by critics as the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque".
This is the "mosque" that people are so up in arms about:
It's not exactly like they are attempting to plop something like this into the crater left by the destruction of the World Trade Center towers.
What critics of Park51 fail to acknowledge is that Islam's roots in New York City are in the area around the site of the World Trade Center, and they predate the Twin Towers: in the late 19th century, a portion of lower Manhattan was known as Little Syria and was inhabited by Arab immigrants - Muslims and Christians - from the Ottoman Empire.
Based on this Time Magazine article, conservatives should be embracing the Imam and supporting the mosque.
"And yet Park51's main movers, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan, are actually the kind of Muslim leaders right-wing commentators fantasize about: modernists and moderates who openly condemn the death cult of al-Qaeda and its adherents - ironically, just the kind of "peaceful Muslims" whom Sarah Palin, in her now infamous tweet, asked to "refudiate" the mosque. Rauf is a Sufi, which is Islam's most mystical and accommodating denomination."
America was founded on the principals of religous freedom and tolerance.
When we exercise intolerance, we are lowering ourselves to the level of not just the modern day terrorists, but to the intolerant forces that drove the founders of this country from their European roots and inspired them to form "a more perfect union" in a far away land.
By allowing the mosque and cultural center to be built, we are demonstrating through our actions that America's founding, secular, values of freedom and tolerance are the path to a better future for all of our citizens, in contrast to the intolerant, brutal, medieval values of religious fundamentalists of any religion.
What transpired on 9/11 was not motivated by Islamic beliefs and it was not carried out by devout Muslims.
What transpired on 9/11 was a criminal act carried out by disgruntled Mujahideen extremists whose political goals and agendas were forged in the crucible of the Cold War powers who funded, manipulated and abandoned them.
Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. which killed 168 people including 19 children, was raised Catholic and was heavily influenced by the Christian Identity Movement.
But to the best of my knowledge, there has been no public outcry forbidding the building of new churches in Oklahoma City.
In a country governed by the Rule of Law, we hold individuals responsible for their actions. We do not condemn other members of the criminal's family, ethnicity, religion, or country of origin for the actions of the criminal.
Let the Park51 complex be built and let it be a source of tolerance, healing and learning.