The imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said on Wednesday night that if he had known how much strife would arise over his plan for a Muslim community center and mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center site, he would not have proposed it.
“If I knew that this would happen, that this would cause this kind of pain, I wouldn’t have done it,” the imam told Soledad O’Brien on “Larry King Live” on CNN in his first extensive televised remarks since the controversy ballooned after the project cleared its last legal hurdle last month. “My life has been devoted to peacemaking.”
But the imam said he could not withdraw the plan because that would embolden radicals of all faiths and create security risks for the United States and Americans abroad.
“If we move from that location, the story will be that the radicals have taken over the discourse,” he said. “The headlines in the Muslim world will be that Islam is under attack. And I’m less concerned about the radicals in America than I am about the radicals in the Muslim world.”
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DEFENDS ISLAMIC CENTER