Feisal Abdul Rauf
Feisal Abdul Rauf is a Muslim religious leader, activist and author who is spearheading the proposal to construct an Islamic cultural center two blocks from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. The media have dubbed the project the "Ground Zero Mosque" from its nearness to Ground Zero and because it will include a mosque. Feisal initially called it Cordoba House, recalling a city in Andalusia, southern Spain, where Islam reached the height of its conquest against the West. According to Islamic custom, the largest church of the area was turned into a mosque as a sign of victory for Muslims and a reminder of Islamic supremacy to the defeated population of the area. The mosque was later named Park 51 when the meaning of Cordoba became known.
Feisal is an American citizen, born in 1948 in Kuwait. He presents himself as a moderate Muslim. In addition to his work as imam, he is also a slumlord of several apartment buildings, which have remained in disrepair despite his receipt of government funds to improve them.
Feisal is founder of two Islamic organizations—The American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) in 1997, and The Cordoba Initiative in 2004. The Cordoba Initiative presents itself as "a multi-national, multi-faith organization dedicated to improving Muslim-West relations,", but elsewhere on its webpage, it explains one of its projects, the Shariah Index Project, which aims to provide "tools for achieving these (Shariah) principles in practice." In addition, in 1910 he wrote in Arabic that he does not believe in interfaith dialogue. He is also a permanent trustee of the Islamic Cultural Center (founded by his father) which has blamed the Jews for the 9/11 attack and made many other virulently anti-Semitic statements.
In 2013, several donors sued Feisal for 25 Million $ for embezzlement of Cordoba Initiative funds which they claim he spent on lavish lifestyle for himself & his wife.
In an interview with Ed Bradley shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Feisal described Muslim opposition to America's foreign policy as "a reaction against the US government politically, where we espouse principles of democracy and human rights, and where we ally ourselves with oppressive regimes in many of these countries."
He was quoted as saying further:
- I wouldn't say that the United States deserved what happened, but United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened ... Because we have been accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.
But he says he was quoted incorrectly:
- The ‘60 Minutes’ piece was completely incorrect as the statement was edited out of context. In the full interview, Imam Feisal describes the mistake the CIA made in the 1980s by financing Osama Bin Laden and strengthening the Taliban. This view is widely shared within the US and the US Government today, and Imam Feisal underlines the importance of not supporting “friends of convenience” who may in the future become our enemies. This is common sense.
He & his wife refused to sign a Freedom Pledge to protect those who leave Islam from the death sentence.
- Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's Goodwill Tour Comes Amid 'Ground Zero Mosque' Furor
- West must act to end jihad: Imam - Frank Walker - March 21, 2004 - The Sun-Herald
- The Cordoba Initiative
- 60 Minutes interview