The Imam Speaks
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the religious leader behind the Islamic cultural center a couple of blocks from Ground Zero, speaks out in a Wednesday New York Times Op-Ed. Rauf says he didn’t want to address it from abroad, but rather after he returned to the United States and could confer with other religious leaders.
Above all, the project will amplify the multifaith approach that the Cordoba Initiative has deployed in concrete ways for years. Our name, Cordoba, was inspired by the city in Spain where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in the Middle Ages during a period of great cultural enrichment created by Muslims. Our initiative is intended to cultivate understanding among all religions and cultures.
And what will Cordoba House be?
At Cordoba House, we envision shared space for community activities, like a swimming pool, classrooms and a play space for children. There will be separate prayer spaces for Muslims, Christians, Jews and men and women of other faiths. The center will also include a multifaith memorial dedicated to victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
I am very sensitive to the feelings of the families of victims of 9/11, as are my fellow leaders of many faiths. We will accordingly seek the support of those families, and the support of our vibrant neighborhood, as we consider the ultimate plans for the community center. Our objective has always been to make this a center for unification and healing.
There will be a multi-faith memorial to the families of 9/11.
Cordoba House will be built on the two fundamental commandments common to Judaism, Christianity and Islam: to love the Lord our creator with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength; and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We want to foster a culture of worship authentic to each religious tradition, and also a culture of forging personal bonds across religious traditions.
Compare what Imam Rauf wants to do with a so-called pastor who wants to burn a holy book. Both have the right but each has different intent. One will hurt; one will help.