Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf promised on Monday to resolve the fierce dispute around plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque two blocks from ground zero, while noting that he does not believe the spot chosen for the center is “hallowed ground.”He may not have meant to get himself into this position. But he's now the designated moderate imam. He's pretty much going to have to play out his role, and it's great to have someone in that role. Is he the one who deserves all this attention? Is he all that well suited to speak for others and follow through as a force for moderation? Who knows? But he's here now, and circumstances have bestowed this prominence and responsibility on him. It will be exceedingly difficult for him to back out of it now. He will have to be the man events have chosen him to be. And we need that man.
Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, he promised to find a way out of the current impasse around the planned center, which opponents say is insensitive to the memory of 9/11 and which supporters say sends the opposite message, that Muslims, like other Americans, object to and were victims of the attacks.
“Everything is on the table,” he said. “We really are focused on solving it” in a way that will be best for everyone concerned, he added. “I give you my pledge.”
I celebrate Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.