NPR, June 28, 2011
In late 2010, a debate over a proposed Islamic community center in lower Manhattan left many people angry and confused. Some critics erroneously tagged the community center the "Ground Zero mosque," and to them, it became an intolerable insult to families of 9/11 victims and the United States.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the spiritual leader and public face of the center at the time, was at the heart of the 2010 controversy. He tells NPR's Neal Conan that the center was never envisioned as a mosque. Instead, Rauf says, it was "intended all along to be a community center, just like the YMCA, opened to membership of people of all faith communities ... There was a group of people who really didn't care about the facts, didn't care about the truth, and just insisted on their narrative and used it to whip up a lot of negative emotion."
Rauf says the charged national debate "was really sa…