Islamic cleric behind Ground Zero mosque says U.S. has killed more innocent civilians than Al Qaeda
By Daniel Bates
The Islamic cleric behind the mosque at New York’s Ground Zero has sparked fury by claiming the United States is worse than Al Qaeda.
In an interview Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said that America is more culpable than the terrorist organisation because U.S.-led sanctions led to the death of half a million Iraqi children.
‘We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than Al Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims,’ he said.
The comments were made in 2005 but give a revealing insight into the man who is the driving force to put a £70million mosque two blocks away from where the Twin Towers once stood.
They also raise further questions over whether or not funding for the project will come from regimes that back terrorists, something the mosque leaders have refused to rule out.
In the interview, Rauf said that any debate about Islam was hampered because Western audiences have yet to appreciate the damage they have inflicted on Muslims.
He said: ‘What complicates the discussion, intra-Islamically, is the fact that the West has not been cognizant and has not addressed the issue of its own contribution to much injustice in the Arab and Muslim world.
‘It’s a difficult subject to discuss with Western audiences, but it’s one that must be pointed out and must be raised.’
Rauf’s comments, which emerged on a conservative U.S. blog, came as a poll showed that more and more Americans are taking an interest in the Ground Zero mosque, and that the majority oppose it.
Some 85 per cent of those questioned said they are following news stories about the project, a 34-point jump from a month ago.
Some 62 per cent are now against the project compared to 54 per cent in July.
Rauf’s comments drew condemnation from Debra Burlingame, head of 9/11 Families for a Strong America, who said they left her feeling disgusted.
‘This man is out there preaching politics and advancing anti-American propaganda,’ she said.
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