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Elie Wiesel on 'Ground Zero' Mosque: Make it Interfaith Center

Elie Wiesel speaks to the Charlotte Observer about the 'Ground Zero' mosque, suggests it be made an interfaith center.
By Israel news staff
First Publish: 9/19/2010, 9:44 PM / Last Update: 9/19/2010, 9:46 PM

Holocaust survivor and human rights advocate Elie Wiesel spoke last week to the Charlotte Observer about current events. Among other things, Wiesel spoke of the “Ground Zero mosque" planned for downtown Manhattan.

Wiesel suggested that the mosque and Muslim community center, which is to be built a short distance from the site of the World Trade Center terrorist attack, be made into an interfaith project.

“I would speak to the imam and tell him, 'Look, I don't doubt that your intentions are good. Nevertheless, you've divided the community. Why not unite it?'” Wiesel said. He added that someone from his foundation had been sent to speak to the imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, and get his opinion.

Rauf spoke to ABC last week and said that if he had realized how controversial the Islamic center project would become, he would not have proposed it. However, he said, moving to a different site at this point would cause anger in the Muslim world and strengthen radicals.

Wiesel said that he had not previously spoken about the Islamic center controversy due to his own ambivalence. “On the one hand, there's the Constitution. I consider the Constitution a sacred document we cannot touch. On the other hand, there are the feelings of the families. How can I not think of that?” he asked.