According to the State Department's assessment, "Hamas terrorists, especially those in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings, against Israeli civilian and military targets."
Asked if he agreed with the State Department's assessment, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf told WABC radio, "Look, I'm not a politician.
"The issue of terrorism is a very complex question," he told interviewer Aaron Klein.
"There was an attempt in the '90s to have the UN define what terrorism is and say who was a terrorist. There was no ability to get agreement on that."
Asked again for his opinion on Hamas, an exasperated Rauf wouldn't budge.
"I am a peace builder. I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary or as an enemy," Rauf said, insisting that he wants to see peace in Israel between Jews and Arabs.
Rauf also would not answer a question about Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
"I have nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood. My father was never a member of the Muslim Brotherhood," he said, disputing a rumor.