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MANAMA, Bahrain - The imam behind a controversial plan to build a mosque near the Manhattan site of the Sept. 11 attacks, refused to discuss the political firestorm yesterday, but his wife in New York said organizers are sticking with their plans.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is on the first leg of a 15-day Mideast tour funded by the U.S. State Department, and said yesterday in Bahrain that he preferred to speak about shared concerns that radical religious views pose to security in both the West and the Muslim world.
“This issue of extremism is something that has been a national security issue - not only for the United States, but also for many countries and nations in the Muslim world,” Rauf said. “This is why this particular trip has a great importance, because all countries in the Muslim world - as well as the Western world - are facing this . . . major security challenge.”