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Interview with ‘ground zero mosque’ spokesman

CNN Radio Correspondent Steve Kastenbaum filed this report from New York:

The leaders of the proposed Islamic community center and mosque near New York’s ground zero are addressing their critics by vowing to be open and transparent as the project progresses.

But there have been few opportunities to question the organization’s leadership directly about the project. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Cordoba Initiative’s founder, has been out of the country most of the summer on one of his many international missions aimed at building bridges between Muslims and the West. (The U.S. State Department is sending him on a similar trip soon.)

But the spokesperson for Park 51, the name of the proposed project, agreed to speak with CNN Radio about the verbal attacks launched at his group and the emotionally charged debate swirling around the project.

 Oz Sultan discussed whether they failed to anticipate the opposition that sprang up and admitted that they could have done a better job in reaching out to the rest of the country to explain their mission and goals. Sultan said they are committed to a transparent fundraising process and they will not take any money from any source that is on the Treasury Department’s watch list. He claimed they will even apply for Homeland Security funding available for terrorist abatement programs.


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