Imam's old remarks stir fresh controversy over 9/11 mosque

Washington, Aug 24 (ANI): A jaw-dropping speech made five years back by Feisal Abdul Rauf's, the Islamic cleric who wants to build a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero, saying, "US has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims," has set a fresh firestorm of controversy in the country.

"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," The Washington Post quoted Rauf, as saying in 2005.

"You may remember that the US-led sanctions against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children. This has been documented by the United Nations," he added.

The Imam, who made the comments in a speech about Islam in Adelaide in Australia, further stated that the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, whom he called a "friend," condoned the civilian deaths as "worth it."

He alleged 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 and therefore, the matter should be pointed out, the paper reports.

The opponents of the mosque near 9/11 site condemned his remarks.

"This man is out there preaching politics and advancing anti-American propaganda," Debra Burlingame, head of 9/11 Families for a Strong America and a vocal opponent of the mosque, said.

In the same speech, Rauf used the n-word, according to an audio of the event posted on the Web site AtlasShrugs.

Speaking about how people use different criteria to judge others in a negative way, he said, "If gender is not what distinguishes us, we'll look at skin colouring and say niggers' or whities, or whatever." (ANI)

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