Echoing what Mayor Bloomberg said last week, the imam for the proposed mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center told a Middle Eastern publication that the election year blamed a "tiny, vociferous minority" for making the project the talking point of the summer. Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf told The National, an English paper in Abu Dhabi, "There is no doubt that the election season has had a major impact upon the nature of the discourse."

The Times explains, "The imam said he was intent on eliminating the notion that Islam could be equated with extremism," with Rauf telling the paper, "The radicals feed off each other and need each other to sustain themselves. So we need right now to combat the radical voices. That’s the only way we can win this struggle, and establish a peaceful world order, which is what everybody wants and everybody needs." Rauf added, "America was created by people who fled Europe seeking religious freedom and religious liberty. So it is an essential part of the American worldview and creed, that religious liberty is a fundamental protected right... This is something which I believe the Muslim world insufficiently appreciates about America. I’d like to see them understand that better, recognise that better. And recognise that in that is a value which lies at the very core of the Quranic value."

Another American right: Complaining about one's landlord, even if he is an imam: The Post reports, "Across the Hudson, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is known as an alleged slumlord. At buildings in Union City and Palisades Park, where Rauf reportedly got tax dollars to renovate low-income apartments, tenants yesterday said their gripes about their lousy housing conditions have been ignored." Lousing housing conditions like...bedbugs! One in Union City said, "Why doesn't he help the tenants he has before he builds a new place, claiming he wants to help people? Nothing gets done. We have to go through City Hall to get things done."