Ground Zero imam: I never would have done it if I knew it would create tensions

Wish I had the full transcript, but this will have to do for now.

Rauf said that if he knew how controversial the project would be, he “never would have done this – not have done something that would create more divisiveness.”

However, he said he is convinced he shouldn’t move the center now because “our national security now hinges on how we negotiate this, how we speak about it and what we do.”…

“If we don’t do this right, anger will explode in the Muslim world,” Rauf said. “… If we don’t handle this crisis correctly, it could become something very dangerous indeed.”

He said moving the project to another location would strengthen Islamist radicals’ ability to recruit followers and will increase violence against Americans.

Two things. First, this is an interesting contrast to the position of most liberal GZM supporters that opinion on the other side — 66 percent nationally, per the latest WaPo poll — is beneath contempt. Rauf is willing to make a concession to the feelings of opponents, at least in theory, in the name of “dialogue”; that’s more than you can say for the lefty commentariat who’ve treated this episode, as always, mainly as an exercise in self-congratulation for their moral supremacy. Second, Rauf’s point about having to build in order to deny jihadis the propaganda-fueling grievance of seeing the mosque moved is an ironic twist on the last post about Merkel and Westergaard. Once again, the fear of violence is dictating someone’s actions — except in this case, there are propaganda opportunities no matter what happens. If the mosque is moved, the terrorist line will be that America is biased against Islam; if the mosque stays, the terrorist line will be that Islam has triumphed by building a shrine at the doorstep of their great victory. That was all foreseeable when the decision to build on the site was undertaken, and Rauf and company went ahead with it anyway.

There’s more at the link — he concedes that Hamas has committed terrorist acts but danced around the Ron Paul-ian question of whether the U.S. was an “accessory to the crime” on 9/11. Meanwhile, the Egyptian businessman who provided a majority of the funding for the site tells the AP that this was just a business transaction for him, and that if he can’t turn a profit on the site, he’s happy to unload it. Exit quotation: “If someone wants to give me 18 or 20 million dollars today, it’s all theirs.”