New York: The imam behind the planned mosque near Ground Zero has said if he knew how controversial the Islamic centre project would be, he "never would have done this”.
Speaking in his first US television interview, on CNN`s `Larry King Live`, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf also said the issue had been politicised, adding, "some politicians have decided to use this for political purposes”.
"It goes against the fundamental American principle of separation of church and state. When we politicise religion it is dangerous," the New York Post quoted Imam Rauf, as saying.
"What happens here [in America] has enormous impact over the world," he added.
He further said: "The status of Muslims in America and how America engages with its Muslim community has global ramifications."
The 13-storey structure, planned for a site two blocks from Ground Zero, will also include a community centre and a memorial to victims of the September 11 attacks.
It has already drawn a number of opponents who say it is offensive to the victims and the families of the victims of the 2001 World Trade Centre attack, and that the building itself would serve as a victory memorial to Islam.