FILE- In this Aug. 22, 2010 file photo, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf addresses guests at an iftar dinner hosted by the U.S. Embassy's deputy chief of mission Stephanie Williams, at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Saar, Bahrain, west of the capital Manama. Rauf is now in the midst of a polarizing political, religious and cultural debate over his plans for a multi-story Islamic center that will feature a mosque, health club and theater about two blocks north of ground zero in New York. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)
The imam leading an effort to build an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site says the raging debate on whether it should be moved has stoked anti-Muslim feelings.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said in an interview that aired Sunday that the controversy over the mosque site has heightened concerns among Muslims of rising Islamophobia, and fear of Islam is possibly greater than it was immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
He also says that the project made the front page of papers when it was approved last December and was not questioned, and that it has become a debate for political reasons.
The interview aired one day after the anniversary of the attacks.