The imam spearheading plans for an Islamic center near the New York site of the Sept. 11 attacks says America's sweeping constitutional rights are more in line with Islamic principles than the limits imposed by some Muslim nations.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told the Al Wasat newspaper in Bahrain that the freedoms enshrined by the U.S. Constitution also reflect true Muslim values.
A portion of the interview -- to be published Monday -- was seen Sunday by The Associated Press.
Rauf is on a Middle East tour funded by the U.S. State Department.
He has discussed efforts to combat extremism, but has avoided any comments on the rancor over proposals for a mosque and Islamic center near the site of the toppled World Trade Center towers.