The Muslim imam behind the proposed mosque near New York City's Ground Zero is saying again that if he'd known the location would cause such a controversy, he never would have placed the building there.
Monday, Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf told members of the Council on Foreign Relations that he's trying to reach a peaceful resolution.
"We are exploring all options as we speak right now, and we are working through what will be a solution," he said. "God willing, that will resolve this crisis -- defuse it."
Rauf would not elaborate on whether the options include moving the mosque and Islamic community center away from Ground Zero.
However on Sunday, he told ABC News that moving the mosque could pose a threat to the U.S.
"My major concern with moving it is that the headline in the Muslim world will be, 'Islam is Under Attack in America.' This will strengthen the radicals in the Muslim world, help their recruitment," he claimed.
"This will put our people, our soldiers, our troops, our embassies, our citizens under attack in the Muslim world," Rauf added.
Although some people interpreted Rauf's remarks as a threat against the U.S., he said that's not the case. Rauf said he would never threaten violence because he says he is "a man of peace."
He also told the Council on Foreign Relations he will continue to defend his religion against critics who say mosques are a training ground for terrorists.
"Islam categorically rejects the killing of innocent people," Rauf said Monday. "Terrorists violate the sanctity of human life and corrupt the meaning of our faith. In no way do they represent our religion, and we must not let them define us."
"We must not let the extremists -- whatever their faith, whatever their political persuasion -- hijack the discourse and hijack the media," he added. "That only fuels greater extremism."
Imam Rauf suggested the best way to combat violent extremists is to create a coalition of moderates working together from all faiths.