Rauf suggested to ABC News that he sees building the mosque as a battle "against radicalism in all its guises," and continued to argue Wednesday that it is a fight for the American way.
"The reason America is successful is because of its diversity, because of its immigrants," he told ABC News. "Multi-culturalism is a fundamental."
He told CNN that the battle is not between Muslims and non-Muslims.
"The real battle front is between moderates on all sides, of all the faith traditions, and the radicals on all sides," he said.
But even in Dubai, where he spoke to ABC News on Aug. 31, at least one Muslim wondered whether Rauf had selected the right site for his cultural center.
Mishaal Al Gergawi, a prominent local writer and analyst said, "Maybe it's just creating another battle. Maybe it's too early. Maybe it should come in five years. I'm really on the fence."
ABC News' T.J. Winick contributed to this report.