(CNN) - The Imam behind the controversial Islamic Center and mosque near Ground Zero will break his silence on Wednesday. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has been virtually silent since the controversy began, will appear on CNN's "Larry King Live" Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET. CNN's Soledad O'Brien will conduct the interview.
In 2009, Rauf announced plans to build what he called the "Park 51" Islamic community center and mosque in downtown Manhattan, just two blocks from the Ground Zero. The project largely steered clear of controversy until the summer of 2010 when the issue exploded onto America's television and talk-radio airwaves.
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Throughout the controversy, Rauf has maintained a virtual silence. He recently traveled throughout the Middle East as a part of a State Department funded trip designed to foster "greater understanding" between Muslims and the United States. But throughout that tour, Rauf avoided wading into the growing controversy over the Park 51 project.
President Obama waded into the issue in August by saying that Muslims "have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country ... That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances."
Obama later clarified that he was "not commenting on the wisdom"of the project, just the broader principle that the government should treat "everyone equal, regardless" of religion.
Nearly 70 percent of Americans oppose the mosque plan, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released in August.