I’ve picked up several different versions of this story, some more infuriating than others. But the accurate version is quite enraging enough on its own.
Kuwaiti-born Feisal Abdul Rauf is today an American citizen. He is imam of Masjid al-Farah, a New York City mosque and founder and CEO of the American Society for Muslim Advancement. Perhaps most significantly, he founded the Cordoba Initiative in 2003 and is behind the current plans to erect Cordoba House at Ground Zero. In fact, he wants to be the imam there.
While he claims to be working for Western-Muslim understanding, his views on terrorism generally and 9/11 most specifically are deeply unsettling at best.
A few years ago he called for the US President to give an “American Culpa” speech to the Muslim world, because there is “an endless supply of angry young Muslim rebels prepared to die for their cause and there [is] no sign of the attacks ending unless there [is] a fundamental change in the world.” (Can’t say if he directly influenced Obama, but it sure sounds like it.)
As to 9/11, he claimed that “United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.” (As has been noted: 9/11 “happened.”)
Additionally, according to the NY Post:
“Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is a key figure in Malaysian-based Perdana Global Peace Organization, according to its Website.
“Perdana is the single biggest donor ($366,000) so far to the Free Gaza Movement, a key organizer of the six-ship flotilla that tried to break Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip…”
And that flotilla was connected to the IHH, a Turkish group with terrorist links.
All of this is relevant now because Abdul Rauf is about to take an international trip at the behest of the US State Department. He will be traveling to such Muslim Arab countries as Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar to “foster greater understanding” of Islam and Muslim communities in the US. So says State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.
Understand, please, this will be government funded, with your money (if you are American) and mine (yes, I still pay US taxes) covering the cost.
Is your blood boiling yet?
This is most clearly a White-House inspired venture. Part of the president’s nauseatingly inappropriate outreach to the Muslim world.
As JINSA — which summarized the situation with great effectiveness — wrote:
“We know a lot of rabbis, some ministers and a few priests. We would be appalled to have the government of the United States, which by law favors no religion, sending a rabbi to Israel – or the former Soviet Union or France or Argentina, where there are communities of Jews – to talk about how Jews live in the United States. Having a priest travel to the Vatican, Honduras, Ireland or the Philippines to describe the lives of American Catholics would be outrageous. Likewise, ministers to Sweden.
“What business is it of the American government to send a Muslim to Muslim-majority countries to talk about Islam? How offensive is it to think that the American government is using American tax dollars to fly a non-government person around the world to promote the activities and lifestyle of a particular religion.”
Some of the stories I encountered said that Abdul Rauf was being sent abroad to fund raise for the mosque at Ground Zero. Technically, however this is not the case.
Said Crowley, when asked about this: “That would not be something he could do as part of our program.”
Responded JINSA: “We’re so relieved. And we’re so sure he will do only as the American government desires.”
JINSA goes on to quote Debra Burlingame, a 9/11 family member, who told The NY Post:
“We know he has a fund-raising association with Saudi Arabia [which has underwritten programs by the American Society for Muslim Advancement]. He’s going to the well, and how can they say they do or don’t know what he’s doing?” (emphasis added)
A government sanctioned charade is what it is. My guess, actually, would be that his involvement with the proposed mosque at Ground Zero was a factor in Abdul Rauf’s selection for this task. He’ll be able to tell everyone over in Saudi Arabia how accepting New Yorkers are. (I’ll have more on that below.)
The question now is what will each of you do about this, besides have your blood pressure checked. This information needs to be put out broadly — share it, post it, write letters to the editor about it, speak on radio talk shows about it.
And then, let your elected officials know how enraged you are. Demand that this be stopped forthwith!
For your Congresspersons:
For your Senators:
For the president:
Fax: 202-456-2461 White House Comment line: 202-456-1111
e-mail form via: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
She’s not elected, and probably will pay no heed, but contact Sec. of State Clinton as well:
Public Communication Division (accepts opinions from the public):
Phone: 202-647-6575 Fax: 202-647-1579
As always: numbers count. Please be polite and succinct, but firm. State your demands clearly.
Now, as to New Yorkers and the Ground Zero mosque:
The JPost carries columns by one Ray Hanania, an Arab American who is a stand-up comedian as well as a journalist. I rarely actually agree with him, but he’s reasonable. Today’s column was interesting. He laments the fact that Arabs and Muslims do not come to the defense of Jewish people as the Jewish community has spoken on behalf of Muslims. Very nice.
His example of an instance in which Jews have come forward for Muslims is Jewish defense of the Muslim right to build a mosque at Ground Zero. He specifically refers to New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, “whose eyes welled up with emotion while he declared that Muslims have every right to build a mosque just as Christians and Jews could build a church or synagogue nearby.”
Quoting Bloomberg, “Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11, and that our Muslim neighbors mourned with us as New Yorkers and Americans. We would betray our values and play into our enemies’ hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave in to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists — and we should not stand for that.”
I think my eyes are about to well up with emotion as I read this — that this man could be so obtusely politically correct and get it so wrong.
Let us not forget that it was neither Christians nor Jews who perpetrated the horror of 9/11, and that Muslims routinely place mosques on sites of historical significance as signs of victory and dominance. That is why there is a mosque today on the Temple Mount. I cannot help but wonder how Bloomberg KNOWS that New York Muslims (as a community) mourned that event. My Muslim neighbors here in eastern Jerusalem danced in the streets in celebration on 9/11; that rather traumatized me. And how does he know they (as a community) identify as Americans, even if they have citizenship, when we have the words of someone like the American born Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the perpetrator of the Fort Hood terrorist attack, who lamented the impossibility of being a good Muslim and an American at the same time.
Naiveté can be sad or even charming, but in an elected official it is frightening.
I am not prescient. I simply know my customers and have developed an eye for the MO of Barack Obama. Remember, yesterday, I said that the holds placed on US military assistance to Lebanon may be only temporary, in spite of the appropriate instincts of the Congresspersons involved. Wait, I wrote, the government may yet say that continuing this assistance — in the face of threats by certain members of the Lebanese parliament to go to Iran instead — is in America’s interest.
And guess what? Our friend Crowley, speaking for the State Department, has now said that assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces is “in our national interest and contributes to stability in the region.”
Does it really? Giving arms and training to a force that is allied with Hezbollah is a good thing?
Crowley had this answer: “Hezbollah is a fact within Lebanese society and much of our effort in supporting the Lebanese military is in fact the very professionalization that we think helps mitigate that risk.”
Huh? What he’s trying to say is that making the Lebanese army stronger helps protect it from the influence of Hezbollah.
And I say, more frightening naiveté. It seems to be endemic.
We need to watch this closely.
At least the IDF is reconsidering its attitude towards the Lebanese army. Says the JPost:
“The IDF has traditionally viewed the Lebanese army as a relatively neutral force that lacked the hostile intent of Hezbollah. But last week’s unprovoked attack on Israeli soldiers…and the Lebanese Army’s failure to take action against the officer who ordered the attack, has dramatically altered the IDF’s perception of Lebanon’s army.”
Congresswoman Lowey and her subcommittee are said to be waiting on a Lebanese response before deciding whether the hold should be lifted. I wonder if the refusal of the LAF to discipline the officer who promoted the attack on the IDF will be taken into consideration.
One other brief review. Remember how just a few days ago Netanyahu said that he was going to cooperate with the UN inquiry panel on the flotilla incident because it would help smooth our relationship with Turkey. At the time I pondered how he could possibly say this.
We are currently in the midst of our own inquiry by the Turkel Commission, which is separate from the IDF inquiry that was completed recently. (This is obviously such a major incident in the world that it requires all these investigating bodies.) Prime Minister Netanyahu testified before the Turkel Commission. This particular testimony is an internal Israeli affair, understand, but one that made considerable press.
What our prime minister said on Monday was that Turkey did nothing to stop the flotilla, in spite of contacts between Israel and Turkey at “the highest levels.”
And already the Turkish foreign minister, Ahmed Davutoglu, has declared that:
“Nobody can place the responsibility of killing civilians in international waters on the other party…First of all [Israel] should bear that responsibility.
“Turkey bears no responsibility in this case and is determined to protect the rights of its own citizens.”
Sitting on a UN panel with these guys is going to make things a lot better, I’m sure.