Christopher Hitchens has a few choice words about the imam,
A Test of Tolerance
The “Ground Zero mosque” debate is about tolerance—and a whole lot more (emphasis added)
I do not find myself reassured by the fact that Imam Rauf publicly endorses the most extreme and repressive version of Muslim theocracy. The letterhead of the statement, incidentally, describes him as the Cordoba Initiative’s “Founder and Visionary.” Why does that not delight me, either?
Emboldened by the crass nature of the opposition to the center, its defenders have started to talk as if it represented no problem at all and as if the question were solely one of religious tolerance. It would be nice if this were true. But tolerance is one of the first and most awkward questions raised by any examination of Islamism. We are wrong to talk as if the only subject was that of terrorism. As Western Europe has already found to its cost, local Muslim leaders have a habit, once they feel strong enough, of making demands of the most intolerant kind. Sometimes it will be calls for censorship of anything “offensive” to Islam. Sometimes it will be demands for sexual segregation in schools and swimming pools. The script is becoming a very familiar one. And those who make such demands are of course usually quite careful to avoid any association with violence. They merely hint that, if their demands are not taken seriously, there just might be a teeny smidgeon of violence from some other unnamed quarter …
As for the gorgeous mosaic of religious pluralism, it’s easy enough to find mosque Web sites and DVDs that peddle the most disgusting attacks on Jews, Hindus, Christians, unbelievers, and other Muslims—to say nothing of insane diatribes about women and homosexuals. This is why the fake term Islamophobia is so dangerous: It insinuates that any reservations about Islam must ipso facto be “phobic.” A phobia is an irrational fear or dislike. Islamic preaching very often manifests precisely this feature, which is why suspicion of it is by no means irrational.
From my window, I can see the beautiful minaret of the Washington, D.C., mosque on Massachusetts Avenue. It is situated at the heart of the capital city’s diplomatic quarter, and it is where President Bush went immediately after 9/11 to make his gesture toward the “religion of peace.” A short while ago, the wife of a new ambassador told me that she had been taking her dog for a walk when a bearded man accosted her and brusquely warned her not to take the animal so close to the sacred precincts. Muslim cabdrivers in other American cities have already refused to take passengers with “unclean” canines.
Another feature of my local mosque that I don’t entirely like is the display of flags outside, purportedly showing all those nations that are already Muslim. Some of these flags are of countries like Malaysia, where Islam barely has a majority, or of Turkey, which still has a secular constitution. At the United Nations, the voting bloc of the Organization of the Islamic Conference nations is already proposing a resolution that would circumscribe any criticism of religion in general and of Islam in particular. So, before he is used by our State Department on any more goodwill missions overseas, I would like to see Imam Rauf asked a few searching questions about his support for clerical dictatorship in, just for now, Iran. Let us by all means make the “Ground Zero” debate a test of tolerance. But this will be a one-way street unless it is to be a test of Muslim tolerance.
As you may recall from yesterday’s post, the imam believes the US is worse than al-Qaeda; The imam is the guy the State Department calls
“a moderate Muslim figure here in the United States” who preaches “religious tolerance throughout the world.”
As Ron Radosh states
Rauf is the Obama administration’s and the State Department’s man in the Middle East, sent to assure his audiences that the US will be sensitive to their needs, and is ever ready to appease them in the interests of “peace.” We do all this, while the Imam tells his audiences quite the opposite .” Like them, he wants the destruction of Israel, rationalizes terrorism and accuses the United States of real terrorism against Muslims, while seeking to have his fellow Americans accept the Islamic theocracy as the regime he says is favored by the people of Iran.
How much longer can the fiction be maintained that this man and his proposed Ground Zero mosque is a moderate and a man of peace?
Ryan Mauro looks at other Ground Zero mosque supporters,
Another signatory of the letter is Suhail Khan, a long-time associate of Norquist’s. Khan’s father served as Vice President of the Muslim Students Association, founded by the Brotherhood. His father also served as an official of the Islamic Society of North America, another Brotherhood-tied group currently listed by the government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Holy Land Foundation trial, a designation shared with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Khan’s mother served on the board of CAIR’s California branch and Khan accused critics of CAIR of exploiting the Fort Hood shooting for their “political partisan and worse, for their racist ends.” Frank Gaffney, President of the Center for Security Policy, told me that an FBI Special Agent involved in terrorism investigations informed him that Khan is indeed a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Imam’s wife is also traveling on US taxpayer’s dime. Claudia Rosett explains how the two are Cashing In On Ground Zero
Among the prime planners of a $100 million Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero, it’s not just Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf who is visiting the Middle East this summer at U.S. taxpayer expense. The State Department is also about to send Rauf’s wife and Cordoba Initiative fellow director, Daisy Khan, on her own taxpayer-funded “public diplomacy” trip to the United Arab Emirates. Khan is scheduled to visit the UAE from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2, overlapping there with Rauf, for whom it will be the final leg of a three-country trip including Bahrain and Qatar.
The Imam & Mrs are on a roll,
For Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Daisy Khan, Ground Zero has become a bonanza. Since their plans hit the headlines this spring, they have achieved celebrity status on a scale that millions in advertising, or less abrasive “outreach” efforts, could not buy. Their names are all over the news. Their project has become a fixture on the summer talk shows. In the escalating furor, along with the criticisms , they have received de facto endorsements from such prominent folks as New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Barack Obama (whose supportive remarks about their project, delivered at an Aug. 13 Iftar dinner at the White House, are now featured on U.S. embassy websites worldwide; but whose later waffling is not). Their real-estate partner, El-Gamal, has told the press, “This might become the most famous community center in the world.” Whatever comes of this, Rauf, Khan and El-Gamal are likely to dine out on it–and well–for a long time.
And make no mistake. While the Cordoba Initiative is now implying on its website that the mosque and Islamic center is mainly about serving a neighborhood, and “is not located at Ground Zero,” Rauf himself told a very different tale to the New York Times last December. Back then, Rauf said the location’s chief attraction was its proximity to Ground Zero–so close that it is, as he noted, “Where a piece of the wreckage fell.” In Rauf’s view, that made for an ideal venue to make “the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11.”
And, by the way, Claudia Rosett made the trip on far less than $12,000,
Hmmm. I flew out to the UAE this spring, spent more time there than they plan to, spent another two weeks in Turkey, stayed in some very pleasant hotels, hired cars, ate well, and somehow it all came to significantly less than Khan’s trip alone… next time, I’ve got to get this right.
But then, Claudia wasn’t flying at US taxpayers’ expense.
The question remains, Why Are We ‘Driving Ms. Daisy’? And her husband, too?