Sunday, August 22, 2010
He's owned ~ as he should be!!
No talk on this trip about the creation of the 'perfect Shari'a state'.
Lift the veil of secrecy!
People in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain fumed yesterday that the cleric behind the proposed Ground Zero mosque toured their country under tight wraps as part of a State Department-organized goodwill tour of the Middle East.
"This man comes from America to speak with us, but we can't find him," said Fatah Mardine, 27, in the capital city of Manama.
"Why must he be so secretive? It makes me think that his visit is just for show, which makes me angry."
After a brief public appearance on Friday in which Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf preached about finding a way to "Americanize" Islam, he and his entourage have been under lock and key, with a tightly guarded itinerary that has locals scratching their heads.
"I think it is perfectly fine that he is here. I'd love to hear his point of view, but no one can tell me when or where I can see him," said Sanan Faisal, 31.
"There's no justification for hiding. Imam Rauf coming here, then hiding, does not help us come closer to Americans. In fact, it does the opposite."
The Post visited several mosques in Manama yesterday where local imams said they had no idea that Rauf was even visiting, let alone where he was speaking.
Despite the fact that the $16,000 trip was covered by taxpayers, the department, which organized the trip, repeatedly refused to disclose the details of the two-week excursion to Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Rauf said he'd seek funds from overseas to finance the $100 million project. But a mosque spokesman refused last week to say whether they'd reject money from the Holocaust-denying and nuclear-weapons-seeking Iranian government.
Department spokesman Darby Holladay would only repeatedly say that Rauf, "has been advised not to engage in fund-raising activity" during his jaunt.
Holladay also wouldn't say whether a representative from the department would be monitoring Rauf's activities.
"I have no information regarding his travelling party," he said.
The anger over the imam's availability was only one concern for Rauf -- his message about an "Americanized" version of Islam also had many Bahrainis seeing red.
"I think those comments only serve to inflame tensions here between Muslims and Americans," said Farid Haddad, 29.
"The imam should be trying to explain to Americans that we, as Muslims, want peace."
And Abdul Yaseen said he had no idea what Rauf meant in his remarks to Associated Press Television News.
"I think Americans need to pay more attention and spend more time listening to the teachings of Islam, instead of getting their opinions on our religion from movies," he said.
Many Bahrainis believe that despite the current controversy over the planned mosque and cultural center on Park Place, two blocks from Ground Zero -- the project will eventually help foster a better understanding between the two cultures.
"It will do a good change to mix the religions between Arabs and the United States," reasoned Houssam Banna.
"It's a nice idea to have this contact between Americans and Muslims after September 11."
Locals in Bahrain react to Imam Rauf's visit - NYPOST.com
Posted by Cole at 3:58 AM