Friday, September 17, 2010
I like truth that I can believe in!!
Path to 'peace' ~ the only peace in Islam is through ~ conquest or conversion. Rauf's 9.11 Da'wa Ministry is all about both!
Myths and Truths About the “Ground Zero Mosque”
Feisal Abdul Rauf has long insisted that his proposed Muslim center at the edges of Ground Zero would build a path to peace, that he and those who work with him are the true opponents of radical Islam and violent jihad. I’ve been inclined, generally, to believe him, despite my reservations about the location of his center. But the more I listen to him speak, the less convinced I am.
Let’s start from the beginning: September 11, 2001, when the landing gear of one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center – no one knows which one – crashed into the roof of the Burlington Coat Factory just two blocks away. Staff were in the basement of the building at the time; as a result, no one there was hurt – or at least, not physically.
Nine years later, visiting my local fire department to pay respects on the anniversary of 9/11, I speak with one of the firefighters who still remembers. We talk about the men who never returned; photographs of each of them adorn the outside wall of the Department: Dennis McHugh, Thomas Sabella and seven more. Nine years later, he tells me, no trace of Sabella has yet been found. Like the papers that wind whisked that day as far as to downtown Brooklyn, Sabella’s body, it seems, simply blew away. His remains could still be buried in the earth deep below the WTC foundations – or, more likely, they fell as ashes, not so far away–perhaps, indeed, where the Burlington Coat Factory still stands.
In the interim, as everybody knows by now, Rauf and his partner, Sharif el-Gamal, proposed building a Muslim community center and mosque on the Burlington site at 45 Park Place. The purpose, Rauf claimed, was to “build bridges,” to stand as a Muslim moderate in defiance of Islamist extremists. But many have expressed discomfort (at best) or fury and disgust (at worst) at the notion of a mosque built so close to the site of a terrorist attack perpetrated in the name of Islam.
The controversy has now stretched from New York City to Tehran, from Kabul to Amsterdam. Along the way, distortions of fact, maneuvers around the truth, and heated discussions and emotions have worsened, creating a situation that now borders, literally, on crisis. And we are further away from resolution the more we try to find one.
Much of the so-called “mainstream media” (the New York Times, especially) has placed blame for this on those who oppose the project, calling them intolerant, bigoted, and un-American.
They are wrong.
The real culprit here, in fact, is imam Rauf himself, the man who claims to seek harmony and peace while doing everything in his power to escalate the tensions both through his words and his defiance – and possibly set the stage for another terrorist attack on New York City.
When I first wrote about the project – - called alternately “Cordoba House” (its real name) and “Park51″ (the name Rauf’s wife gave it when references to the caliphate of Cordoba inflamed the issue; Rauf himself still uses the name Cordoba) – I noted that the center not only potentially served as a breeding ground for Islamic violence, but for violence against Muslims committed by those opposed to the idea. Time has shown the latter to have been true – and yet Rauf stands firm. Evidently, he wants what he wants where he wants it, whatever the cost.
And yet, while the imam blames U.S. foreign policy for Islamic aggression against America (calling on the U.S. to “apologize” to Muslims), he himself accepts no responsibility for the fact that aggression against American Muslims has heightened in response to his own policy and (as many see it) uninvited occupation of land near (on?) Ground Zero. Indeed, although the entire problem started with public awareness of “Park51″ and worsened as he rejected pleas to end it, he blames his detractors: the ones who – first politely, and then, in frustration, more urgently – have called for his understanding.
But that, it seems, would be in keeping with Rauf’s character – a character so cleverly deceptive that he has turned us all against each other as we struggle to make sense of who he is. His lies, coupled with our idealism and naiveté, have created misconceptions that have us turning against one another while the Muslim terrorists themselves stand by, laughing.
What are those lies? What are the truths? What are the breaches between idealism and reality that stand at the center of the conflict? The whole mess has grown so complex at this point that I’ve now determined the only way to wind our way out of it is to enumerate them, pulling them out like weeds among the apple orchard so that we can finally find the trees.
–Most recently, Claudia Rosset pointed out the true gist of Rauf’s recent NY Times op-ed: “If we don’t build it they will kill you.”
Really, Imam Rauf? You mean, if we don’t do what YOU want us to do, THEY will kill us? How’s that again?
What this suggests, of course, is that imam Rauf is unable to stop this from happening; unable to convince “them” not to attack America; unable to motivate his flock strongly enough that they will stand in the face of radical Muslims and say “no.”
But wait a second: wasn’t that the premise of the Cordoba Center to begin with? Wasn’t that why he was just the man to run it – because he alone could create peace between the West and sympathizers for al-Qaeda?
–According to the Associated Press, Rauf recently declared that “the controversy over the mosque site has heightened concerns among Muslims of rising Islamophobia, and fear of Islam is possibly greater than it was immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.” Well, of course, we know this. He’s not exactly quick to the draw here. But while he can’t stop terrorists from striking the USA, he can stop the anti-Islam sentiment on the home-front: give up the project. Stand on our side, not on theirs. Demonstrate, once and for all, that peace is what he seeks, and not conquest. Show us what a good, American Muslim is like: someone who puts America before his faith.
–Rauf – and others – note that strip joints and OTB offices occupy the space nearby Ground Zero, and argue that this proves, somehow, that the area is not considered “hallowed ground.” This, of course, is idiocy. Strippers didn’t kill 3000 people that day; Muslims did. Strippers don’t threaten to destroy America if we don’t build a temple to nudity where they want us to; Muslims do. Had strippers and gamblers been the ones who plowed their planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, you can bet they’d not be welcome there now, either.
–Rauf ’s wife recently told the Times they’d had no idea before this past May, when Faisal Shahzad attempted to detonate a bomb in Times Square, that the Center would cause such controversy. But that’s not true; in December, 2009, the New York Times published a story on the project that specifically pointed out concerns among the community and American Muslim leaders that the project “could very well become a target for anti-Muslim attacks.”
–From the beginning, too, Rauf and his supporters have dissociated the Burlington site from the events of 9/11, since which it has stood abandoned; but the Times describes the structure as of December 2009: “The patched up roof was easily visible on a recent tour of the building, along with evidence of its sudden evacuation: food bags still in a fifth-floor staff refrigerator and, most eerily, a log sheet for the testing of the emergency alarm system that shows a sign-in signature for 9/11 but no sign-out.” It was, in other words, that close. In other words, those who find the site too close to Ground Zero for comfort have good reason: on 9/11, it was.
–Rauf et al repeatedly claim that opposition to Cordoba/Park51 violates their religious rights. Nonsense. As I and others have repeatedly pointed out, the vast majority of those opposed to the project support his right to build his egocentric monstrosity on general terms; it is the geography we object to – though as he remains intractable and defiant, we also object increasingly to the imam. Indeed, if the issue were “religion,” the many truly moderate Muslims – Muslim activists for democracy like Zuhdi Jasser – would not oppose it. And so you have to wonder: if moderate Muslims oppose the project (and Rauf himself), is he really at one with moderate Islam?
–Rauf has also repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah Rather, he maintains that he is “against terrorism in all forms” – an answer that apparently mollifies many. But what it really means is that while he condemns terrorism, he does not recognize Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations – and so, does not condemn them.
In the end, the possible outcomes become quite frightening. Earlier this week, a report from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Preparedness Group noted, “A key shift in the threat to the homeland since around the time President Barack Obama took office is the increasing ‘Americanization’ of the leadership of al-Qaeda and aligned groups, and the larger numbers of Americans attaching themselves to these groups.”
Moreover, states the report, “The American “melting pot” has not provided a firewall against the radicalization and recruitment of American citizens and residents, though it has arguably lulled us into a sense of complacency that homegrown terrorism couldn’t happen in the United States.”
And yet, we know – from “Jihad Jane,” Fort Hood terrorist Nadal Malik Hasan, and others – that it can. And it does. And with its $100 million price tag, the Cordoba center is ripe for funding by Saudi Wahhabists – exactly those people who finance the mosques where Americans and other Westerners are recruited for jihad.
Not only that, but Rauf himself has called America compatible with sharia law. Indeed, America, he says, helped deepen his identification with Islam; talking to the New York Times, he stated, “In that sense, you could say I found my faith in this country. For me, Islam and America are organically bound together. This is not my story alone. The American way of life has helped many Muslims make a conscious decision to embrace their faith.” And his partner, el-Gamal? He turned to Islam after the attacks of 9/11. (He also has a history of violent crime, with attacks coming as recently as 2005.)
This, of course, raises the question of whether Cordoba can or will become the seat of a jihadist movement. And the truth is, the more we know about Feisal Abdul Rauf and his cohorts, the more I tend to wonder. Rauf has already skillfully turned American Muslims and non-Muslims into enemies of one another – something even Osama bin Laden failed to do. His disingenuousness, dishonesty, and disrespect make me wonder what else he and his mosque might be capable of achieving in the name of what he calls “peace.”
Posted by Cole at 2:18 PM