It is being reported/rumored that the Imam behind the "Ground Zero mosque" is a supporter of Hama and terrorism. When I've pressed for details of his support, the answer I get is something along the lines of "Well, he won't denounce Hamas.". Since when is not denouncing something the same as supporting it?
Below I've posted an excerpt of what seems to be the interview that has triggered the charge of his support for Hamas. This interview is posted all over right wing blogs with headlines like "Ground Zero Imam makes stunning terror comments.". Well, I read his comments and I don't find them stunning at all.
Klein asked Rauf on his show whether the imam agrees with the State Department's designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization.
"I'm not a politician," replied Rauf. "I try to avoid the issues. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question. ... I'm a bridge builder. I define my work as a bridge builder. I do not want to be placed, nor do I accept to be placed in a position of being put in a position where I am the target of one side or another."
Klein pointed out Hamas attacks have targeted civilians and asked Rauf again whether that qualifies to define Hamas as terrorists.
Rauf stated: "The targeting of civilians is wrong. It is a sin in our religion. Whoever does it, targeting civilians is wrong. I am a supporter of the state of Israel. ... I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary." (emphasis mine)
When Klein persisted in asking about Hamas, Rauf charged the radio host of "accus[ing] me of things. You are killing the messenger." "You are trying to bring down the person who is trying to build security between our country and our faith tradition," said Rauf. "My urge to you. I have worked for the law-enforcement agencies."
Klein interrupted, stating, "And yet you refuse to tell me Hamas is a terror organization."
This is quite clear to me. The Imam is working to build bridges. You don't do that by publicly condemning one of the parties you're trying to bridge to the other. The question was intended to pit America against Hamas and force the Imam to choose which side he is on. He did specifically renounce terrorism and called it a sin. He said whoever targets civilians is wrong. He stated clearly that he is trying to build security between our country (our country being the United States) and his faith tradition. It would be counterproductive for him to get into a situation with Hamas (the elected party that leads the Palestianians). The interviewer knew he was putting the Imam between a rock and a hard place. I suppose journalists think that is their job. He put the Imam in a position where he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. The question was reminiscent of the question the pharisees put to Jesus. "Is it right to pay taxes to the emperor or not?" If Jesus had answered it was right, He would have been accused of being a traitor to His own people. If He had said it is not right, He would become an enemy of the Roman empire. Jesus answered wisely, as did the Imam. The interviewer gave the Imam the choice of alienating Hamas by declaring them a terrorist organization on American radio or to feed the flames of Islamaphobia by not going along with the interviewer concerning Hamas. The Imam did not take the bait. He condemned terrorism, he called it a sin, that he said he supports Israel. But, that's not enough for some. No, he can only show he is a "true American" by calling out Hamas and burning the bridge that he's trying to build.As John Stossel would say. Give me a break.