Friday, August 20, 2010

"Ground Zero" Imam's (So Called) Support of Terrorism

Imam Feisal Abdul RaufImage by World Economic Forum via Flickr
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.
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Anonymous said...

Well, I've heard he imam's wife has said, they're open to moving the mosque on down the road.

And this, the imam knew would happen.

He knew the "reaction" that would come, and did it anyway. If he wants to build bridges, why not cease and desist when the reaction comes? Oh, he did, after all. Should we now kiss his feet and thank him for being so "sensitive"?

There are 26 mosques in NYC, Brian. The cry of "intolerance!" doesn't fly. You see?

Of course you do see that. :) --rhonda

Brian said...


Every mosque being proposed in the country right now is being opposed. NYC, Florence, KY (right across the river from me), one in California and one in Wisconsin, I can name just from memory. There's another that escapes me at the moment.

This is, without a doubt, nothing more than Islamaphobia, xenophobia and intolerance wrapped up in a cry for "sensitivity". We're asking the victims of our fear and prejudice for sensitivity. Muslims are made victims over and over again in our country. Every American Muslim is supposed to bend over backwards to prove his loyalty to this country. They are not allowed to mourn 9/11 or talk about the hundreds of Muslims who died in the tragedy because they're not "normal" Americans. And, to add insult to injury, Americans now call them insensitive for attempting to built a cultural center for all races and religions to come together. When a group from a mosque set up a booth near a fourth of July parade to hand out water and to answer questions about Islam, one of the men in the booth was attacked by an "American" who punched him in the face and said he had no right to be there. To make matters worse, when I posted the incident on Facebook more than one of my conservative friends said the Muslims should not have been at a Fourth of July parade "rubbing our noses in it". That's what Muslims get when they try to reach out.

That's what I see, Rhonda.

Don said...

I have a great deal of trouble with how this issue has been blown out of proportion.

"the next group of people to be persecuted in the United States would likely be Muslims and Arab Americans. “As Christians, we can’t let this happen,” he said. “These are our neighbors, created in the image of God. They deserve our love and respect.”
~Tony Campolo

Anonymous said...

Brian, there are 26 mosques in NYC. There are mosques all over this country.

Its THIS ONE mosque that is causing a national outcry; and where there is intolerance toward Muslims, its only going to get worse.

IF the Imam DOES move the mosque on down the road, that will settle a LOT of people down. The victims of 9/11 (including Muslim victims)must be considered!

If he and the people involved will do that, that would show a step in the right direction; a step toward building bridges. Why is that too much to ask?--rhonda

Don said...

Why is this mosque any different from the one which is about one mile away on the same Manhattan?

Anonymous said...

Hi Don,

Its different because

1) Its in "the shadow" of the twin towers (if they still stood)--

2) So close, in fact, that the building (that the mosque is to replace) was damaged when the towers fell

3) Because its considered Sacred Ground; a burial place--where remains still haven't been recovered and building a mosque so close is hurting hearts of victims' families (as well as the majority of Americans who were also victims).


Brian said...


1.) You cannot see Ground Zero from the site of the proposed Islamic Center nor can you see the site of the Islamic Center from Ground Zero. Whether it would be in shadow of the Twin Towers, I can't speak to. Those towers were HUGE and cast a very, very large shadow. But, is the shadow somehow "hallowed?" Gentlemen's Clubs and horse better parlors are also in the "shadow".

2.) Yes, the building was damaged by the landing gear of one of the planes. Then, the building sat abandoned for about 8 years in a blighted area.

3.) It's not sacred ground. How far does "sacred ground" extend? Ground Zero is under a reconstruction project supervised by the Port Authority (which is why the Greek Orthodox church that is really in the zone is having problems). This is outside of the zone, in a commercial area. And, it's in an area that has been hit very hard by tough economic times and there are bunches of abandoned buildings.

4.) Have you forgotten the Muslims who died in the towers? They were Americans, too. As are the people who want to build the Islamic Centers. Muslims can be Americans, Rhonda. It's not that a person is one or the other.

Anonymous said...

Dear Brian,

Did I not say in my prior post: "The victims of 9/11 (including Muslim victims)must be considered!"?

There are Muslim Americans who oppose this "center" as well--are they also "Islamaphobes"? Don asked, "What's different about THIS mosque in comparison to the one a mile away?" I explained why its different, and the fact there is a mosque a mile away shows that this isn't about Islamaphobia.

WHO make up Americans, Brian? Muslims, Jews, Africans, Irish, German, on and on so how is it that AMERICANS are so very RACIST? Who of these groups do you have in mind in particular? --rhonda

Brian said...


I'm sorry that I missed your comment that the Muslim victims must be considered also? I guess I just got caught up in the overwhelming sentiment from those who opposed the center that "we" are the victims (non-Muslims) and Muslims are the perpetrators. I can't understand why it's insensitive for Muslims to build an Islamic Center near Ground Zero when it was not Islam that perpetrated the crime.

Yes, there are some Muslims who opposed the center. And, there are many families who lost loved ones on 9/11 who are in favor of it. The Muslims who oppose the center do so (as I understand it) on the grounds that people's feelings will be hurt by the center being there and they want to be sensitive to that. Once again, I don't understand why people's feelings are hurt by an Islamic Center built by moderates as a contradiction to 9/11 type terrorism would hurt anyone's feelings. Quite the contrary, we claim to support moderate and progressive Muslims and want them to be more vocal. Yet, when they try to do something like this, we call them insensitive.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this might help you understand, why people's feelings are hurt, Brian.

I was doing research the other night and found this website very interesting; especially the Call for Action section. It reaches back to 2007--and its not hard to see where American Muslims stand on the issues. (I'll give the link below.)

This really peaked my interest:

"Sign the petition to ask the Wiesenthal Center to halt the construction of a "museum of tolerance" on the site of a Muslim cemetary in Jerusalem."

So I looked this up and found this:

And also this:

You'll find many, many articles if you do the research; do they sound vaguely familiar? :)

The American Muslim website:

I'm interested in how you view this in comparison to what's happening regarding the Ground Zero mosque.


Brian said...

Wow, Rhonda. That is an interesting parallel. You're right. Very similar to the Ground Zero thing. A few thoughts come to mind though.

1.) Two wrongs don't make a right. I don't know the detailed on the Muslim cemetery thing. Was it actually ON the site of the cemetery or near it? If the cemetery was "abandoned", I don't get the protest. They apparently didn't protest the parking lot. So, it seems their protest (like the protest of the "Ground Zero" mosque") was really because they didn't like the proposed project and was not about the holiness of the ground. IOW, it's very possible they were WRONG about protesting the tolerance center.

2.) Not all Muslims are represented by the people who protested this, just like not all Americans are represented by the people protesting Park51. I am very much in FAVOR of building the Islamic Center on the privately owned property NEAR Ground Zero (not on it).


Anonymous said...

Appreciate your thoughts, Brian.

I find it interesting, that on the American Muslim website's "call for action", it was asked that people sign the petition AGAINST the Jewish museum of tolerance, but then, a couple of years later ask people to sign the petition FOR the mosque/community center. And all calls for action are to benefit Muslims, everywhere in the world, right or wrong.

On Keith Olberman tonight, he cited a religiously intolerant fundamentalist Christian, Bill Keller, who is trying to rent a temporary space at the Mariott near Ground Zero, and made a point to show "hypocrisy" on those who oppose the Ground Zero Mosque, since they aren't objecting to this.

It really is ridiculous. I'm watching Rachel Maddow now, who's spent the first 15 minutes--not on the President's speech tonight, but on bashing Bush. When she was finished with that, she had a correspondent who's spent a lot of time in Iraq; who himself said that ending the war now is going to leave Iraq "to the wolves" so to speak. When they spoke about the speech, they said they'd be disappointed if they were in the military; that they really didn't accomplish anything much. This was all said, of course, to bash Bush--but I wonder if they realize they were bashing our military and our current President? Suddenly the speech tonight, that I praised right after I saw it, is rank to me now.

You see, I remember. I remember when those planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; I remember flight 93. I remember how every single Democrat in power prior, including Pres Clinton also said that Hussein HAD WMD's. Bush didn't lie; unless all of them also lied--the whole world community believed it was true.

While I hate intolerance, the Left is just as intolerant (if not moreso) than any group--and when it comes to hypocrisy--Islam is about as intolerant as any religion--makes Fundies look like boyscouts--but that doesn't matter. It wasn't Bill Geller's religion that crashed those planes and murdered so many innocents on 9/11. Conscientious Muslims understand why this is so sensitive to most of America; they're just as embarrassed by intolerant Muslims as you are of Fundy Christians.

The hatred on the Left is just more than I can bear. It grieves me in my heart and spirit. I don't believe that there can really be "honest" discussion on these things. I remember when Congress stood on the steps and all sang "God Bless America" after 9/11. I also remember a short time later, I don't think it was even a week later; Hillary Clinton holding a rag in her hand before the Senate screeching the ugly headline: "BUSH KNEW" for all to see. I remember her calling Gen Patraeus a liar before the Senate--and Leftist media called him "General Betray-us"--the very same General Pres Obama is relying on now for the surge in Afghanistan. Maddow went to great length tonight to try and show that the surge did nothing; that the blood and treasure sacrificed was for naught. It was what she and Olberman spoke about tonight that convinced me that the speech tonight was just words; the hatred, intolerance, hypocrisy and lies of the Left; the unhappiness and depression it carries and places on the shoulders of America; the failure of its policies like a millstone put on the necks of the people to sink America--all this is what's going to sink Liberalism, not only in the coming election but for a great many years to come.--rhonda

Brian said...


Just a bit of advice. Don't watch Olbermann, Matthews or Maddow and particularly don't watch the Ed Show. It'll just get you upset.

I can't remember the last time I watched an entire episode of Olbermann. I think it was probably before the election. I do watch Chris Matthews on occasion. I like Rachel Maddow. But, I don't watch her much.

Anonymous said...

Good advice, Brian. It really hurts to see that; they hurt Pres Obama more than they know. One really has to wonder who's side they're really on? Are they already campaigning for Hillary Clinton or what? --rhonda

Anonymous said...

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