Much of the lame-street press appears to be in Imam Faisel Abdul Rauf‘s corner. The New York Times, CNN and ABC have given him a platform to come across as a nice guy interested only in peace and reconciliation. Hard questions, such as the imam’s close association with a 9/11 Truther, are ignored. Indeed, if you raise such questions and oppose the location of the Islamic mega-mosque/community center complex near Ground Zero, you are called a bigot who is intolerant of religious diversity.
Even Fox News, which has raised the most questions about Imam Rauf’s past statements, his intentions and sources of funding, has not focused as much on this man’s double-speak. Rauf says one thing to American audiences and quite another to Muslim audiences abroad.
For example, Rauf has told us over and over again that his Cordoba House project is meant to symbolize inter-faith cooperation.
But here is an excerpt from a transcript of Feisal Abdul Rauf’s radio interview in Egypt with Radio Hurytna published on February 5th, 2010, in which he cast Cordoba House in a rather different light:
It will be praise be to Allah a structure that will be an icon and the Muslim community will be proud of, not only in America Muslim community in New York but in the entire Muslim world
Icon? Why did he choose a term that in a religious context is associated with Eastern Orthodox churches and is defined in the dictionary as “a sacred picture representing the Virgin Mary, Christ, a saint, or a martyr?”
Why is Imam Rauf telling his Muslim audience in Egypt that the Ground Zero mosque/community center will be an icon that Muslims can be proud of rather than say that it will be a symbol of understanding and mutual tolerance that people of all faiths can be proud of?
Here’s another example of Imam Rauf’s double-speak. He tries to convince us that sharia (Islamic law) is perfectly compatible with the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Of course, such compatibility would require the separation of mosque and state, which is the very opposite of what sharia law prescribes. Also, in order for sharia to be compatible with our Constitution, it must recognize that the “Constitution and Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof” are “the supreme Law of the Land.” (Article VI)
Imam Rauf tries to glide right over the issue of legal supremacy when he speaks to American audiences. But here is what he said in response to questions he received from a non-American audience:
So the question in our era throughout my discussions with contemporary Muslim theologians that an Islamic state can be established in more then just in a single form or mold; it can be established through a kingdom or a democracy. The important issue is to establish the general fundamentals of [Islamic] Shariah that are required to govern. It is known that there are sets of standards that are accepted by [Muslim] scholars to organize the relationships between government and the governed…A time after the prophet (peace be upon him) arose certain new conditions that required the governors to institute new laws so long they do not conflict with the Quran and the Sunna that were Shariah compliant as such followed in traditional customs. So in our modern era, governments that want to ensure the new laws as to not contradict Shariah rules—so they create institutions to ensure Islamic law and remove any that contradict with Shariah.
Imam Rauf, the leader of the Cordoba House initiative to build a 13 story “icon” for the Muslim world two blocks from Ground Zero, is looking to create institutions here in the United States that will help “ensure Islamic law and remove any that contradict with Shariah.”
Expressing concern and skepticism about all of this is just old-fashioned American-style common sense, not intolerance.
Joseph A. Klein is the author of a new book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.