Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thoughts on Feisal Abdul Rauf's NYT Editorial

I read Faisal Abdul Rauf's guest editorial in The New York Times today.

Count me unimpressed. I find his tone to be, well, tone deaf:

We have all been awed by how inflamed and emotional the issue of the proposed community center has become.

Rauf is being disingenuous if he claims he didn't think building a mosque/community center in the proximity of the World Trade Center attacks wasn't going to get a rise out of the American people. But if anyone is guilty of inflaming the situation it is Rauf. If Rauf wants support for his project he doesn't do himself any favors by calling America an accessory to the September 11th attacks or by claiming America has more Muslim blood on its hand than al Qaeda.

As such I'm not buying his touchy feely, multicultural, interfaith act:

Our name, Cordoba, was inspired by the city in Spain where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in the Middle Ages during a period of great cultural enrichment created by Muslims. Our initiative is intended to cultivate understanding among all religions and cultures.

When the Muslims seized control of Cordoba in 1148 they gave Christians and Jews three choices - convert to Islam, leave or be put to death. If this is Rauf's idea of co-existence and how to cultivate understanding among all religions and cultures then I want no part of it.

But in Rauf's world we might not have a choice in the matter:

The wonderful outpouring of support for our right to build this community center from across the social, religious and political spectrum seriously undermines the ability of anti-American radicals to recruit young, impressionable Muslims by falsely claiming that America persecutes Muslims for their faith. These efforts by radicals at distortion endanger our national security and the personal security of Americans worldwide. This is why Americans must not back away from completion of this project. If we do, we cede the discourse and, essentially, our future to the radicals on both sides. The paradigm of a clah between the West and the Muslim world will continue, as it has in recent decades at terrible cost. It is a paradigm we must shift.

So let me get this straight. The construction of this community center is the only thing standing between young, impressionable Muslims and anti-American radicals. It seems to me that anti-American radicals have done a fine job of recruiting young, impressionable Muslims even though Muslims have been able to practice their faith in this country from its very beginnings. Nor have they taken to heart President Obama's assertion that "Islam has always been a part of America."

Let's also remember that Rauf claims "the issue of terrorism is a complex issue." Indeed, Rauf uses the term radical, not terrorist. He also speaks of "radicals on both sides." So who are the radicals on the other side? The America he believes has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaeda?

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