Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Use the Reverend Wright standard for Feisal Abdul Rauf

Mark Hemingway raises an intriguing question.
If the president of the United States felt compelled to publicly disown the Christian pastor who baptized his children over his false equivalences between U.S. foreign policy and 9/11, why are we being told to believe Feisal's proposed mosque near ground zero is a beacon of tolerance?
Is what Rauf has said all that much different from what Wright said?
So if Islam is not responsible, what was the reason for the 9/11 attacks? In 2004, Sufi Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the spiritual leader behind the mosque, told the Sydney Morning Herald, "there was an endless supply of angry young Muslim rebels prepared to die for their cause and there was no sign of the attacks ending unless there was a fundamental change in the world."

What fundamental change did Imam Feisal recommend? "[Feisal] said there could be little progress until the U.S. acknowledged backing dictators and the U.S. President gave an 'America Culpa' speech to the Muslim world."

Feisal further offered his own reasoning for why the 9/11 attacks were not related to Islam. "The Islamic method of waging war is not to kill innocent civilians," he told the Herald. "But it was Christians in World War II who bombed civilians in Dresden and Hiroshima, neither of which were military targets."

Now that's a charitable view of history. Whenever Muslims kill innocent civilians, it has no relation to Islam. The Muslim conquest of India, the bloodiest conflict in history, in which 80 million people were killed? Not Islam. Sept. 11 attacks? Not Islam. Hamas lobbing thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians? Well, Feisal refuses to go on record condemning Hamas even when asked point blank.

But when America's secular government stopped the atrocities of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, it was really all about Christians killing civilians. America culpa!
But this is the guy that two presidencies have turned to as their ambassador to the Muslim world. And anyone who questions his motivations is a bigot. And we're going to be titled Islamaphobes by the bien pensants at Time Magazine if we worry about some of the aspects of Islamism that are troubling Christopher Hitchens.
Emboldened by the crass nature of the opposition to the center, its defenders have started to talk as if it represented no problem at all and as if the question were solely one of religious tolerance. It would be nice if this were true. But tolerance is one of the first and most awkward questions raised by any examination of Islamism. We are wrong to talk as if the only subject was that of terrorism. As Western Europe has already found to its cost, local Muslim leaders have a habit, once they feel strong enough, of making demands of the most intolerant kind. Sometimes it will be calls for censorship of anything "offensive" to Islam. Sometimes it will be demands for sexual segregation in schools and swimming pools. The script is becoming a very familiar one. And those who make such demands are of course usually quite careful to avoid any association with violence. They merely hint that, if their demands are not taken seriously, there just might be a teeny smidgeon of violence from some other unnamed quarter …

As for the gorgeous mosaic of religious pluralism, it's easy enough to find mosque Web sites and DVDs that peddle the most disgusting attacks on Jews, Hindus, Christians, unbelievers, and other Muslims—to say nothing of insane diatribes about women and homosexuals. This is why the fake term Islamophobia is so dangerous: It insinuates that any reservations about Islam must ipso facto be "phobic." A phobia is an irrational fear or dislike. Islamic preaching very often manifests precisely this feature, which is why suspicion of it is by no means irrational.
It's not that we deny that moderate Muslims can exist. I have had several Muslim students who are absolutely wonderful people and students. I'm just suspicious that, despite the State Department seal of approval, Rauf is the true moderate he purports to be.


bill russell said...

It is good to see Hitchens still on the mound and bringing the heat. Each of his columns is a reminder of what will be lost if he succumbs to his battle with cancer. Even when I strongly disagree with his positions, I appreciate the fact that he elevates the debate above the "Did not" "Did too" standard discourse of today, supports his position with facts,able to illuminate hypocrisy and fallacy in the other side's argument-and admit it when he finds it in his own position. No better example than the criticism of the opponents of the mosque as "intolerany" while acquiescing with silence as Islamic governments stone dissenters, women and homosexuals to death.

May Hitch live long and prosper.

mark said...

I hope that even as conservatives enjoy the problems this issue is creating for Obama, you feel at least a bit of shame in what you are doing.
The anti-Muslim movement is not just about Ground Zero, but other cities and states. Perhaps the mosque in California is also too close to Ground Zero. And could somebody please define how many blocks away is acceptable? Charles Krauthammer continues to lie every time he wrote that the mosque is at Ground Zero.
The same people who defend the most inane gun laws and policies (even providing guns to potential terrorists) as a constitutional right, now say "it's their right, but.....".
The same people who pretend to care about the families of the victims of 9/11 agreed with Bush in 2002 when he said he was no longer "concerned" with capturing bin Laden. Imagine, telling the world that the man most responsible for killing 3,000 people was no longer a "concern".
Bush, Obama, Gen. Petreaus and others have said that part of the strategy of the war on terror is capturing the hearts and minds of the people. There are republican leaders calling Islam a religion of hate and comparing Islamic symbols to swastikas. We have tea*aggers screaming a a black man they thought was a Muslim (he wasn't). Those "wonderful" Muslim students and others are hearing on a daily basis that their religion is evil.
In exchange for cheap political points, you're undermining our country and what we stand for.
All these things considered traitorous during the Bush years are now acceptable.
Please folks; there are enough legit issues to go after Obama with. You don't need to stoop to this disgraceful, embarrasing behavior.

Locomotive Breath said...

Here's one way to tell. The landing gear from one of the planes hijacked and crashed by men yelling "Allahu Akbar" slammed through the roof of the Burlington Coat Factory which previously stood on the site at which the mosque is meant to be built.

Sound like Ground Zero to me.

equitus said...


It takes a lot of nerve to assault the vast majority of Americans with your slanderous straw-men.

You don't need to stoop to this disgraceful, embarrasing (sic) behavior.

tfhr said...

Locomotive Breath and equitus,

Well said.