Former Louisiana insurance commissioner and current radio host and blogger Jim Brown has run an opinion piece on his web site criticizing opponents of the Ground Zero mosque.
I felt compelled to weigh in on this issue here on The Hayride in response to Mr. Brown’s column which is titled Pandering and Hypocrisy Over a Mosque.
First, we must start by correcting a few facts that Mr. Brown simply got totally wrong in his piece:
“Except the proposed mosque and community center is not at ground Zero – it’s several blocks away and a few hundred feet from an existing mosque.”
Both of these are incorrect. The proposed mosque is not several blocks from Ground Zero. I’ve been there, I know. The proposed mosque site is so close to Ground Zero in fact that the landing gear from the plane which Mohammed Atta flew on board fell on top of it. In fact, there is still debris from the World Trade Center inside the building today. Nor is there a mosque a few hundred feet away.
Mr. Brown incorrectly reports that when the Ground Zero mosque project was first announced in December 2009 there were no concerns over it. As someone with close friends who are members of 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America, I can assure you that, had Mr. Brown dug deeper than one show on Fox, he’d have had no problem discovering that there were indeed concerns.
For important background purposes, before we delve directly into the Ground Zero mosque controversy, I need to address another issue that Mr. Brown brought up in his column: Muslim chaplains in the US military.
I am surprised that Mr. Brown would bring up the subject of Muslim military chaplains in his piece without conducting some background research into what is also a very controversial subject. Abdurahman Alamoudi was once considered a “moderate” Muslim leader here in the US. He founded the American Muslim Council, sat on the board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was an Islamic Affairs advisor to the Clinton Administration, helped fund Republican activist Grover Norquist’s Islamic Free Market Institute, served as a “goodwill ambassador” for the US State Department to Muslim nations and was appointed to choose Muslim chaplains for the US military.
Alamoudi was also a Jihadist working for terrorist organizations.
In 2003 he was arrested on terrorism charges. After Alamoudi’s arrest, federal authorities released a transcript of a telephone conversation in which he could be heard lamenting that no Americans had died during al Qaeda’s 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya. In the same conversation, Alamoudi also recommended that more operations be conducted like the 1994 Hezbollah bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Association cultural center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people died.
Today, Alamoudi is in federal prison. This was the man who selected the Pentagon’s Muslim chaplains for 5 straight years. This shameful episode justifiably continues to cast suspicion and doubt on the Muslim chaplains who entered military service under Alamoudi’s program. However, in a shocking display of political correctness gone wild, when a military officer suggested that the chaplains be investigated, it was decided that investigation of those chaplains based solely on their association with Alamoudi was not justified and any such type of investigations would have to include all military chaplains of all faiths.
The result is that, to this day, there are Muslim chaplains in our military that were placed there by a convicted terrorist.
Mr. Brown goes on to make a statement which I frankly find insulting to those who have been affected by September 11th and the wider war which we find ourselves in:
In the current election season, one would think that the campaigns would focus on the economy, healthcare, Iraq, Afghanistan and who is best qualified to lead us. Instead, those who hope to lead are spending too much time exploiting the anger, self-righteous indignation and arrogance concerning the mosque placement at the expense of other very pressing issues.
The fact of the matter is, the American people do NOT have to submit. When we are insulted and attacked, we have not just a right, but a duty to defend our liberty and way of life.
Perhaps Mr. Brown has “gotten over” 9/11, but the idea that the threat from Jihad is not an important issue for America is frankly puzzling—and there is ample evidence to indicate that the Cordoba Project is part of a civilizational jihad.
You have to conduct research to understand it, but the evidence is there. There is a lot more at work here than the mere “anger, self-righteous indignation and arrogance” that Mr. Brown describes.
There is far more to this controversy than just one group of Americans trying to prevent another group of Americans from building a place of worship.
The war we are in was never a war against “terrorism” and, while it certainly isn’t a war against Islam either, Al Qaeda and the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan are far from the only enemy. The doctrine that underlies the Jihadists who are waging war against America and the West is broad and far-reaching. The label “Al Qaeda” cannot account for all of it. Unfortunately, it cannot even account for a majority of the enemy we are dealing with.
We are locked in a civilizational conflict which transcends traditional warfare. It has a strong element of non-violent Jihad that is as dangerous in its own way as violent Jihadist terrorism is.
What we are confronted with, but which we seem unable to come to terms with is a global Jihadist insurgency. This isn’t an insurgency that is just happening in Manhattan, or the UK, or even Iraq and Afghanistan. Each day anyone can monitor reports from places as geographically divergent as the Philippines, Bangladesh, Russia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Norway, Uganda, Thailand, and, yes, the United States and the United Kingdom. The Jihadist insurgency may comprise a small minority of world Muslims, but it is global nonetheless and it is well funded and serious in its aims.
Moreover, students of insurgency know that insurgencies are 20% military and 80% political.
Insurgents often have no expectation that they can win militarily, but they focus on the political aspects of their campaign. An investigation into the background and associations of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf reveals that this is exactly what we are dealing with in Lower Manhattan.
Rauf has extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is the grandaddy of modern Salafi Jihadist terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda and the Brotherhood’s acknowledged Palestinian wing, HAMAS. Formed in the 1920s, there is a popular myth in the West that the Brotherhood has sworn off violence. This misconception stems from a localized agreement limited to Egypt.
Decades ago, the Egyptian government cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood and imprisoned many of its leaders. The Saudis intervened and embraced the Brotherhood and provided an ample funding source. Later, a deal was brokered whereby the members of the Brotherhood in Egyptian prisons were released in return for pledges not to carry out violence in Egypt. The pledge never extended outside Egypt, which is probably how famous members of the Muslim Brotherhood, such as Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, found their way into terrorism.
Today the Muslim Brotherhood is the political wing of the global Jihadist insurgency. An analogy to World War II might go like this:
The Muslim Brotherhood is the Nazi Party, while HAMAS and Al Qaeda are the Waffen SS.
The goals of the Muslim Brotherhood are identical to those of the violent Jihadists: the re-establishment of a supreme, dominant worldwide Caliphate ruling by Shariah law.
Now we come full circle to where Imam Rauf’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood are so ominous. In a major section of his web site which has since been removed (but was preserved as a PDF by Christine Brim), the Shariah agenda is front and center.
The problem isn’t just a mosque on this particular site. The problem is a mosque promoted by these particular Muslims on this particular site.
The financing of the mosque is central to the whole controversy. Why won’t Imam Rauf talk about the financing? Why isn’t the media even mildly curious about where the $100 million to build the mosque is coming from?
It is highly likely that the financing for this mosque is coming from one of two sources, or perhaps both: foreign sources and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT).
NAIT is said to hold title to as many as 80% of the mosques and Islamic centers in the United States. There are three things that are especially disturbing about this:
1. NAIT is at least partially funded by Saudi Arabia (a foreign power with a dismal human rights records and significant portions of its royal family associated with Jihad).
2. NAIT is a Muslim Brotherhood organization. This was stipulated to in the largest terrorism financing trial in US history.
3. In that same terrorism financing trial, the United States v. the Holy Land Foundation, NAIT was named as an unindicted co-conspirator. The prosecution was successful in that case, the defendants being convicted on all counts. When NAIT challenged its classification as an unindicted co-conspirator, the Justice Department refused to relent and issued a spirited and strong justification.
Foreign financing of this mosque on this site has implications far beyond building a place where Muslims can go pray. There is every reason to believe that this site was chosen in the first place for some other purpose. Of all the places to build such a mosque, why Ground Zero? It’s not a residential area. There are no Muslim residents to speak of in the neighborhood. If foreign powers are behind its financing, then the implications immediately become much more profound and sinister. Nevertheless, Imam Rauf remains tight-lipped on the subject of financing sources, the media exhibit no intellectual curiosity on the subject and apologists such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg refuse to even consider that it might be a bad idea if the Muslim Brotherhood or a foreign Salafi power is behind the project.
Finally, there is the question of the naming of the project “Cordoba.” Cordoba was conquered in an Islamic jihad centuries ago in a famous battle in which the Jihadist commander, Tareq, landed at the Spanish shores and immediately had his Jihadis burn their boats to symbolize their willingness to martyr themselves for Allah. One of the things the Jihadist invaders then did was to construct a mosque in place of the largest Christian church in the city. They called it the Great Mosque of Cordoba. The other thing the Jihadists did was to persecute Cordoba’s Jews, over time resulting in their total exile from the city.
Later, the Muslim rulers eased their oppression, but at no time were they ever anything but occupiers in Cordoba.
Believe it or not, the practice of replacing churches with mosques during the great Muslim jihads is something that carries over today. And this is an important element that needs to be considered in evaluating the Ground Zero mosque project as well, as this short blog posting on Terror Trends Bulletin illustrates:
There are many worrisome elements behind the Ground Zero mosque project: Imam Rauf’s ties to the Jihadist Muslim Brotherhood, the question of foreign financing and the motivation behind the selection of the site in the first place.
Raising these questions and pushing back against Shariah and Jihad does not equate to “anger, self-righteous indignation and arrogance” and those who classify opposition to the Ground Zero mosque as such are being intellectually lazy and insulting to those who have actually done legitimate research into this important issue.