Yesterday, the former imam of the proposed Ground Zero Mosque, Faisal Abdul Rauf – who incidentally did more to provoke suspicion of Muslims in America than anyone else last year thanks to his pigheaded and insensitive insistence on building a mosque in a building hit by wreckage of one of the jets which brought down the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001 – was on MSNBC assailing the hearings set for this week on Islamic extremism being conducted by House Homeland Security committee head Peter King (R-NY).
The imam does a nice job presenting himself as a rational, reasonable peacemaker between the violent radicals in his religious community and the non-Muslim civilized world, but his act simply doesn’t wash. For a couple of key reasons.
First, there is no peace to be had with the likes of bin Laden and Zawahiri. Those guys aren’t interested in peace. They’re interested in the subjugation of the non-Muslim world by force of violence, and they truly believe they’ll achieve that goal if they can kill and intimidate enough of us. Peace with that crowd can only be had through two methods – either by killing enough of them and/or creating so much misery for their coreligionists that their support dries up and they can no longer get the resources to make trouble for us, or by surrendering to them.
The imam isn’t advocating wholesale slaughter of Muslims by the infidel. He’s suggesting the latter. But he knows that the words surrender and appeasement won’t cut it with the folks in the West who are already casting jaundiced eyes toward Islam as a whole, and whose examinations of that religion and the societies it has spawned have done nothing to allay their suspicions.
So instead he’s trying to walk a fine line by saying he promotes “understanding,” and casting himself as a mediator. But you can’t mediate an existential conflict. Everybody who has tried to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian situation has come to realize that; when one side will not give up its demand that the other side cease to exist as an autonomous entity – which is what the Palestinian position refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist is, and it’s also what the al-Qaeda/Khomeinist Iran/Muslim Brotherhood position is in demanding a global Islamic caliphate is as well – there is nothing to bargain with or for.
The imam understands this. And he also understands he’s on the side of the Islamists, not the West. If that wasn’t true he would never have proposed building that mosque in a place where millions of people would immediately be revulsed. What’s more, he wouldn’t have called his project Cordoba House – an obvious reference to the Muslim conquest of Spain and the conversion of a Christian cathedral into the what was the third largest mosque in the world in celebration of that conquest. Rauf tried to explain that Cordoba was a center of learning where Jews and Christians participated alongside Muslims, and that’s what the project’s name alluded to – but the Muslims were still the overlords and conquerors, and certainly not democratically elected overlords at that. His attempts at conciliation only fanned the flames, as his critics saw through the flimsy veneer he’d crafted, and shortly thereafter the project was renamed Park51.
He’s on the side of the Islamists, but he doesn’t want to kill anybody to achieve their aims. And in this positioning Rauf is the classic example of the “civilizational jihadist,” something King is likely to at least partially expose in his hearing. The civilizational jihadist is the one who openly decries “extremism” and violence – and might even mean it. But that doesn’t stop him from raising money for organizations which turn around and commit violent jihad. Like Hamas, for example – Hamas was the beneficiary of funds raised by the Holy Land Foundation before the FBI and the Justice Department managed to get convictions and shut them down. And the list of unindicted co-conspirators in that trial included virtually every Muslim organization of note in the country, each one of whom was named in a Muslim Brotherhood document introduced as evidence and stipulated to at the trial as a front group for the Brotherhood.
Rauf is therefore in the same boat as CAIR, and he takes the same positions. King is a bigot, the story goes, and his hearings will only incite violence. In the video, Rauf plays out the narrative with aplomb – when Al-Jazeera reports that Islam is under attack in America, Al-Qaeda will use that to recruit terrorists.
It’s a self-serving story, of course. Any effort at an honest understanding of our enemy in this War On Terror, or whatever you want to call it, is branded as Islamophobia and slammed as inciting violence. Any effort at criticizing Muslims, or Islam, in general receives the same treatment from the so-called “moderates” like Rauf. A perfect example is the Danish cartoon fiasco, in which someone who is truly a peacemaker would criticize not the publication of a few scribblings but the ginned-up violent reaction to them. Rauf does the opposite, not because Sharia forbids the ridicule or criticism of Islam as “blasphemy” punishable by death – he knows if he tries to make that argument we’ll react negatively – but because it “incites violence.” Meanwhile, the mosque Rauf fronted is envisioned as a center from which to proselytize and agitate for sharia in America, something the American people find only slightly less appetizing than Muslim terrorism.
Aaron Worthing, in a very good piece on this subject at Patterico, characterizes this as “freeloading on terrorism”…
…where a supposed “moderate” Muslim tells those of us in the West, don’t draw cartoons of Mohammed (pedophilia be upon him), don’t criticize his faith and so on. Because, you know, if you do, one of us Muslims are going to go and commit terrorism.
In short, don’t actually exercise and enjoy your freedom. Live your lives limited by intimidation. And then we will get along famously.
So he reaps the benefit of terrorism, without having the gonads to blow himself up. Hey, Imam, instead of trying to talk us out of exercising our freedom, if you really think your co-religionists can’t be expected to control themselves, why don’t you work on that instead? That seems like the bigger problem to me.
It comes down to this. Either Islam is compatible with freedom or it is not.
I mean the point of that cartoon is to say that Islam is uniquely violent. And you don’t exactly rebut it by threatening to murder anyone who calls your faith violent, okay? And if you can’t expect Muslims to deal with criticism, blasphemy, etc. without going on a killing spree, then Islam is not compatible with American freedom. And I don’t think you want to see where that road takes us.
But I know for a fact this isn’t true. I know of and work with Muslims every day who would never resort to violence over that kind of thing. They rightly consider statements like Imam Feisel’s as a betrayal of those millions of good Muslims who believe in freedom and Allah.
Worthing’s Muslim friends, the Americanized bunch who have chosen the blessings of this country over the tyranny of sharia and have rejected the kind of doubletalk people like Rauf and the CAIR mouthpieces regularly spew, sadly lack the media representation they deserve as the majority within that community. But then again, there is no Iran, Qatar or Saudi Arabia bankrolling the truly moderate Muslim community – the money and the infrastructure is backing those who are trying to push sharia law into Western jurisprudence and intimidate us into acceding to their cultural demands.
Rauf’s stance on his mosque was a perfect example – better than two-thirds of the people in the country saw his plan as inappropriate, and his response was that we were Islamophobes for believing as we did. And when King holds hearings which may expose a nexus between the civilizational jihadists at CAIR and elsewhere and the proselytizers of radical Islamism, Rauf trots out the same epithets and veiled threats of violence. It didn’t wash last year and it doesn’t wash now. But hopefully King will do what’s necessary to at least give the American people some perspective on the threat we face not from Al-Qaeda but from its shiny-faced fifth columnist allies here in the West.
UPDATE: Rauf gets some support from a somewhat unlikely source – New Orleans-area Democrat Congressman Cedric Richmond…
Rep Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, fears that Thursday’s House Homeland Security hearing into “the extent of radicalization in the American Muslim community and that community’s response,” may prove a propaganda coup for al-Qaeda that will leave America less safe.
“I just fear that tomorrow’s hearing is a big mistake, that after tomorrow, America will be less safe,” Richmond, a freshman member who is the only Louisianan on the House committee, said Wednesday.
The hearing, called by Chairman Peter King, a New York Republican, has been roundly criticized by many Democrats as provocative, unfair and unwise.
“Part of what al-Qaeda sells to the rest of the world is that ‘the United States of America hates Muslims, they hate Islam, they’re at war with us,’ so what do we do in return? We single them out to have a hearing to talk about how bad their people are, we are going to single them out that they are either susceptible or predisposed to attack Americans,” said Richmond. “So now we’ve armed al-Qaeda and the people who want to do us harm. We’ve now given them all the information they need for their propaganda and lies that they’re going to spread to say that, for some reason, they should attack America.”
“I just think that it was a bad idea that should have been fleshed out more by the Republican leadership if the true goal is to make America safer, because the hearing tomorrow makes Americaless safe,” said Richmond.
In other words, Richmond parrots Rauf and CAIR’s line perfectly. His statements also echo those made by Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress and a mouthpiece for CAIR who will be the second speaker at the hearing on Thursday. The connection between Richmond and Ellison, and the question whether the two will emerge as allies of sorts, might be one to watch as time goes along.