Mayor Bloomberg and reputable members of the establishment in general view people objecting to the erection of mosque and Islamic cultural center in the vicinity of the fallen World Trade Center towers as bigots and yahoos, who irrationally insist on blaming the overwhelmingly larger body of moderate Muslims for the crimes committed by a small number of unrepresentative extremists.
The Muslim religious leader behind the Ground Zero Mosque project is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. The defense of the Ground Zero Mosque project is intimately associated with
the identification of Abdul Rauf as a moderate Muslim, a reasonable representative of a different religious denomination who is not our enemy and who does not deserve to bear any sort of guilt for Islamic extremism or acts of terrorism.
Yet, Imam Abdul Rauf has made a number of somewhat controversial public statements.
On September 29, 2001, a mere nineteen days after the attacks, when asked by CBS if the U.S. deserved the attacks, Rauf answered: “I wouldnâ€™t say that the United States deserved what happened. But the United Statesâ€™ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”
The interviewer inquired how the US was “an accessory,” and Abdul Rauf replied, “Because we have been accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.”
In a June interview this year with WABC radio in New York, Abdul Rauf evaded answering whether he agreed with the U.S. State Department’s designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization. “I’m not a politician. I try to avoid the issues. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question.”
Clifford D. May offers this completely devastating rejoinder.
No, actually, itâ€™s quite simple: Whatever your grievances, you do not express them by murdering other peopleâ€™s children. Not accepting that proposition does not make you a terrorist. But it disqualifies you as an anti-terrorist and identifies you as an anti-anti-terrorist.
A thought experiment: I am grieved by Saudi policies â€” for example, Saudi religious discrimination, oppression of women, and persecution of homosexuals. If I were to express these grievances by blowing up a Saudi kindergarten, do you think Imam Feisal would say (1) the Saudi Royal family must share responsibility for the carnage, and (2) whether or not I had committed an act of terrorism is a â€œvery complex questionâ€?
How can well-educated, sophisticated people apply such a preposterous double-standard in their thinking that they will perform gymnastic contortions to defend and apologize for a Muslim community leader with all sorts of unsavory personal connections and instantly exclude from legitimate discussion anyone who would criticize the symbolism of the Ground Zero Mosque project or question the bona fides of its organizer?
[M]ulticulturalism and moral relativism, doctrines devoutly embraced by the intellectual classes, render â€œeverything the equal of everything else.â€ As a consequence, some very smart people have â€œlost the ability to make the most elementary distinctions.â€ Except one: They reflexively regard those from the Third World as virtuous and those from the West as steeped in blame, shame, and guilt.
So if Imam Feisal says heâ€™s a moderate, he must be a moderate. Why read his books or inquire into what he preaches in his mosque or with whom he associates on his frequent trips to Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and other exotic locales? Would we ask such questions of a Baptist minister building a church near Ground Zero?