By Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer
A massive fifteen-story mosque and Islamic Center going up in what was once the shadow of the World Trade Center claims to offer “the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11.” The Center organizers, the America Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), have worked hard in the media to portray themselves as Islamic moderates working for peace on the exact spot where their belligerent coreligionists perpetrated murder and mayhem in the name of their religion. But the words and deeds of the leader of the effort, the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, suggests a more ominous reality: Abdul Rauf is a master of deceptive, Orwellian use of language, manifesting a deep contempt for non-Muslims and full accord with the supremacist goals of the 9/11 hijackers.
So anxious were they to secure the location at Ground Zero that a Muslim real estate company paid $4.85 million in cash for the building, with part coming from Abdul Rauf’s other Islamic group, the Cordoba Initiative. It is unnerving – the deliberate speed and anxiousness that the leader of the American Society for Muslim Advancement has demonstrated in working to open a mosque at the gaping wound of Ground Zero. He claims that it will heal that wound. But how will it do that? How will a mosque, the place where jihadis go for spiritual sustenance, at Ground Zero help stop jihad terrorism? Even the name of the initiative – Cordoba – speaks volumes. While Islamic Spain is held up today as a proto-multiculturalist paradise, in reality non-Muslims there suffered under the discrimination prescribed in Islamic law for dhimmis, non-believers who were subjugated as inferiors and denied equality of rights.
ASMA seems to have deliberately sought a connection to Ground Zero for their new mosque site. Muslims are already conducting daily prayers on the site, an old Burlington Coat Factory outlet where, according to Abdul Rauf, “a piece of the wreckage fell.”
The group purports to come in peace, although it declined to send a representative to discuss the initiative with one of us on Mike Huckabee’s show on Fox News Saturday. This was after one of us confronted Islamic apologist Michael Ghouse on Sean Hannity’s radio show on Friday, exposing the insensitivity and unsavory aspects of the 9/11 Mosque project. Abdul Rauf’s group gave this statement to Huckabee:
For over a decade, the Cordoba Initiative and American Society for Muslim Advancement have worked tirelessly to build bridges with other faiths, while condemning violence, extremism, and prejudice of any sort. Our mission is to be a beacon of hope, peace, understanding and harmony to those who join us in condemning hatred and violence of any kind. Too often the question arises of why moderate, peace-loving Muslims do not speak out. We cannot think of a more wonderful expression of our religion than the Cordoba House, where American Muslims stand together with our fellow citizens to condemn extremism and terror. It is a project to honor those who were harmed on September 11th. It is a project to proclaim our patriotism to this country and to stand side-by-side all men and women of peace.
How does building a giant mosque at Ground Zero address the problem of moderate Muslims not speaking out against terrorism? How does this mosque honor those who were “harmed” – i.e., brutally murdered — on September 11? Whom does a mosque at 9/11 really honor: the Americans who lost their lives, or the jihadis who murdered them?
It’s no wonder that many have greeted such words with skepticism, seeing the Ground Zero mosque as a demonstration of supremacism and triumphalism. Debra Burlingame of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America, whose brother died in the Pentagon on 9/11, declared: “This is a place which is 600 feet from where almost 3,000 people were torn to pieces by Islamic extremists. I think that it is incredibly insensitive and audacious really for them to build a mosque, not only on that site, but to do it specifically so that they could be in proximity to where that atrocity happened.”
There is ample support for the idea that this Islamic Center is an insult to the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Throughout Islamic history, wherever they have conquered, Muslims have converted non-Muslim houses of worship into mosques and built mosques on the holy sites of other religions. The Dome of the Rock, built on the site of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus built over the Church of St. John the Baptist, and the Aya Sofya mosque in Istanbul, formerly the grandest church in Christendom, are three notable examples among a great many. While at Ground Zero the mosque is not being built over the site of a synagogue or church, the same pattern of conquest and supremacism is in evidence: the World Trade Center site was a symbol of American economic power; the 9/11 Mosque is a symbol of the conquest of that power.
Abdul Rauf’s own statements, rather than allay such concerns, actually give credence to this view. He has blamed the West, rather than Islamic jihadists, for terrorism on several occasions. He has said, according to Australia’s Sun-Herald, that “the US and the West must acknowledge the harm they have done to Muslims before terrorism can end.” He has also claimed that “Western active involvement in shaping the internal affairs of Islamic societies have contributed to the creation of terrorism done in the name of Islam.”
In other words, stop fighting back. Let the jihadis do as they please.
Abdul Rauf has also called Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ endorsement of the implementation of Sharia courts in Britain “forward thinking” – despite Sharia’s denial of basic freedoms including the freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and equality of rights of all people before the law. He has called upon Barack Obama to emphasize “the commonality of Western and Islamic values,” claiming that “if the United States lives up to the values in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and if Muslims can live up to the principles of Islamic law, then we will find we have fewer points of conflict and more common ground.” Then all will be well: “Muslims no longer will fear Western domination and the West no longer will fear Islamic expansion.”
Does Abdul Rauf really think that the devaluation of a woman’s testimony and the institutionalized discrimination against non-Muslims, both mandated by Sharia, are really compatible with the Bill of Rights? Does he really think that stoning people to death for adultery or amputating their hands for theft are compatible with the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments?
Whatever he thinks of those elements of the Constitution, he doesn’t appear overly fond of the freedom of speech. Abdul Rauf has compared the West unfavorably to the Islamic world, since the West “protects the right to say anything, no matter how insensitive or scandalous,” while Islamic cultures “balance freedom of expression with respect for elders, traditions and modesty. The idea of respect and honor to elders is deeply ingrained in their psyches.” He has criticized the Swiss ban on minarets as a restriction on religious freedom, without saying a word about the severe restrictions on non-Muslim religious practice in Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and Sudan.
In many of his public statements, Abdul Rauf is patently dishonest. After the Fort Hood jihad massacre, he claimed that the shootings were “against the laws of Islam” – a claim that looked ridiculous and deceitful after Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan’s writings came to light, explaining (with copious references to the Koran) the Islamic requirement to wage war against infidels. If Hasan was wrong and Abdul Rauf right about Islam, Abdul Rauf, as a leading American “moderate,” could have and should have seized the opportunity to explain exactly how, so as to allay the legitimate concerns of non-Muslims and emphasize to Muslims in America how and why they should be unreservedly patriotic Americans. He did not.
Abdul Rauf also has unsavory associations with pro-Sharia groups. Journalist Alyssa A. Lappen reports that “whenever Feisal first considered building a mosque across from Ground Zero, he had the idea firmly in mind by 2004, when he wrote What’s Right with Islam. The book was translated into many languages. In Indonesia’s Bahasa, its title translates as “The Call from the WTC Rubble.” Rauf promoted the book in December 2007 at a Kuala Lumpur gathering of Hizb ut Tahrir — an organization banned in Germany since 2003, and also outlawed in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, among other places — and ideologically akin to the MB. Both seek to replace the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law (sharia), and eventually impose Islam and sharia law worldwide.” The “MB” is the Muslim Brotherhood, an international Islamic organization from which come Al-Qaeda and Hamas. The Brotherhood is dedicated in its own words, according to a captured internal document, to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.”
Is that Feisal Abdul Rauf’s agenda as he works to build his massive Islamic Center at Ground Zero? It certainly seems so. That’s why our new group, Stop Islamization of America, is holding a rally against the 9/11 Mosque on June 6 in lower Manhattan. 9/11 families and freedom fighters including ex-Muslim human rights crusader Nonie Darwish and ex-slave Simon Deng will be speaking – and stating matters more honestly than Feisal Abdul Rauf ever has.
Pamela Geller is the editor and publisher of AtlasShrugs.com; Robert Spencer is the director of JihadWatch.org. They are the coauthors of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War On America (coming July 27 from Simon & Schuster).