I’m sure you know that our country is in a tough spot financially with a huge increase in debt, plans to cut Medicare, etc. Localities and states are even worse off as the poor economy strangles revenues and results in slashing essential services. So doesn’t it make you feel good when your government spends money on really useful projects like this:
The imam behind a plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero is set to depart on a multi-country jaunt to the Middle East funded by the State Department — raising concerns that taxpayers may be helping him with the controversial project’s $100 million fund-raising goal.
Feisal Abdul Rauf is taking the publicly funded trip to foster “greater understanding” about Islam and Muslim communities in the United States, the State Department confirmed yesterday. “He is a distinguished Muslim cleric,” said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, when asked about the journey, reportedly to include stops in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar.
“I think we are in the process of arranging for him to travel as part of this program, and it is to foster a greater understanding about the region around the world among Muslim-majority communities,” he added. Crowley said no fund-raising for the mosque and cultural center during the trip would be permitted. “That would not be something he could do as part of our program,” he said.
Abdul Rauf said funds for the center will come from [American] Muslims and members of his congregation.
But a London-based Arabic-language newspaper that interviewed Abdul Rauf reported that he says he also will collect money from Muslim and Arab nations around the world — raising the possibility his goodwill mission could help him build contacts in oil-rich states. — NY Post
Even if there is no explicit fund-raising — and does anybody think that this trip will not result in money flowing to the Cordoba Institute? — how does this program advance US political goals?
Here is what Rauf said on “60 Minutes”, on September 30, 2001:
Feisal Abdul Rauf: It [9/11] is a reaction against the US government politically, where we espouse principles of democracy and human rights, and where we ally ourselves with oppressive regimes in many of these countries.
Ed Bradley: Are you in any way suggesting that we in the United States deserved what happened?
FAR: I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.
EB: You say that we’re an accessory? How?
FAR: 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.
Is that the message that State wants to send to the Muslim world? That we’re sorry for the ‘bad behavior’ that forced you to kill us?
Rauf refuses to say that Hamas is a terrorist organization. Is this the position of the “Muslim communities in the US?” I hope not, but it’s Rauf’s.
The establishment seems to have selected this imam as an exemplar of ‘moderate Islam’ and seems to be going to great lengths to support him and to make him visible, in particular by pushing the Ground Zero mosque project despite the objections of many of the families of 9/11 victims. If our goal is to ingratiate ourselves with obsequiousness to the Muslim world, then he’s perfect — he represents Islam’s ‘justified’ victory over the US.
But that isn’t all. In an editorial yesterday, the Washington Times wrote,
Americans also may be surprised to learn that the United States has been an active participant in mosque construction projects overseas. In April, U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Alfonso E. Lenhardt helped cut the ribbon at the 12th-century Kizimkazi Mosque, which was refurbished with assistance from the United States under a program to preserve culturally significant buildings.
The U.S. government also helped save the Amr Ebn El Aas Mosque in Cairo, which dates back to 642. The mosque’s namesake was the Muslim conqueror of Christian Egypt, who built the structure on the site where he had pitched his tent before doing battle with the country’s Byzantine rulers.
For those who think the Ground Zero Mosque is an example of “Muslim triumphalism” glorifying conquest, the Amr Ebn El Aas Mosque is an example of such a monument – and one paid for with U.S. taxpayer funds.
This must all be part of the same policy that brought us the beyond-absurd ‘outreach’ to Muslims by NASA. I imagine the discussion in the Oval Office went like this:
Barack Obama: What’s up with these Muslims, anyway?
State Department guy: Well, sir, they are angry and frustrated because of Western colonialism. And the Zionists — they don’t like them in Arab Jerusalem and Arab Tel Aviv. And then people keep insulting Islam with cartoons and stuff. No wonder they had to crash those planes into the WTC!
BO: Yeah. How can we apologize for centuries of oppression?
SDG: How about this: we let them kill the Zionists. That would make them happy.
BO: I don’t know…the Zionists have nuclear weapons.
SDG: Well, suppose we say that we’re sorry for the colonialism and the Zionists, and that Islamic society is every bit as good as the West.
BO: Hmmm… I like that. Write me a speech that says all that. Put in something about Muslim accomplishments in… what are they good at, anyway?
SDG: Rocket science, sir! Just ask the Zionists.
BO: Brilliant! Let’s get NASA on it right away.
This could be a little exaggerated, but it seems that the strategy is to try to get Muslim world to like us by bribery, flattery and — in the case of Feisal Abdul Rauf’s project — assuming a submissive posture.
None of this will work because there are fundamental ideological issues that can only be settled by one side or the other giving in. Even if we did give them the ‘Zionists’, their appetite for further conquest would only be whetted by their success.