City of Brass

City of Brass


perhaps it isn’t close enough

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s been a deluge of fantastic op-eds in support of the Park51 project, but this one in particular by Elizabeth Wurtzel at the Daily Beast really caught my eye. In part:

I’m surprised that American exceptionalism hasn’t taught people opposing Cordoba something about the process of joining this society. The United States has been defined by its ability to integrate immigrants, and turn them into Americans. Every wave of migrants from every part of the world has managed to find its place here, while still maintaining its ethnic identity. This is not something that happens in, say Europe, where women from Saudi Arabia living in London never give up their burqas, and where Algerians in the cities outside Paris riot because after generations they still don’t feel French.

But the American Dream is such a pretty windmill to chase that it’s not a problem to get new arrivals to join in the pursuit. People come here, they start watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey, they start reading vampire novels, they start eating Chicken McNuggets-it takes very little time for them to become soft and stupid like the rest of us. This country does not routinely produce radicals; numbskulls, maybe.

So I’m not scared of Cordoba House, with or without its Wahabi backers. Yes, of course, there will be Muslim extremists, some of them even from the United States, as we have already seen. There will be trouble. Whether or not there’s a Cordoba House, there will be trouble. So we can welcome the Ground Zero mosque for all the right and good reasons-or we can welcome it because it’s good strategy.

This is part of why Faisal and Khan initially lauded the proximity of the project to Ground Zero – they saw it as an affirmation of American Islam, as a rebuttal to those like Anwar al Awlaki who try to prey on American muslim sentiments and lure them into jihad against their homeland.

A new article in the NYT goes on to point out that it was really the Times Square plot by Feisal Shahzad that really began the controversy and uproar against the project:

In February, the staff of Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, who liked the idea, suggested the organizers present it to Community Board 1, the largely advisory body that represents the neighborhood. Planners agreed to share information before the board and respond to expected questions about congestion and how the neighborhood could benefit.

Mr. Stringer said nobody warned them of “an Islamic issue,” adding with a weary chuckle, “We really give good advice.”

Preparing for a May 5 community board meeting, Ms. Khan got support from her usual allies, like the United Jewish Federation of New York; Trinity Church; and the September 11 Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow.

Some people raised concerns about the feelings of 9/11 victims, but the meeting was dominated by logistical concerns and support from those who welcomed new facilities downtown. The board gave a unanimous yes.

The next day, the uproar began. Some newspapers referred to the project as the “W.T.C. mosque.” Mr. Shahzad had been arrested late on May 3 in the attempted Times Square bombing. The community board office began receiving “hundreds and hundreds” of angry calls, and e-mails from around the world, said its chairwoman, Julie Menin, some threatening enough that she requested riot police for the next meeting.

The organizers were shocked. Many supporters say that their failure to imagine the backlash left them ill prepared to defuse it.

Of course, hindsight is always 20/20 when it comes to PR campaigns.



  • Alicia

    Hi, Aziz,
    The Elizabeth Wurtzel article was excellent, and there are many good op-eds out there in support of Cordoba House. As you know, I support building Cordoba House in the planned location, and think it is a good thing. However, there is also this article from Foreign Policy on SLATE today about the real 9/11 mosque, the one that Mohammed Atta attended:
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/08/10/life_and_death_of_a_radical_mosque
    How do you address legitimate fears of radical mosques such as this one being built in the U.S.?
    It seems to me that it is not enough to simply lump everyone who opposes Cordoba House into the “Islamophobe” category (or in the case of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, the “opportunist demagogue” category) and that it is important to address legitimate fears that mosques may be built in the U.S. with funding from radical sources (I include Saudi Arabia in this category). I’d be very interested in your opinion.

  • John

    More good articles:
    ttp://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2010/08/everything-you-need-to-know-about-imam-feisal-abdul-rauf-ground-zero-mosque-imam/
    Everything you need to know about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (Ground Zero Mosque Imam)
    Posted by John Schulenburg on Thursday, August 12, 2010, 12:18 PM
    There’s been so much information that’s come out about Feisal Abdul Rauf and his plans for the mosque at Ground Zero, I figured I gather all the evidence and put it here in one place for people to digest.
    As you may know, a massive $100 million dollar, 13 story mosque and Islamic center is scheduled to go up at Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center was brought down in the name of Islam. And yes, I consider a place where landing gear from one of the planes went through 2 stories of the building to be a part of “ground zero”, so please don’t bring the argument that it’s not actually “ground zero”.
    After you see everything here, it will be pretty hard to deny that the Imam behind this mosque project is nothing but an Islamist supremacist.
    Now let me first say that I do believe Muslims if obeying the law, have the right to build this mosque at or near ground zero even if it’s done in disgustingly bad taste. The point is not about the “right” to build here though. The point is to expose the people behind the project. In this case Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf who is also the Imam of Masjid al-Farah, a New York City mosque. Rauf is also the leader of the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), a New-York based nonprofit run by Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, since 2005. ASMA is the group behind the Cordaba House. (httip: JoshuaPundit)
    Let’s start with his views about the terrorist organization, Hamas. He was interviewed by Aaron Klein and when asked to acknowledge that Hamas is a terror organization, he refused to comment on his position.
    Listen to his own words here.
    NY Post — The imam behind plans to build a controversial Ground Zero mosque yesterday refused to describe Hamas as a terrorist organization.
    According to the State Department’s assessment, “Hamas terrorists, especially those in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings, against Israeli civilian and military targets.”
    Asked if he agreed with the State Department’s assessment, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf told WABC radio, “Look, I’m not a politician.
    “The issue of terrorism is a very complex question,” he told interviewer Aaron Klein.
    […]
    Asked again for his opinion on Hamas, an exasperated Rauf wouldn’t budge.
    “I am a peace builder. I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary or as an enemy,” Rauf said, insisting that he wants to see peace in Israel between Jews and Arabs.
    He also thinks America should be more “sharia compliant”. This is from a sub-chapter of his book:
    In sub-chapter America: A Sharia-Compliant State, Rauf states “(w)hat I am demonstrating is that the American political structure is Shariah compliant, for a „state inhabited predominantly by Muslims neither defines nor makes it synonymous with an Islamic state. It can become truly Islamic only by virtues of a conscious application of the sociopolitical tenets of Islam to the life of the national, and by an incorporation of those tenets in the basic constitution of the country.? By the same token, a state that does incorporate such sociopolitical tenets has become a de facto Islamic state even if there are no Muslims in name living there, for it expresses the ideals of the good society according to Islamic principles. For America to score even higher on the „Islamic? or „Shariah Compliance? scale, America would need to do two things: invite the voices of all religions to join the dialogue in shaping the nation?s practical life, and allow religious communities more leeway to judge among themselves according to their own laws” 86).
    Also 11 days after the 9-11 attacks, he said on 60 minutes that the USA’s policies were an accessory to the 9-11 attacks and that Bin Laden was “made in the USA”
    Bradley: Are you in any way suggesting that we in the United States deserved what happened?
    Faisal: I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but united states policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.
    Bradley: You say that we’re an accessory? How?
    Faisal: 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.
    He also said according to an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, that the USA and the West, in order to stop terrorism, must acknowledge the harm they’ve done to Muslims.
    The US and the West must acknowledge the harm they have done to Muslims before terrorism can end, says an Islamic cleric invited to Sydney by Premier Bob Carr.
    “The Islamic method of waging war is not to kill innocent civilians. But it was Christians in World War II who bombed civilians in Dresden and Hiroshima, neither of which were military targets.”
    In 2009 at the Huffington Post he wrote a post claiming that “Muhammad has been known as the first feminist” and that “Gender equality is an intrinsic part of Islamic belief.” In the same article he also said that Islam supports democracy and that “religious freedom is at the core of Islam”. Of course all of this we know is false and an outright lie when you take a closer look at the Muslims world, how they treat apostates, women, adulterers, etc.
    But yea, there’s still more…
    via Walid Shoebat
    On March 24, 2010, Abdul Rauf is quoted in an article in Arabic for the website Rights4All entitled “The Most Prominent Imam in New York: ‘I Do Not Believe in Religious Dialogue.’”
    Yes, you read that correctly and, yes, that is an accurate translation of Abdul Rauf. And Right4All is not an obscure blog, but the website of the media department of Cairo University, the leading educational institution of the Arabic-speaking world.
    He’s also directly tied to the Islamist flotilla that tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza:
    The imam behind a proposed mosque near Ground Zero is a prominent member of a group that helped sponsor the pro-Palestinian activists who clashed violently with Israeli commandos at sea this week.
    Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is a key figure in Malaysian-based Perdana Global Peace Organization, according to its Website.
    Perdana is the single biggest donor ($366,000) so far to the Free Gaza Movement, a key organizer of the six-ship flotilla that tried to break Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip Monday.
    Nine passengers aboard the largest ship died in clashes with Israeli commandos, and a new confrontation loomed today, when another Free Gaza Movement ship was due to reach Gaza waters in defiance of Israel.
    Here’s a direct link to the Perdana Global Peace Organization’s website highlighting Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
    There’s even more, if you want to keep going. Check this out from National Review’s Andy McCarthy to see his relationship with other radical organizations.
    So what can further be said?
    Should we just roll over and allow this Imam to build his massive mosque at Ground Zero?

  • John

    Sabotaging Our Miserable House
    by Baron Bodissey
    One of the primary documents [pdf] used in the Holy Land Foundation trial in 2008 was the “Explanatory Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal for the Group”. It was written on May 22, 1991 by Mohamed Akram, and gave a brief description of the mission of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States:
    The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” with all the means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions. […] It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is…
    The above is a clear declaration that the front organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood — CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, NAIT, MSA, IIIT, etc. — intended to “bore from within” and overthrow American constitutional government by subverting our own institutions.
    Unlike the Communist infiltrators from six decades ago, the Ikhwan’s infiltrators have given us a specific and public glimpse into their precise strategy. This time, unfortunately, we have no equivalent of the House Un-American Activities Committee to stand sentinel over our Constitution and our way of life. In the early 1950s the Red Menace met a formidable resistance from our government, our media, and American society at large. The Green Menace, in contrast, is welcomed with open arms by many fools and opportunists among our elites. Media outlets, academics, the Pentagon, the State Department, and our national security apparatus eagerly accept agents of the Muslim Brotherhood as advisors and consultants.
    The latest spectacular success for the Muslim Brotherhood is the proposal by the Cordoba Initiative to build a “community center” and mosque a few yards from Ground Zero. The majority of the country’s political establishment — and not just the Obama administration and the Democratic Party — have either spoken out in support of the Ground Zero mosque or maintain a studied neutrality on the issue. Nothing could better illustrate the effectiveness of all those decades of preparation by the Ikhwan in America.
    Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, his wife Daisy Khan, and the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) are the motive force behind the Cordoba Initiative. But who funds them? And what other groups are they associated with?
    Yesterday’s investigative report by VH on the Dutch government’s funding of ASMA gives some background on the intricate web linking the various Muslim Brotherhood affiliates to the Cordoba Initiative. One of the initiatives highlighted by the report is the “Shariah Index Project”, which was announced last year by Imam Rauf. He described the purpose of the Shariah Index:
    Many countries are Islamic, but some may be more Islamic than others. Now moves are afoot to rate nations according to how closely they adhere to the principles of Islam.
    The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) has more:
    – – – – – – – – –
    Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder and President of Cordoba Initiative briefed a select group of scholars and IIIT staff on Friday, December 19, 2008 on the Shari’ah Index Project, a pioneering effort which aims at developing an index based on Maqasid al Shari’ah for the purpose of measuring the performance of Muslim countries in relation to the implementation of Shari’ah.
    Since its inception in 2006, the Shari’ah Index Project — which is directed out of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — has generated the support of many Muslim countries and organizations as well as prominent Muslim scholars and leaders worldwide.
    The index itself is being developed through the joint efforts of the prominent scholars and social scientists from different parts of the Muslim world. Upon completion, it will be used primarily in Muslim countries through polling of sampled populations via interviews and surveys to be conducted by Gallup USA. The data then will be analyzed and findings and conclusion will be made available to policy makers, the media and the public at large.
    Accompanying Imam Rauf were Dr. Jasser Auda, member of the Advisory Council of Scholars for the Project and expert on Maqasid, Courtney Erving, the Executive Director, and her assistant Irfana Hashimi. Dr. Abubaker al-Shingeiti, Regional Director of IIIT, welcomed the guests and pledged cooperation and support from IIIT to the Project. [emphasis added]
    Notice the Malaysian connection with the Shariah Index project and IIIT. This is no surprise, given that Feisal Abdul Rauf was educated in Malaysia. Some of Mr. Rauf’s Malay-language writings may not be in complete accord with the ecumenical bromides he regularly churns out nowadays in English. As VH mentions in his endnotes,
    The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1981, is an Islamic “think tank” in the Washington area, dedicated to what it describes as “the Islamization of knowledge” [NRO].
    The IIIT is co-editor of the American version of “Seruan Azan dari Puing WTC; Dakwah Islam die Jatung Amerika Pasca 9/11” (Prayer Call from the rubble of the World Trade Center; Islamic Da’wa in the heart of America post-9/11), written by Faisal Rauf. The cleaned up U.S. edition is called “What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America”.
    This IIIT has a far-reaching involvement in supporting Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood which, according to their charter, has destroying Israel as ultimate goal. The IIIT is listed by the U.S. Department of Justice as co-conspirator in a crucial case concerning the financing of terrorism [by the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development].
    Imam Faisal Rauf has more ties to controversial Islamic organizations. In 2007 for example, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf promoted his book “Seruan Azan dari Puing WTC” at a meeting in Bandung, Indonesia of Hizb ut Tahrir, a fascist Islamic organization with which strives to establish the sharia globally and is banned in several countries.
    Taking all of the above into account, we can see that the Shariah Index is specifically designed to “destroy the Western civilization from within”. By examining the Constitution and then declaring it “Shariah-compliant”, the Muslim Brotherhood would be taking a first step towards the stealth implementation of Shariah in the United States.
    The big question remains: How much of this is being funded and pushed by our own government? Could the State Department, for example — which is a known locus of pro-Arab sentiment — be a co-sponsor of the Shariah Index?
    I discussed this issue last night in an email exchange with Christine Brim of the Center for Security Policy, and here’s what she had to say:
    It’s just my suspicion that the State Department is funding this directly or indirectly — it seems like a State/Ikhwan/Muslim Engagement type of operation.
    However, State-funded or not, it’s definitely designed by smart systems analysts, which is what Jasser Auda is. It would be fun to diagram it, but here’s a quick summary in words:
    Constitution vs. Shariah = Conflict of two rule sets
    Q: How can this be resolved without war? That is, following the rules of Sun Tzu, how could victory be achieved without war, when there is a clearly defined conflict space?
    A: Create a system design goal that “there is no conflict,” and then redefine the situation variables to achieve that goal — to eliminate the conflict.
    Q: Can you change the left side of the conflict — the Constitution?
    A: No, the Constitution cannot be redefined — yet — to incorporate Shariah. That is being done in Muslim countries thanks to Abd al-Razzaq al-Sanhuri, Elena Kagan, Noah Feldman (adding Shariah clauses into secular constitutions).
    But you can’t do that in the U.S.A. Not yet, anyway. People will notice.
    Q: So what to do, what to do?
    A: Change the right side of the conflict.
    Redefine the variable that you can control: relax the constraints on Shariah.
    Rauf and Auda can control what is called Shariah in western PR venues. They can temporarily redefine Shariah so it can incorporate the Constitution, so that the variable for Shariah is the same as that for the Constitution.
    Or, more accurately, they are saying the values placed within the Shariah variable and the Constitution variable are the same — so if the values are the same, the variable must be the same. Bad logic, but quite slick from a design standpoint and a taqiyya perspective.
    And that is how they introduce it into the UK and the USA. There is no conflict with being Shariah-compliant, because the US laws and institutions are all already Shariah compliant! We silly Westerners just didn’t realize it.
    In fact, Rauf and Auda will tell the Europeans and the Americans that in the West we’re actually living a cooler, hipper, more virtuous, more democratic, more human-rights-oriented Shariah than those nasty brutish authoritarian countries in the Middle East.
    There, that didn’t hurt, did it? In fact it felt good. We were complimented.
    “Your Shariah is so universally Western, so unbelievably egalitarian, so social justicy-juicy, so progressive!”
    And what we thought was a conflict turns out to have been resolved — gosh, what a relief after 1400 years of jihad!
    Hey, that’s almost like conflict resolution isn’t it?
    Or game theory, applied with precision?
    But mostly it just feels nice and flattering and reduces the fear of Shariah and removes the pain of anxiety — but with an intellectual twist that will feel like an aperçu, when in fact it is a solipsism.
    No more pain, no more fear. Like an axe to the spinal cord.
    The Muslim Brotherhood is six or eight moves ahead of us in the Islamization chess game. In fact, those of us who are not asleep on the sidelines are convinced we’re playing checkers or tiddly-winks. Boy, are we good at it! What great checkers strategists we are!
    The enemy is well on his way to victory, and we’re helping him out by sabotaging our miserable house by our own hands.

  • The Sanity Inspector

    Yes, of course, there will be Muslim extremists, some of them even from the United States, as we have already seen. There will be trouble. Whether or not there’s a Cordoba House, there will be trouble.
    No, not “of course”! That attitude is itself a victory for The Jihad, the attitude that we just have to get used to throat-slitting holy warriors popping up at intervals. That’s one reason the cynical Europeans hate us so, because we haven’t thrown up our hands and just resigned ourselves to a future of creeping sharia, honor killings, and exploding transportation. I do not accept it!

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