Saturday, August 14, 2010

Feisal Abdul Rauf and the "Ground Zero Mosque"

"Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (Arabic: فيصل عبد الرؤوف‎, born in 1948 in Kuwait) is an Arab-American Muslim imam, author, and activist whose stated goal is improvement in relations between the Muslim World and the West.

He has been Imam of Masjid al-Farah, a New York City mosque since 1983. He wrote three books on Islam and its place in contemporary Western society, including What's Right with Islam is What's Right with America. Abdul Rauf founded two non-profit organizations whose stated missions are to enhance the discourse on Islam in society. He has condemned the 9/11 attacks as un-Islamic and called on the U.S. government to reduce the threat of terrorism by altering its Middle Eastern foreign policy."

This is the man behind the movement to build Park51, a proposed 15-story structure, including a mosque, cultural center and auditorium intended to promote greater interfaith dialogue. It has been portrayed by critics as the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque".

This is the "mosque" that people are so up in arms about:

It's not exactly like they are attempting to plop something like this into the crater left by the destruction of the World Trade Center towers.

What critics of Park51 fail to acknowledge is that Islam's roots in New York City are in the area around the site of the World Trade Center, and they predate the Twin Towers: in the late 19th century, a portion of lower Manhattan was known as Little Syria and was inhabited by Arab immigrants - Muslims and Christians - from the Ottoman Empire.

Based on this Time Magazine article, conservatives should be embracing the Imam and supporting the mosque.

"And yet Park51's main movers, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan, are actually the kind of Muslim leaders right-wing commentators fantasize about: modernists and moderates who openly condemn the death cult of al-Qaeda and its adherents - ironically, just the kind of "peaceful Muslims" whom Sarah Palin, in her now infamous tweet, asked to "refudiate" the mosque. Rauf is a Sufi, which is Islam's most mystical and accommodating denomination."

America was founded on the principals of religous freedom and tolerance.

When we exercise intolerance, we are lowering ourselves to the level of not just the modern day terrorists, but to the intolerant forces that drove the founders of this country from their European roots and inspired them to form "a more perfect union" in a far away land.

By allowing the mosque and cultural center to be built, we are demonstrating through our actions that America's founding, secular, values of freedom and tolerance are the path to a better future for all of our citizens, in contrast to the intolerant, brutal, medieval values of religious fundamentalists of any religion.

What transpired on 9/11 was not motivated by Islamic beliefs and it was not carried out by devout Muslims.

What transpired on 9/11 was a criminal act carried out by disgruntled Mujahideen extremists whose political goals and agendas were forged in the crucible of the Cold War powers who funded, manipulated and abandoned them.

Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. which killed 168 people including 19 children, was raised Catholic and was heavily influenced by the Christian Identity Movement.

But to the best of my knowledge, there has been no public outcry forbidding the building of new churches in Oklahoma City.

In a country governed by the Rule of Law, we hold individuals responsible for their actions. We do not condemn other members of the criminal's family, ethnicity, religion, or country of origin for the actions of the criminal.

Let the Park51 complex be built and let it be a source of tolerance, healing and learning.


Satyavati devi dasi said...

yes. yes. yes.


emawkc said...

How about we all just quit pretending that we care about what happens in New York or that its any of our business? I bet 95 percent of the people who have an opinion about this will never even visit that site.

Xavier Onassis said...

Satyavati - Thanks!

emawkc - This isn't about New York. It's about the American Identity. It's about who we are and how we want to represent ourselves to the rest of the world. Are we going to walk the American talk? Or are we going to revert to intolerant, medieval, barbarism?

I Travel for JOOLS said...

Over the years I have seen you pretty much rip into anything religious and especially Christianity. Suddenly, you're all Kumbaya and extol the virtues of "tolerance, healing and learning" involving Islam and this mosque and "cultural center".

Midtown Miscreant said...

Here's the thing.....these people do have a right to build the mosque, but it feels like a slap in the face to all of those who lost loved ones in the WTC towers. And NYC has more mosques than you can shake a stick at, so the whole tolerance argument is a moot point.
It feels like your new found religious tolerance is more about rubbing the rights / christians nose in it, rather than a call for peace and good will. Like emaw, I don't think we really have a dog in the fight. It's a NEW YORK thing. And something people have totally overlooked, that mosque will be a target for crazy home grown terrorists like Mcvey.

emawkc said...

I respectfully (fo sho!) disagree. This is nothing but a wedge issue, a distraction to keep us from examining actual important issues.

If the owners of that (overpriced) piece of the Island of Manhattan want to build a "community center" there, then they will. As long as it doesn't violate any codes or ordinances and as long as they grease the proper hands and hire the right mafia-backed unions for construction, it will be built.

This entire "mosque at ground zero" discussion is just a tempest in a teapot.

Dan said...

Well done, XO.

Emawkc - We shouldn't care about NYC unless we're going to visit there? Heck, I never visited the WTC, so I guess I shouldn't care about the attack, too, right? Does that make even a shred of sense?

MM and Jools - bravo for your psychoanalysis of XO. Does the fact that he has criticized Christianity's frequent hypocrisy mean that he shouldn't stand up for the rights of a different religion? Have we ever seen XO claim that we should eliminate the crosses at Arlington, because some nutcase like McVeigh wrapped himself in religion before committing terrorism?

Most real Christians agree completely with XO on this one.

m.v. said...

If I had a fund of $100 to pay out when XO (or Dan) say something unpredictable, I can be sure the money will always stay with me. If I were Glenn Beck I would immediately donate to the project just to see all the same people try to prove how it's a bad idea.
I agree they need to build this thing ASAP, to replace the one they just shut down in Germany.

emawkc said...


I guess you can care about what they build in NYC, I'm just saying it's a bit misplaced. XO seems to care more about a random building in NYC than the state of the KCMO School District.

Xavier Onassis said...

Jools - This whole kerfuffle is people wanting to blame Islam for 9/11. The attack on the Twin Towers wasn't a religous statement, it was a political statement. Allowing the Park51 complex to move forward has the potential to accomplish a couple of things. 1) It sends a message to the world that America doesn't blame the Islamic faith for what happened on 9/11. We blame the criminals behind the attack. 2) It may help Americans get it through their thick skulls that Islam is not the enemy.

Midtown - Look at the picture of the building they want to erect. You wouldn't even know there was a mosque in the building. Their are no domes or minarets. It looks like every other building in lower Manhattan. How is that a slap in anybody's face or rubbing anyone's nose in anything?

emawkc - I agree that this should be a non-issue. The group owns the land and they can build whatever they want as long as it meets codes, zoning, etc. It's being turned into an issue by right-wing zealots on a paranoid anti-Islam Crusade.

Dan - Thanks!

m.v. - Old people rarely do anything unpredictable.

emawkc - Yes. I do care much more about big world events than little local issues. Never made any secret of that. I think how America presents itself to the world is much more important than Clay Chastain's "light rail in KC fetish" or Arthur Benson's unhealthy, egotistical, hard-on for the KCSD.

Radioman KC said...

I wouldn't be surprised if my daughter's engineering firm will design a piece of that bldg.

She's into landmark preservation, buildings fitting in, etc etc. I care very much what happens in NYC because she lives there and works blocks from there.

We've had a decade of feeling pretty wounded, pretty scared of arabs for after all we're fighting two wars there. Which is why they're attacking us. They want us OUT.

It was always about the oil. Imagine the real cost of gasoline after we subtract the costs of those wars!

If the bldg is not in the face of the towers' site, I think its fine. Have you noticed how Drudge et all are nailing the Oman for making statements most of us agree about related to tolerating religious freedom?

You guys are bickering on a slow Sunday.

Midtown Miscreant said...

Dan thanks for reminding me that XO has long been an advocate for Islam. Here's a money quote when you search Islam on HSWG ,
"Muslims willingly choose to live a thousand years in the past. They make the Amish look like urban, HUMVEE Driving, condo-dwelling, hipsters.I'm sick of it. SO WHAT that people may or may not insult Islam or mock Mohammed?
Take a shave, shed the pajamas, have a bath, get an education, get a job and GET A SENSE OF HUMOR!"

Clearly XO is a big fan of Islam.
XO doesnt give a rats ass about any religions rights. Don't get me twisted, XO is a big defender of individual rights, but religion, not so much. I don't have to psychoanalyze, all I have to do is read his blog. He is for the building because the people he loathes are against it. Unlike you XO doesn't believe in white guilt, unicorns, or politicol correctness. That's why I read his stuff, even if I disagree with it half the time. He stands on his principals, even when he is as wrong as a priest at a cub scout camp. If he ever folds under the harsh critics and starts writing about beer and poetry, I'll remove him from my reader. Only thing worse than a condescending prick , is a condescending prick who lacks conviction. Looks good on you though.

Xavier Onassis said...

midtown - Thanks for dredging that up. I stand by every word.

I think that of all the world's religions, Islam is the most ridiculous and barbaric.

Why anyone would voluntarily embrace such a strict, punitive and medieval life style is beyond me.

But in America, Muslims have the same rights as Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Hindus, Bhuddists, Mormons, Krishnas, Scientologists and Atheists.

They own the property, they can build whatever they want as long as it is legal and meets the local codes.

People can believe whatever they want to believe and do whatever they want on their own property..

That's America.

Midtown Miscreant said...

never said otherwise, just saying that people who lost people that day feel it's disrespectful. NAMBLA can open a a boutique next to a preschool if they own the property. Doesn't mean people are going to like it. I was mostly responding to the guy in the Ivory Tower, the "Real" christian. What ever that means. Personally I plan to convert to each and every religion before I croak, just to hedge my bets. I'm still looking for a loophole on the tolerance part.

Xavier Onassis said...

Midtown - I am actively disavowing ALL religions before I die. I've never heard a discription of an afterlife that sounded appealing.

Christian: Eternity basking in the sin-less glory of Almighty God? Boring!

Mormon: An eternal family reunion that includes ancient, annoying relatives you never even knew you had? Fuck that!

Just let me die and be dead.

Joe said...

I too have wondered about the building and operating of Christian churches in OKC after that good Christian Tim Mc Veigh murdered so many people. I guess its OK to build a Christian church near a place where Christian terrorists attacked America, but not OK for Muslims to build near where Saudi Musilm terrorists attacked America. Its a shame that that silly 1st Amendment gets in the way here.

Faith said...

"Mormon: An eternal family reunion that includes ancient, annoying relatives you never even knew you had? Fuck that!"

Even worse: NO ALCOHOL. ::dies...again::

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Center For Inguiry, an atheist organization devoted to evangelizing for atheism on college campuses, takes the position that there should be NO Faith Based Organizations around ground zero, since CFI says THEY are what caused the problem in the first place.

And Xavier, whats all this concern for freedom of religion all of a sudden? If a Christian Group had wanted to build a huge Cross there you would be bellyaching all over.

Which is what American Atheists did three years ago with a Christian Group suggested just that.

Fuck the atheist double standard.