By: Morton A. Klein
August 10, 2010
ZOA: Don’t Increase Pain To Families Of 9/11 Victims Of Islamist Terror By Building Mosque Led By Extremist, Anti-U.S., Pro-Hamas Imam
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called for the Ground Zero Cordoba Mosque under extremist, anti-U.S., pro-Hamas Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, being planned 600 feet from the scene of the 9/11 Islamist terrorist attack which murdered 3,000 Americans, not to be built. The ZOA supports the stand taken by the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in opposing the construction of Rauf’s mosque. The ZOA’s National Convention on August 8 passed overwhelmingly a resolution opposing the construction of this extremist Imam Rauf’s mosque.
The ZOA feels the hurt of the increased pain and suffering felt by the families of the 9/11 victims because of this proposed mosque being built adjacent to the site where their loved ones were murdered by Islamists in the name of Islam.
We would have hoped that the leaders of this proposed Cordoba Mosque would have been sensitive to the increased pain which their actions are causing to these families, who have suffered enough already. In the past, the ZOA opposed the construction of the Carmelite convent at Auschwitz because Auschwitz is a massive Jewish cemetery filled with the remains of Jewish victims of Nazism. Even though Nazism was a profoundly anti-Christian movement, it drew among other things on a history of Christian anti-Semitism and its ranks included many professing Christians. For this reason, a convent at the site was widely regarded as an affront to the Holocaust victims and the late Pope John Paul II recognized this when he called for the convent project to be abandoned. With regard to 9/11, carried out by Islamists acting in the name of Islam, where is the sensitivity of Imam Rauf and his associates to the pain and suffering of the families and friends of 9/11 victims? Do the organizers of this mosque need to build so near the site of the 9/11 attacks. Could they not have found some other site? We urge the leaders of this mosque project to follow in the wise, just and sensitive tradition of Pope John Paul II and find another site.
Another compelling reason why this mosque should not be built is because this particular mosque is lead by an extremist, anti-U.S., pro-Hamas Islamist Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who refuses to condemn genocidally-minded terrorists like Hamas, a State Department listed terrorist organization that calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7); and who blames terrorist attacks committed against Americans on the U.S. and the West.
Yet another reason for ZOA’s opposition is the fact that building mosques adjacent to or on the site of another group’s sacred and holy sites is tragically a time-honored Muslim supremacist tradition. The Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques, standing today atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, where the former two Jewish temples once stood, are only two prominent examples among hundreds of this historical practice that can be found in lands that fell to Muslim conquest, from North Africa to India. Indeed, some Islamist extremists and terrorists, including al Qaeda, Hamas, Hizballah, the Muslim Brotherhood and others may interpret the construction of this mosque as a victory over non-Muslims and thereby encourage more acts of terror. This warrants reconsideration about whether building this mosque is the wisest thing to do. Even if such was not the intention of those concerned with the Cordoba Mosque, its construction near the site of 9/11 may well be interpreted by some Islamists that way.
It is inaccurate of the extremist Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to claim the name intended for the mosque, Cordoba, is ‘in recollection of a time when the rest of Europe had sunk into the Dark Ages but Muslims, Jews and Christians created an oasis of art, culture and science.’ This is simply lying to the ignorant: Corboda did indeed produce great philosophers, like Maimonides and Alvarroes, but both were driven into exile by the Almohad Mujaheddin, the Islamists of their day. Rauf supports Hamas and assigns guilt to the victims rather than the perpetrators of Islamist terrorism.
More specific quotes of Imam Rauf exhibiting his extremism include the following:
· “United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened [on 9/11] … Because we have been accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world” (‘Prominent American Muslims denounce terror committed in the name of Islam: Transcript of CBS’s 60 Minutes interview on Sept 30, 2001’).
· In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA” (‘Prominent American Muslims denounce terror committed in the name of Islam: Transcript of CBS’s 60 Minutes interview on Sept 30, 2001’).
· Refusing to condemn Hamas in a radio interview: “I’m not a politician … I try to avoid the issues. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question … I’m a bridge builder. I define my work as a bridge builder. I do not want to be placed, nor do I accept to be placed in a position of being put in a position where I am the target of one side or another” (‘“Ground Zero” imam makes stunning terror comments: Claims to support peace but refuses to condemn violent jihad groups,’ World Net Daily, June 20, 2010).
· “The U.S. and the West must acknowledge the harm they have done to Muslims before terrorism can end” (Wafa Sultan, ‘A Mosque at Ground Zero Equals Victory,’ Hudson New York, May 19, 2010).
· “Imam Feisal … said there could be little progress until the US acknowledged backing dictators and the US President gave an ‘America Culpa’ speech to the Muslim world … He said there was an endless supply of angry young Muslim rebels prepared to die for their cause and there was no sign of the attacks ending unless there was a fundamental change in the world.” (Frank West, ‘West must act to end jihad: Imam,’ Sydney Morning Herald, March 21, 2004) [ZOA Note: Why is Imam Rauf demanding an ‘America Culpa,’ that the U.S. apologize before terrorism stops, yet is silent about what Muslim countries and extremist imams and sheikhs are saying and doing? If Imam Rauf were a genuine moderate, he would not be blaming the U.S. for the terrorist assaults of Islamists. Why is he not demanding that Muslim leaders, both state and religious, publicly condemn Islamist terrorists by name, stop glorifying them as ‘martyrs,’ and stop honoring them by naming schools, sports teams and computer centers after them? And why isn’t he himself saying and doing these things? If he was genuinely tolerant, he would be condemning the Saudi regime for forbidding the existence of churches and synagogues and the practice of religions other than Islam. Rauf has done none of these things].
The National Review’s Dan Foster writes, “I … believe … liberal tolerance for intolerant illiberalism is a potentially crippling paradox, and that political Islam in particular presents a grave threat to Western values, I’m basically okay with erring on the side of skepticism re: the imam’s comments. When you say that the United States was “an accessory to the crime” of 9/11, as he did, it tends to blunt my ability to pick up the subtleties of what comes after … when moral equivalences are trotted out re: 9/11, the tie goes to ‘your either with us, or with the terrorists.’ In other words, we are perfectly entitled to suspect that the ‘accessories to the crime’ bit represents the investment, while the ‘condemning terrorism’ bit is merely the hedge.” (Dan Foster, ‘Bloggingheads: The Mosque (and Rangel, and Socialism, and Christie),’ The Corner blog, National Review Online, August 10, 2010).
However, New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has supported the Cordoba Mosque’s construction, failing to appreciate the sensitivity and pain of the families of 9/11 victims or to appreciate and address the ideology and extremism of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, only saying, “My job is not to vet clergy in this city … Everybody has a right to their opinions. You don’t have to worship there … this country is not built around … only those … clergy people that we agree with. It’s built around freedom. That’s the wonderful thing about the First Amendment—you can say anything you want” (Celeste Katz, ‘Mayor Bloomberg: Asking Mosque Developers To Move Project “Would Be Handing The Terrorists A Victory,”’ New York Daily News, August 3, 2010).
ZOA finds it shocking that Mayor Bloomberg refuses to criticize extremist anti-U.S., pro-Hamas Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf for his failure to condemn Hamas and for blaming the U.S. for the terrorist assaults upon it. Just because something is legal, does not mean it is appropriate, wise or judicious to proceed. It may be legal to build a pornographic movie house next to a mosque, church or synagogue, but it would be entirely inappropriate and wrong. Mayor Bloomberg’s predecessor, Rudolf Guiliani, had it right when, in response to a similar disgraceful statement by Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal blaming U.S. foreign policy for the 9/11 attacks and urging that it adopt “a more balanced stand toward the Palestinian cause,” Mayor Guiliani repudiated it publicly and refused to accept a $10 million donation for New York City from him. Regrettably, Mayor Bloomberg has shown no such moral clarity.