Rauf, who has spoken overseas before for the State Department, has been sent by the State Department on a nearly month-long swing through the Middle East to speak in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Though planned months in advance, the State Department, despite requests from journalists, has released few details of his trip and speaking engagements (Claudia Rosett, Further Travels Of Imam Feisal, Forbes Magazine, August 6, 2010).
As the ZOA elaborated last week, Imam Rauf 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), saying he tries to avoid the issues. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question. He has blamed terrorist attacks committed against Americans on the U.S. and the West, saying the U.S. is an accessory to the attacks and that Osama bin Laden is made in the USA. And Rauf has also said that the U.S. and the West must acknowledge the harm they have done to Muslims before terrorism can end and that the U.S. President must give an America Culpa speech to the Muslim world.
Retired New York firefighter, Tom Brown, a chief opponent of the mosque who lost scores of friends and colleagues in the 9/11 attack, has said that Imam Rauf is a radical Muslim who will not call Hamas a terror group How much evidence do we need that this guy is a radical Muslim? (S.A. Miller & Tom Topousis, Hamas nod for Ground Zero mosque, New York Post, August 16, 2010).
Yet, the Obama Administration has a record of appointing apologists for Islamists and terrorists to sensitive posts, including representing the U.S. abroad.
· February 2010: the Obama Administration appointed Rashad Hussain as U.S. envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a 57-member inter-governmental group of Muslim majority states. Hussain said in 2004 that Sami al-Arian, a Florida-based university professor sentenced in 2006 to more than four years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to aid the Islamist terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), was the victim of politically motivated persecutions who was being prosecuted in order to squash dissent. Hussain went on to serve as a Department of Justice trial attorney and in January 2009 was appointed deputy associate counsel in the Obama White House. Hussain appeared this year at a Leadership Training Event held by the Islamist lobby, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamist organization that has opposed security measures that target Islamist terrorism, defended convicted murderers, and some of whose senior officials have themselves been found to support terrorist groups. He has also argued in a 2007 article in the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights that new security measures imposed on nonimmigrant visitors from 25 countries are discriminatory, whereas in fact the countries were targeted because Islamist threats to the U.S. had emanated from them.
· February 2010: The Obama Administration sent the director the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Salam Al-Marayati, overseas to speak on behalf of the United States. Al-Marayati is a vocal Israel-hater and apologist for Islamist terrorism who has who has called for Israels destruction; suggested Israel be placed on a suspect list as the possible perpetrator of the 9/11 acts of terrorism; condemned already in the 1990s American air strikes of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Sudan; and defended the rights of Holocaust deniers. Marayati traveled to Europe at the invitation of the State Department to speak about religious freedom and free speech. He spoke at UNESCO in Paris and at the U.S. mission to the United Nations in Geneva.
· April 2009: The Obama Administration appointed Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, as a presidential adviser on advisory council of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships: Mogahed has been a promoter-apologist of groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), both of which are tied to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Mogahed claims that misinformation campaigns have tried to disenfranchise them. In fact, CAIRs founder is on record praising suicide bombers and saying he would like the Quran to be the highest authority in America. Officials of both CAIR and ISNA have been indicted for funneling money to foreign terrorists.
ZOA National Chairman of the Board, Dr. Michael Goldblatt said, Why is the Obama Administration sending an anti-American terror apologist to speak on behalf of the U.S. in a number of Muslim countries? How can it deny that Rauf will fundraise while overseas at the U.S. taxpayers expense when Rauf himself has said that he will be collecting money in the countries he visits? On what ground can the Administration defend sending abroad a man with Feisal Raufs record? As the examples above cited show, this is not a new phenomenon with the Obama Administration, but it remains no more excusable than before.
As with earlier instances of appointing or sending abroad as a U.S. speaker such a figure, the ZOA opposes Raufs speaking on behalf of the U.S., because his record indicates that he supports Islamist apologists and apologetics, when any U.S. representative should be exposing such people and practices and fostering moderate Muslim voices.
Imam Rauf demands an America Culpa that is, that the U.S. apologize before terrorism stops. Yet he 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 isnt he himself saying these things himself? 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.
Given this record, no one can reasonably expect that Rauf will have anything to say on behalf of the U.S. that would be of any help in the fight against Islamist extremism. The Obama Administration should immediately cancel his speaking tour and cease promoting apologists for terrorism and Islamist extremism.