According to the Washington Post:
Two Republican members of Congress, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Peter T. King of New York, called government sponsorship of Rauf’s trip “unacceptable” in a joint statement. They said he had suggested in at least one interview that the United States was to blame for the 2001 attacks.
I love the qualifications: “They said” and “he had suggested.” Why not just write Imam Rauf made the charge? It’s right here:
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.
As I noted earlier, the Post also is ignorant of the meaning of “Cordoba.”
With a major newspaper failing to exercise any sort of oversight over the intentions of the leaders of the Ground Zero mosque effort, it’s funny to read in the New York Times that For Mosque Sponsors, Early Missteps Fueled Storm. In a nutshell:
The organizers built support among some Jewish and Christian groups, and even among some families of 9/11 victims, but did little to engage with likely opponents.
With a media that has been incurious about its organizer’s motives or the sources of its funding, the effort to build the Islamic center in lower Manhattan, has faced only grass roots opposition. The building has been cast in simple terms of freedom of religion with opponents being characterized as intolerant and bigoted. But the real issue is sensitivity. True, there may be no legal grounds to prevent Imam Rauf and his organization from building. However, in Sacrilege at Ground Zero, Charles Krauthammer makes a strong case for fighting the mosque on sensitivity grounds.
Location matters. Especially this location. Ground Zero is the site of the greatest mass murder in American history — perpetrated by Muslims of a particular Islamist orthodoxy in whose cause they died and in whose name they killed.
Of course that strain represents only a minority of Muslims. Islam is no more intrinsically Islamist than present-day Germany is Nazi — yet despite contemporary Germany’s innocence, no German of goodwill would even think of proposing a German cultural center at, say, Treblinka.
Which makes you wonder about the goodwill behind Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s proposal. This is a man who has called U.S. policy “an accessory to the crime” of 9/11 and, when recently asked whether Hamas is a terrorist organization, replied, “I’m not a politician. . . . The issue of terrorism is a very complex question.”
(It is through Krauthammer, that I found the interview of Imam Rauf by Ed Bradley.)
The governor of New York offered to help find land to build the mosque elsewhere. A mosque really seeking to build bridges, Rauf’s ostensible hope for the structure, would accept the offer.
The city may not have the legal means to block the building, however it is up to Imam Rauf to show that he understands what an affront it would be for him to build in lower Manhattan, so close to the scene of the Islamist attack on America.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad.