Contrary to his claims of moderation, the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, leader of the mega-mosque initiative, is an open advocate for Sharia, and calls for restrictions on the freedom of speech in his book What's Right with Islam. He has (like CAIR) refused to denounce Hamas. He has lied about his commitment to religious dialogue. He has lied about whether the Islamic center planned for the Ground Zero site will contain a mosque or not. And he has lied about whether or not the project is getting foreign funding. He is part of a group that helped fund the jihad flotilla against Israel.
But never mind all that! He's a Sufi!
"The Muslims in the Middle," by William Dalrymple in the New York Times, August 16 (thanks to Ralph):
[...] Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative is one of America's leading thinkers of Sufism, the mystical form of Islam, which in terms of goals and outlook couldn't be farther from the violent Wahhabism of the jihadists. His videos and sermons preach love, the remembrance of God (or "zikr") and reconciliation. His slightly New Agey rhetoric makes him sound, for better or worse, like a Muslim Deepak Chopra. But in the eyes of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, he is an infidel-loving, grave-worshiping apostate; they no doubt regard him as a legitimate target for assassination.
Do they, now? Does William Dalrymple have any actual evidence of that, or is it just wishful thinking on his part? When Feisal Abdul Rauf goes on his State Department-sponsored tours of the Islamic world, does he have to travel with armed guards? Has he received specific threats?
For such moderate, pluralistic Sufi imams are the front line against the most violent forms of Islam. In the most radical parts of the Muslim world, Sufi leaders risk their lives for their tolerant beliefs, every bit as bravely as American troops on the ground in Baghdad and Kabul do. Sufism is the most pluralistic incarnation of Islam -- accessible to the learned and the ignorant, the faithful and nonbelievers -- and is thus a uniquely valuable bridge between East and West....
In reality, Sufis from al-Ghazali to the present day have taught the necessity of jihad warfare, and have participated in that warfare. And in January 2009, Iraqi representatives of the Naqshabandi Sufi order met with Khaled Mashaal of Hamas, praised his jihad, donated jewelry to him, and boasted of their own jihad attacks against Americans in Iraq.
But never mind all that. The Sufis are peaceful!