In FrontPage this morning I discuss the strange case of the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf:
It’s unbelievable but true: the imam of the projected Islamic supremacist mega-mosque at Ground Zero, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is on a grand tour to Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates – paid for by the U.S. State Department with taxpayer money.
The State Department confirmed Tuesday that they were sending Rauf on this mission. “He is a distinguished Muslim cleric,” insisted P. J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman. Crowley explained: “We do have a program whereby, through our Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau here at the State Department, we send people from Muslim communities here in this country around the world to help people overseas understand our society and the role of religion within our society.”
Crowley emphasized that Rauf’s trip was nothing new: he said that the State Department had “a long-term relationship” with the famous imam, and pointed out that in 2007 the Bush State Department sent Rauf to Morocco, as well as to Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE 2007. Obama sent Rauf to Egypt last year.
Why have two administrations been so anxious to underwrite this Islamic supremacist cleric’s globetrotting? Crowley explained that Rauf’s “work on tolerance and religious diversity is well-known and he brings a moderate perspective to foreign audiences on what it’s like to be a practicing Muslim in the United States.”
One wonders what definition of “moderate” Crowley, and the Bush and Obama State Departments, use. Rauf openly touts the virtues of Islamic law, Sharia, in his book What’s Right with Islam. Although he covers his arguments in blandness and protestations that there is no significant difference between Sharia and America’s founding principles, he never gets around to discussing the elements of Sharia that outrage principles of human rights that are otherwise universally accepted: the draconian punishments of stoning for adultery and amputation of the hand for theft; the death penalty for those who leave Islam; the institutionalized subjugation of women and non-Muslims; and more.
Notably, however, he does call in the book for restrictions on the freedom of speech. Rauf has compared the West unfavorably to the Islamic world, since the West “protects the right to say anything, no matter how insensitive or scandalous,” while Islamic cultures “balance freedom of expression with respect for elders, traditions and modesty. The idea of respect and honor to elders is deeply ingrained in their psyches.” He has criticized the Swiss ban on minarets as a restriction on religious freedom, without saying a single word about the severe restrictions on non-Muslim religious practice in Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and Sudan.
Rauf also says that “what Muslims want is to ensure that their secular laws are not in conflict with the Quran or the Hadith, the sayings of Muhammad.” For Muslims in the U.S., that will inevitably involve bringing Sharia here….