Feisal Abdul Rauf at this point perhaps wishes he had never come up with his slyly all-things-to-all-men triumphalist mosque, and no doubt wishes as well that he had never gotten himself involved with fellow slumlord, the far cruder and more obviously bullying Sharif El-Gamal. Feisal Abdul Rauf has a marvelous ability to personally ingratiate himself with the likes of Mayor Bloomberg, and others who, protected by their vast fortunes or power, are used to the ingratiating, and are unable to distinguish the oily sycophantic creature oozing deep sincerity from the honest underling willing to speak the truth even to such an imperious man, unused to being challenged by any of those under him, as Michael Bloomberg, with his sixteen billion dollars. Why, just imagine someone telling Bill Gates that his business practices left much to be desired, or that much of what the Gates Foundation was supporting wasn’t worth supporting, but merely fed his ego.
And what must now pain Feisal Abdul Rauf is the thoroughness of those who have decided to examine his beliefs, by tracking the trail he has left, both orally and in writing, on his Islamic path, fi sabil Allah. What do we know, so far, about Feisal Abdul Rauf? Not who does he know, who has been involved in this project, such as the doubtful Mr. Qadhi, and a dozen others, but what he, Feisal Abdul Rauf, believes in. What does he believe in? To hear some tell it, he’s a 100-percent American, flag-waving and deeply loyal to this country. But those people have failed to understand what Feisal Abdul Rauf believes in, and where his loyalties – his sole loyalties – lie. Feisal Abdul Rauf believes devoutly in Islam, and in the Holy Law of Islam, the Shari’a. He believes that Muslims in America are free to promote Islam without fear of the kind of repression that the police-states of Egypt (Feisal Abdul Rauf’s native land) and Kuwait (where Feisal Abdul Rauf spent years) impose on those who are Muslims. And they impose it not only on those who are Muslim, but upon those whose political opposition to the rulers necessarily is expressed in terms that make sense to Muslims, the only terms that really make sense to Muslims: to accuse those rulers and those regimes of behaving not “unjustly” or “corruptly,” but rather un-Islamically.
In America, with its easygoing tolerance, Muslims such as Feisal Abdul Rauf are free to work, to exploit our hard-won guarantees of individual freedoms – freedoms such as those of speech and conscience that could not for one minute have been developed in the Muslim-ruled lands, and that would not last, for one minute, in this country if Feisal Abdul Rauf were to attain his wish, and the Shari’a, that codification of Islamic law that he finds so thoroughly winning and convincing, were to be imposed.
And what would an “Arab state with a Jewish minority” look like, if Feisal Abdul Rauf has his wish? It would be a state, given that the Arabs who call themselves “Palestinians” are 98% Muslims, that of course would try to live under the Shari’a, as Feisal Abdul Rauf devoutly wishes the United States would do so. He tells his fellow Muslims in this country that while for now they should obey the secular laws of the United States, no one should prevent them from working to undo those laws, and replacing them with those that are Shari’a-compliant.
An Arab state with “a Jewish minority” under Shari’a would of course treat those Jews as non-Muslims have always been treated, over the past 1350 years, under Islam. If you want to find out exactly what happened to the Hindus (Jains, Buddhists) under Muslim rule in India, read the Indian historian K. S. Lal, or Francois Gautier, or Koenraad Elst. If you want to find out what happened to Eastern Christianity under Islam, one wonderful book — possibly her masterpiece — is Bat Ye’or’s The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam.
And if you want to find out what happened to Jews, even the Jews in supposedly wonderful (see Maria Rosa Menocal, and all who swallow her fantasy-history whole) Islamic Spain, see Evariste Levi-Provencal; for Jews elsewhere, see the multi-volume work, using in part the historical treasure-trove of the Cairo Geniza, of Eliyahu Ashtor on the Jews of Egypt and Syria Under the Mamluks; more generally, for a work on the Jews under Muslim rule, see Georges Vajda.
Of course for those who have decided that history, and consequently the truth, do not matter, even the listing of such scholars is somehow an insult, an offense, an impolite reminder to the ignorant, such as Mayor Bloomberg, of their own ignorance and their obstinate refusal to recognize their responsibility, before they presume to speak about Islam or about such things as the New York Ground-Zero Mosque, to find out a lot more both about the doctrines (the immutable texts and tenets) of Islam, the attitudes and atmospherics of Islam, and the history of Muslim conquest of non-Muslims. They need to learn about the history, too, of how those many non-Muslim peoples were treated over many centuries of subjugation to Muslim rule.
Mayor Bloomberg could, with a flick of his finger, employ someone to translate Antoine Fattal’s great work on the legal status of non-Muslims under Muslim rule. Why doesn’t Mayor Bloomberg do that? If he needs a good French translator, I can suggest three right off the bat who have native commands of both French and English, and who would be delighted to take on the task.
We have been finding out a lot about Feisal Abdul Rauf this last month or two. We know he refuses to condemn Hamas, claiming lamely that this would interfere with his attempt to “build bridges.” Presumably those who are on the Muslim bank of the river or divide he, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is attempting to bridge would have nothing to do with him if he were to forthrightly condemn a terrorist group that exists for the sole purpose of destroying the tiny Jewish state, and of pushing Jews back into the condition of permanent degradation, humiliation, and physical insecurity that was their lot as dhimmis — see Maimonides for his description of how Jews were treated in Islamic Spain — under Muslim rule.
And that is exactly what Feisal Abdul Rauf wants for the Jews of Israel. He wants an end to the only Jewish state that exists, on one-fifth of one-one-thousandth of the territory that the Arabs now possess. He wants a “single state” that will become an Arab state “with a Jewish minority.” And he has never mentioned, never opposed, the treatment of non-Muslims under the Holy Law of Islam, that is, the Shari’a. On the contrary, he has made clear that he reveres that same legal system that means unending and cruel inequality (that degradation, that humiliation, that physical insecurity that, over the centuries, led so many Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, and others to join the “party of the masters” — that is Islam, in order to escape their otherwise at-many-times unendurable fate).
This is what the begetter of this mosque, Feisal Abdul Rauf, wants for the Jews of Israel. He wants them to be stripped, but by “peaceful means” rather than immediate and open warfare, which as a Slow Jihadist he knows will not work. He wants a state in which the Arabs, by demography, will take over. In this respect he is similar to Houari Boumediene, who in 1974 at the U.N. declared that the men of the South, and he meant by this the Muslims of North Africa, would conquer Europe through “the wombs of our women.” Qaddafy has repeated this claim many times since, and so have Muslim clerics and journalists and diplomats and “intellectuals” all over the place — you can catch some of them at www.Memri.org, and others you can find as far afield as the letters pages of the English-language “Dawn” in Pakistan.
Oh, Muslims are keenly aware of how demography is working in their favor, because the elites of Western Europe, with a carelessness, a nonchalance, an indifference that amounts to criminal negligence on a civilisation-wide scale, allowed into their own countries many millions of Muslims, without first finding out what Islam inculcated, and what the chances were, therefore, of a happy integration into the host countries. They didn’t bother to find out if, instead, these Muslims — with a few exceptions — would constitute a permanently hostile force, working to undo, as best it can, the legal and political institutions and social understandings of the advanced Western democracies whose worship at the Altars of the Idols of the Age, Diversity and Tolerance, is unfortunately accompanied by the sacrifice of their own achievements, in political and legal institutions and in political and social and above all mental freedoms. All that can be undone, as everything else that over three thousand years has been achieved in the West can be undone, merely by numbers — by Muslims simply coming to be such a large presence, one constantly replenished with funds for mosques and madrasas from the Saudis and other rich Arabs. The local Muslims have found the way to take advantage of every benefit offered and paid for by the Infidel taxpayers of these Western European nation-states — free education, free medical care, free or heavily subsidized housing, and much more.
Feisal Abdul Rauf is not, pace Mayor Bloomberg, a genuine moderate, someone, that is, who though Muslim chooses to ignore much of it, has decided not to take it to heart. Rauf is not someone who, through his very laxity, his nonobservance of the tenets of, and dislike for the anti-Infidel attitudes that are inculcated by, Islam, may be considered a “cultural Muslim” or, still better, a “Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only.” Such a Muslim may even be an apostate who chooses for obvious prudential considerations not to make his inward apostasy known to others. Feisal Abdul Rauf is someone who glories in Islam, who loves it, who wishes it to spread everywhere, and especially to see it spread in the United States where he believes, and has openly said he believes, that Muslims need only work to change the secular laws of this country so that they may be compatible with the Shari’a. And then Muslims, who enjoy our comforts and our freedoms right now, will be happy to continue to enjoy those comforts of a well-run Infidel nation-state (for whatever our many defects in the Western world, by comparison with Muslim countries we are models of political and civilisational deportment) with Islam being dominant and Shari’a, or a version of it, coming more and more to be the law of the land. Feisal Abdul Rauf is one more beneficiary of American generosity who does not understand what makes America tick, what makes it work, what makes it, by comparison even with the richest Gulf Arab statelet, so much more interesting and decent a place to live. It is such a place because Islam had no part in its founding or its subsequent development.
Should Islam ever come to play such a part, as Feisal Abdul Rauf so ardently wishes, the very things that make America pleasant for him would come undone. But he does not, and cannot, understand this. In similar fashion, Muslims want the goodies that the Western world provide, but they fail to understand the civilisational conditions that made for the production of such goods and the services that often accompany them. They want the stuff, but without even thinking that they might ask themselves why it is that the advanced West is the advanced West, and why it is that despite the more than fourteen trillion dollars that Muslim oil states have received since 1973 alone, none of them has a real economy that impresses. Instead, they all remain dependent on Western (and Eastern, and Third-World) engineers, doctors, teachers, contractors, builders, domestic workers, day laborers. Were those non-Muslim wage-slaves to be pulled, even the richest kingdoms or sheikdoms would collapse.
Feisal Abdul Rauf is like those cargo-cultists. He wants the good things he sees in America, but he does not connect those good things with the political and legal institutions that he is working to undo, by making America safe for those who like him will work full-time to change our secular laws, work to bring about a legal system more and more consonant with Shari’a. He has written that Muslims must remain free to work to make the secular laws of this country consonant with Shari’a, not to work to make Shari’a consonant with the laws of this country. He sees nothing about the Shari’a that is worthy of being criticised. As a loyal Muslim, as a “slave of Allah” who accepts the idea that the object of true worship in Islam is Islam itself, he could not possibly question the Shari’a. If he did, he might become emotionally or mentally unhinged. He is stuck with his rigid orthodoxy, hidden behind a thin veil of affability and deep sincerity, the kind of thing that the naive and unwary — Mayor Bloomberg being among them — fall for, and the rest of us, thank heaven, no longer do, or never did.
Mayor Bloomberg, some may think, is influenced by economic considerations — apparently his company is hoping to expand into the Gulf statelets. But I disagree. I do not think that he is, with his sixteen billion dollar fortune, influenced by economic interests. He is at the stage of his life where, having acquired sixteen billion dollars, he wants – in that phonily self-sacrificing do-good way of a certain self-aggrandizing subset of the very rich — to now “give something back.” And what better way for these people to “give something back” than to win political office, and thus some kind of glory, for themselves? Bloomberg does not give the impression of having acquired the habit of reflecting on, or studying deeply, history, that record of men and events. And as a very rich man, too, he is at a great disadvantage, as many very rich people are, of always being surrounded by people whose economic wellbeing is tied to his, and who are unlikely, therefore, to disagree with him on anything of real substance, though jokily round-the-office disagreements over choice of a tie, or somesuch triviality, is not only plausible but likely, because it provides the faÃ§ade of “daring to not be a yesman” while of course doing exactly as a practiced yesman would do.
Instead of winning contracts in Dubai, his motives are likely connected to his own private demons, that is, to his childhood worries about antisemitism, which have been recognized and cleverly exploited by Feisal Abdul Rauf and his ilk. They have no doubt played on the fashionable, for Muslims and their apologists, theme of “Muslims-are-the-New-Jews.” This is an appeal that such people as Feisal Abdul Rauf pull out for Jewish interlocutors, when we all know that the “new Jews” are the same as the “old Jews.” Their persecutors in the world today are not antisemites who come out of the Western world, but rather Muslim antisemites who are the main carriers of Islamic antisemitism, with its own history and traditions.
Bloomberg has spent his life making money and not on cultivating his understanding of men and events except in the narrowest possible, money-making way. He is ignorant of Islam. And the oily and ingratiating Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy have made it a point to exercise all their wiles to win over Mayor Bloomberg, a self-righteous, stubborn, and not very intelligent man (save for his ability to make money, which some not very intelligent people can do quite well at, for reasons that deserve to be pondered). Rauf is a “moderate-sounding” Muslim for Mayor Bloomberg. But Mayor Bloomberg cannot keep dismissing and dismissing every new bit of evidence that shows just how unpleasant (as, for example, a slumlord) Feisal Abdul Rauf is, or how strange his refusal to discuss funding. Mayor Bloomberg claims he “doesn’t care” where the funds come from, and no one should even inquire. How can he possibly say that, when in every area of politics we need to find out where the money comes from, and this 100-million dollar mosque is all about politics, and nothing to do with an inoffensive “house of worship”?
For god’s sake, Mayor Bloomberg, you are not dealing here with the Amish. A little world-historical reality has got to enter your head. You don’t have to remain ignorant of Islam. You don’t have to keep your misplaced faith in Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy. You are entitled to read, to study, to listen to others who know a bit more, and are willing to lucidly present the broad outlines, and some of the details too, of Islam. You could take a short text — I’m going to unblushingly recommend my three-part “Islam For Infidels” — and start there, and then continue with books, including the testimonies of ex-Muslims such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, Ibn Warraq, Nonie Darwish, Anwar Shaikh, Magdi Allam, Ali Sina, and a dozen others. You have a duty to rectify your ignorance, not to obstinately and imperiously remain almost defiantly unwilling to make yourself less ignorant.
You owe it to the three-quarters of the New York City population that is dead-set against this mosque, with a large part of the remaining percentage consisting of those who think that the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause must surely be absolute (how wrong such people are, constitutionally, intellectually, and morally), and who are not in favor of the mosque but as a matter of “constitutional right” do not oppose it.
Yes, you owe this to them, to those whom you presume to preach to and to protect. And you owe it to yourself to, to show to Posterity that you are capable, when necessary, not to behave like a stubborn billionaire unused to not getting your way, no matter how ill-considered that way may be, and that there is more to you than, at the moment, there appears to be. You must think of that Posterity, which does not forgive those who made mistakes in the past about other, similar threats. Those who have misread the Communists, or the Nazis, who were deeply impressed with the New Order that was being built in Germany, because Fritz Hanfstaengl told them not to worry, that the “right people” would still come out on top, or who were deeply impressed with the kindly, crinkly, face of Uncle Joe Stalin, knocking the dottle from his pipe (humble pipe, humble Joseph Stalin), are now, whatever else they did, remembered only for their grotesque miscalculation.
And unless Mayor Bloomberg decides, coute que coute, to learn a lot more about Islam, and learns to question everything, including that ingratiating act of his New Best Friend Feisal Abdul Rauf, Posterity will not be kind.
He could still change things, change his mind, or at least give some sign that he is willing to learn, willing to find out more.
If not now, when?