Here again, as in the case of cartoon controversy (which Rauf referenced) and the reaction this week to the Qur’an-burning in Florida, the response should be, If Muslims react violently and irrationally, they bear the full responsibility for doing so, and we will not change our actions in the face of threats of violence.
“Imam fears moving NYC mosque could inflame tension,” from AP, September 9 (thanks to all who sent this in):
NEW YORK – The imam behind a proposed Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero cautioned Wednesday that moving the facility could cause a violent backlash from Muslim extremists and endanger national security.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told CNN that the discourse surrounding the center has become so politicized that moving it could strengthen the ability of extremists abroad to recruit and wage attacks against Americans, including troops fighting in the Middle East.
“The headlines in the Muslim world will be that Islam is under attack,” he said, but he added that he was open to the idea of moving the planned location of the center, currently two blocks north of the World Trade Center site.
“But if you don’t do this right, anger will explode in the Muslim world,” he later said, predicting that the reaction could be more furious than the eruption of violence following the 2005 publication of Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad….
He said money to develop the center would be raised domestically for the most part.
“And we’ll be very transparent on how we raise money,” he said, adding that no funds would be accepted from sources linked to extremists.
Rauf said that, in retrospect, he might have chosen a different location for what he described as a multifaith community center.
“If I knew this would happen, if it would cause this kind of pain, I wouldn’t have done it,” he said.
Bridge for sale! If he really cared about the pain he is causing, he would move it now, and appeal to his violent coreligionists not to react by shedding blood. Instead, we got his veiled threat.