Rauf has gotten a free bully pulpit there to lecture America on arrogance, and peddle tired platitudes about common values and tolerance.
You’ve got to admit, the man knows arrogance — a fact amply demonstrated by the attitude with which he and his fellow developers have approached the mosque project: We’re going to build it, and you’re going to tolerate it.
In fact, you’re going to like it, or you must be chock-full of hatred.
As noted here before, any other developer seeking to make such a major change to an area — let alone one so sacred and emotionally charged– for the sake of his project would encounter resistance and questions about the merits, purpose, and funding of that project. It would be all the more so for a developer that acted so aggressively, and with such a sense of entitlement.
That’s just the beginning. Read on, though you may want to do so sitting down. “Imam Rauf: What’s right with Islam,” from CNN, September 12:
(CNN) — The world wants to like America. The guiding values that Thomas Jefferson articulated so eloquently — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — resonate strongly around the world, transcending countless superficial and cultural differences, not because these are American values, but because they are universal values, embedded in the human heart.
Why is a man whose religion and prophet call for the death penalty for apostates lecturing us on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
Does Rauf repudiate the death penalty for apostasy from Islam?
Americans must outgrow the unbecoming arrogance that leads us to assert that America somehow owns a monopoly on goodness and truth — a belief that leads some to view the world as but a stage on which to play out the great historical drama: the United States of America versus the Powers of Evil.
Straw man argument: who believes America “owns a monopoly on goodness and truth?”
The language of good versus evil is precisely the language of the fundamentalists whose worldview we oppose. Once we define as evil those who counter us, we lose the moral high ground and begin to descend an exceedingly slippery ethical slope.
Sufis teach that we first must battle and destroy the evil within ourselves by shining upon it the good within, and then we learn to battle the evil in others by helping their higher selves gain control of their lower selves.
Your brethren in Afghanistan who are rioting over a Qur’an burning that didn’t even happen — not that their behavior would be justified if it did — seem more in need of that message than just about anyone.
To battle the evil of others by responding in kind and exhibiting equally violent aggressive behavior is to flout the very ethic of our religious traditions; it is also to violate the Geneva conventions, international law, the United Nations, world opinion, and even our own Bill of Rights. If we truly believe that God is on our side, rather than making sure that we are on God’s side, we slip into the illusion that sees no measure as too extreme — a delusion that captivates every extremist heart.
How are you combating that “delusion” in your co-religionists?
We have two powerful tools with which to bridge the chasm separating the United States from the Muslim world: faith in the basic goodness of humanity and trust in the power of sincerity and dialogue to overcome differences with our fellow human beings.
Qur’an 98:6: Non-believers are the “vilest of creatures.” Qur’an 3:28: “Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them…” And Qur’an 5:51: “whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them.”
Something to overcome there, indeed. All of those texts, by the way, come from pro-Islamic translators, provided by a pro-Islamic group at the University of Southern California.
Now, read carefully:
This faith and this trust are taught by all the Abrahamic traditions. They define the Abrahamic ethic, which lies at the core of our American Declaration of Independence, and America needs to rely more heavily on them, as do our fellow actors on the stage of history.
Islam teaches a supersessionist, revisionist version of history whereby Adam himself, Abraham, David, and Jesus were Muslims, and advanced Islamic teachings. As such, Islam believes Christian and Jewish scriptures to be corrupted.
Therefore, it is necessary to take such talk of “Abrahamic traditions” and “sacred scriptures” with a very generous grain of salt, since Islam believes the true Judaism and true Christianity to conform to Islamic teachings, and that Muhammad came to rectify once and for all the “errors” of the scriptures as we know them, restoring the allegedly authentic “Abrahamic” faith.
What’s right with America and what’s right with Islam have a lot in common. At their highest levels, both worldviews reflect an enlightened recognition that all of humankind shares a common Creator — that we are, indeed, brothers and sisters.
Again, Qur’an 98:6. And don’t forget the “apes and swine,” as the Qur’an refers to Jews and Christians in Qur’an 2:63-66; 5:59-60; and 7:166.
In 1883, when Emma Lazarus wrote the words that celebrate the beautiful lady who stands so resolutely in New York’s harbor, she was not imagining an isolationist empire-nation bent only on pursuing its own unilateral vision for the world. […]
How can an isolationist nation go around pursuing its unilateral vision for the world?
Skipping over some glowing generalities about qualities of America that Sharia would obliterate, here’s the kicker:
I therefore entertain a wish, shared by my reading of my noble scripture, the Quran, regarding all religions, including Judaism and Christianity — the very same wish entertained by all who have taken part in interfaith dialogue across the ages.
Rauf, did you change your mind? Remember when you were quoted at Rights4All, run by the media arm of Cairo University in an article called “The Most Prominent Imam in New York: ‘I Do Not Believe in Religious Dialogue”?
You said: “This phrase is inaccurate. Religious dialogue as customarily understood is a set of events with discussions in large hotels that result in nothing. Religions do not dialogue and dialogue is not present in the attitudes of the followers, regardless of being Muslim or Christian. The image of Muslims in the West is complex which needs to be remedied.”
Moving on down the homestretch:
I wish for humankind to drink deeply from that rich, nourishing current of spiritual traditions — those immutable principles of divine origin that have been given form in so many ways in human societies. Religion must be more than mere custom or habit, more than the transient styles and cultural fashions of passing ages.
Read that again in light of Islam’s revisionist claims to the Abrahamic tradition.
Religion, which speaks to the eternal in us, must be the foundation of a robust, harmonious society and the animating principle of the whole life of a people.
A total system. An all-encompassing system. Interesting. Do we get to pick which one?