Sep 20, 2010 12:18 pm


Two fame seeking religious leaders faced off this week, Muslim Imam Rauf of sophisticated New York City and Christian reverent Terry Jones of"backwater" Gainsfield, Florida. When it became clear that the action they were about to take is causing universal consternation and may lead to the loss of innocent (and not so innocent) lives, would be book burner, Reverend Jones, stepped down while would be Ground Zero mosque triumphalist, Imam Rauf, not only refuses to meet with the Reverend to prevent the burning of a book supposedly holy to him but resorts to threats against any pressure to move the mosque. Thus, not withstanding the invectives flung at Reverend Jones, he proved to be more reasonable than the much cuddled Imam Rauf.

If you force me to take into account the sensibility of 71% of my New York neighbors and move the mosque, Rauf in effect said, the Muslim world would erupt in the manner it did in response to the Danish cartoons. When asked by Christiana Amanpour if that was a threat, he retorted, it was merely a prediction. Not only is this the type of prediction gangsters everywhere make but it comes following an extensive tax payer funded tour to the Muslim world.

Does that mean that the trip merely improved his understanding of the sentiments of that world? Not necessarily. Real moderates in that world urged diffusing the conflict by moving the mosque. They understood that ignoring the sensitivities of 9/11 families would result in an anti-Muslim backlash in the US and a demand for Muslim reciprocity at a time the Muslim world would rather not accommodate it. If the Muslim powers that be have, indeed, changed their mind, they did so because Imam Rauf may have helped them to do so.

It should not be forgotten that the violent response to those cartoons followed an intentionally inflammatory Muslim world tour by the Danish Imams. Remember that Imam Rauf disappeared from the stage for weeks only to return carrying dire"predictions." Threats were also weapons used by the Danish Imams and by the Muslim supporters of the mosque against Muslims who dared to oppose them.

Just as troubling is Rauf's implication that the outcome of the Danish cartoon imbroglio was a Muslim victory despite the fact that it cost Muslim demonstrators lives rather than Danish lives and treasure. Ironically, in today's upside down world, Imam Rauf expects Americans to be more concerned about sparing the lives of members of unruly Muslim nobs self proclaimed moderates, like Imam Rauf and his supporters.

The chattering classes led by President Obama may reiterate yet again that Islam is a religion of peace that values life. But 49% of Americans no longer believe it. The behavior of Imam Rauf is bound to increase their number. The fact that Imam Rauf refuses to show his fellow Muslims that it is acceptable to compromise demonstrates that, like his Hamas friends but unlike Reverend Jones, he is an uncompromising extremist.

An Iranian American also threatens

Every day, I lose America and America loses me, more and more.

UPDATES: Imam Rauf on Israel’s Destruction

Reactions in the Islamic World to the Plan to Build Islamic Center Near Ground Zero

The issue of the planned Islamic center near Ground Zero, which has sparked a political and media storm in the U.S., has not featured prominently in the Arab press. Nevertheless, a variety of reactions have been published, most of them opposed to it. Some writers called for the Cordoba Initiative, the NGO behind the project, to cancel it, on the grounds that it generates tension between Muslims and non-Muslims. Others pointed to the gap between the tolerance in the West, which allows Muslims to build a mosque even in such a sensitive location, and the lack of tolerance in Arab countries, where religious freedom is limited or nonexistent, and called upon Muslims to refrain from abusing the freedom available to them in the West. Still others argued that the opposition to the construction of the Islamic center reflects growing intolerance and racism in the U.S. towards foreigners in general and Muslims in particular.

As I have suspected Most Arabs oppose the building of Ground Zero mosque and consider the US tolerant.

A survey by Elaph, the most respected electronic daily in the Arab world, gave a decided edge to those who objected to the building of this mosque—58% saw it as a project of folly.

Elaph was at it again in the aftermath of Pastor Terry Jones's threat to burn copies of the Quran: It queried its readers as to whether America was a"tolerant" or a"bigoted" society. The split was 63% to 37% in favor of those who accepted the good faith and pluralism of this country.

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