Once again, we are dealing with the present, not the past. It’s becoming more clear every day that this imam is not a bridge-building type, nor is he someone who practices tolerance toward those who are not followers of Islam.
Claudia Rosett says the following about Feisal Abdul Rauf:
If Rauf ever had the smallest intention of promoting harmony, it is past time for him to quit. Instead, having spurned the U.S. debate while spending a secretive summer in Malaysia and the Middle East, Rauf returned to New York on the eve of Sept. 11, to pronounce that unless his mosque gets built near Ground Zero, Americans might expect from the Muslim world a new wave of destructive fury.
We used to call this kind of stunt a protection racket. The message here is one of implied violence. Not that Rauf himself would do anything violent, mind you. Hed just like his audience to know that if Americans dont knuckle under and get with his program for Ground Zero, he cant be responsible for whatever devastation the Muslim world might inflict on his behalf. My life has been devoted to peace-making, he told CNNs OBrien.
If a mosque must be built, he can’t be the guy to build it. If he was serious about harmony and making peace, than he should decide on his own to move the mosque, and to practice the tolerance he’s claiming to preach. Making implied threats against this country is not the best way to sell yourself as someone who desires only to promote tolerance among all the religions. I cannot say with any certainty that Karen Hughes and President Bush were correct in choosing this guy to be a part of their outreach to the Muslim world after 9/11. All I know is what I’m currently seeing. In this case, I think both of them might have misread this imam’s motives and intentions. We have a chance here to re-evaluate who this guy is, and make a better choice this time.