Saturday, August 21, 2010

Courage and the Ground Zero Mosque Debate

I I have been thinking that it takes no courage to advocate for the Ground Zero Mosque. No one is going to violently attack the politicians and media celebs who support the building. But there may be a real danger of violent attack against those who are exercising their constitutional 1st Amendment right of free speech to oppose the mosque. Have the mainstream media and so many politicians taken up the Muslim Brotherhood talking points and sought to silence this debate because that is the safe thing to do in the short run?

It is the elephant in the living room. No one is talking about it. But the symbolism of Ground Zero to me is that we are vulnerable to attack by people who hate us. The attack on the World Trade Towers was the midpoint of a more than twenty year era of fear of radical Islam.

I pulled out Christopher Hitchens piece about the twenty year anniversary of the Fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Hitchens says the violent threats have done there job and there is now a pervasive climate of self-censorship in the media. We know these are not just threats, the violence is real, as we saw in the Danish cartoon controversy. And he says that we use the "guise of good manners and multiculturalism" to hide that we are actually caving in to the threat of violence and failing to support the true moderate Muslims.

Sometimes this fear—and this blackmail—comes dressed up in the guise of good manners and multiculturalism. One must not wound the religious feelings of others, many of whom are poor immigrants in our own societies. To this I would respond by pointing to a book published in 1994. It is entitled For Rushdie: Essays by Arab and Muslim Writers in Defense of Free Speech. Among its contributors is almost every writer worthy of the name in the Arab and Muslim world, ranging from the Syrian poet Adonis to the Syrian-Kurdish author Salim Barakat, to the late national bard of the Palestinians, Mahmoud Darwish, to the celebrated Turkish writers Murat Belge and Orhan Pamuk. Especially impressive and courageous was the list of 127 Iranian writers, artists, and intellectuals who, from the prison house that is the Islamic Republic, signed their names to a letter which said: “We underline the intolerable character of the decree of death that the Fatwah is, and we insist on the fact that aesthetic criteria are the only proper ones for judging works of art.… To the extent that the systematic denial of the rights of man in Iran is tolerated, this can only further encourage the export outside the Islamic Republic of its terroristic methods which destroy freedom.” In other words, the situation is the exact reverse of what the condescending multiculturalists say it is. To indulge the idea of religious censorship by the threat of violence is to insult and undermine precisely those in the Muslim world who are its intellectual cream, and who want to testify for their own liberty—and for ours. It is also to make the patronizing assumption that the leaders of mobs and the inciters of goons are the authentic representatives of Muslim opinion. What could be more “offensive” than that?

Andrew McCarthy has a piece in National Review Online today that discusses the difference between the fake moderate Muslims supported by the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas versus the true moderate Muslims that are threatened by the the Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas who will use violence to impose their will.

It doesn't take courage to kowtow to those who threaten violence. It does take courage to speak up against them. McCarthy says Imam Rauf and the Ground Zero Mosque are on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Why doesn't the MSM research this it? Or do they know but are to afraid to say?


trencherbone said...

The Muslims' only loyalty is to the Ummah - the global 'brotherhood' of believers in Islam. Muslim theology describes the West as Dar al-Harb - the domain of war, consequently they regard their host countries as ripe for plunder, predation, extortion, parasitism and eventual subversion and takeover.

Islam can add nothing to Western societies apart from trouble.

Muslims in America will have to choose between loyalty to their country and loyalty to Islam. The two are irreconcilable - Islam is implacable and allows of no compromise on this matter.

Perpetua said...

Amazing links, Trencherbone!

孫邦柔 said...


BobGriffin said...

I took the time to research the project and post the results of my findings in comments to Michael Jacobson's blog on ethics.
I was accused several times by one commenter of lying to promote some sort of Muslim triumphalism.
OK, that's not violence, but when accompanied by another's comments about the penalty for the worship of other gods it leaves a very sour taste in my mouth.
I have no plans to return here for follow-up, so
Be Well,
Bob Griffin

Perpetua said...

Hi Bob,

I'm sorry to read here that you had a difficult time on a Huffington Post comment thread sharing the information you gathered about the mosque. A comment about the penalty for worshipping other gods would seem to reference a death threat.

However, I know of no Jewish or Christian group that currently believes in the death penalty for worshipping other gods. I do know that many Muslims ( 75% of Pakistanis) believe in the death penalty for apostasy.

And many radical Islamists believe in the death penalty for those who refuse to convert after having been told about Islam. See for example the Muslim man who committed the mass murder at Ft. Hood.

I suppose someone could imagine that the Islamic Center at Ground Zero is making the necessary effort to inform Americans about Islam. Hmm, that fits in with "A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11", the Imam's book title as translated in Arabic. Remember, dawa is the word for the missionary work by which Islam is spread. So, then having made the necessary effort, Americans who have not then converted are, according to radical Islam, not innocent and subject to death penalty. Wow!

BobGriffin said...

Dear Perpetua,
I am sorry to have accidentally mislead you. The problem was on Michael Josephson's blog on ethics, NOT Huffington Post.
I'm not sure of the position of on the worship of other gods; they were looking forward to applying other sections of Torah.
Please clarify for me if the book title you gave is an English translation of the Arabic title, or an English translation of an Arabic translation of a title in some other language. Aha! I've checked it out: The original English title is "What's right with Islam : a new vision for Muslims and the West" (1 copy at Fuller Seminary Library) with a 2005 revision as "What's right with Islam : is what's right with America" (no library copies near me). It is the Arabic translation of the INDONESIAN title which you give in English. If I can find a copy of his works in English I will read them to see what Imam Rauf teaches.
On the discussion page of the Wikipedia article about Imam Rauf is a series of links to several articles by him (

My email may be accessed by clicking on my name at the top of my comment.

Be Well,
Bob Griffin

Perpetua said...

Hi Bob,

You are right. The original title was in Malay. So the translation is from Malay into English.
Here is a link to the book publisher webpage
Here's a link to the Google translate results|en|Seruan%20Azan%20Dari%20Puing%20WTC%3A%20Dakwah%20Islam%20di%20Jantung%20Amerika%20Pasca%209%2F11

We emphasize the change in title because it suggests that Imam Rauf is saying one thing to English speaking (non-Muslims) and something else to Muslims. To us he claims to be engaging in Interfaith dialogue. But in Muslim countries he tells them he is engaging in missionary work and detests interfaith dialogue.

Here is a quote from an article that might interest you:
"In March 2010, he even denounced interfaith discussions. The article in another popular Arabic journal, Rights4All, was entitled “The Most Prominent Imam in New York: ‘I Do Not Believe in Religious Dialogue’,” according to former Muslim and native Arabic speaker Walid Shoebat. In it, Rauf spoke against both “religious dialogue” and “interweaving into the mainstream society.”

“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.”

Given these sentiments, it is no wonder whatever that neither Rauf nor his wife Daisy Kahn would sign the FMU Freedom Pledge, promising to

“renounce, repudiate and oppose any physical intimidation, or worldly and corporal punishment, of apostates from Islam, in whatever way that punishment may be determined or carried out by myself or any other Muslim including the family of the apostate, community, Mosque leaders, Shariah court or judge, and Muslim government or regime.”

In fact, only two of the 111 Muslim leaders in 50 U.S. Muslim organizations to whom FMU sent the Freedom Pledge actually signed it. Those two heroes are Zuhdi Jasser (American Islamic Forum for Democracy) and Dr. Ali Alyami (Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia).

The sad facts are these:

The results of the FMU Freedom Pledge --- to date sent to 163 American Muslim leaders at 50 organizations --- show that less than 1.3% of American Muslim leaders are actually moderate.

Neither Feisal Abdul Rauf nor Daisy Kahn fall into that moderate category --- despite their massive efforts to pull the wool over public and political eyes. Their silence concerning human rights for former Muslims proves it, although certainly, so do many of their other actions, not least their long history of subterfuge concerning their real intentions."

BobGriffin said...

Dear Perpetua,
I intend to read the English original version and determine from that what Rauf is preaching to English-speaking Muslims. My Malay is not sufficient for reading the Indonesian version, but since that is a translation of the English...

If you are interested in the results of my inquiry, please write me directly in about a month (giving time to read the book) and I will respond. Until then I am simply faced with charges and counter-charges.
Interestingly you might like the position of Robert M. Price on Islam (and on liberals?) though probably not his religious position.
Be Well,
Bob Griffin

BobGriffin said...

Just a quick note, a fact brought to my attention by the Arabic translation of the Malay translation of Rauf's book:
Our Shi'ite allies against Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003 and onwards were SCIRI (Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq) and Da'wa(!!!)
It was the armed wing of SCIRI which began the religious persecution of Iraqi Christians in late 2003.