Friday, August 27, 2010

Understanding Islam: What "Bridge Building" Means

When Imam Rauf says the goal of the Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero is meant to build bridges, we may naively assume he means inter faith dialogue. But he has stated to Arabic speaking audiences that he disdains interfaith dialogue. As reported at Former Muslims United, in an article titled “I do not believe in religious dialogue” Rauf wrote:
And regarding religious dialogue Abdul-Rauf stated “this phrase is
inaccurate. Religious dialogue as customary 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.”

On May 25th Rauf wrote an op/ed in the New York Daily News that included this:
My colleagues and I are the anti-terrorists. We are the people who want to embolden the vast majority of Muslims who hate terrorism to stand up to the radical rhetoric. Our purpose is to interweave America's Muslim population into the mainstream society.

So to English speaking Americans he says he wants to "interweave America's Muslim population into the mainstream society", but to Arabic speakers he claims he "does not believe in religious dialogue". Is there a contradiction going on here?

Well, Rauf's father was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood andFrank Gaffney at Big Peace provides this quote to help us understand what the Muslim Brotherhood means by the phrase "bridge building".:
For example, Team Obama fails to recognize that when Rauf talks about “bridge-building,” he means it the same way as did Seyyid Qutb, one the Brotherhood’s most important ideologues. In his seminal book, Milestones, Qutb makes clear that this term does not translate into a quest for interfaith and cross-cultural harmony. Rather, it is meant to achieve the infidels’ submission: “The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah (unbelievers – the land of gross ignorance and disbelief) is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.”

This attitude makes sense when we accept that Muslims view Islam as the last and superior prophesy, and that conversion from Islam is viewed so unfavorably that it is punished by death.

Which reminds of another quote from Imam Rauf's NY Daily News op/ed:
Freedom of religion is something we hold dear. It is the core of what America is all about, and it is what people worldwide respect about our country. The Koran itself says compulsion in religion is wrong.

But Rauf refuses to sign Former Muslims United's Freedom Pledge:
I 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.


The Underground Pewster said...

The only bridge he appears to be interested in building is a bridge to an Islamic future.

Perpetua said...

Hi Pewster,
I think you are right.

fooburger said...

The guy's a Sufi right?
Why are people taking him so seriously, on either side of the issue?
I don't get it.

Perpetua said...

Hi Fooburger,
I guess not all Sufi's are goofys. He has very high level contacts. And the US State Dept. funds his travels to the Mideast.

fooburger said...

I suspect he has high level contacts within the US government, but does he have high level contacts anywhere else among the ummah?
Kinda wondering whether this is a case of a pretender pulling the wool over the state department's eyes here.
What high profile clerics in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere in the middle east endorse this guy?
Might we just as well be sending the guy outside the 7-11 down the block who constantly screams at himself over there?

WomanHonorThyself said...

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 true..keep up the good fight!