ECI has released the following statement on Feisal Abdul Rauf, the New York Imam who hopes to build a Muslim community center and mosque near Ground Zero.
Rauf’s Double Standard on Terror
How do you know someone really isn’t a “moderate” on the question of Islamic radicalism? When he endorses a double standard for terrorism — appearing to condemn it when it is directed against Americans, refusing to condemn it when directed against Israelis.
Feisal Abdul Rauf, a self-styled champion of moderate Islam, was recently asked whether he thinks Hamas is a terrorist organization. “The issue of terrorism is a very complex question,” he replied. When pressed, he insisted that “I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary or as an enemy.”
But surely there should be no middle ground when it comes to Hamas, just as there can be no middle ground when it comes to Al-Qaeda.
Hamas is an Islamic supremacist group that has murdered dozens of Americans and hundreds of Israelis. Hamas leaders routinely call for genocide against Jews, refer to them as vermin and bacteria, and broadcast TV shows teaching their children that their highest ambition should be the slaughter of infidels. On September 11th, 2001, as Americans recoiled in horror at the murder of thousands, members of Hamas were throwing candy in the streets of Gaza and the West Bank to celebrate.
In light of this, it is especially worrisome that the State Department continues to employ Mr. Rauf as an emissary to the Middle East. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley calls him “a distinguished Muslim cleric,” and says, “His work on tolerance and religious diversity is well known, and he brings a moderate perspective to foreign audiences on what it’s like to be a practicing Muslim in the United States.”
The employment of Mr. Rauf by the State Department lends American credibility to a disturbing trend in the West: the idea that terrorism against Israelis falls into a different and less objectionable category from terrorism against other people. This may be fashionable in Europe, but the United States does not embrace an Israel exception to the unacceptability of suicide bombings.
One of the most important messages the United States can deliver to the Middle East is that there is never a justification for jihadist murder, whether in New York, Madrid, London — or Tel Aviv. It is clear from Mr. Rauf’s statements that when he travels abroad at U.S. taxpayers’ expense he is not delivering this message.
There are numerous Muslim leaders in America who are willing to speak the plain truth about Hamas. If the Obama administration and the State Department wish to deliver a clear and compelling message about American values to the Middle East, they can start by disassociating from Feisal Abdul Rauf.
– Noah Pollak