Just as the mosque debate seemed to be slowly seeping out of the spotlight, Feisal Abdul Rauf, who had been speaking overseas for the past two months ironically, about America's religious tolerance has returned Stateside ready to reignite the whole issue once again. The chairman of the Cordoba Initiative and imam of the ground-zero terror-victory mosque will sit for an interview on Larry King Live later tonight, and today, he lays out in a New York Times op-ed his inflammatory, insensitive, and just plain dangerous vision for his ground-zero terrorist-recruitment center and shrine.
Rauf doesn't take long to strike a defiant tone:
We are proceeding with the community center, Cordoba House.
So named for the conquering of Cordoba, Spain, by the invading Muslim hordes! Your audacity knows no bounds, Rauf.
Our name, Cordoba, was inspired by the city in Spain where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in the Middle Ages during a period of great cultural enrichment created by Muslims. Our initiative is intended to cultivate understanding among all religions and cultures.
Sure, you say that, but a mosque only represents one culture, and this is definitely a mosque. We know mosques when we see them. Don't try to deny that this is a mosque.
At Cordoba House, we envision shared space for community activities, like a swimming pool, classrooms and a play space for children. There will be separate prayer spaces for Muslims, Christians, Jews and men and women of other faiths. The center will also include a multifaith memorial dedicated to victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Yep, typical mosque stuff.
I am very sensitive to the feelings of the families of victims of 9/11, as are my fellow leaders of many faiths. We will accordingly seek the support of those families, and the support of our vibrant neighborhood, as we consider the ultimate plans for the community center. Our objective has always been to make this a center for unification and healing.
Let's all "unify" under Sharia, right? Is that it? We'll all learn how to be obedient Muslims?
Cordoba House will be built on the two fundamental commandments common to Judaism, Christianity and Islam: to love the Lord our creator with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength; and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We want to foster a culture of worship authentic to each religious tradition, and also a culture of forging personal bonds across religious traditions.
This definitely sounds like something that needs to be stopped. Who is funding all of this, anyway? Al Qaeda? Saddam Hussein, from hell? What are you hiding!?!
I know there will be interest in our financing, and so we will clearly identify all of our financial backers.
Fine. But there's no escaping the true objective of the mosque, though: the spread of radical Islam.
The wonderful outpouring of support for our right to build this community center from across the social, religious and political spectrum seriously undermines the ability of anti-American radicals to recruit young, impressionable Muslims by falsely claiming that America persecutes Muslims for their faith. These efforts by radicals at distortion endanger our national security and the personal security of Americans worldwide. This is why Americans must not back away from completion of this project. If we do, we cede the discourse and, essentially, our future to radicals on both sides. The paradigm of a clash between the West and the Muslim world will continue, as it has in recent decades at terrible cost. It is a paradigm we must shift.
Chilling. You truly are a madman, Rauf.
Building on Faith [NYT]