Ground Zero Imam -- How moderate does he sound?

Read this quickly before Tomndebb sends it off to the Pit. :smiley:

A couple of weeks ago when I weighed in with my opinion on the appropriateness of building a Mosque/Islamic centre near ground zero, I was assured that the Islamic group planning this centre is nice and civilized and moderate, yadda, yadda.

Read this article from the June 19 New York Post quoting the Imam behind the project here

Here are a few relevant quotes:

*The imam behind plans to build a controversial Ground Zero mosque yesterday refused to describe Hamas as a terrorist organization.

According to the State Department’s assessment, ‘Hamas terrorists, especially those in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings, against Israeli civilian and military targets.’

Asked if he agreed with the State Department’s assessment, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf told WABC radio, "Look, I’m not a politician.

“The issue of terrorism is a very complex question,” he told interviewer Aaron Klein.

“There was an attempt in the '90s to have the UN define what terrorism is and say who was a terrorist. There was no ability to get agreement on that.”

Asked again for his opinion on Hamas, an exasperated Rauf wouldn’t budge.

“I am a peace builder. 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,” Rauf said, insisting that he wants to see peace in Israel between Jews and Arabs.

Rauf also would not answer a question about Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

“I have nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood. My father was never a member of the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said, disputing a rumor.

Rauf’s position has come under a microscope as he leads an effort to build a $100 million mosque and community center at 45 Park Place, near Ground Zero. *

Complex??? A bunch of Muslim fanatics hijack planes, slit the throats of the flight personnel, and fly the planes full of terrified passengers into the WTC, murdering thousands of innocent Americans. Guess what? I consider that terrorism. Real easy call. Not complex at all.

This same “moderate” Imam who wants peace in Israel between Jews and Arabs is also a key player in the publicity stunt to run Israel’s perfectly justified blackade, designed to stop Hamas from raining down 10,000 rockets on the heads of innocent Israelis. See the article here

It seems Mr. Moderate-Harmless-Liberal is a prominent member of a group that helped sponsor the pro-Palestinian activists who clashed violently with Israeli commandos at sea.

What would an immoderate, unliberal Imam be like, I wonder?

Er, what?

I missed where he said anything about 9/11. Could you point it out. It looks like he was talking about Hamas and terrorism. Lots of people get very cagey when talking about things they are close too. There were many many catholic priests that were at least sympathetic to the IRA and would have answered questions about the IRA like this guy did about Hamas. Should none of these priests have churches. How people from different communities view terrorists and their actions is complex. You may not like it but that’s the case. There was many an American who would have talked about the brave freedom fighters in Northern Ireland back in the day.

If this guy has controversial ideas, so what? It’s not illegal. Don’t go to his place of work if you don’t like it. There are many churches in the US and elsewhere that preach hatred towards some people they don’t agree with. This may be one of them or it may not but again so what. It’s not that close to the 9/11 site as far as I can see.

The objections to this place seem to be based in problems with Islam itself. You live in “the land of the free”, deal with it.

Hamas is a terrorist organization by any fair definition, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the key quote in that article was pulled out of context. The NY Post is basically a tabloid these days, with a history of selective quoting and similarly misleading journalism in efforts to stir up faux controversy (see, e.g., Khalil Gibran Academy).

Shortly after 9-11, the “moderate” Imam told 60 Minutes: “I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”

He also told the same interview that: “Fanaticism and terrorism have no place in Islam.” Since by his own admission he is unable to define terrorism, one wonders how he knows it has no place in Islam.

In 2004, the “moderate” Imam is reported as saying

The US and the West must acknowledge the harm they have done to Muslims before terrorism can end. . . . . .

Speaking from his New York mosque, Imam Feisal said the West had to understand the terrorists’ point of view.

For a guy who can’t define “terrorism” he seems to know a lot about it.

I guess there were moderate Nazis, moderate Communists, moderate Klansmen. It is all relative, I suppose.

It’s not that silly an idea. He claims terrorism is a very complex question (which seems reasonable). I think that American football is a very complex sport. Yet if I saw some tall, slim guys bouncing an orange ball around and dunking it into a net, i’d be able to declare they aren’t playing football.

Your point really isn’t aided by the massive hyperbole you’re bringing to this. Dial it down, and you’ll likely be able to make an argument.

People read the NY Post?

I thought it was only used for pix of the sports teams + useful for lining kitty litter trays.

That was Al Qaeda, not Hamas.

U.S. policies did have a role to play in what happened. I didn’t think it was offensive to point that out.

He didn’t say he was unable to define terrorism.

It sounds like you are saying anyone who expresses any understanding of terrorism or knowledge of the motives of terrorists may be a terrorist.

So he doesn’t think the US deserved 9/11. I take it you agree with that?

He calls 9/11 a crime. I take it you agree with that?

He says that US policies were an accessory to the crime. Now you may think that US policies have been 100% right for the last 50 years and let’s say that you are actually empirically right in your opinion just for shits and giggles. I hate to break it to you but some people disagree with you. They may be wrong but they still disagree. Some had enough anger in them that they flew planes into buildings killing themselves and thousands of innocents. Rightly or wrongly US actions had a direct link to those terrorist actions. It didn’t happen in a vacuum.

But again, even if he is a Hamas supporting, blockade breaking supporter. So what?

I gather that in some previous thread it was asserted that this Imam preached mainstream, moderate Islam. So if he is a Hamas supporter, either he is outside the mainstream, or it confirms Valteron’s view of what mainstream Muslims believe.

He did not say the words: “I can’t define terrorism”, admittedly. What he said was “The issue of terrorism is a very complex question. . . .
There was an attempt in the '90s to have the UN define what terrorism is and say who was a terrorist. There was no ability to get agreement on that.”

If, in spite of this massive uncertainty on his part he is still able to define terrorism, then why did he not do so for the reporter and apply his definition to Hamas? Surely if he has a definition he can apply it? But then again, if he had admitted Hamas was terrorist, he would have been in a strange position as a major player in attempts to run the Israeli blackade.

So he refuses to discuss what terrorism is, or whether Hamas is terrorist. But he is willing to cooperate in busting the blockade that Israel imposed after Hamas rained 10,000 rockets down on its civilians. But he refuses to say if this is terrorism because it is such a complex matter. Yeah, right. Lotta double talk from saintly Mr. Moderate.:dubious:

By the way, where did I say he himself was a terrorist?

You already quoted his answer to this question.

I didn’t say you said he was a terrorist. I said you said he may be one, and you did say that. You wrote “For a guy who can’t define “terrorism” he seems to know a lot about it.”

Weird shit. You’ve really got to be looking for a fight to not see this man is looking to build bridges.

OK, fair enough. Firstly I don’t think that a case has been made for him as being outside the mainstream. Maybe he is but firstly what the mainstream is would have to be defined. The quotes show a guy dodging questions. He actually says when pushed that he’s dodging them as he does 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”. Seems fair enough if your goal is to help. You need to talk to the headcases if you are to change anything and slagging them off before you try doesn’t help.

Secondly Valteron’s problem is with the mosque, all this is just window dressing and ‘gotcha ya’ BS IMO and not even good quality BS at that.

This is more or less what I was told in another thread. This is a marvellously liberal, moderate form of Islam, apparently.

BTW, since when is “mainstream” synonymous with “moderate”? PEW research, for example, showed that potentially hundreds of millions of Muslims believe suicide attacks against civilians are “sometimes” justifiable. Now, I am not saying that was the majority. It was a huge minority. The exact figures escape me now but you can find them in Sam Harris’ book “The End of Faith”. In other words, a Muslim can very well believe in the “sad necessity” of suicide bombings and while he would be in the minority, he would not be any outside the mainstream than, say, an American who opposes gun control.

If you accept a figure of 5-8 million Muslims in America, it is statistically conceivable that one or two million feel that suicide bombings against civilians are sometimes acceptable. Sleep well!

I don’t necessarily disagree – just trying to clarify what I saw as the issue. Talking to the head cases cuts both ways, of course. Refusing to call Hamas a terrorist group might allow an Imam to reach people on the verge of radicalizing, but it also alienates some natural allies.

Valteron, the terms aren’t synonymous. That’s why I used them both. If they were synonymous, using one or other would have done nicely.

So I still don’t see where I said he “may” be a terrorist. You are projecting. I was in fact saying, for a person who feels terrorism is too complex for him to say if Hamas is terrorist or not, he sure knows a lot about how the US has to repent its evil actions in order to stop terrorism. I never even implied he was or may be a terrorist.

The person who this thread is about however is quoted by you as saying that 9/11 was a undeserved crime.

[ETA as I somehow cut it off] His feelings about general suicide bombers are unknown or at least not quoted by you.

And given that Muslims are a smallish minority, it’s “statistically conceivable” - in fact near inevitable - that millions more non-Muslims think attacks on civilians are acceptable.