Tuesday, September 21, 2010

curiouser and curiouser

One seriously has to wonder at not only Feisal Abdul Rauf's reactionary politics, but also his judgement on who he chooses to hang out with, and who ends up supporting such a project! We might not know the specifics of what Mr. Rauf had in mind when he first thought up Park 51, but we can get a good idea by looking at some of his supporters.

Ameena Meer formed an organization "Muslims for Peace" to raise funds for the Park 51 project, and here is what she was raising funds for:

As for the charges against Imam Feisal, as someone who listened to his new-agey-self-searching qutbahs over the past 15 years, they were down to a word, spiritual and reassuringly apolitical. He never failed to remind us to be grateful for being American Muslims.

Really? Mr. Rauf is "apolitical?" Of-course he is not, he just refuses to discuss US imperialism, he has no problem with being political, so long as he is opportunistically serving the US regimes (both Bush and Obama).

we need the points of view of all Muslims who are open to dialogue, from Hamza Yusuf and Reza Aslan,Irshad Manji, Parvez Sharma, El-Farouk Khaki and anyone else who wants to make peace with his or her faith.

All of whom are supporters of empire at best, with some of 'em outright anti-Islam and anti-Muslim (yes I count Hamza Yusuf as a pro-empire figure.) Where does she get the idea that (aside from Hamza Yusuf) those others want to make "peace" with Islam? They are already at peace with their pro-empire/zionist faith!

And then there is this:

The director of the "Amityville Horror" remake says he's been subjected to a real-life nightmare courtesy of an ex-wife who duped him into thinking he was a dad -- for 17 years.

It wasn't until Andrew Douglas took a paternity test last year that he learned Ameena Meer had conned him into thinking he was the father of her daughter, court papers say -- and now he wants his ex to pay through the nose for the heartbreaking lie.
He's suing her for $671,991 in damages -- the amount he has paid in child support over the years -- as well as legal costs for their 1999 divorce, and an unspecified amount in punitive damages.

Meer, the head of Muslims for Peace, an organization that has been collecting donations for the mosque near Ground Zero, denied intentionally misleading her ex. "Of course I didn't lie," she said.

Friday, September 17, 2010

how rats flee a sinking raft

While reading Ikhras's post on Hussein Ibish I thought just how ironic the whole Park 51 situation has become. Hussein Ibish, as regular readers of this blog might remember, was one of the original founders of the Progressive Muslim Union North America (PMUNA) and a search of this blog will turn up numerous entries on his antics.

But at the time, six years back, many of the proggies were quite happy with Feisal Abdul Rauf (although, I've not been able to find any specific references of Ibish lovin' Rauf - if someone does, please leave that info. in the comment section.)

Here we have an article by Raheel Raza of the reactionary statement issuing mill Muslim Canadian Congress written in November of 2004 on the founding of the PMUNA (I refuse to link to their website, but a google search will turn up references).

I went to NYC ostensibly to attend the launch of the Progressive Muslims Union of North America and I got there two days early. My hosts in Manhattan are part of a group that had decided that through science and technology, Ramadan and Eid can be predicted in advance so that Muslims can begin and end together. The decision was for a Sunday Eid and they invited me to join them at the Eid prayer and celebration.

We drove to the Dorral Arrowood Convention Center in Rye Brook New York where the auspicious event was arranged by ASMA (American Sufi Muslims Association). 300 men, women and children prayed together in the great Ballroom – yes, side by side with no partition. These people have broken away from the traditional mosque culture (where usually women are relegated to another area) because they want to offer prayers with their families, friends and loved ones, and they took another bold step by inviting an Imam of their choice. And what a brilliant choice!

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is a dynamic man with a vision as large as his heart. Author of a new book titled “What’s Right with Islam: A New Vision for Muslims in the West”, he was educated in England and Malaysia and has a degree in Physics from Columbia University. Founder and CEO of the American Sufi Muslim Association (ASMA Society) and Imam of Masjid Al-Farah, a mosque in New York City, twelve blocks from Ground Zero, he has dedicated his life to building bridges between Muslims and the West and is a leader in the effort to build religious pluralism and integrate Islam into modern American society.

Regarded as one of the world’s most eloquent and erudite Muslim leaders, Imam Feisal is a charismatic public speaker and has appeared in national and international media such as CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and BBC. He has been quoted in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Jerusalem Post, and Associated Press.

The Imam’s sermon could have been easily accepted in a church, synagogue or temple as he spoke about two kinds of religion – good and bad. He talked about Islam with a small “i” and said it means submission to God by anyone: Muslim, Christian, Jew, Buddhist. This must have sat well with John Bennet, a lone Buddhist in the congregation who heads Imam’s Feisal’s Cordoba Initiative. Imam Feisal is the architect of the Cordoba Initiative, an inter-religious blueprint for improving relations between America and the Muslim world and pursuing Middle East peace. As a tireless advocate for an ecumenical solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he has impressed his vision on US lawmakers and administration officials, most recently as member of the National Inter-religious Initiative For Peace in Washington DC.

Young people surrounded the Imam after the sermon but the surprise did not end there for me. Following the prayer, there was brunch and live music – some enthusiastic families also indulged in a bit of ‘bhangra’. I was also astounded to see the Imam’s wife does not cover her head. Daisy Khan leads women in prayer at their mosque and is involved in interfaith dialogue at an international level. Upon my questioning, she said “I’ve done my own ijtihad (research and reasoning) and found that modest dress is what is required so I believe this is fine for me.” Wow, I felt I had found the ‘progressive’ Muslims.

And now she has this to say about Abdul Rauf:

"A hundred million dollars can help people sell their souls" (3:26)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

who's who on Council of Foreign Relations

The Council of Foreign Relations is a pro-empire "think-tank." Its membership includes such imperial luminaries as:

Dick Cheney
Condoleezza Rice
Paul Wolfowitz
Robert M. Gates
John D. Negroponte
Richard Perle
Leslie Gelb
Colin Powell
Alice Rivlin
Madeleine Albright
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Henry Kissinger

The CFR Religious Advisory Committee includes some interesting Muslim names:

Feisal Abdul Rauf

Salam Al-Marayati, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Los Angeles, CA

Reza Aslan

Eboo Patel

Eboo Patel has joined the ultra Zionist (and I mean that in all of its negativity) ADL organization that is now supposedly going to be taking on anti-Muslim issues - yeah right. Eboo Patel has previously hooked up with war criminals, so this step is not much of a surprise.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Park 51: A manufactured controversy

While I think the article below accurately analyzes the geopolitical aspect of this manufactured controversy, I would caution readers with regards to other aspects, because it relies too heavily on reporting done by Asra Nomani who, as regular readers of this blog will remember, is not exactly a credible source, and herself has a background in manufacturing controversies (she was one of the main forces around the Amina Wadud led Friday prayers manufactured controversy.)

Asra Nomani:

"If not america, where else? America has a history of bringing human rights to the world, of bringing social justice to the world. It is obviously from america that muslim women should do this."

It could be that Feisal Abdul Rauf and his friends (that includes Asra Nomani) may be looking for a scapegoat in this affair, and may use the developer, who initially paid for the site, as an excuse to back out.

The plot hatched maybe thick, but Muslims should focus on opposing Islamophobia, and at the same time raise issues about the legitimacy of "leadership" exercised by Abdul Rauf, his wife Daisy Khan, and their circle:

The entire ‘911’ Mosque controversy has been made into world news by CNN and other select media. The US head of the military command in Afghanistan, General Petraeus got into the fray with a plea to the Florida pastor not to burn Korans, a move which naturally led several other wanna-be preacher bigots to say they too planned to burn Korans on the ninth anniversary of the World Trade Center event. The President, Barack Obama, got into the act by praising the building of the mosque as a symbol of Americans’ religious freedom and tolerance.

At the end of the day it all fuelled a “Clash of Civilization” tension across America, and had the convenient effect, whether the mosque is built on the site or not, of reinforcing the US Government version of the collapse of the World Trade towers on September 11, 2001, namely that the destruction was carried out by two commercial hijacked jets being deftly rerouted into the two towers. And that the Boeing jets had been allegedly hijacked by 19 Arab students, armed only with paper box cutters, who had just been trained at a Florida flight school to fly small Cessna-size private planes. By keeping alive the myth of the “Second Pearl Harbor,” as George W. Bush once called 9/11, perhaps some people such as Barack Obama or General Petraeus hope to keep attention on the need for US military occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, or even spreading the war beyond Afghanistan.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tariq Ramadan opposition to Park 51 - for the wrong reasons

Tariq Ramadan, interviewed on Democracy Now expressed his sympathies for the bigot Islamophobes and recommended against the Park 51 project from going forward:

So, in my position, if this is a symbol—and we have to listen to this collective sensitivity of the Americans after what happened in September the 11th—is to say, look, on that, we can understand. We are not accepting anything which has to do with, you know, a free Muslim zone, but we should listen to what is said and what is felt.

Ramadan's position is confused, to say the least, and anyone listening and/or reading the transcript can see that obviously enough. Essentially what he says is that while Muslims should continue struggling for our rights, we must also try to understand Islamophabia, and not thread on this "collective sensitivity." It is like saying to the attacker: "I'm so sorry I hurt you with my presence, let me go ahead and move back to the back of the bus" an apology for being Muslim.

And it is also very similar to Feisal Abdul Rauf's statement:

Muslims need to understand and soothe Americans who fear them, the imam said; they should be conciliatory, not judgmental, toward the West and Israel.

All the time we are supposed to ignore the horrendous crimes committed against Muslims by the US/British regimes.

Ramadan at the close of the interview does mention that the Park 51 project is supported by the US State Department, but this is, of-course, not the reason for his opposition.

I think that I would just take—you know, something which is to consult the community. I think that it was a project on his own he was going to have and supported by the State Department, supported by other religious communities, and there is a lack of internal communication. I think that this is where the problem started.

To understand this position, we would like to remind our readers that Tariq Ramadan is not all that different from Feisal Abdul Rauf: Ramadan was an advisor to the criminal Blair regime and serves a similar function as that of Rauf. The difference is that Ramadan did (at one time) have a significant following in Europe, Rauf on the other hand focused almost all of his energies on acting on behalf of the US regimes.

IF the Park 51 project should go ahead at its present location, it needs to be inclusive of the Palestinian, anti-war, and other social justice groups. And Feisal Abdul Rauf, being a US regime's spokesperson, should be removed from any and all leadership positions. Opposition to Park 51 should not be based on lending a sympathetic ear to bigotry.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Park 51 CIA connections

An interesting article on the Park 51 project's advisory board member's CIA connections, nothing surprising but a good read:

...one of the earliest backers of the nonprofit group, the Cordoba Initiative, that is spearheading the Ground Zero mosque, is a 52-year-old Scarsdale, New York, native named R. Leslie Deak. In addition to serving on the group's board of advisors since its founding in 2004 by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Deak was its principal funder, donating $98,000 to the nonprofit between 2006 and 2008. This figure appears to represent organization's total operating budget—though, oddly, the group reported receipts of just a third of that total during the same time period.

Leslie Deak's resume also notes his role as "business consultant" for Patriot Defense Group, LLC, a private defense contractor with offices in Winter Park, Florida, and in Tucson. The only names listed on the firm's website are those of its three "strategic advisers." These include retired four-star General Bryan "Doug" Brown, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command until 2007, where he headed "all special operations forces, both active duty and reserve, leading the Global War On Terrorism," and James Pavitt, former deputy director for operations at the Central Intelligence Agency, where he "managed the CIA's globally deployed personnel and nearly half of its multi-billion dollar budget" and "served as head of America's Clandestine Service, the CIA's operational response to the attacks of September 11, 2001."

Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid on Park 51

Eid Mubarak to all conscientious brothers and sisters.

Imam Talib, in an interview with Illume Magazine correctly points out:

“The way that this whole issue (Park 51) is playing out is the result of what I call a failed strategy on the part of Arab and southern Asian Muslims to be accepted into American society or assimilated into American society and a successful strategy on the part of the status quo [and] ruling class on the other hand.” Abdur-Rashid believes that the failed strategy of Arab and southern Asian Muslims was in not promoting a dialogue with African-American Muslims once they arrived in America, especially after the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and the Immigration Act of 1965.

“An important part of their assimilation strategy has been to put an immigrant face on Islam in America,” said Abdur-Rashid. “Many of the immigrants who have come here have been financially well off. This has enabled them to found influential national organizations as they pursue a strategy of empowerment. All immigrants want to be empowered; all immigrants want to be part of American society. They’ve worked to put an immigrant face on Islam in America.

“As these immigrants have come here, two things have happened. One is that their goal has been to assimilate into White America, since we all know there are two Americas. And the America that these southern Asian and Arab immigrants have strived to assimilate to is not the America you and I are sitting in right now,” said Abdur-Rashid. “In doing this, the fact is that they came to this country and, for the most part, ignored the presence of African-American Muslims. [They] made no attempt to link with us, work with us, dialogue with us.

“Up until the past couple of decades, when you said Islam and Muslims in America, people have always thought about African-Americans. All of the famous Muslims in America up until this decade have been African-Americans who have had a tremendous impact on American society. Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar. The list goes on.

“It’s failed not because these same Muslims had ill intent towards African-Americans; it was because they didn’t know the territory,” Abdur-Rashid continued. “They underestimated the underbelly of American society and the role that racism toward people of color has always played in American society. After Sept. 11, their artificial white privilege was revoked and they just became another kind of nigger in America. And the status quo started treating them like that.”

Imam Talib has made an important point, that just one or two other African - American Muslim leaders have also raised in recent months, most notably Imam Musa who has called for a move away from cathedral Islam in the US and towards a Re-Africanization of Islam in the US.

However, I would add that this business of assimilating into the worst aspects of the US is not just an immigrant Muslim phenomena, post 9-11, and even pre-9-11 African-American Muslims also embarked on this project. I need not go into those details in this blog entry, but I'm sure Imam Talib is not unfamiliar with this trend.

The question is whereto from here? The alphabet soup Muslim groups, given their dismal track record, have obviously failed in providing a clear response to the hate filled Islamophobia we have witnessed recently, and contrary to the blabber from Feisal Abdul Rauf, a Muslim community center is *not* about to solve our concerns. But the controversy has succeeded in exposing the failure of this liberal/pro-regressive strategy of hooking up with the US State Department and becoming representatives of the Bush/Obama regimes.

What we need is a serious re-think not only on part of the immigrant Muslims, but also non-immigrant esp. African - American Muslims. This re-think is not all that complicated, and does not really require millions of $$$ spent on conferences (aka "halal" dating venues) - what is needed is a refocus of Muslims, in the US, on Islam, on social justice, on oppressed communities, focusing our energies on the horrendous situation in poor neighborhoods throughout the US - African-American, Latinos, Asians, and even poor Whites., a situation made dramatically worse because of the economic depression. And Muslims must put our fears aside, and also focus our energies on stopping the US empire's continued war crimes against our sisters and brother Muslims all over the world.

If Muslims had our act together, and were not into becoming the next great thing on Wall Street, or the US State Department, or spending energy on thanking people who don't care a hoot about Muslims perhaps we would have been on the forefront of organizing communities to withstand the robber baron thefts. Unfortunately, we are far behind, and there are not even a bare handful of Muslim groups that are involved in such serious, and Islamically required work. Instead, we have to contend with the likes of State Department designed "dream Muslims" who are nothing more than a distraction.

Inshallah, the events of these past few months, and the sincere prayers of our sisters and brothers will bring about a much needed change.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Moderate Muslim smokescreen- Dream Muslim

In fact, Abdul Rauf, who has been employed by the FBI to give sensitivity trainings and by US State Department to tour the Middle East and facelift the crumbling US image abroad, is described by supporters as a “dream Muslim.” Fareed Zakaria, the hawkish pundit affiliated with The Council on Foreign Relations, went so far as to return the medal given to him by the Anti-Defamation League after the ADL voiced its disapproval of the Center and its founder.

“Dream Muslim” is an interesting designation, especially as Abdul Rauf was unknown to the majority of the Muslim Americans before Park 51. His career has been more devoted towards ambassadorship of Islam, particularly to government circles, than outreach to Muslim Americans themselves.

If the soul of “moderate” Islam is the issue at hand, there is something amiss in designating as representative, an individual possessing little equity with the 10 million-strong demographic of Muslim Americans. According to Zakaria, Feisal Abdul Rauf, “has spent years trying to offer a liberal interpretation of Islam” and “argues that America is actually what an ideal Islamic society would look like because is it peaceful, tolerant and pluralistic.” Equating Islam with an America whose roots lie paradoxically in imperialist Protestant evangelicalism and Enlightenment god-abandonment, is hardly reassuring.

Meanwhile, the alphabet soup of Muslim and Arab organizations, in the US, continue their appeasement. They have obviously not learnt even an iota of a lesson from this manufactured "controversy." Ikhras reports:

Park51 continues to serve its house function; leading Muslims away from the urgent priorities of opposing the occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine and shifting Muslims’ attention to pleading for recognition from the empire and expressing gratitude for its acknowledgement of their legal rights. A number of recent examples on how the Arab-American and Muslim-American “leadership” encourages the Arab and Muslim communities to ignore Zionist politicians’ war crimes and thank them for consenting the establishment of an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan.

Friday, August 27, 2010

and now hybrid Muslims

Here is Governor David Paterson latest comment around the Park 51 debacle:

“This group who has put this mosque together, they are known as the Suffi Muslims. This is not like the Shiites,” Paterson said. “They’re almost like a hybrid, almost westernized. They are not really what I would classify in the sort of mainland Muslim practice.”

It might be easy to just dismiss Paterson's comment as just another piece of ignorant nonsense coming from an uneducated US politician. BUT such a characterization would not take into account the context within which these remarks were made, and the fact this dividing up Muslims as "good" and "bad" Muslims is something that Feisal Abdul Rauf himself has encouraged.

Feisal Abdul Rauf's self image marketing has included an almost Obamasque distancing of himself from many Muslims who in fact are struggling for peace and justice. But just as Obama has not entirely succeeded in his denial of being a Muslim, so too Feisal Abdul Rauf has not been able to entirely shed the "radical Imam" image, no matter how hard he tries to play to the tune of the US State Department.

If one looks at the list of "friends" on the Cordoba Initiative - they do not list a single Muslim or Islamic group, all of them are either Jewish (the liberal Zionist type) Christians, Buddhists, and some secular groups. This attempt to run away from the Islamic character of the center only ends up feeding the Islamophobia, because it reveals Feisal Abdul Rauf and his project's growing discomfort with being Muslim, which is exactly the purpose of the Islamophobic campaign against the mosque. This is just one reason why Abdul Rauf is the wrong person to head up such a project.

There is another group called Stop Islamophobia - that includes a variety of peace and justice groups, along with Arab and Muslim groups. it is strange (but not surprising) to say the least, that the Cordoba Initiative fails to list a single one of these supporters on their web site!

If the Park 51 Mosque / community ctr. (whatever) is to go ahead, then it must expand - and include within it more representative Muslim groups, Palestinian groups, anti-Zionist Jewish groups, and anti-war groups. Such an expansion would bring a clear reflection of the needs of Muslims in the United States, along with providing a much needed venue where peace, social justice, and anti-war groups can organize against the US wars on Muslims. (Swimming pools etc. are all fine and well, assuming that climate change does not bring a massive shortage of water in New York City.)

Of-course, the Islamophobes will go nuts for a while, but in the long run, such an effort will only benefit Muslims, because it will show the US establishment forces, that we Muslims are not about to play into the "good Muslim" game. However, i have serious doubts that Feisal Abdul Rauf, and Daisy Khan are up to such a task. This project needs to be removed from the hands of individuals, and given to the larger Muslim communities - including us all in all of our diversities - where those struggling for Palestine will not be excluded because the project leader is a self-proclaimed supporter of the "state of Israel."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

liberals and Park 51

Two recent articles on the Park 51 fiasco and Feisal Abdul Rauf

Cordoba House Advisers Include Liberal-Zionist Rabbis

On Sunday ABC’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed Faisal Abdul Rauf’s wife, Daisy Khan, along with Rabbi Joy Levitt who heads a Jewish Community Center in New York.

Here are some of Joy Levitt's opinions:

…Join us in telling Congress and the Administration: Because we are committed to Israel’s security, we want to see a security fence that will help protect Israelis from terrorism, but not one that cuts so deeply into the West Bank that it will sacrifice security in favor of settlements, and make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.

Moderate, rational voices often get drowned out in the crisis of the moment. On American college campuses today criticism of Israel is often barely distinguishable from anti-Semitism. But those who cast Israel as the villain and attack Zionism do the Palestinians no favors.

Here we have a liberal zionist equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism - and that the zionist entity should not be considered a villain. It is interesting to see how Daisy Khan and Feisal Abdul Rauf will go to any lengths to appease Zionists, and cry boatloads about "extremists" amongst Muslims. Lets be clear, the likes of Daisy Khan and Feisal Abdul Rauf speak only for their own tiny constituency (including liberal imperialists who like to bury the question of oppression under the goobly talk of new age psuedo-sufism).

The above link includes the full interview, wherein Daisy Khan expresses concerns about "extremists" - like others of her type she fails to define an "extremist." Given how her husband hob nobs with the upper elite of the United States, obviously she does not consider as extremists, those who invaded and destroyed two Muslim majority countries (just in the past decade) resulting in the deaths of upwards of a million Muslims.

Earlier Sunday evening, at sundown, reporters were allowed to watch Mr. Abdul Rauf dine at the American ambassador’s residence with a handpicked group of Bahraini youths, but diplomats tried to prevent journalists from conversing with the guests.

How Liberal Mosque Defenders Are Playing into the Hands of the Islamophobes

Time and again, the public is reminded of the fact that Park51 is not in fact a mosque but an Islamic community center that promotes interfaith dialogue.

Daisy Khan and Imam Rauf, the leading figures behind the Park51 initiative, have not only repeated this mantra, but have in fact produced it. When liberal defenders have wittingly or unwittingly referred to Park51 as a mosque, the response from folks at the Cordoba Initiative has been gratitude in the form of this corrective: Thank you for your support, but Park51 is not a mosque.

Desperate attempts to render inaudible the community center’s Islamic origins have also included several name changes. What was once referred to as Cordoba House became the Community Center at Park Place, and most recently, the amorphous namesake, Park51.

But these efforts -- to present the community center as innocuous via nomenclature -- are just part of the problem; the very same rhetoric is being materially reproduced in the architectural plans for Park51. The structure, as it is currently imagined, literally looks nothing like a mosque. What we see instead of minarets or a crescent moon, is an eyesore that screams of capitalist excess. There appears to be some Islamic influence in the geometric art that may be visible through its glass exterior, but the aesthetics of this structure overwhelmingly suggest that its design is a carefully constructed attempt at attracting as little attention as possible. The gaze of those working and visiting the area will seamlessly move from Park51 to the other glass monuments that line the financial district, and it appears that this is precisely the point.

This kind of architecture proposed by Feisal Abdul Rauf is of-course not an accident, his whole purpose is to create an American Islam (not too far of a variation from Progressive Islam). The architecture described above is representative of who and what Feisal Abdul Rauf wants to ally with in the United States: an eyesore that screams of capitalist excess

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Feisal Abdul Rauf and the Zionists

The Ikhras blog reports Abdul Rauf stating: "I support the state of Israel"

Readers who have followed this blog over the years should not be surprised at all - a central aspect of the US project to change the face of Islam has been to gain acceptance for Zionism amongst Muslims. Early in the history of the Progressive Muslim Union (PMUNA) we discussed the issue of Ahmed Nassef (the then executive director of the now defunct PMUNA) speaking at a conference put on by the anti-Palestinian group: Hillel.

Ziyad al-Assali, a then board of advisor member of the (now defunct) PMUNA, had been roundly condemned for working on a similar agenda as the neo-cons with respect to Palestine.

Also see our past posts on "Israel" and moderate Muslims and on Hussain Haqqani (the current Pakistani ambassador to the US).

As a reader pointed out - the Park 51 project is part and parcel of the reform Islam project, and none other than Fareed Zakaria (another former advisory board member of the (now defunct) PMUNA) has made it clear that that is what it is about:

"The debate over whether an Islamic center should be built a few blocks from the World Trade Center has ignored a fundamental point. If there is going to be a reformist movement in Islam, it is going to emerge from places like the proposed institute. We should be encouraging groups like the one behind this project, not demonizing them. Were this mosque being built in a foreign city, chances are that the U.S. government would be funding it."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Park 51 lessons

The so-called "debate" on Park 51 seems to be taking place in some kind of a strange twilight zone... But lets just take a little more of a historical view of the situation, from the perspective of what this blog has been about for the past six years. Our objective was to expose the so-called "Progressive Muslims" who had fallen (wittingly or unwittingly) in with the worst of the neo-cons who were (and are still) intent on changing the face of Islam. We wanted to warn both the Muslim community, and those Progressive Muslims who would pay some attention, about the dangers of affiliating with the imperialists.

The Progressive Muslims (specifically as represented by the Progressive Muslims Union North America (PMUNA) ) went on a campaign to discredit established Islamic practices and beliefs, and held themselves up as the model "good Muslim" with supposed "liberal" (read "western" ) values. They failed to see the absurdity and contradictions of what they were doing. Eventually they collapsed under their own weight of infighting and power hungry personalities, and dispersed their energies elsewhere.

Now, fast forward 2010 - we see that, while not self-identified as a "Progressive Muslim," Feisal Abdul Rauf, who holds some of the same values and strategies of the proggies, is being attacked by both the liberal and neo-cons. Feisal Abdul Rauf, over the years, has provided a space to many proggies, including Ahmed Nassaf (founder of PMUNA) and the notorious Mona Eltahawy (through his Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow program). Feisal Abdul Rauf did not just hold these conferences, he was, and is an active representative of the US state department, a consultant to the FBI, was involved with the Bush regime, and is involved now with the Obama regime. Rauf also apparently received significant funding from the (Saudi) Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal we have previously discussed this so-called "prince" on this blog here and here

The fact is Feisal Abdul Rauf is (or wants to be) very much part of the same people who are slamming him. Rauf is exactly what the neo-cons and the liberal imperialist want from a Muslim "leader"; a complacent liberal, who willingly and happily goes off to visit US puppet dictatorships in the "mid-east" to represent the US State Department. BUT even with all that, he is still not acceptable. Those of us who have watched events unfold over the past five or six years should not be surprised at all at this state of affairs, we knew that compromising our values, our traditions, our religion was not the way to go, and we would not even gain anything in this world (let alone the hereafter).

Update: A couple of links thank you Gambit57:

Solid post. Only would say to flesh it out with some more embedded links. 2 that readily come to mind:

1. Rauf's own "I am a Jew" statement:

2. Zakaria's statement here:

"The debate over whether an Islamic center should be built a few blocks from the World Trade Center has ignored a fundamental point. If there is going to be a reformist movement in Islam, it is going to emerge from places like the proposed institute. We should be encouraging groups like the one behind this project, not demonizing them. Were this mosque being built in a foreign city, chances are that the U.S. government would be funding it."


There are a few voices who are attempting to point out that Rauf is in fact a "moderate" Muslim i.e. a success story for the kind of Muslim "leader" that the Rand Report encouraged, and exactly the kind for which the neo-cons had been clamoring for... These few voices recognize the value of Rauf for the US project to change the face of Islam. But now he has been so vilified that he no longer has the kind of utility that he may have once had, and I would expect that if he has not already been ditched, he is going to be very soon.

The question now is if the larger Muslim leadership (not only the proggies, liberals, moderates etc. ) is willing to understand the lessons - and understand that giving up on our principles is not going to get us a seat at the table in the US (just to be clear, an Iftar dinner at the White House is not a seat at the table). Only through a principled justice oriented social struggle in conjunction with other oppressed "minorities" are we going to earn our civil rights. No one respects a House Muslim/Arab - least of all the owner of the house. It is high time the Muslim "leadership" (including non-proggie types) wakes up from whatever slumber they have fallen under, and renew our sense of purpose and justice in North America.

Friday, August 20, 2010

on Feisal Abdul Rauf and the Park 51 travesty

Two articles on the so-called "ground zero" mosque and Feisal Abdul Rauf who is heading up the project.

Abdul Rauf has been close to the US establishment for a number of years now, serving as a US State Department Muslim representative during both Bush and Obama regimes. Abdul Rauf is as much of a "good Muslim" that anyone get without actually giving up Islam. Yet, even as "good" of a Muslim Abdul Rauf is, he is just not good enough for the US establishment, and he has been effectively abandoned in the "ground zero" mosque Islamophobic controversy.

Meanwhile, Abdul Rauf continues to serve the State Department on his latest tour of sheikhdoms and monarchies (i.e. US allies and puppets) to talk about all of the rivers of milk and honey that can be found in America - all for Muslims. Abdul Rauf is apparently a Sufi Imam, according to some web sources, it is unfortunate those who are on the beautiful path of Tasawwuf should fall for such an obvious fraud.

Readers of this blog will remember that the Rand Report strategy also including a recommendation to support "sufis" in their effort to reshape Islam. This post is not intended to malign Tasawwuf, but it is intended to point out how the imperialists are using Muslim leaders, and how some Muslim leaders have fallen right into their trap.

Ikhras blog writes:

It is no surprise that Imam Abdul Rauf’s itinerary includes countries like Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries, which are already staunch US allies. The man wouldn’t stand a chance trying to convince citizens of Kabul or Baghdad that the US is a tolerant, egalitarian entity.

We’re all for dialogue as long as the US boot is not on the neck of those it’s trying to “dialogue” with. Is Imam Abdul Rauf unaware of atrocities the US is committing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq? Has he no concept of decades-long US support for Israel throughout its colonial occupation of Palestine?

This is as ridiculous as a Vietnamese-American cleric flying around to give a good impression of the US around the time of the My Lai massacre.

For a Muslim to ignore US atrocities and focus on the its supposed “regime of religious freedom and equality” is an expression of American arrogance. House Muslims, with their knowledge of English, their degrees from American universities, their spacious houses in the suburbs and their consumerist lifestyle, perceive their position on the empire’s sociopolitical ladder as more valuable than the lives of dispensable Muslims languishing in refugee camps. An Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan is more “cool” and worthy of advocacy than mosques in Afghanistan and Iraq the US has bombarded.

And also on another blog:

Repeatedly some Muslims have attempted to appease the imperialists, be it through their cookie cutter condemnations, or by becoming “moderate” “liberal” “progressive” type of a Muslim. These Muslims have still not learnt a very basic lesson of the Qur’an – that attempting to appease the oppressor will only lead to an increase in their act of oppression. Attempting to “fit in” by acting in concert with the FBI, or becoming a US State Department’s token “good Muslim” spokesperson a la Feisal Abdul Rauf (the individual who is heading up the so-called “ground zero” mosque) will end up backfiring. As Ali Abunimah said: “If the State Department could design a Muslim it would be someone like Rauf.”

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ikhras takes on Mona Eltahawy

I know this blog has not been updated in a long time, lack of time is my excuse --- but wanted to point to a a new blog that is working on exposing the

cowardly Arab and Muslim-Americans not only fail to address the ills and crimes of America, but in what appears to be overcompensation for their minority status, they immerse themselves in American political folklore complete with the flag-waving, sloganeering, and transparently phony expressions of patriotism.

They have an article critiquing Mona Eltahawy on her take on the Islamophobic laws being passed in Europe against the wearing of the niqab. Mona Eltahawy was one of the early supporters of the proggies, and a search for her name on this site will turn up multiple critiques of her positions.

Here is what Ikhras writes about her recent mediocre rants that she likes to pass off as "journalism."

Eltahawy momentarily expresses unease with the “racist political right wing” but then concludes with making her position clear that “The French were right to ban the veil in public.” With this unequivocal statement, Eltahawy entrusts Islam’s interpretation and Muslim women’s right to choose to a state in top-down fashion instead of bringing about change on the grassroots level. Not any government, but one that has had a long racist, colonial history. This is not shocking coming from someone who brandishes her normalization with “Israel” on her website: “Ms Eltahawy was the first Egyptian journalist to live and to work for a western news agency in Israel.” Ms. Eltahawy, if you cannot support the fight against sexism and Islamophobia, then please Ikhrasi!

Ikhras should note that the cowardly Arab and Muslims that they are working to expose more than often also go by the misnomer "Progressive Muslims" "Liberal Muslims" self proclaimed and identified by the imperialists as "Moderate Muslims" and even some traditionalists have been caught up in this nefarious wave.