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.”