Miller Bell Tower at Chautauqua Institution, New York
In Southwestern New York State near Jamestown lies the idyllic setting on more than 740 acres of the Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua). Chautauqua was established as a summer retreat tent camp for the education of adults by inventor Lewis Miller and Methodist Bishop John Hayl Vincent in 1884. Original visitors could attend lectures at Palestine Park, undertake Bible study and learn the geography of the Holy Land using the park’s relief maps. The 128 year old institution has grown into an assembly of permanent lecture and performance halls, as well as hotels and condominiums surrounding the Western shore of Lake Chautauqua. Its signature Miller Bell Tower is the emblem of the non-profit educational institution. The permanent summer population numbers upwards of 75,000, while short term visitors move attendance to well over 140,000. The professional Music and Dance programs and performances are nationally acclaimed. The Institute boasts its own Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Company featuring master classes for aspiring professional musicians and dancers who vie for attendance at its schools. There are popular entertainments, opera performances and cinematic offerings. American Presidents from Ulysses S. Grant to Clinton have sojourned there. FDR lectured there in 1936 on the topic of”I hate war”. George Gershwin spent a summer there composing his famed Concerto in F. The original New York Chautauqua concept spread to more than several thousand similar programs throughout America. During its heyday just before WWII the Chautauqua assemblies reached more than 45 million people. Elements of Chautauqua still survive such as the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle a self improvement book club originally founded by Bishop Vincent.
The Chautauqua Institution Education and Religion programs reflect this eclectic intellectual fare. The issue is that the Institute has adopted the views of the liberal intelligentsia on matters of interfaith dialogue and international world governance.
The Everett Jewish Life Center at the Institute offers its own mix of bagels and lox and schmooze on topics, both mundane and political that do not always reflect the views of its benefactress, New York philanthropist Edith Everett. One example was the lecture by Andrew Bostom in June 2010 on “Understanding the Islam in Muslim Jew Hatred”. Watch it here.
Frequent habitués at the Religious program discussions are the controversial Islamist power couple Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative and his wife Daisy Khan. That may explain the announcement of the construction of a Muslim House at Chautauqua announced in 2011 that will begin construction after the close of the 2012 season to open for the 2013 season. When the announcement of Muslim House, which is to be built adjacent to the Everett Jewish Life Center, was made in September 2011, it lead to a vigorous exchange on the Chautauqua Speaks blog under the heading: “So what’s The Deal with a Muslim House at Chautauqua?”
One of the posts by “Employee” eerily sounds like the beginnings of the debates about the Ground Zero Mosque espoused by Imam Rauf:
Why invite dissent? The deal is done and everyone is on board. Construction will likely start in September. It will likely take two years to complete. There will NOT BE any call to prayer in deference to the neighbors. Most of the board and all of the staff support this project. JBC has details, ask her if you want to know more. It is known as Project Golden Eyes.
“Tony” had a more skeptical view about Muslim House:
You gotta be kidding me. A “Muslim House” at CHQ? Puh-lease. It will become the center for radicalization and anti-Israel activism in the name of “balance.” What saddens me is that so many Chautauquans will support intolerance in the name of being “tolerant,” and this idea is more of that twisted logic. Folks, once that place is built, our beloved CHQ will cease to become a destination for normal people. Already moving heavily to the far-left, it will become fixed there. Some Jewish people will stay around to prove that they are open to abuse in the name of openness. Some conservative Christians will remain because they remember the open-minded CHQ of old. But basically it will turn into a radical Occupy CHQ center. No thanks.
This past week, Imam Rauf, Daisy Kahn and Karen Armstrong of the Prince Alaweed bin Talal Georgetown U Center for Muslim Christian Understanding spoke on their peculiar views on Islam at Chautauqua. One intrepid Chautauquan had the temerity to post a criticism of their taqiyyah at the Chautauqua Speaks blog. The Rauf-Kahn-Armstrong talks were designed to mislead feckless listeners endeavoring to induce interest in Da’wa- the call to Islam. A sort of soft stealth jihad. Perhaps this is a forerunner of what the new Muslim House at the Institute will convey via speakers and pamphlets. The following are excerpts of the interlined talk by Rauf published in The Chautauguan Daily and those of a critic posted on Chautauqua Speaks:
“The question that has been [rose and] discussed this week is this very question: Where lies America’s soul? Where can we find it?” Rauf said.
Ethics stem from faith, and the common good must come from a common God, he said
There are two commandments strongly held by each Abrahamic faith, and it is from those two commandments that the common good is defined, Rauf said. The first is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. The neighbor must be a Muslim. Otherwise, according to Sharia, non-Muslims are simply not equal to Muslims and must be treated as dhimmis. There is no Golden Rule in Islam: love your neighbor as yourself. Mohammed attacked every neighbor, without exception. When he had conquered all of his Arabian neighbors, he headed north to attack the Byzantine Christians.
“In fact, it is from these two commandments that Islamic law, what is called Sharia, is built upon. Laws pertaining to love of God and laws pertaining to love of neighbor, which extends beyond just human beings to the animal kingdom, and to nature, and to our responsibility as stewards of God to take care of this Earth and develop it,” Rauf said. Dogs are considered dirty in Islam and Muslims are not allowed to own them. In fact, there have been recently ample stories of Muslims’ brutality against dogs, even in Europe.
The United States was built on the foundations of a social contract, which outlined that all men are equal and that all have certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness, Rauf said. Those rights, defined by the founding fathers, were not entirely original. Seven hundred years predating the Declaration of Independence, Muslim jurists defined a similar set of principles in Muslim law, or Sharia law. Sharia law can be reduced to the six principles that need protection: life, dignity, intellect, religion, family and property, Rauf said. Again, Sharia treats non-Muslims as second class citizens. The “protection: life, dignity, intellect, religion, family and property” apply to Muslims and not even that. They apply to Muslim MEN. The do not apply to Muslim women. ……….. (Read More).
Chautauquans have more of this insidious form of Da’wa coming up. On August 8th, Sayeed Sayid, National Director of the Islamic Society of North America for Interfaith Outreach, the Muslim Brotherhood front, will speak on the topic “Creating Cultures of Honor and Integrity”. Check out the full schedule of Religion/Interfaith program lectures at Chautauqua this summer. It is bursting with Da’wa. No wonder the Institution is the summer choice to spread taqiyyah on liberal Chautauquans. We wonder if the original Christian Zionist founders of Chautauqua with their Palestine Park are spinning in their graves.