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The Two Faces of Feisal Rauf
The problems with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's book What's Right with Islam begin with the title. As Andrew McCarthy noted on National Review Online, the book, whose full title is now What's Right with Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West, was previously called What's Right with Islam Is What's Right with America; before that, it was published in Malaysia as A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America post-9/11. In one edition published by HarperCollins, the copyright page told us that the "edition was made possible through a joint effort of The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) and the office of Interfaith and Community Alliance of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Funding for this project was provided by IIIT." The HarperCollins edition no longer contains this telling information, and with reason. McCarthy reveals that both ISNA and IIIT have promoted Hamas, and were demonstrated "by the Justice Department [to be] unindicted co-conspirators in a crucial terrorism-financing case involving the channeling of tens of millions of dollars to Hamas through an outfit called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. For the last 15 years, Hamas has been a designated terrorist organization under U.S. law."
Dawa is the invitation, addressed to men by God and the prophets, to believe in the true religion, Islam. The term can mean propaganda, but more specifically, it refers to Islamic missionary work, which is not limited to efforts to convert individuals but includes efforts to convert entire societies and establish Islamic states. Yusuf Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, predicts that Islam will "conquer America" and "conquer Europe" through Dawa.
In the book's chatty and ostentatiously friendly preface, Rauf tells us that he is an American and a Muslim, and proud to be both. Then comes this sentence: "September 11, a day that will live in infamy for having provoked the United States into a war, confused and frightened many non-Muslim Americans about Islam." Note that in this description of why 9/11 will "live in infamy," there is not a word about Islamic terrorists killing 2,976 people. We saw earlier how Rauf characterized 9/11 as "a crime that happened"; now it is a provocation.
It is not unusual for Rauf to dismiss or ignore the victims of 9/11. During a lecture he gave in Australia in 2005, Rauf said, "We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims. You may remember that the U.S.-led sanctions against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children. This has been documented by the United Nations. And when Madeleine Albright, who has become a friend of mine over the last couple of years, when she was secretary of state and was asked whether this was worth it, said it was worth it."
In his preface and introduction, Rauf presents a picture of Islam that is historically almost totally false, and doctrinally so watered down as to be hardly recognizable as Islam. Like President Obama in his Cairo speech - not surprising, since Rauf claims the speech was drawn from his writings - Rauf pegs the number of Muslims in the United States at between 5 and 7 million. This is a common Muslim tactic: to overstate their numbers, like the frog in the fable who puffed himself up. The real number, according to the Pew Research Center, is something like 2.5 million. That is less than 1 percent of the population.
Many devout Muslims are aware of the abysmal lack of scientific achievements of the Islamic world in the last thousand years - but they commonly have recourse to the ingenious notion that the Koran anticipated all the Western scientific discoveries of the last thousand years; thus one can find electricity, quantum mechanics, relativity, and embryology in it. Rauf does something similar with the Islamic world's lack of American values, claiming that "America is substantively an 'Islamic' country, by which I mean a country whose systems remarkably embody the principles that Islamic law requires of a government." For gullible multiculturalists and Western liberals, the thought that the U.S. Constitution is sharia compliant is most reassuring - "Ah! There is no real clash of civilizations after all. Rauf is a true moderate who wants to get along." And for an Islamic triumphalist, it is a way to infiltrate Western institutions and eventually destroy them from within.
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