The New York City imam at the center of a controversial mosque-building project makes an interesting case for restoring ideological exclusion.
Feisal Abdul Rauf has been a Muslim imam in New York for 25 years and chairs the Cordoba Initiative. The initiative acts as a vocal apologist for Muslim excesses and an advocate for a Muslim political agenda.
He is also a key player in the proposal to build an Islamic center with a mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center site, where Islamist terrorists crashed hijacked jetliners into the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001. The property has been purchased and the project approved by the local authority.
Understandably, many New Yorkers and other Americans view the construction of an Islamic structure, known as Cordoba House, so close to Ground Zero as an outrage, unacceptable, and salt in the wound from one of Islamic extremism’s most diabolical deeds. Building mosques on top of rival religious sites has long been an Islamic practice of conquest and power. Cordoba is a city in Spain where Muslim rule mistreated Christians and Jews during the Moor occupation.
Rauf was born in Kuwait and raised in Malaysia. He attended college in the United States. He founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement, a group that promotes pro-Islamic views. His bio says he “preaches a message of understanding between people of all creeds” at the New York City mosque he leads.
But his rhetoric hasn’t always lived up to the spin of mutual understanding. And the expected “understanding” he espouses seems largely unidirectional: Americans and the West accommodating Islam, regardless of its intolerant squareness in Western culture’s round hole.
Soon after 9/11, Rauf said on CNN, “U.S. policies were an accessory to the crime that happened. We [the U.S.] have been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. Osama bin Laden was made in the USA.”
In 2004, Rauf asserted in an Australian speech, "The Islamic method of waging war is not to kill innocent civilians. But it was Christians in World War II who bombed civilians in Dresden and Hiroshima, neither of which were military targets."
The Sydney Morning Herald also reported: “Imam Feisal, who argues for a Western style of Islam that promotes democracy and tolerance, said there could be little progress until the U.S. acknowledged backing dictators and the U.S. President gave an ‘America Culpa’ speech to the Muslim world.”
Concerning Islam’s intimidation tactics reducing freedom of speech in Western nations, to the Washington Post, Rauf rationalized: “Western culture makes freedom of expression nearly a religious value. It protects the right to say anything, no matter how insensitive or scandalous. Everyone and everything can be insulted.”
Concerning the forcing of Sharia law on a society, Rauf pronounced in the Post: “Where there is a conflict, it is not with Sharia law itself but more often with the way the penal code is sometimes applied. Some aspects of this penal code and its laws pertaining to women flow out of the cultural context. The religious imperative is about justice and fairness. If you strive for justice and fairness in the penal code, then you are in keeping with moral imperative of the Sharia.
“In America, we have a Constitution that created a three-branch form of government — legislative, executive and judiciary. The role of the judiciary is to ensure that the other two branches comply with the Constitution. What Muslims want is a judiciary that ensures that the laws are not in conflict with the Qur’an and the Hadith. Just as the Constitution has gone through interpretations, so does Sharia law.”
Rauf’s speeches and writings indicate that, rather than a moderate, peace-loving, assimilated immigrant, he is really an Islamic ideologue and propagandist with an anti-American political agenda.
Until the 1990s, such aliens might have been barred from entering the United States or else face removal for advocating policies at odds with America’s national interest — and certainly that jeopardized our nation’s survival.
This wasn’t a curb on freedom of speech. Rather, it properly distinguished who has a legitimate voice in the American marketplace of political ideas: Americans themselves, not outsiders.
Under policies firmed up during the Cold War, exclusion and deportation were to occur to foreign extremists for cause. One ground blocked aliens participating in activities that would be prejudicial to the public interest or public safety.
Also, aliens were excluded from the United States if they belonged to subversive groups or for teaching or advocating radical ideology. We also barred those aliens expected to engage in subversive activities. These included spying, sabotage, public disorder or activity putting national security at risk, or using force or violence to overthrow the U.S. government.
Certainly, it’s more prudent for America to be safe than sorry when it comes to keeping alien advocates of anti-American Islam out of the country. The United States has already been the target of jihadists. Middle Easterners who would like to see this nation’s demise come here, legally and illegally, every day.
We are long overdue to revive ideological exclusion policies and the vigorous exercise of this common-sense practice of national self-preservation. Imam Rauf represents the kind of subversive alien who should be scrutinized for ideological exclusion.