Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rauf and his Critics

As far as I can tell, Feisal Abdul Rauf seems to be arguing that nations with Muslim majorities would be better off and more true to Islamic principles, to the extent they don’t already do so, if they allowed full freedom of religion, equitable rights for women, democracy, capitalism, an independent judiciary and the rule of law.

These seem like admirable ideas, but Newt Gingrich, too busy to answer himself, tells us through his spokesman:

Like Lexington, Gingrich recognizes the difference between moderate Muslims and radical Islamists and that the guilt of the 9/11 terrorists does not fall on all Muslims...

For obvious reasons, Americans don’t want to take any chances that radical Islamists who trade in political propaganda could come to dominate the historical interpretation of what happened there and why.

So of course, Americans who think Gingrich speaks for them will reasonably demand that any so-called moderate Muslims prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that they are not actually radical Islamists. Guilty until proven innocent is the American way.

Apparently, the British Economist magazine thinks you qualify as “well-meaning” if you believe that “United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened [on 9/11]”, which is what Rauf said in a [2001] interview on CBS 60 Minutes. Americans don’t find anything well-meaning about that statement.

Speak for yourself, Newt, but not for me. You do not speak for me. And not for Rauf, another American citizen.

I think that Rauf exaggerates the United States role in making 9/11 possible. But we did fund and arm Afghan militants, and we encouraged the Saudis to do the same.

And that did not end well.

If Rauf is so intent on “improving Muslim-West relations”, then why doesn’t he lead an effort to build the first church and synagogue in the heart of the Muslim world in Saudi Arabia?

As far as I can tell, Rauf seems to be advocating something along those lines.

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