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Feisal Abdul Rauf says: The negative reaction we received was a serious disappointment. On the other hand, we were happy to see the incredible rallying around us by people of all different religions, religious leaders, political leaders, groups like the ACLU…

FAS: Yes.

RCR: Aren’t the ascendant voices in Islam now the anti-Mu’tazili, anti-reason, Salafists and Wahhabists?


FAS: This is why the West separated Church and State. When religion becomes politicized and when a particular interpretation of religion becomes supported by a political power, it can push its particular view all over the world. This what has happened in much of the Muslim world.

RCR: How can we reengage the Muslim world with these Mu’tazili ideas?

FAS: I wouldn’t try to bring back these terms of Mu’tazili and others because they are fraught with certain connotations within the Muslim intellectual arena. Their ideas were perfectly rational and reasonable. The reason why they lost is because they didn’t align with the political powers of the time.

Now, there is a lot of rationalism within the Muslim world today. The problem has to do with the marriage of political power with religion.

He doesn’t, you see, want a return of a rationalist understanding of the Qur’an.

RCR: What did you mean when you said the United States “has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims”?FAS: I didn’t say those words.

Oh, yes, he did. Pamela Geller uncovered it and has it all here. He said: “We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaida has on its hands of innocent non Muslims.”

RCR: What did you mean when you said Osama bin Laden was “made in the U.S.A.”?FAS: Osama bin Laden was trained by the CIA to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. And after we won the Cold War, the unfortunate thing that happened thereafter was that the United States did not continue engaging with those elements and those countries to develop those countries in a positive way.

Bin Laden was not actually trained by the CIA. Certainly other mujahedin were, in a spectacularly short-sighted policy. But not OBL.

A lot of what has happened and a lot of the negative sentiment, which exists in various parts of the Muslim world, has to do with our very heavy presence in the Muslim world. Now, it’s not because of our cultural differences. The French women go bare breasted on their beaches, but there’s not as much angst about France because France is not as politically involved in the Muslim world as America is.RCR: If America were to retreat from the Muslim world, would the jihadist attacks stop?

FAS: It has to do with how we are perceived in the Muslim world. Are we perceived as people who are helping those countries develop and empower themselves? Or are we seen as a factor for things that are undesirable?

The short answer to your question is that the solution is not to withdraw. The solution is to make our engagement more properly nuanced.

RCR: Nuanced?

FAS: It’s like a relationship between a man and a woman. They both love each other, but seem to say the wrong things to each other. They love each other, but if a man says something wrong, he’ll get a slap in the face from the woman and he’ll say, “Women must be from Venus.” It is the same kind of thing. You have to understand people’s sensitivities and how you promote certain things.

If we understand the aspirations of the Muslim world, we should be able to frame our language in ways that make them respond positively. President Obama took ideas from my writings and went to Cairo, Turkey, Indonesia and spoke in that voice. Look at the response he got!

RCR: Yes, look: the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; a dead Ambassador in Libya; civil war in Syria.

Beautiful answer, Mr. Hahn. Spot on.

FAS: Well, the problem was with the follow through. They had high expectations because [Obama] said all the right things, but the question is: did he follow through with actions? Doing that is where the rubber hits the road. There are people who know how to do it. But for various reasons, words are not being implemented.We have to engage properly.

I.e., surrender.

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  1. Where does one begin with this one?

    Are not some living in a bubble?

    Is not a mosque by any other name still a mosque? If so, and one is built, then why not build a church and a synogogue too? And if we are going to build a church and a synogogue, won’t we be slighting the Hindus and the Buddhists, who naturally will want to clamor, along with the rest of the world’s hundreds of religions, for an honored spot too?

    And, if this happens, and why should it not, after all fair is fair in the land of the free and the brave, then will there be any space left to walk upon that will still actually represent the land that has been set aside and designated for a memorial?

    And, what happens to those individuals who do not find a representation of their faith? Is it really fair that they might be turned away/turned off (and let us consider that they may be guests visiting America from across the world) because a site intended for the public’s use has been made into a religious site?

    And then, what if a mosque is built on the site; does one not have to consider the historical curve Islam takes on allowing non-Islamic persons to gain entry into a mosque? Is not the Temple Mount an excellent example of what one can expect to see happen to Ground Zero? Does not Islamic history give clear, predictable, and certain indicators of what can logically be expected to happen, if not immediately, then down the line?

    And then finally, did not 9/11 not change just America, but the entire world too?

    Is it not estimated that there are over 7,000,000,000 people in the entire world? Could they not all, at one point or another over the lifetime of the memorial, visit ground zero? Is not the intended purpose of Ground Zero to immortalize and memorialize the tragic events of 9/11 and the precious loss of life for all time and for all people, forever?

    Shouldn’t we be calling a spade a spade? Does not the building of a mosque on Ground Zero represent just what people think it represents? A trophy?

    Wouldn’t it be right to do this sensibly and put it to a vote? And wouldn’t it be proper to have not just Americans, but the whole world participate in this vote since this memorial is meant for everyone? every last person in the world?

    After all, isn’t that the American way? and do we not separate religion and state for a reason? So that Mr. Rauf can have his opinion and goals, but like every citizen, he is governed by a higher power and the laws of this land to ensure that the interests of all are served rather than to the exclusivity of a few?

    Is it not time to burst the bubble?

  2. Just use Pamela Geller as a foundation stone. For do not worry, a mosque is not going to be built there. It is that extremists are just building it up, to spread their hysteria. I do not think the City of New York, would even allow them a building permit.

  3. Is it not time people, for the world to stop cowering and quivering like flighty weaklings in the face of Islam?

    Is it not time the world realizes that Islam is just a religion, like any other? one that is usually run by old men with sticks who go around beating the ankles of women whose skirts aren’t long enough?

    Come on people, if I am not afraid, why are you?

    Don’t you really have to stop and ask yourselves what exactly about Islam frightens you?

    Is it in fact because you believe Islam is from God and you do not want to submit?
    If you are unable or unwilling or unbelieving to submit, then why would you? What are you actually afraid of? Muslims or God?

    Isn’t it time for each and every person in this world to sit down and ask themselves that question? How do I actually feel about Islam and why? Who am I more afraid of God or another fellow human being who happens to be a Muslim? What do I really believe? Why am I hysterical about Islam? Is it not peaceful in my neighbohood today? Aren’t guys out mowing their lawns? Isn’t the grass still green? Aren’t kids outside laughing and playing? Isn’t your neighborhood and neighbors the same as they’ve always been? Aren’t the cookouts going on? Is your community and country generally as peaceful as it has always been?

    WHAT IS ALL THE WORRY ABOUT? Wake up people. The time to stand up and know WHERE YOU STAND on Islam is not in some distant future, it is RIGHT NOW; RIGHT???!

    If you are in good with God, isn’t that all that matters?

    And, as for people who like to blow things up; well isn’t that just disgraceful to the memory of Muhammud who advocated peacefulness and tolerance everywhere?

    In fact, are not individuals who initiate unprovoked violent actions upon an unsuspecting, non-aggressive, peaceful people not only a disgrace to Islam, AND TO THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE, but also commiting a sacrilege against God? Their God, your God, my God whose by His word all things came into being? who loves ALL his creation right down to the smallest gnat?

    Well, I for one, intend to be the religion that most closely matches the God given comportment of my mind, heart, and resources; and, I will not accept myself being considered as an infidel/non-believer; or, being treated like a second class citizen, will you?

    And if anyone has a problem with that, THEY CAN TAKE THAT UP WITH MY GOD, GOT THAT?

    You see, to my God all things are equal. He loves each and every part of His creation right down to every last particle and beyond. His love is infinite and beyond human comprehension. Bless God, his mercy outstrips his anger. That is why the Messiah has not come.

    Within each realm of faith, to each true believer, the faith they practice is their truth. The realms don’t easily mesh, but God loves us all anyways. He accepts our prayers and our praises, and in return he blesses and answers our prayers, for each and everyone of us.

    In turn, in the end, we will not be judged by each others yardstick of judgement; but by our own and God’s.

    Isn’t it time to start taking stock in that? and making religion about God first? and trust in God that the rest will be taken care of? by the grace of God?

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