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Days after President Obama came out in support of a plan to build an Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero, the controversial project has received yet another high-profile endorsement – this one from the chief of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“We have to build the mosque as you are allowed to build the church and Israelis are building their holy places,” stated Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas who is regarded as the chief of the group in Gaza.
Zahar said that as Muslims, “We have to build everywhere.”
“In every area we have – Muslim we have to pray and this mosque is the only site of prayer, especially for the people when they are looking [to be] in the group, not an individual,” he said.
Zahar was speaking in an exclusive interview on this reporter’s investigative show on New York’s WABC Radio.
Zahar said he was speaking on the mosque issue with authority, claiming Hamas “is representing the vast majority of the Arabic and Islamic world. Especially the Islamic side.”
Zahar said that Muslims around the world, including those in the U.S., are united in a common cause.
Stated the Hamas chieftain: “First of all we have to address that we are different as people, as a nation totally different. We already are living under the tradition of Islam… Islam is controlling every source of our life as regard to marriage, divorce, our commercial relationships. Even the Islamic people or the Muslims in your country, they are living now in the tradition of Islam. They are fasting, they are praying.”
This reporter’s interview with Zahar was splashed on the cover of this past Monday’s NY Post and was re-printed in over 3,000 newspapers around the world.
Obama Official Friendly With
Eboo Patel, a member of Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, has close ties to Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam who wants to build a 13-story Islamic cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero.
Rauf wrote the afterword to Patel’s 2006 book and Rauf’s organization has hailed Patel as one of 15 “Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow.”
In Patel’s 2007 book, Saving Each Other, Saving Ourselves, Patel recounts discussing with Rauf the future of Islam in the U.S. Rauf “understood the vision immediately and suggested that I visit him and his wife, Daisy Khan, at their home the following evening,” Patel recalls.
Patel said he talked to Raud and Khan “about how America, with its unique combination of religious devotion and religious diversity, was the ideal place for a renewal of Islam.”
Koch Weighs In On Mosque Controversy
Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat who campaigned for President Obama in 2008, but who has also publicly blasted his party for failing to support Israel, has chimed in on the Ground Zero mosque issue, as well, calling the construction “insensitive” to victims and survivors of the 9-11 attacks.
Koch nonetheless agreed with Obama’s recent controversial remarks defending the construction, arguing that, insensitive or not, Muslims have “a right” to build the mosque.
“It’s insensitive for the sponsors of the mosque to go forward, but they have an absolute right under our Constitution to build a mosque anywhere you can build a church or a synagogue or a Hindu temple,” Koch said in a radio interview. “Therefore, while it’s perfectly understandable that survivors of the 9/11 catastrophe and the families of those who didn’t survive are distressed, nevertheless what comes first is the law.”
Like Mahmoud al-Zahar, Koch was speaking in a radio interview on this reporter’s investigative show on New York’s WABC Radio.
Asked about Obama’s policies toward Israel, Koch resumed his criticism, asserting that after the president “broke trust” with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rebuilding that trust will take time.
“I’m happy that president Obama has recanted on his apparent hostility exhibited toward Israel,” Koch said. “I would nevertheless always examine what he proposes with great care.”
When asked if he was concerned the Obama administration may be minimizing the threat of Islamic terror in the U.S., Koch answered, “I certainly am. I find it outrageous that the White House has prohibited the use of the expression ‘Islamist terrorists.’ It’s crazy.”
Congresswoman Belonged To
Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, D-Ohio, was listed as a member of Democratic Socialists of America, this column has learned.
Multiple editions of the socialist group’s official newsletter, the Democratic Left, listed Kilroy as a DSA member in the 1990s and described how other DSA activists helped with her various campaigns.
Page nine of the socialist group’s official November/December 1992 newsletter listed Kilroy as a member of the DSA.
“In 1991, DSA member Mary Jo Kilroy was elected to the Columbus school board,” reported the DSA publication.
Kilroy served two four-year terms on the Columbus School Board after working in private practice as a lawyer.
Kilroy was also named as a DSA member on page 11 of the DSA’s July/August 1992 newsletter in a report on a DSA national board meeting in Washington, D.C. According to the report, Kilroy participated in the DSA’s high-level board meeting.
Kilroy later was listed in DSA literature as leading a workshop at the group’s first national conference, “Arguing with the Right.” The event was held Nov. 6-7, 1997, at the Clarion Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, in conjunction with the DSA national convention. Kilroy’s workshop was reportedly titled “Arguing for Public Schools.”
When Kilroy ran for Congress in 2006, her campaign was aided by DSA members, according to DSA literature.
States the winter 2006-2007 DSA newsletter: “Former Representative, now Senator Sherrod Brown is the most visible symbol of this change…. A longtime critic of ‘free trade’ agreements, frequently characterized as far left and out of the mainstream, Brown handily defeated the relatively moderate but free-trade proponent Mike DeWine.
“Trade was also an issue in the narrow loss of Mary Jo Kilroy to Deborah Pryce. Local DSAers worked in both the Brown and Kilroy campaigns.”
Kilroy eventually lost the 2006 election after the counting of absentee ballots and other election recounts.
She had better luck in 2008 in an election in which the DSA says it campaigned from the outside on her behalf.
The Democratic Socialists of America’s chief organizing goal is to work within the Democratic Party and remove the stigma attached to “socialism” in the eyes of most Americans.
“Stress our Democratic Party strategy and electoral work,” explains an organizing document of the DSA. “The Democratic Party is something the public understands, and association with it takes the edge off. Stressing our Democratic Party work will establish some distance from the radical subculture and help integrate you to the milieu of the young liberals.”
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for Internet giant WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m.