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Imam Rauf: Mosque planner has been mostly silent during noisy debate

23 Aug 2010

Imam Rauf: Mosque planner has been mostly silent during noisy debate -Washington Post – Annotated – See excerpts (bulleted) after my comments in the Read more.

The more I learn about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the more strange the whole situation seems. I would think his liberal interpretations of Islam – what Sharia law really is/should be, role of women, etc. would make him more unpopular with traditional, conservative Muslims, than with Americans. The way that some American conservatives are taking and twisting or misusing his nuanced statements is depressing and reveals, not an interest in truth, but an interest in supporting “my side” and attacking “the other”.  Remaining silent when faced with overwhelming opposition, giving nuanced answers that can be twisted, and being an impractical idealist may make him a poor PR guy, but they do not make him a supporter of extremism or violence.  See also the article I posted yesterday about him.

tags: Islam mosque ground zero interfaith dialog interfaith relations interfaith

  • Khan, who has been speaking for her husband in recent weeks, said Rauf sees the United States as “the most sharia-compliant state” because it upholds what Rauf believes is the proper interpretation of the Koran’s emphases on protection of life, freedom of religion, one’s property, family, dignity.
  • Yet many questions went unanswered about Rauf and his project, a vacuum that seems to have been filled quickly by people put off by Rauf’s apparently liberal political views. In recent weeks, conservative leaders and pundits in particular have lobbed far more questions than specific complaints about the imam. Why was he unwilling to explicitly call Hamas a terrorist organization? When he said U.S. foreign policies fueled the Sept. 11 attackers, does that rationalize terrorism? Whom is he meeting with in Malaysia?

    Rauf’s decision — against the advice of some interfaith leaders who support him — to remain silent in the media storm seemed to fuel some people’s worries.

  • To some Muslim Americans, such intense distrust of a man whose life’s work is about interfaith relations shows a double standard, a limit to how far they can go in criticizing U.S. foreign policy, how frankly they can speak about sharia-state relations, a topic of great debate especially among young Muslims around the world.

    Meanwhile, more Muslim American voices are surfacing in criticism of Rauf and his handling of the project.

  • “The fact that the organizers of Park51 did not see Islamophobia as a concern when announcing this proposal is disturbing. It reinforces the idea that they have no vision or leadership,” Hofstra University professor and blogger Hussein Rashid wrote Friday. Rauf’s supporters fear that a determined peacemaker who could play an important role may wind up destroyed by unrelenting controversy over the very subject he spent his career trying to promote: Islam.

    “You have a pair of interfaith leaders who miscalculated the passion this would generate,” Benn said of the imam and his wife.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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