The Ground Zero mosque "bridge builder" thinks peace in the Middle East is possible -- with one necessary step.
Newly discovered statements by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Ground Zero mosque project, show he supports the destruction of Israel. His supporters may hold him up as a moderate, but he has spoken out in favor of a “one-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and he sees peace agreements with Israel as a means to that end.
“And I personally — my own personal analysis tells me that a one-state solution is a more coherent one than a two-state solution,” Imam Rauf told an audience in July 2005. The phrase “one-state solution” is often used by Islamic extremists to advocate the destruction of Israel, especially by those parading as moderates. It is said with the knowledge that any “one-state solution” would result in the Jews being outnumbered in their own land, replacing Israel with a Muslim state called Palestine.
A letter to the editor written by Imam Rauf on November 27, 1977 puts to rest any doubt that Rauf could have been misinterpreted. In it, he wrote that he supports Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, but only because it would ultimately bring victory over Israel. He reminds Muslims that Muhammad received similar resistance to his own peace treaty with their enemies but “peace turned out to be a most effective weapon against the unbeliever.”
“Muhammad used that period to consolidate his ranks and re-arm, eventually leading to his conquest of Mecca. Imam Rauf seems to be saying that Muslims should understand Sadat’s olive branch in the same way, as a short-term respite to ultimate conquest,” explained the Wall Street Journal in its breaking of the story.
Imam Rauf stated that there will not be peace until Israel ceases to exist. He says that Israel is destined to collapse and “In a true peace, Israel will, in our lifetimes, become one more Arab country, with a Jewish minority.”
To this day, Rauf has not said that Israel has a right to exist and has chosen to work with those dedicated to the country’s elimination. He has refused to condemn Hamas as a terrorist group, saying “I am a peace builder. I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary or as an enemy.” He has also involved himself with the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas that is dedicated to destroying Israel and bringing the world under Shariah Law.
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, the founder of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, opposes Imam Rauf’s project partially because of his reluctance to confront the Muslim Brotherhood. He points out that Rauf describes top Brotherhood theologian Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi as a “moderate” in his book despite his history of anti-Semitism, endorsement of suicide bombings and Hamas, support for the killing if U.S. soldiers in Muslim lands, and calls for Muslims to wage jihad against Israel until it’s destroyed.
“You now lecture Americans that WTC mosque protests are ‘politically motivated’ and ‘go against the American principle of church and state.’ Yet you ignore the wide global prevalence of far more dangerous theo-political groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and all of its violent and nonviolent offshoots,” Jasser writes.
The Center for Security Policy’s Christine Brim revealed that Rauf’s Cordoba Institute had deleted websites about its Shariah Index Project to rate the compliance of each country with Islamic law. The websites described how individuals affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood had been involved, with the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) playing a particularly close role. The IIIT is listed in the Muslim Brotherhood’s own documents as one of its fronts and its Vice President, Jamal Barzinji, chaired one meeting in November 2008 where Rauf’s book was officially released.
Barzinji is also one of the founders of the radical Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia. The mosque’s leadership has extensive ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and was attended by two of the 9/11 hijackers and the Fort Hood shooter. Anwar al-Awlaki, an Al-Qaeda leader currently in Yemen, served as the mosque’s imam from January 2001 to March 2002. One declassified government document from 2002 plainly stated that Dar al-Hijrah was “operating as a front for Hamas operatives in the U.S.”
Barzinji once had his home searched by federal agents for possible links to terrorism. The court affidavit said he “is not only closely associated with PIJ (Palestinian Islamic Jihad), but also with Hamas.” He’s also had a direct relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in Egypt, meeting with officials released from Egyptian prisons for two weeks in Indiana in 1971. The Washington Post reports that he has even boasted of persuading the Brotherhood to participate in elections, describing it as “one of our main contributions to the Ikhwan [Brotherhood] movement worldwide.”
Of particular interest is the involvement of unnamed “Iranian representatives” in Cordoba’s Shariah Index Project. Rauf’s organization has removed a photo of him meeting with Mohammad Javad Larijani, a high-level Iranian government official. He and his brother, who ran for president of Iran in 2005, are top loyalists of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
Rauf’s partnership with the Iranian regime goes further than a shared venture and includes ideological solidarity. When the Iranian people rose up against the regime in June 2009 following the fraudulent re-election of Ahmadinejad, Rauf took the side of the regime.
He wrote that “Khameini reaffirmed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the winner. And he made clear that this election was not a referendum on the foundations of the Islamic Republic. All of the candidates support it.” Rauf is quick to rebut notions that the uprising in the streets was in opposition to the regime as a whole and appears to place trust in Khamenei’s integrity on the election results.
He further advises President Obama to not become involved in Iran’s internal affairs, saying “this election is part of the process of an evolving democracy in Iran.” He endorses Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and even calls on President Obama to do the same.
“He [Obama] should say his administration respects many of the guiding principles of the 1979 revolution -- to establish a government that expresses the will of the people; a just government, based on the idea of Vilayet-i-faqih, that establishes the rule of law,” Rauf writes. In so doing, Rauf legitimizes the Iranian theocratic style of governance, firmly placing him in the opposite corner of moderates fighting such extremism.
Should Imam Rauf get his way, he will preside over a 13-story Islamic center and mosque only two blocks from Ground Zero. He may be an opponent of Al-Qaeda and their methods, but he still endorses the goals of radical Islam, including the destruction of Israel, and has aligned himself with some of those most committed to those goals. The former site of the World Trade Center is the last place such a man should be given a platform.