Every time I turn on the TV or read the paper I see evidence of the rising tide of Islamophobia. The national discussion is being driven by the disinformation. I hope that in the end America is better than this–but combing through the demagoguery is no easy task–especially for those of us with jobs and responsibilities.
Factcheck.org has published a detailed report on Feisal Abdul Rauf and the Ground Zero mosque controversy. I highly recommend it to anyone who has not closely followed this story.
One of the cornerstones of the disinformation campaign is the now famous 60 Minutes interview, where Feisal Abdul Rauf said America was an accessory to 9/11. This quote is offered as evidence of Rauf’s deep- seated anti-American sentiments and thus as justification for opposition to his Park51 project.
In that same interview Rauf also said that “fanaticism and terrorism have no place in Islam,” and that “there is no justification” for the attacks of 9/11 from an Islamic perspective.
You won’t catch Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh or anyone on Fox News talking about that part of the interview. Of course there is a good chance they have never bothered to watch the whole thing.
But much like there is a difference between building a mosque and a cultural center and building it on Ground Zero and near Ground Zero, there is a difference between saying American foreign policy was an accessory to 9/11 and saying 9/11 was justified.
Besides he is right. American foreign policy was an accessory to 9/11.
In the 1980’s Osama Bin Laden and his supporters were recruited and paid nearly $4 billion by Ronald Reagan’s CIA and the Saudi Arabian government to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
Recently Hillary Clinton acknowledged that we funded the people we are now fighting; the people who are actually aligned with the perpetrators of 9/11.
Maybe you are only allowed to say that aloud if you are white–or at the very least not a Muslim.
Fox News and the right-wing blogosphere are attempting to revise history and offer an “alternate theory of the crime.” Without denying that we funded Mujahideen–who then turned on us–they claim we funded “other” Afghan fighters, not necessarily Bin Laden. While it is nice to see they are capable of nuance when it suits them, this does seem a bit like splitting hairs.
Whether you chose to buy their revisionist history or not, the fact is the U.S. has long been a strong supporter of the Saudi Royal Family–up to and including the $60 billion in high-tech weaponry we just sold them.
Bin Laden is a mortal enemy of the Saudi Royal Family, and has long sought to overthrow them.
A foreign policy that involved supporting the Saudi government made us a target of Al Qaeda, and thus American foreign policy was an accessory to 9/11.
Feisal Abdul Rauf published this editorial in response to Sarah Palin’s now famous tweet. Read it for yourself and decide whether this man is a secretly anti-America.
We believe that people of good faith can use the common core of their religions to find solutions to problems that will let them live together. The genius of America has been to overcome fear and bigotry against newcomers with different religions to welcome the energy of the immigrant. I am confident that will happen again.
Sadly I do not share Imam Rauf’s confidence, but I am not yet ready to cede America to the Sarah Palin’s of the world.