Monday, September 13, 2010

Imam Rauf on Larry King

I'm days late with this, but I just saw the rerun of Imam Rauf on Larry King last night.  I'd missed the original.

Imam Rauf was "interviewed" by Soledad O'Brien.  Those inclined to be hateful of him are willfully misunderstanding his words and twisting his meaning.  Soledad asked an annoying number of times: "Why build at this location when 71% of the American population is against putting the center at that location?"  He answered the question patiently over and over.  One of the many points he made was that he held concerns that if he aborted the mosque/community center project or moved it in response to protests, that it would be fuel for terrorism, that worldwide headlines that the project was disallowed by the American people would fuel anti-West sentiments and spur violent responses.  At one point he described that he feared there was greater danger from violent acts from radical Muslims than from the radical right.   It was an assessment that you would think the right would embrace:  he just characterized radical Muslims as more violent than radical Christians.  Isn't that what right-wing blogs shout every day? But no, the radical right has construed his comment as a threat.  It wasn't a threat. (Media Matter points out that Gen. Petraeus has said something similar.)

I want to give Imam Rauf credit for not losing his temper with Soledad.  Good grief.  She could not have been more hostile.  Kudos to him for pointing out that calling this location, blocks from Ground Zero, "sacred ground" when there's a strip club in the block is "inconsistent".

He also acknowledged that Hamas is responsible for terrorist acts and that he condemns all acts of terrorism.  I know, I know; he refused to say the sentence "I condemn Hamas" so his statement will be insufficient to prove to some that he's not...whatever horrible thing you think he is.  Knock yourself out with that, as long as you are also suspicious of people who say they condemn the child abuse committed by Catholic priests without being willing to say "I condemn the Catholic Church."

Meanwhile, Media Matters has prepared a timeline of the news stories about the Cordoba house.  It's instructive is you are wondering how to whip the public into a frenzy over something they weren't initially inclined to be opposed to.  It has, by the way, very little to do with uncovering new facts and much more to do with shading and characterizing the facts and playing Six Degrees of People Who Don't Eat Bacon.


Andrew said...

When people say it's "sacred ground", they don't mean that it complies with notions of priestly purity. What they mean by "sacred" is that it is a place where thousands of people were vaporized in a instant by 19 Muslims who felt they were acting for Islam. Millions watched these people die live on TV. Billions would eventually see this holocaust. Naked girls aren't offensive or threatening in this context. But it is felt by most people that a threat is posed to the memory of the innocent murdered people, by this aggressive, insensitive, shady, stubborn Imam. The site is not 'blocks from Ground Zero'. It was hit by part of one of the planes. It IS ground Zero. He is not a man of peace, or he would change his plan. If he is correct with his preposterous suggestion that international Muslims feel entitled to that location, then so be it. Relations with extremist Muslims are always disappointing and unreasonable. A little about me: I was opposed to the Iraq war, I have many Muslim friends and have visited several Islamic countries, I have an idealistic outlook on life. But you have to understand that Islam will not appreciate your generosity and trust you give them.

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