By Fr. George Welzbacher
September 26, 2010
A propos of the plan to build an Islamic mosque and cultural center at Ground Zero's outer edge, a scheme with implications for our national security, given the message it would send to the Islamic world about our readiness to reply to aggression with appeasement, my good friend Father John Zuhlsdorf, "Father Z," the impresario of a Catholic "blog" with a widespread following, sent me an essay from a recent issue of the New York Post (September 10). Written by Amir Taheri, an Iranian Muslim scholar who has served as Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Times and has reported on matters Islamic for many of our major papers, the report calls the proposed Islamic center by its right name. Though the Center would include a mosque and an imposing complex of facilities for athletic and cultural activities, the Center's true purpose, according to Mr. Taheri, would be to serve as what Muhammad and his followers called a RABAT. And what exactly is a rabat? Let Mr. Taheri explain.
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Islam Center's Eerie Echo of Ancient Terror* * * * *
By: Amir Taheri
From: The New York Post of Sept 10, 2010
Should there be a mosque near Ground Zero? In fact, what is proposed is not a mosque-nor even an "Islamic cultural center."
In Islam, every structure linked to the faith and its rituals has a precise function and character. A mosque is a one-story gallery built around an atrium with a mihrab (a niche pointing to Mecca) and one, or in the case of Shiites two, minarets. Other Islamic structures, such as harams, zawiyyahs, husseinyiahs and takiyahs, also obey strict architectural rules. Yet the building used for spreading the faith is known as Dar al- Tabligh, or House of Proselytizing.
This 13-story multifunctional structure couldn't be ANY of the above. The groups fighting for the project KNOW this; this is why they sometimes call it an Islamic cultural center. But there is no such thing as AN Islamic CULTURE. Islam is a religion, not a culture. Each of the 57 Muslim-majority nations has its own distinct culture- and the Bengali culture has little in common with the Nigerian. Then, too, most of those countries have their own cultural offices in the US, especially in New York. Islam is an ingredient in dozens of cultures, not a culture on its own. In theory, at least, the culture of American Muslims should be American. Of course, this being America, each ethnic community has its distinct cultural memories-the Iranians in Los Angeles are different from the Arabs in Dearborn. In fact, the proposed structure is known in Islamic history as a RABAT-LITERALLY A CONNECTOR. The first rabat appeared at the time of the Prophet [i.e. Muhammad]. The Prophet IMPOSED his rule on parts of Arabia through a series of ghazvas, or razzias (the origin of the English word "raid".) The ghazva was designed to terrorize the infidels, CONVINCE THEM THAT THEIR CIVILIZATION WAS DOOMED, and force them to submit to Islamic rule. Those who participated in the ghazva were known as the ghazis, or raiders. After EACH ghazva, the Prophet ordered the creation of a RABAT-or a point of contact AT THE HEART OF THE INFIDEL COUNTRY RAIDED. The rabat consisted of an area for prayer, a section for the raiders to eat and rest and FACILITIES TO TRAIN AND PREPARE FOR FUTURE RAZZL4S. Later Muslim rulers used the tactic of ghazva to conquer territory in the Persian and Byzantine empires. AFTER EACH RAID, THEY BUILT A RABAT TO PREPARE FOR THE NEXT RAZZIA. It is no coincidence that Islamists routinely use the term ghazva to describe the 9/11 attacks against New York and Washington. The terrorists who carried out the attack are referred to as ghazis or shahids (martyrs).
Thus, building a rabat CLOSE TO GROUND ZERO would be in accordance with a tradition started by the Prophet. To all those who believe and hope that the 9/11 ghazva would LEAD to the destruction of the American "Great Satan" this would be of great symbolic value. [And it could readily become a center for attracting and converting young men to whatever version of Islam the rabat's leadership favored].
Faced with the anger of New Yorkers, the promoters of the project have started calling it the Cordoba [prounouned COR-do-bal House, echoing President Obama's assertion that it would be used to propagate "moderate" Islam.
The argument is that Cordoba, in southern Spain, was a city where followers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism lived together in peace and produced literature and philosophy.
In fact, Cordoba's history is full of stories of oppression and massacre, prompted by religious fanaticism. It is true that the Muslim rulers of Cordoba didn't force their Christian and Jewish subjects to accept Islam. However, non-Muslims could keep their faith and enjoy state protection only as dhimmis (bonded ones) by paying a poll tax in a system of religious apartheid.
If whatever peace and harmony that is supposed to have existed in Cordoba were the fruit of "Muslim rule," the SUBTEXT is that the United States would enjoy similar peace and harmony UNDER ISLAMIC RULE.
A rabut in the HEART of Manhattan would be of great SYMBOLIC value to those who want a high-profile, "in your face" projection of Islam in the infidel West.
This thirst for visibility is translated into increasingly provocative forms of hijab, notably the niqab (mask) and the burqa. The same quest mobilized hundreds of Muslims in Paris the other day to close a whole street so they could have a Ramadan prayer in the middle of the rush hour.
One of those taking part in the demonstration told French radio the the aim was to "show we are here." "You used to be in our capitals for centuries," he said. "Now it is our turn to be in the heart of your cities."
Before deciding whether to support or oppose the "Cordoba" project, New Yorkers should consider what it is that they would be buying.
It isn't often that we hear a prominent American Muslim speaking out clearly in condemnation of Islamist terrorist acts. In the Wall Street Journal of September 10. One such prominent American Muslim, Dr. (and former U.S. Navy lieutenant commander) M. Zuhdi Jasser, did just that, and not only against the "overt" acts of spectacular violence that have become so familiar since 9/11 but also against the "covert" and much more subtle form of jihad that is being carried on at the level of propaganda, in favor of the gradual infiltration of Islamic shariah, Islamic Law, into American institutions. I reprint his article here.* * * * *
Questions for Imam Rauf from an American Muslim* * * * *
By: Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser
After a long absence, while controversy over the mosque near Ground Zero smoldered, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf finally held forth this week both in the New York Times and on CNN.
Imam Rauf and his supporters are clearly more interested in making a political statement in relation to Islam than in the mosque's potential for causing community division and PAIN to those who lost loved ones on 9/11. That division is already bitterly obvious.
As someone who has been involved in building mosques around the country, and who has dealt with his fair share of unjustified opposition, I ask of Imam Rauf and all his supporters, "Where is your sense of fairness and COMMON DECENCY?" In relation to Ground Zero, I am an American first, a Muslim second, just as I would be at Concord, Gettysburg, Normandy Beach, Pearl Harbor or any other battlefield where my fellow countrymen lost their lives.
I must ask Imam Rauf: For what do you stand-what's best for AMERICANS overall,or for what you think is best for ISLAM? What have you said and argued to Muslim-majority nations to address their need for REFORM? You have said that Islam DOES NOT NEED REFORM, despite the stoning of women in Muslim countries, death sentences for apostates, and oppression of reformist Muslims and non-Muslims.
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.
In your book, "What's Right With Islam," you cite the Brotherhood's radical longtime spiritual leader Imam Yusuf Qaradawi as a "moderate. " Reformist American Muslims are not afraid to name Mr. Qaradawi and his ilk as radical. We Muslims should first separate mosque and state before lecturing Americans about church and state.
Imam Rauf, tell me if you can look into the eyes of children who lost a parent on 9/11 and convince them that this immodest Islamic center benefits them. How will it in any way aid counter terrorism efforts or keep one American any safer? You willfully ignore what American Muslims most need--an open call for REFORMATION that unravels the bigoted and shoddy framework of political Islam and separates mosque and state.
There are certainly those who are prejudiced against Muslims and who are against mosques being built anywhere, and even a few who wish to bum the Quran. But most voices in this case have been very clear that for every American freedom of religion is a right, but that it is not right to make one's religion a global political statement with a towering Islamic edifice that casts a shadow over the memorials of Ground Zero.
As an American Muslim, I look at that pit of devastation and contemplate the thousands of lives undone there within seconds. I pray for the ongoing strength to FIGHT the fanatics who did this, and who continue their war against my country with both overt violence and COVERT STRATEGIES that aim to undo the very freedoms for which so many have fought and died.
Imam Rauf may not appear to the untrained eye to be an Islamist, but by making Ground Zero an Islamic rather than an American issue, and by failing to firmly condemn terrorist groups like Hamas, he shows his true allegiance.
Islamists in "moderate" disguise are still Islamists. In their own more subtle ways, the WTC mosque organizers end up serving the SAME aims as the separatist and supremacist wings of political lslam. In this epic struggle of the 21st century, we cannot afford to ignore the continuum between NONviolent POLITICAL Islam and the militancy it ultimately fuels among the jihadists.
Finally the results of a recent extensive survey conducted by ELAPH, the most respected electronic daily publication in the Arab world, showed that 58% of the ARABS polled OBJECTED to the building of the Ground Zero "mosque" as a needless provocation.* * * * *