Commentary Magazine


Topic: Daisy Khan

Rauf Stepping Down from Ground-Zero Gig

Reuters reports that Imam Feisal Rauf will no longer be heading up the Ground-Zero mosque project:

“Imam Feisal and Daisy Khan will not be speaking on behalf of Park51, nor will they be raising funds for the project,” Park51 said in a statement. Rauf will remain on the center’s board of directors, it said.

Many of the project’s supporters had hitched themselves to Rauf as a passionate moderate who would ensure that the undertaking  would be a thoughtful monument to bridge-building. It’s pointless and irresponsible to speculate on why he’s stepping down, but it will certainly reignite debate. Especially when the project’s next No. 1 comes to the public eye.

Reuters reports that Imam Feisal Rauf will no longer be heading up the Ground-Zero mosque project:

“Imam Feisal and Daisy Khan will not be speaking on behalf of Park51, nor will they be raising funds for the project,” Park51 said in a statement. Rauf will remain on the center’s board of directors, it said.

Many of the project’s supporters had hitched themselves to Rauf as a passionate moderate who would ensure that the undertaking  would be a thoughtful monument to bridge-building. It’s pointless and irresponsible to speculate on why he’s stepping down, but it will certainly reignite debate. Especially when the project’s next No. 1 comes to the public eye.

Read Less

Afternoon Commentary

With the Democratic party’s major losses in the midterm elections, there were predictions that President Obama wouldn’t win re-election in 2012. But during the lame-duck session, the president has managed to attain practically all of his legislative goals and undergo a remarkable political recuperation. Charles Krauthammer discusses the administration’s “new start” today in the Washington Post.

Tea Partiers have developed a reputation as self-interested individuals who oppose taxes because they don’t want to spread their wealth around. But according to AEI president Arthur Brooks, Americans who oppose wealth redistribution actually tend to be more generous when it comes to giving to charity than citizens who are in favor of government income leveling: “When it comes to voluntarily spreading their own wealth around, a distinct ‘charity gap’ opens up between Americans who are for and against government income leveling. Your intuition might tell you that people who favor government redistribution care most about the less fortunate and would give more to charity. Initially, this was my own assumption. But the data tell a different story.”

Amir Taheri writes that a battle is brewing in Iran, as thousands of workers continue to strike in protest of the government’s cuts in food and gas subsidies. “[F]or the first time, the message of independent trade unionists appears to be finding some resonance among Iran’s working people at large,” writes Taheri, noting growing public anger over rising energy prices and food shortages, increased political activism among young labor-rights leaders and the impact of international sanctions on private businesses.

During the height of the Park 51 controversy last summer, many New Yorkers were angered by Mayor Bloomberg’s vocal support for the mosque leaders. Newly released emails now reveal that Bloomberg aides actually provided political assistance to Park 51 coordinators Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan.

The rape allegations against Julian Assange have prompted some feminists in the U.S. to call for a broader definition of what constitutes rape. In Reason magazine, Cathy Young argues these revisions would be problematic: “Earlier generations of feminists argued that rape should be treated the same as any other violent crime: The victim should not be subjected to special standards of resistance or chastity. These days, the demand for special treatment is so blatant that some activists openly support abolishing the presumption of innocence for rape cases and requiring the accused to prove consent[.]”

With the Democratic party’s major losses in the midterm elections, there were predictions that President Obama wouldn’t win re-election in 2012. But during the lame-duck session, the president has managed to attain practically all of his legislative goals and undergo a remarkable political recuperation. Charles Krauthammer discusses the administration’s “new start” today in the Washington Post.

Tea Partiers have developed a reputation as self-interested individuals who oppose taxes because they don’t want to spread their wealth around. But according to AEI president Arthur Brooks, Americans who oppose wealth redistribution actually tend to be more generous when it comes to giving to charity than citizens who are in favor of government income leveling: “When it comes to voluntarily spreading their own wealth around, a distinct ‘charity gap’ opens up between Americans who are for and against government income leveling. Your intuition might tell you that people who favor government redistribution care most about the less fortunate and would give more to charity. Initially, this was my own assumption. But the data tell a different story.”

Amir Taheri writes that a battle is brewing in Iran, as thousands of workers continue to strike in protest of the government’s cuts in food and gas subsidies. “[F]or the first time, the message of independent trade unionists appears to be finding some resonance among Iran’s working people at large,” writes Taheri, noting growing public anger over rising energy prices and food shortages, increased political activism among young labor-rights leaders and the impact of international sanctions on private businesses.

During the height of the Park 51 controversy last summer, many New Yorkers were angered by Mayor Bloomberg’s vocal support for the mosque leaders. Newly released emails now reveal that Bloomberg aides actually provided political assistance to Park 51 coordinators Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan.

The rape allegations against Julian Assange have prompted some feminists in the U.S. to call for a broader definition of what constitutes rape. In Reason magazine, Cathy Young argues these revisions would be problematic: “Earlier generations of feminists argued that rape should be treated the same as any other violent crime: The victim should not be subjected to special standards of resistance or chastity. These days, the demand for special treatment is so blatant that some activists openly support abolishing the presumption of innocence for rape cases and requiring the accused to prove consent[.]”

Read Less

Freaking Out the Left

Cliff May’s must-read column documents the mainstream media’s abysmal failure (even hostility) to explore the views and plans of the Ground Zero mosque builders. Instead of sharp questioning about their funding and justification for their provocative act, they have been granted platforms to impugn America and to claim they are the victims of smears. May responds:

Let’s say it one more time loudly for the media moguls in the cheap seats: Most Muslims are not terrorists. But in the 21st century, most of those slaughtering women and children in the name of religion are Muslims. This is a movement. This is a reality. And it is a problem. It ought to be seen by Muslims as very much their problem — a pathology within their community, within the “Muslim world,” within the ummah.

Instead, the richest and most powerful Islamic organizations — often financed by oil money from the Middle East — incessantly play the victim card. Daisy Khan tells ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that in America, it’s “beyond Islamophobia. It’s hate of Muslims.” …

Many of the country’s religious and political leaders would like to hear more of their Muslim neighbors say plainly: “Not in my name! Not in the name of my religion!” They are distressed when they learn — not through the mainstream media — that Imam Rauf has said instead: “The United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda.”

May wonders what explains the media’s duplicity in the gussying up of the mosque builders’ moderate bona fides: “Is this moral posturing or cowardice or self-delusion or the byproduct of the multicultural ideological mush that so much of the media has been both eating and dishing out?” These are not mutually exclusive explanations, of course.

Near hysteria on the left has greeted the suggestion that, in this case, a mosque raises unique concerns and valid objections precisely because it is a mosque and precisely because the location is the worst slaughter in our history after Antietam. This is indicative, one suspects, of something more than the usual liberal moral preening.

What the Ground Zero mosque controversy demands is that we choose, we distinguish, we make value judgments,  and we deploy moral reasoning. What if legalities are not the end-all and be-all? What happens when a claim of victimhood cannot shut down questioning of the ethical conduct of the supposed victims? Nothing could be more horrifying to the left. By goodness, if we go down that road, where will the inquiries lead?

Much of the left’s template — from hostility toward Israel to support for racial quotas and statist health care — is built on the premise that the have-nots own a trump card. They have claims on money, land, college slots, or health-care because they have inherited grievances that absolve them of the normal scrutiny that others must endure. (What are your grades? What violence have you engaged in?) If we begin to operate in a rule of personal responsibility (Forget what race you are, have you studied?) and moral accountability (Forget what hovel your grandfather left 60 years ago, will you stop maiming children?), then the equation for many issues changes in ways the left certainly doesn’t welcome.

The reason the left likes to talk of “rights” — the right to health care, the right to housing — is that it bars discussion of the equities, which entails a different sort  of “right.” (Is it right to take money from the middle class to subsidize others’ mortgage payments?) In the case of the mosque, the left wants the discussion to end at: do they have a right to build there? That the rest of us refuse to take that as the final word and want to engage the builders in terms of what is decent, what is respectful, and what really is the basis for tolerance and reconciliation horrifies the left. And well it should.

Cliff May’s must-read column documents the mainstream media’s abysmal failure (even hostility) to explore the views and plans of the Ground Zero mosque builders. Instead of sharp questioning about their funding and justification for their provocative act, they have been granted platforms to impugn America and to claim they are the victims of smears. May responds:

Let’s say it one more time loudly for the media moguls in the cheap seats: Most Muslims are not terrorists. But in the 21st century, most of those slaughtering women and children in the name of religion are Muslims. This is a movement. This is a reality. And it is a problem. It ought to be seen by Muslims as very much their problem — a pathology within their community, within the “Muslim world,” within the ummah.

Instead, the richest and most powerful Islamic organizations — often financed by oil money from the Middle East — incessantly play the victim card. Daisy Khan tells ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that in America, it’s “beyond Islamophobia. It’s hate of Muslims.” …

Many of the country’s religious and political leaders would like to hear more of their Muslim neighbors say plainly: “Not in my name! Not in the name of my religion!” They are distressed when they learn — not through the mainstream media — that Imam Rauf has said instead: “The United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda.”

May wonders what explains the media’s duplicity in the gussying up of the mosque builders’ moderate bona fides: “Is this moral posturing or cowardice or self-delusion or the byproduct of the multicultural ideological mush that so much of the media has been both eating and dishing out?” These are not mutually exclusive explanations, of course.

Near hysteria on the left has greeted the suggestion that, in this case, a mosque raises unique concerns and valid objections precisely because it is a mosque and precisely because the location is the worst slaughter in our history after Antietam. This is indicative, one suspects, of something more than the usual liberal moral preening.

What the Ground Zero mosque controversy demands is that we choose, we distinguish, we make value judgments,  and we deploy moral reasoning. What if legalities are not the end-all and be-all? What happens when a claim of victimhood cannot shut down questioning of the ethical conduct of the supposed victims? Nothing could be more horrifying to the left. By goodness, if we go down that road, where will the inquiries lead?

Much of the left’s template — from hostility toward Israel to support for racial quotas and statist health care — is built on the premise that the have-nots own a trump card. They have claims on money, land, college slots, or health-care because they have inherited grievances that absolve them of the normal scrutiny that others must endure. (What are your grades? What violence have you engaged in?) If we begin to operate in a rule of personal responsibility (Forget what race you are, have you studied?) and moral accountability (Forget what hovel your grandfather left 60 years ago, will you stop maiming children?), then the equation for many issues changes in ways the left certainly doesn’t welcome.

The reason the left likes to talk of “rights” — the right to health care, the right to housing — is that it bars discussion of the equities, which entails a different sort  of “right.” (Is it right to take money from the middle class to subsidize others’ mortgage payments?) In the case of the mosque, the left wants the discussion to end at: do they have a right to build there? That the rest of us refuse to take that as the final word and want to engage the builders in terms of what is decent, what is respectful, and what really is the basis for tolerance and reconciliation horrifies the left. And well it should.

Read Less

Another Ground Zero Mosque Opponent

You recall that when Obama signed a bill named in honor of Daniel Pearl, his father, Judea Pearl, was not afforded the opportunity to speak. He’s a blunt man, so that may have been a wise move by the Obama White House. He is an especially effective spokesperson when it comes to “Muslim outreach.” The JTA reports:

Pearl told JTA that while he was “touched” by [Imam] Rauf’s appearance and speech at his son’s memorial, “many Muslim leaders offered their condolences at the time.” More to the point, Pearl said he is discouraged that the Muslim leadership has not followed through on what he hoped would come from his son’s death.

“At the time, I truly believed Danny’s murder would be a turning point in the reaction of the civilized world toward terrorism,” said Pearl, who engages in public conversations with Akbar Ahmed, an Islamic studies professor at American University, on behalf of the Daniel Pearl Dialogue for Muslim-Jewish Understanding. The established Muslim leadership in the United States, Pearl said, “has had nine years to build up trust by pro-actively resisting anti-American ideologies of victimhood, anger and entitlement.” Reactions to the mosque project indicate that they were “not too successful in this endeavor.” …

“If I were [New York] Mayor Bloomberg I would reassert their right to build the mosque, but I would expend the same energy trying to convince them to put it somewhere else,” he said. “Public reaction tells us that it is not the right time, and that it will create further animosity and division in this country.”

So I suppose David Axelrod and Daisy Khan would say that Pearl is simply following in the footsteps of infamous anti-Semites. I guess Nancy Pelosi would want him investigated. But under no circumstances would Obama want him back at the White House.

You recall that when Obama signed a bill named in honor of Daniel Pearl, his father, Judea Pearl, was not afforded the opportunity to speak. He’s a blunt man, so that may have been a wise move by the Obama White House. He is an especially effective spokesperson when it comes to “Muslim outreach.” The JTA reports:

Pearl told JTA that while he was “touched” by [Imam] Rauf’s appearance and speech at his son’s memorial, “many Muslim leaders offered their condolences at the time.” More to the point, Pearl said he is discouraged that the Muslim leadership has not followed through on what he hoped would come from his son’s death.

“At the time, I truly believed Danny’s murder would be a turning point in the reaction of the civilized world toward terrorism,” said Pearl, who engages in public conversations with Akbar Ahmed, an Islamic studies professor at American University, on behalf of the Daniel Pearl Dialogue for Muslim-Jewish Understanding. The established Muslim leadership in the United States, Pearl said, “has had nine years to build up trust by pro-actively resisting anti-American ideologies of victimhood, anger and entitlement.” Reactions to the mosque project indicate that they were “not too successful in this endeavor.” …

“If I were [New York] Mayor Bloomberg I would reassert their right to build the mosque, but I would expend the same energy trying to convince them to put it somewhere else,” he said. “Public reaction tells us that it is not the right time, and that it will create further animosity and division in this country.”

So I suppose David Axelrod and Daisy Khan would say that Pearl is simply following in the footsteps of infamous anti-Semites. I guess Nancy Pelosi would want him investigated. But under no circumstances would Obama want him back at the White House.

Read Less

Richard Cohen on the Ground Zero Mosque

Of late it has become something of a hobby of mine to point out how the left is becoming increasingly unhinged and alienated from America. The event that seems to have triggered the latest outpouring of rage is the debate about the proposal to build a mosque and community center, led by Imam Rauf, near Ground Zero. It’s not simply the debate itself that is causing the venom; it is that defenders of building the mosque are losing the argument. The public — including those in New York City, that well-known epicenter of conservatism — overwhelmingly sides with those who oppose building the mosque. This is causing some liberals to spin out of control.

The latest liberal to do so, as Jen noted earlier, is Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, who writes:

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” Daisy Khan, a founder of the mosque (and the wife of the imam), rejected any compromise. She was right to do so because to compromise is to accede, even a bit, to the arguments of bigots, demagogues or the merely uninformed. This is no longer her fight. The fight is now all of ours.

It has become something of a cliche, I know, but no one ever put this sort of thing better than William Butler Yeats in his poem “The Second Coming.” “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Some passionate intensity from the best is past due.

Cohen is right about one thing; the Yeats quote is a cliché. But he’s wrong that those who are arguing for a compromise are bigots, demagogues, or merely uninformed. And his argument that what this debate is missing is “passionate intensity” is ludicrous. In fact, the debate has often been dominated by passion rather than by reason, as evidenced by the left’s eagerness to brand the mosque’s opponents as racists, bigots, and Islamophobes. (I have expressed concerns about what some on the right, such as Newt Gingrich, have said as well; see here and here.)

In addition, the deep, eternal meaning the left has tried to infuse this issue with — the effort to cast this debate as pitting the Children of Light against the Children of Darkness, between those who revere the Constitution and those who want to shred it — is both wrong and slightly amusing. One can imagine the lyrics of Peter, Paul, and Mary running through the minds of animated liberals everywhere. It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. v. Bull Connor all over again.

This is not a debate about high constitutional principle; if it were, presumably President Obama — the icon of so many liberals and a former professor of constitutional law — would have taken a stand on where the mosque belongs. Instead, he has refused to say what he thinks. The debate is about whether it is prudent and wise for Imam Rauf to build the mosque and community center within two blocks of Ground Zero. And on this, reasonable people can disagree.

On this particular matter one other point needs to be repeated: If the point of this enterprise was to deepen interfaith dialogue and understanding, it has failed miserably. And if those insisting the mosque be built at the original location persist in their efforts — if they heed Cohen’s advice and jettison compromise as morally treasonous — things will get a good deal worse. Contrary to what some liberals are arguing, no great constitutional principle will have been ratified. Instead, a debate that is harmful to our country, including to Muslim Americans, will be intensified.

This is potentially dangerous stuff we’re dealing with — and I can’t understand why those who insist that they are pining for reconciliation and comity are pushing an idea that is doing the opposite.

Of late it has become something of a hobby of mine to point out how the left is becoming increasingly unhinged and alienated from America. The event that seems to have triggered the latest outpouring of rage is the debate about the proposal to build a mosque and community center, led by Imam Rauf, near Ground Zero. It’s not simply the debate itself that is causing the venom; it is that defenders of building the mosque are losing the argument. The public — including those in New York City, that well-known epicenter of conservatism — overwhelmingly sides with those who oppose building the mosque. This is causing some liberals to spin out of control.

The latest liberal to do so, as Jen noted earlier, is Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, who writes:

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” Daisy Khan, a founder of the mosque (and the wife of the imam), rejected any compromise. She was right to do so because to compromise is to accede, even a bit, to the arguments of bigots, demagogues or the merely uninformed. This is no longer her fight. The fight is now all of ours.

It has become something of a cliche, I know, but no one ever put this sort of thing better than William Butler Yeats in his poem “The Second Coming.” “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Some passionate intensity from the best is past due.

Cohen is right about one thing; the Yeats quote is a cliché. But he’s wrong that those who are arguing for a compromise are bigots, demagogues, or merely uninformed. And his argument that what this debate is missing is “passionate intensity” is ludicrous. In fact, the debate has often been dominated by passion rather than by reason, as evidenced by the left’s eagerness to brand the mosque’s opponents as racists, bigots, and Islamophobes. (I have expressed concerns about what some on the right, such as Newt Gingrich, have said as well; see here and here.)

In addition, the deep, eternal meaning the left has tried to infuse this issue with — the effort to cast this debate as pitting the Children of Light against the Children of Darkness, between those who revere the Constitution and those who want to shred it — is both wrong and slightly amusing. One can imagine the lyrics of Peter, Paul, and Mary running through the minds of animated liberals everywhere. It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. v. Bull Connor all over again.

This is not a debate about high constitutional principle; if it were, presumably President Obama — the icon of so many liberals and a former professor of constitutional law — would have taken a stand on where the mosque belongs. Instead, he has refused to say what he thinks. The debate is about whether it is prudent and wise for Imam Rauf to build the mosque and community center within two blocks of Ground Zero. And on this, reasonable people can disagree.

On this particular matter one other point needs to be repeated: If the point of this enterprise was to deepen interfaith dialogue and understanding, it has failed miserably. And if those insisting the mosque be built at the original location persist in their efforts — if they heed Cohen’s advice and jettison compromise as morally treasonous — things will get a good deal worse. Contrary to what some liberals are arguing, no great constitutional principle will have been ratified. Instead, a debate that is harmful to our country, including to Muslim Americans, will be intensified.

This is potentially dangerous stuff we’re dealing with — and I can’t understand why those who insist that they are pining for reconciliation and comity are pushing an idea that is doing the opposite.

Read Less

Reconciliation=Capitulation, It Seems

Richard Cohen’s column, I will choose to believe, was written before Imam Rauf’s distinctly un-moderate comments (“the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaeda,” he said, and the only solution to the Middle East, he opined, is a one-state solution) were revealed. Otherwise, Cohen’s entire column, like much of what has been written by the left, would be dishonest (in ignoring the views and intentions of the mosque builders) and ludicrous (by insisting that this is about reconciliation or religious freedom). But even on its own terms, Cohen’s column reinforces my own concern about the counterproductive nature (if not downright danger) of “Muslim Outreach.”

He chastises the Ground Zero mosque opponents for suggesting some compromise. No deal, says Cohen on behalf of the “9/11 is America’s fault” mosque builder. For Rauf and his ilk, there is no compromise, only capitulation, because we are not entitled to expect more of the mosque proponents:

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” Daisy Khan, a founder of the mosque (and the wife of the imam), rejected any compromise. She was right to do so because to compromise is to accede, even a bit, to the arguments of bigots, demagogues or the merely uninformed. This is no longer her fight. The fight is now all of ours.

Well, you see my point about Muslim outreach. If the entire argument becomes “we don’t care about non-Muslim sentiments or concerns” and “we don’t have to give an inch” (or a few blocks), there is no reconciliation or healing in the offing. It is a farce, and a pretext to generate more animosity toward non-Muslims. Or, in the case of the left, it’s another excuse to defame Americans and demonstrate precisely why we would do better to have fewer Harvard law school professors in the White House. This is a prime example of why values and character rather than a resume are the most critical attributes of a successful president. There is no substitute for a president who understands his fellow citizens and is able to rally them in a battle for their civilization — against those who cannot accept compromise. They didn’t name that mosque Cordoba for nothing.

Richard Cohen’s column, I will choose to believe, was written before Imam Rauf’s distinctly un-moderate comments (“the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaeda,” he said, and the only solution to the Middle East, he opined, is a one-state solution) were revealed. Otherwise, Cohen’s entire column, like much of what has been written by the left, would be dishonest (in ignoring the views and intentions of the mosque builders) and ludicrous (by insisting that this is about reconciliation or religious freedom). But even on its own terms, Cohen’s column reinforces my own concern about the counterproductive nature (if not downright danger) of “Muslim Outreach.”

He chastises the Ground Zero mosque opponents for suggesting some compromise. No deal, says Cohen on behalf of the “9/11 is America’s fault” mosque builder. For Rauf and his ilk, there is no compromise, only capitulation, because we are not entitled to expect more of the mosque proponents:

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” Daisy Khan, a founder of the mosque (and the wife of the imam), rejected any compromise. She was right to do so because to compromise is to accede, even a bit, to the arguments of bigots, demagogues or the merely uninformed. This is no longer her fight. The fight is now all of ours.

Well, you see my point about Muslim outreach. If the entire argument becomes “we don’t care about non-Muslim sentiments or concerns” and “we don’t have to give an inch” (or a few blocks), there is no reconciliation or healing in the offing. It is a farce, and a pretext to generate more animosity toward non-Muslims. Or, in the case of the left, it’s another excuse to defame Americans and demonstrate precisely why we would do better to have fewer Harvard law school professors in the White House. This is a prime example of why values and character rather than a resume are the most critical attributes of a successful president. There is no substitute for a president who understands his fellow citizens and is able to rally them in a battle for their civilization — against those who cannot accept compromise. They didn’t name that mosque Cordoba for nothing.

Read Less




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.