I got the privilege of a one hour phone call with Daisy Khan today. Khan is the leader of ASMA (American Society for Muslim Advancement) and the now famous wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Together they are the force behind opening up a mosque and large Muslim community center near Ground Zero. What did I learn from the call? That Khan presents herself as a pluralistic Muslim, but is quite the spin master and has no plans of actually listening to anyone she disagrees with.
To be honest, I was not the only person on this phone call. I was lucky enough to be asked by the Council of Foreign Relations to join a conference call this morning to hear Khan speak briefly and take questions on “The debate over the proposed community center in downtown Manhattan.” The roster for the call listed myself with about 250 others who may or may not have been on the line. The people were a mix of journalists, professors, religious leaders, and politicians.
Khan spoke for about 10 minutes and took questions for about 45 minutes. Sadly, time ran out before I was called on to ask my question. 90% of the phone call was a leftist and interfaith love-fest that focused on pluralism and how we can help support the mosque. Very few asked helpful questions for the debate.
The proud wife of Imam Rauf tried to portray two major points about her side, both were clearly a farce. Her first claim was that the whole reason for the giant mosque and community center at Ground Zero was because Imam’s Rauf mosque in lower Manhattan had gotten too crowded. The fact they picked the spot where the jihadists crashed planes into the World Trade Center was all a coincidence.
“Proximity to Ground Zero was never planned…we never thought (about it in decision making).” – Khan
Are we really supposed to believe that? How dumb does she think Americans are to believe that her group was clueless about the location having some meaning behind it? Especially considering the fact that right after Khan said that, she talked about how vital it is for moderate Muslims to have that spot after 9-11. Which is it? Did you want the space because it’s the best location for your mosque, or is it because you have an agenda to promote Muslim advancement (ya know, like the name of your organization)? If all you want is a nice spot, then maybe you should move. Of course, we know that is a lie, her organization has a lot of reasons for picking that location besides convenience.
Khan’s other major point she was attempting to push was that Radical Islam and terrorists win if they move their mosque a few blocks further away. She said to not build would be “a win … and gift to extremists.” That has been a repeated line by her, the Imam, and countless supporters in the media, liberal religion, and politics.
None of these proponents of the mosque will face up to the historic and common practice of Muslims to place mosques on top of places they have defeated. It is a symbol of victory over your foe. Without a doubt, putting the Cordoba House on the site of 9-11 will not deter radical Islamists, but spur them on as a symbol of American defeat.
Daniel Senor is the CFR’s Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Easter Studies. He is one of the few who have written on that issue effectively.