Taxpayer funding that builds and restores mosques overseas may violate law

The Washington Times has a column up reporting on the 9/11 Mosque Imam's taxpayer funded trip throughout the Middle East. There is a further revelation in the article. America has been funding the construction of mosques overseas (also covered at American Thinker):
Americans also may be surprised to learn that the United States has been an active participant in mosque construction projects overseas. In April, U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Alfonso E. Lenhardt helped cut the ribbon at the 12th-century Kizimkazi Mosque, which was refurbished with assistance from the United States under a program to preserve culturally significant buildings. The U.S. government also helped save the Amr Ebn El Aas Mosque in Cairo, which dates back to 642. The mosque's namesake was the Muslim conqueror of Christian Egypt, who built the structure on the site where he had pitched his tent before doing battle with the country's Byzantine rulers. For those who think the Ground Zero Mosque is an example of "Muslim triumphalism" glorifying conquest, the Amr Ebn El Aas Mosque is an example of such a monument - and one paid for with U.S. taxpayer funds.

The mosques being rebuilt by the United States are used for religious worship, which raises important First Amendment questions. U.S. taxpayer money should not be used to preserve and promote Islam, even abroad. In July 2009, the Office of the Inspector General published an audit of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) faith-based and community initiatives that examined whether government funds were being used for religious activities. The auditors found that while USAID was funding some religious activities, officials were "uncertain of whether such uses of Agency funding violate Agency regulations or the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution" when balanced against foreign-policy objectives.

For example, our government rebuilt the Al Shuhada Mosque in Fallujah, Iraq, expecting such benefits as "stimulating the economy, enhancing a sense of pride in the community, reducing opposition to international relief organizations operating in Fallujah, and reducing incentives among young men to participate in violence or insurgent groups." But Section 205.1(d) of title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations prohibits USAID funds from being used for the rehabilitation of structures to the extent that those structures are used for "inherently religious activities." It is impossible to separate religion from a mosque; any such projects will necessarily support Islam.

This story first was brought to light by Fareed Zakaria, the Newsweek columnist who wrote the book, "The Post-American World" trumpeting the relative fall of America in power and prestige compared to other nations of the world (see this photo from 2008 thumb). Zakaria objected to the Anti-Defamation League's opposition to the building of the 9/11 mosque and returned an award the ADL bestowed upon him. Zakaria has also opposed Iran sanctions and preached engagement towards the mullahs. His disclosure about taxpayer-funded construction of mosques was just an aside by him in his column.

The Washington Times fleshes out the story with more detailed facts and coverage of how our laws our being violated by taxpayer-funded construction of mosques. After all, wouldn't government dollars being used to build or restore churches elicit controversy. Left unwritten is that the Muslim world is awash in petrodollars that begs the question why American dollars should be sued for such a purpose. After all, aren't we facing challenging times here?

Why the double-standard for mosques?


The Washington Times has a column up reporting on the 9/11 Mosque Imam's taxpayer funded trip throughout the Middle East. There is a further revelation in the article. America has been funding the construction of mosques overseas (also covered at American Thinker):

Americans also may be surprised to learn that the United States has been an active participant in mosque construction projects overseas. In April, U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Alfonso E. Lenhardt helped cut the ribbon at the 12th-century Kizimkazi Mosque, which was refurbished with assistance from the United States under a program to preserve culturally significant buildings. The U.S. government also helped save the Amr Ebn El Aas Mosque in Cairo, which dates back to 642. The mosque's namesake was the Muslim conqueror of Christian Egypt, who built the structure on the site where he had pitched his tent before doing battle with the country's Byzantine rulers. For those who think the Ground Zero Mosque is an example of "Muslim triumphalism" glorifying conquest, the Amr Ebn El Aas Mosque is an example of such a monument - and one paid for with U.S. taxpayer funds.

The mosques being rebuilt by the United States are used for religious worship, which raises important First Amendment questions. U.S. taxpayer money should not be used to preserve and promote Islam, even abroad. In July 2009, the Office of the Inspector General published an audit of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) faith-based and community initiatives that examined whether government funds were being used for religious activities. The auditors found that while USAID was funding some religious activities, officials were "uncertain of whether such uses of Agency funding violate Agency regulations or the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution" when balanced against foreign-policy objectives.

For example, our government rebuilt the Al Shuhada Mosque in Fallujah, Iraq, expecting such benefits as "stimulating the economy, enhancing a sense of pride in the community, reducing opposition to international relief organizations operating in Fallujah, and reducing incentives among young men to participate in violence or insurgent groups." But Section 205.1(d) of title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations prohibits USAID funds from being used for the rehabilitation of structures to the extent that those structures are used for "inherently religious activities." It is impossible to separate religion from a mosque; any such projects will necessarily support Islam.

This story first was brought to light by Fareed Zakaria, the Newsweek columnist who wrote the book, "The Post-American World" trumpeting the relative fall of America in power and prestige compared to other nations of the world (see this photo from 2008 thumb). Zakaria objected to the Anti-Defamation League's opposition to the building of the 9/11 mosque and returned an award the ADL bestowed upon him. Zakaria has also opposed Iran sanctions and preached engagement towards the mullahs. His disclosure about taxpayer-funded construction of mosques was just an aside by him in his column.

The Washington Times fleshes out the story with more detailed facts and coverage of how our laws our being violated by taxpayer-funded construction of mosques. After all, wouldn't government dollars being used to build or restore churches elicit controversy. Left unwritten is that the Muslim world is awash in petrodollars that begs the question why American dollars should be sued for such a purpose. After all, aren't we facing challenging times here?

Why the double-standard for mosques?


RECENT VIDEOS