Imam Rauf's insidious rhetoric

Joel Mowbray writing about the words of Imam Rauf in the Washington Times:

While there is no evidence to suggest he has ever explicitly encouraged violence, he has uttered potentially more insidious rhetoric. Mr. Rauf in 2005 reportedly told a largely Islamic audience in Australia that the United States had more Muslim blood on its hands than "al Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims."His defenders note that the imam was referring to the United Nations-approved sanctions levied against the Saddam Hussein regime following the first Gulf War. This actually puts his argument directly in line with the rationales articulated by the likes of shoe bomber Richard Reid, East Africa embassies bomber Mohammed Al-Owhali, and Osama bin Laden - all of whom cited the Iraqi sanctions as a primary justification for attacking the United States.

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, Mr. Rauf could have been a beacon shining light to expose the Big Lie that the United States is the enemy of the Islamic world. Instead, he told "60 Minutes" that U.S. foreign policy was "an accessory to the crime."

Although it is undoubtedly true thatthe United States made many grave mistakes - most pointedly, the decision not to oppose actively Taliban rule in the late 1990s - Mr. Rauf had to know that the best path to combat terrorism would have been for him to squarely attack the false narrative of Islamic victimization.

So even as he officially condemned the Sept. 11 attacks, his wordscould easily have been seen as implying that the 19 terrorists were nonetheless acting in self-defense for the broader Muslim world.

This is a continuing problem in some people's efforts to embrace "moderate" Muslims. They come armed to any dialogue with a perception so skewed against reality that making a statement blaming the victims for 9/11 - an irrational and unjustifiable position in our eyes - is simply reflecting a majority opinion in the "moderate" Muslim world and therefore seen as perfectly normal by Muslims like Rauf.

Is it because so-called moderates are unable to deal with the idea that extremists in their midst take comfort from words such as those uttered by Rauf and others? I think denial is certainly part of this disconnect and it is being fed and nurtured by the western press and other apologists who themselves, are unable to come to terms with the nature of our enemy.

Rauf knows that some of his opinions are controversial which is why he says one thing to western audiences and the opposite to Muslims. In this, he is media savvy and knows which buttons to push  - guilt, shame, appeals to "tolerance" - to get liberals in the west on his side. 

Until the "moderates" in the Muslim world adopt a more realistic and rational worldview, they will continue to echo the rhetoric used to justify violence against the west - albeit in a kinder and gentler manner.



Joel Mowbray writing about the words of Imam Rauf in the Washington Times:

While there is no evidence to suggest he has ever explicitly encouraged violence, he has uttered potentially more insidious rhetoric. Mr. Rauf in 2005 reportedly told a largely Islamic audience in Australia that the United States had more Muslim blood on its hands than "al Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims."

His defenders note that the imam was referring to the United Nations-approved sanctions levied against the Saddam Hussein regime following the first Gulf War. This actually puts his argument directly in line with the rationales articulated by the likes of shoe bomber Richard Reid, East Africa embassies bomber Mohammed Al-Owhali, and Osama bin Laden - all of whom cited the Iraqi sanctions as a primary justification for attacking the United States.

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, Mr. Rauf could have been a beacon shining light to expose the Big Lie that the United States is the enemy of the Islamic world. Instead, he told "60 Minutes" that U.S. foreign policy was "an accessory to the crime."

Although it is undoubtedly true thatthe United States made many grave mistakes - most pointedly, the decision not to oppose actively Taliban rule in the late 1990s - Mr. Rauf had to know that the best path to combat terrorism would have been for him to squarely attack the false narrative of Islamic victimization.

So even as he officially condemned the Sept. 11 attacks, his wordscould easily have been seen as implying that the 19 terrorists were nonetheless acting in self-defense for the broader Muslim world.

This is a continuing problem in some people's efforts to embrace "moderate" Muslims. They come armed to any dialogue with a perception so skewed against reality that making a statement blaming the victims for 9/11 - an irrational and unjustifiable position in our eyes - is simply reflecting a majority opinion in the "moderate" Muslim world and therefore seen as perfectly normal by Muslims like Rauf.

Is it because so-called moderates are unable to deal with the idea that extremists in their midst take comfort from words such as those uttered by Rauf and others? I think denial is certainly part of this disconnect and it is being fed and nurtured by the western press and other apologists who themselves, are unable to come to terms with the nature of our enemy.

Rauf knows that some of his opinions are controversial which is why he says one thing to western audiences and the opposite to Muslims. In this, he is media savvy and knows which buttons to push  - guilt, shame, appeals to "tolerance" - to get liberals in the west on his side. 

Until the "moderates" in the Muslim world adopt a more realistic and rational worldview, they will continue to echo the rhetoric used to justify violence against the west - albeit in a kinder and gentler manner.



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