Tag Archive for Park51

Open Letter to Brahim Zaibat from House Arabs and Muslims

A bunch of House Arabs and House Muslims wrote the following open letter to Brahim Zaibat, who until recently was Madonna’s “boytoy.” OK, they didn’t really write this, but they might as well could have, considering their strong desire to grovel to the US mainstream while the US rains death and destruction on innocent populations.

Dear Brahim,
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatu Allah. We are US-based Arab and Muslim organizations. We implore you to reconsider your recent decision to break up with pop star Madonna. Madonna is more famous than fame and you’re the first Arab Muslim to enjoy an intimate relationship with her. Are you out of your mind? Do you have any idea what’s at stake here?

Madonna does interfaith

Your behavior reflects poorly on all Arabs and Muslims. You make it look as if Islam is incongruent with Kabbalah and Judaism generally. We will have a hard time explaining your behavior to Zionists at upcoming interfaith dialogue meetings. Many of us have lost sleep contemplating how embarrassing it will be. We just got done swearing to them how happy we are about Osama Bin Laden’s death, then you came along and ruined everything. Now we’re back to square one, proving we’re a tolerant, peaceful bunch, no thanks to you. (Palestine is not discussed at these meetings, in case you were wondering).

Your relationship with Madonna had been the best thing for our image since Rima Fakih. You’re the first Arab Muslim to share a stage with the queen of pop. We couldn’t have dreamed of a more distinctive privilege. Do you know how many deaths your picture dancing alongside Madonna has prevented? When reminded of your relationship with Madonna, which proves our humanity, many a drone attack has been called off and many Arabs and Muslims have been removed off no-fly lists.
As you may know, Madonna is a staunch supporter of Israel. If you rejoin hands with her, you may change her mind to support the creation of a Palestinian state on a whopping 22% of historic Palestine. Do you understand now the kind of serious responsibility you owe the ummah?
In case you had pangs of conscience about dancing with the Material Girl or thought it may be inconsistent with Islam, rest assured that our own in-house sheikhs have issued a fatwa specifically allowing any and all behavior, from participating in beauty pageants to serving in the US Army and occupying Arab and majority-Muslim countries, as long as the end-result is assimilation into the US mainstream.
If you insist that you no longer want to be Madonna’s boytoy, could you at least talk her into considering any ADC intern as a replacement? They’ve got a lot of training dancing to the tunes of war played by the Republican and Democratic Parties.
Sincerely,
CAIR, ADC, AAI, Park51, ATFP, CAIR and ISNA

 

The statement House Arabs and House Muslims Never Released about OBL

We are US-based Arab and Muslim organizations. We feel a compelling obligation to explain to our fellow Americans the meaning of the US killing of Osama bin Laden.

We take this opportunity to revisit the inconvenient fact that Osama Bin Laden and the Mujahideen were funded and supported by the US to fight the USSR in Afghanistan in the eighties. We recall that Ronald Reagan had called the Mujahideen “freedom fighters” when their interests coincided with the US’s. We remind ourselves that “Between 1978 and 1992, the US government poured at least US$6 billion (some estimates range as high as $20 billion) worth of arms, training and funds to prop up the mujaheddin factions.”

We note that the Mujahideen aligned themselves with the US, convincing themselves of the “lesser of two evils” argument. We recall that Zbigniew Brzezinski said:

The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.

We learn an important lesson from this history and note that collaboration with the US is an immoral and counterproductive effort. Collaboration does not shield one from US persecution, neither is it a smart “strategy.” Aligning with powerful empires is foolish and self-defeating. The logic of House Muslims (or “House Negroes” as Malcolm X called the collaborators of his era) is short-sighted and idiotic.

We abhor the subtext of President Obama and Secretary Clinton‘s remarks, implying that the lives of millions of Afghanis, Iraqis and Pakistanis were worth somehow sacrificing in order to locate one ex-“freedom fighter” (as per Reagan’s words). Indeed, the President and Secretary of State did not even pay lip service to the countless lives devastated, weddings bombarded, children orphaned, spouses widowed, natural resources stolen. We condemn the hypocrisy of Secretary Clinton, who feigned concern for “innocent people” who were killed by OBL but not the innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq for whose death she caused as Senator then as Secretary of State, or the innocent people in Palestine and Lebanon whose death by Israeli warplanes she supported. We cannot expect Obama and Clinton to apologize for the war crimes the US committed in pursuit of OBL, as it is not in empires’ nature to condemn themselves.

We are still haunted by the images of our sisters and brothers tortured in Abu Ghraib. The stench of scores of corpses from years of war, occupations and sanctions still fills the air. The emotional trauma of drones still terrorizes children. The dreary, bleak future facing millions of displaced Afghani and Iraqi refugees still shakes our conscience. White phosphorus and depleted uranium’s effects on public health and the environment will last for generations to come. That the US eliminated one of its ex-agents and claimed it was not waging war on Islam while war criminals continue to hold power in Washington and Tel Aviv offers us no relief.

We regret having spent the last decade begging for approval from the US mainstream, inviting US politicians to our conventions, having Ramadan iftars in the White House and embarrassing ourselves in a myriad of other ways. Now that OBL is finally dead, we look forward to freeing up the time we’d spent assuring everyone of our patriotism and swearing on the Qur’an that OBL did not represent us. We will no longer construct our discourse to sooth islamophobes’ racist anxieties. We will spend no more time emphasizing that OBL didn’t represent us than Christians assert that Obama, Clinton, Bush and Blair do not represent Christianity.

Instead, we will work on more urgent matters than pursuing the material comforts of the American dream, such as ending the occupation of Afghanistan, ending the occupation of Iraq, boycotting and dismantling “Israel,” closing Guantanamo, restoring civil liberties, ending US hegemony and racism.

Signed,

American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee, Arab American Institute, American Task Force for Palestine, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Park51

Abdul Rauf: The Empire’s Muslim Arm

Feisal Abdul Rauf rebutting 5 myths on Islam (or attempting to):

“Currently, there are two Muslim members of Congress and thousands of Muslims on active duty in the armed forces. Sure, some Muslim soldiers may have been born elsewhere, but if you wear the uniform of the United States and are willing to die for this country, can you be really be considered a foreigner?”

Really, Abdul Rauf? That’s the best argument you can present against islamophobia, that Muslims serve in US imperialist wars against other Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq? If you are too spineless to oppose imperialist wars on innocent populations, first ikhras then do yourself the favor of retiring from public life.

Related articles:

Park51 Imam: “I am a supporter of the state of Israel.”

Park51 Serving Intended House Function

What the Muslim-American Establishment Fights for

 

 

Make up your mind, Park51

A couple of days ago we were amused to see Park51 discuss its leadership while the revolt raged in Egypt. When we criticized their silence, their response was:

Park51 seemed to have some form of temporary amnesia. We reminded them that they are in fact a very political organization. Their Imam Abdul Rauf explicitly stated that he supported Israel. His wife Daisy Khan appeared proud during a NYT that she had a relative in the military. Abdul Rauf went on diplomatic missions in middle eastern countries, representing the Department of State.

The interesting trend we’re seeing among House Arabs and House Muslims in reaction to the revolution in Egypt, is one of frantic damage control. Instead of shutting up, as we repeatedly encourage them to do, they are trying to join the party and pretending they’ve been opposing Arab dictators all along. Park51 just said 48 hours ago in response to our questioning why they had nothing to say against Mubarak:

Today Park51 finally joined the bandwagon and chimed in on Christian-Muslim solidarity in facing the police.

Too little, too late.

Related articles:

Park51 Imam: “I am a supporter of the state of Israel.”

What the Muslim-American Establishment Fights For

Park51 Serving Intended House Function

Eboo Patel, get over Mayor Bloomberg already

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has:

  1. Supported Israel’s war on Gaza;
  2. Demanded the resignation, which resulted in the firing, of Debbie Almontaser from leadership of the Khalil Gibran International Academy. The EEOC found that the New York Board of Education violated her civil rights and owed her $300,000 in damages;
  3. Defended Terry Jones planned burning of the Qur’an;
  4. Supported the war on Iraq
  5. Supported George W. Bush after his criminal invasion of Iraq and addressed the Republican National Convention in 2004.

In what must be either militant etiquette or opportunistic collaboration with the empire, some Muslims are willing to ignore all the above just so they could thank Bloomberg for stating that the First Amendment applies in the context of Park51. Eboo Patel wrote:

Every time the forces of intolerance made a move to marginalize Muslims, the forces of inclusion in America rose up to defend us. In the process, Muslims learned that we have some pretty unlikely allies … There were prominent Jewish figures like Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who made an impassioned call for a canopy of religious tolerance that extends over every geographic area of New York City and includes all its diverse communities.

Ikhras strongly urges Eboo Patel to stop feeling flattered by Bloomberg’s awareness of the First Amendment and to think about this quote by Malcolm X: “I can’t turn around without hearing about some ‘civil rights advance’! White people seem to think the black man ought to be shouting ‘hallelujah’! Four hundred years the white man has had his foot-long knife in the black man’s back – and now the white man starts to wiggle the knife out, maybe six inches! The black man’s supposed to be grateful? Why, if the white man jerked the knife out, it’s still going to leave a scar!”

Of course, Eboo Patel may not believe that quote is applicable at all to Muslims since he indicates in the same article that Muslims don’t have it that bad. That could be true if one leaves the Muslim victims of US foreign policy out of the analysis. This distancing between Muslims here in America and there in occupied countries reflects the odious stance many Muslim Americans have come to embrace, the idea that Muslim Americans and their pursuit of the American dream are more important than the lives of Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and other countries in the grip of US empire. It follows from this thinking, for example, that Mayor Bloomberg’s support of Park51 is more important than his disregard for the lives and livelihoods of Gazans. It is illogical that the US could really respect American Muslims significantly more than it respects Abu Ghraib detainees, victims of drone attacks in Pakistan and Palestinians whose flesh burned with white phosphorus. This line of politics is immoral and ultimately self-defeating.

Interfaith dialogue is admirable and necessary, but meaningless and harmful if void of addressing the political issues of the day. Interfaith dialogue that fails to confront Zionism and imperialism, and it almost never does when carried out by House Muslims, is akin to interracial dialogue that fails to address white supremacy or the Klan, for example. As Faris Giacaman eloquently stated in the Electronic Intifada “when it comes to cases of colonialism, apartheid, and oppression, there is no such thing as ‘balance.’ The oppressor society, by and large, will not give up its privileges without pressure” – pressure which House Muslims, by definition, fail to apply. We don’t need that kind of interfaith dialogue, and Eboo Patel may want to consider connecting to other faiths in a way that doesn’t do the anti-colonial cause disservice.

Ibish: Sufism is “squishy”

Hussein Ibish appeared on O’ Reilly and revealed to us just how shallow his knowledge of Islam and Arabs is.

First, Ibish called Park51’s imam “Imam Feisal Ahmad Al-Rauf.” Though Ibish claimed he’d been “watching this guy for a while,” apparently he hasn’t been following him closely enough to know his name is actually Feisal Abdul Rauf (1:28 minutes into the video).

Ibish didn’t need to follow him that closely to know the imam’s correct name. Ibish knows so little about Islam and Arabs that he doesn’t know that there’s no such name as Ahmad Al-Rauf. Rauf, like Rahman and Aziz and Qadir, is one of God’s 99 names. It’s very common to name males one of these names preceded by Abd, which means servant, hence Abdul Rauf, Abdul Rahman, Abdul Aziz, Abdul Qadir.

“Ahmad Al-Rauf,” on the other hand, is a new syntactical rule Ibish added to the Arabic language. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he tripped because was nervous about speaking on national TV. Presumably he must have adequate knowledge of Arabic to be invited to speak on Fox as an expert on these matters.

Then he goes on to blame the victim for the project’s failure. Rather than stating the backlash resulted from anti-Muslim racism, he blamed the mosque’s leadership for failure to present the idea to the American people in an understandable way, failure to clearly condemn jihad, failure to communicate to middle America.

The amusing part was Ibish’s definition of Sufism. There are two things to know about Sufism: 1) it’s spiritual and mystical; 2) it’s “squishy” (at 3:49).

Ibish, do us a favor and take Islam 101 before you discuss it on national television.

Quit thanking Zionists for “tolerating” you already!

One good thing that has come out of the Park51 controversy is that it has showed us just how desperately certain Arab/Muslim-Americans will plead for approval. A politician could give unconditional support for Israel and the US occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq and still get House Arabs’ and House Muslims’ gratitude as long as s/he supports Park51.

Zogby’s position of Chairman of National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Council must be really important if earning it entails writing lovingly about Zionist, war-mongering politicians:

In the midst of the hysteria that some have created over plans to build an Islamic Community Center in lower Manhattan, comes this powerful statement from Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). In the calm and thoughtful way that is his style, Sen. Durbin reminds us all of what is at stake in this debate: the values of freedom and tolerance that have made America a refuge for millions of immigrants. His story is the quintessential American story that must never be forgotten

Thank Tolerant War Criminals

Park51 continues to serve its house function; leading Muslims away from the urgent priorities of opposing the occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine and shifting Muslims’ attention to pleading for recognition from the empire and expressing gratitude for its acknowledgement of their legal rights. A number of recent examples on how the Arab-American and Muslim-American “leadership” encourages the Arab and Muslim communities to ignore Zionist politicians’ war crimes and thank them for consenting the establishment of an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan.

Arab American Institute grateful to Dubya’s administration

James Zogby’s one-man outfit, the Arab American Institute, praises members of the criminal administration of George W. Bush.  Afghanistan destroyed, over a million dead Iraqis, 4 million displaced, unflinching support for Israel throughout the second intifada and the Gaza massacre, yet the AAI praises them for “repudiating anti-Muslim rhetoric” instead of working to send them to the Hague.

Muslim Public Affairs Council flattered for acknowledgement of constitutional rights

MPAC is very grateful to Obama and Bloomberg’s “visionary and principled leadership” for supporting “religious freedom.” They are deeply indebted to Bloomberg and Obama for recognizing the US Constitution applies to Muslims.  Obama’s continued bombing of Afghan civilians and Bloomberg’s fanatical support for Israel should be ignored. Afghanis certainly understand that New York City, scarce in prayer locations, needs a Muslim community center. Future politicians can learn from this that the easiest way to shield yourself from accountability for butchering Muslims, the best way to eliminate opposition from the Muslim-American community, is to simply affirm the constitutionality of the obviously constitutional.

The ADC wants you to call and “thank voices of tolerance”

Many of these voices of “tolerance” are militant supporters of Israel’s crimes.  When you do call them, no mention of their support of the ongoing siege of Gaza should made.  It’s not important and it might upset them.  Naturally Michael Bloomberg is on the list. It’s not a bad deal. As long as you end up with a spot to pray in Lower Manhattan, you can ignore Bloomberg’s support of the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, which Haaretz documented:

Speaking at a press conference in Ashkelon, the Jewish mayor said that if he was the State of Israel, he would do anything to defend his residents, and they would expect no less from him.

Bloomberg added that New Yorkers have suffered from terror on only two occasions, but they knew all about it, and that since Ashkelon has been under attack every day since Israel left Gaza, it has the right to defend itself.

Stressing the deep ties with Israel, the mayor said that both US President George Bush and President-elect Barack Obama gave legitimacy for the Gaza operation.

Bloomberg continued to say that the situation in the region was one in which Hamas terrorists wished to destroy Israel, and at the same time were destroying Palestinians who are not interested in war.

Surely the people of Gaza can understand our need to support Mayor Bloomberg. What are 1,400 deaths compared to an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan?

Ray Hanania also wants to thank Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg’s support of Israel’s slaughtering of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing siege is a minor detail that should not deflect attention from his noble position on the Park 51 project according to this Arab-American comedian. Once again, Hanania’s politics are more laughable than his jokes.

Arab Americans, Muslims Americans nostalgic for George Bush

Bush would visit mosques and differentiate between terrorists and non-terrorist Muslims, although he killed a lot more of the latter than the former. A letter signed by Arab and Muslim Republicans stated:

As you know, our party has had a long history of inclusion – beginning with our great President Abraham Lincoln, whose leadership on the slavery issue was monumental, and continuing through President George W. Bush whose public statements and actions on the differentiation between Islam and the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11 were critically important. We are particularly proud to note that President Bush appointed more Arab Americans and Muslim Americans to his administration than any other president in U.S. history.

CAIR New York wants you to thank Mayor Bloomberg

If American Muslims continue to thank Mayor Bloomberg at this rate, he will have to expand his staff size and add at least one full time staffer (possibly even Muslim) to accept calls from Muslims expressing their gratitude.

Rima Fakih: The Beauty Pageant Scholar and The Arabs

Arabs were elated a short time ago; 24 year old Rima Fakih – the first Lebanese American, the first Arab American, the first Muslim, and the first immigrant to win the Miss USA title – Fakih seemingly established the foundation for ‘victory’ according to the acclimatized Arab community.

The tight-knit hamlet of Arabs, stemming from Egypt to England, were grinning from ear to ear and it is all thanks to what they called a “historic victory” in the curvaceous shape of an Arab woman.

Fakih, in keeping with the indiscretion of the inane online polity, paved the way for the Arabs – with her crown came the breaking of a new dawn, the coming of change. You can almost hear the animated sound of ululations once more.

In light of such an aberrant occasion Ms. Fakih once stated that her acquisition, embodied in the form of a beauty pageant, would exhibit that “…there are Arabs that are caring, that are good people, and who love the country they live in. I think it would make the Arab image a more positive one.” The mainstream view of the Arab people would be castrated, made void and questionable due to this bold achievement; Rima was evidently our one-way-ticket to adulation.

Arabs have certainly come a long way. From strategic achievements against the Roman Byzantine forces to creating the largest bowl of Hummus we now have Rima to add to our ever expanding list of ‘victories’.

Victory no longer means the redemption of our lands in spite of brutal foreign occupation, no, we are instead making it permissible to capture the soul of the Western military machine one high-heel at a time.

Recently Ms. Fakih has used her fundamentally nefarious platform to stigmatize Muslims; yes, who would have seen this coming?

In an interview with Inside Edition Fakih was asked about the “Ground Zero” Mosque – She stated that “…it shouldn’t be so close to the World Trade Center. We should be more concerned with the tragedy than religion.”

I assume Rima, who is now busy practicing for the ‘Miss Universe Pageant’, is not at all concerned about the thousands upon thousands of 9/11’s conducted, promoted and orchestrated by the United States of America; Her crown seems to be on a bit too tight.

And of course, the masses applaud her for not only being “beautiful” but for having an “…intelligent opinion about the Ground Zero Mosque.”, one comment reads.

Her beauty somehow makes it permissible to hold an opinion contrary to US Law and common sense.

But this is the overwhelming fulfillment praised by the Arabs; Rima Fakih’s vacuous accomplishment , which comes in the form of a misogynistic ‘beauty contest’, and the acclaim which the Arab populace has laced with the empty ‘victory’ has made me realize how far we have fallen as a people.

Victory is when we take back Al Aqsa. Victory is when we free our Iraqi mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of Western occupation. Victory is when we redeem every tear shed by those made orphans under Western imperialism.

Qais Nawwaf said it best:

In light of the US occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, I believe the main political objective of Arabs living in the west generally and the US specifically ought to be disruption of, and eventually putting a halt to, the war machine that has devastated and exhausted the lives of innocent millions. Arab-Americans are in an ideal position to demand this. They live in the belly of the beast, and they are in no need to be educated on the fundamentals of the realities of war and occupation, at least in comparison to the general American public the majority of which is frequently found unable to find Afghanistan and Iraq on a map. Arab and Muslim-Americans’ perpetual quest for acceptance, pursued with disregard for the responsibility of seriously opposing the wars and occupations, brings to mind Malcolm X’s statement addressing African-American involvement in opposing war on Congolese: “they’re able to take these hired killers, put them in American planes, with American bombs, and drop them on African villages, blowing to bits Black men, Black women, Black children, Black babies, and you Black people sitting over here cool like it doesn’t even involve you. You’re a fool. They’ll do it to them today, and do it to you tomorrow. Because you and I and they are all the same.”

Rima Fakih, regardless of her origin and her religious ties, is someone to be vehemently admonished. Muslims and nonMuslims should be rebuking all those who align themselves with xenophobia, Islamophobia and any individual who blatantly disregards religious/irreligious freedom.

Fakih may be a ‘beauty queen’ but her subjective ‘beauty’ only goes so far and it certainly does not make up for her other shortcoming, especially in terms of intellect and logic; she is using her platform to further promote the mainstream mantra – that Muslims are not to be accepted into society.

Fakih in Arabic means “scholar”, ironically; There is a phrase in my native Arabic – “Laysa Kul’i Fakih b Fakih” which translates as “Not every scholar is a scholar”. This rings most true, especially when applying it to Rima Fakih.

This is a special contribution to Ikhras by Ms. Roqayah Chamseddine, a Lebanese-American humanitarian activist. She is a an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science/Pre-Law and Journalism. She was a member of the Gaza Freedom March last December in Cairo.

Park51 Imam: “I am a supporter of the state of Israel.”

Two interesting items on Park51:

First, Professor As’ad Abu Khalil described Park51 as “a gesture intended to appease the mainstream culture.” We couldn’t agree more and we’ve presented a similar argument previously.

Second, Park51 imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s politics have been raising suspicion among the population the Department of State is trying to win over. The New York Times tells us that at a talk he gave in Cairo in February “some questioners were so suspicious that he felt the need to declare that he was not an American agent” because he called for acceptance of the West and normalization with Israel:

Muslims need to understand and soothe Americans who fear them, the imam said; they should be conciliatory, not judgmental, toward the West and Israel.

One inquisitive audience member remarked:

Wasn’t the United States financing the speaking tour that had brought the imam to Cairo because his message conveniently echoed United States interests?

One simply cannot serve two conflicting sides at the same time. The Times quotes Professor Omid Safi characterizing Abdul Rauf as not been outspoken enough on issues “‘near and dear to many Muslims,’ like United States policy on Israel and treatment of Muslims after 9/11.”

According to the Times article, Abdul Rauf subscribes to a Sufi interpretation of Islam. His interpretation of Islam or embrace of any religion or no religion for that matter, is irrelevant to us. What concerns us is the most troubling quote in that article, “I am a supporter of the state of Israel.” We’d argued that “the ground zero mosque will be a breeding ground for ikhras-worthy events”. We rest our case.

Check out our previous articles on Park51.

Park51 Serving Intended House Function

When we were brand new to the world of blogging, namely two months ago, we expressed our frustration with the mainstream Muslim-American community’s misplaced enthusiasm for the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. The media has been rife with coverage of opposition to Park51 because it’s perceived as a triumph for militant Islamism and disrespect for the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Encouraged to “refudiate,” some Muslims have also opposed it on the grounds that it is a “deliberate provocation, to thumb our noses at the infidel” and “rub salt in [Americans’] wounds and pretend they are applying a balm to sooth the pain.”

Ikhras had entirely different reasons for criticizing Park51. Here’s a quick rehash. On June 7, 2010 we wrote in What the Muslim-American Establishment Fights for:

How will the building of a mosque near Ground Zero alleviate the grief of 2 million Muslim families that have lost loved ones? How will it protect Muslims from the empire’s claws? What role will it play in defanging the US war machine? Will Abu Ghraib survivors’ psychological scars heal? Will this mosque help dispossessed Afghani and Iraqi refugees feel safe enough to return home?

Feisal Abdul Rauf: Department of State's Muslim spokesperson

We were concerned that the US would use Park51 as a “PR cover for its war of terrorism against Muslims” and that it would serve as a “distraction to keep Muslim Americans tied up in the perpetual task of chasing after acceptance in the US instead of engaging in the far more pressing priority of working to end the occupations to three majority-Muslim countries (Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine).”

 More importantly for purposes of this article, we predicted that:

the ground zero mosque will be a breeding ground for ikhras-worthy events. Muslims will host US presidents, US National Security Advisers and other such war criminals there. Friday sermons will consistently fail to criticize US foreign policy. Muslim-American soldiers will pray there before getting deployed to participate in the empire’s crimes abroad. Groups like “Seeds of Peace” will use the mosque as a site to engage in useless negotiations between Zionists and Palestinians. The FBI and DHS will hold sessions to learn “Muslim culture” to look more politically correct when detaining and deporting Muslims.

Our speculation, sadly, is finding support. Feisal Abdul Rauf, the center’s imam, has been actively engaged in enhancing the US’s image as some kind of US ambassador to Muslims.

the US state department flew Rauf to Saudi Arabia this week to promote America by telling audiences “what it’s like to practise Islam under our regime of religious freedom and equality”.

 At a press conference earlier this week, the Department of State explained the purpose of its Abdul Rauf’s propaganda trip. Straight from the DOS’s website:

He will be traveling to the region at the end of this week starting, as I recall, in Bahrain, then Qatar, then the United Arab Emirates. He is participating – I think this is fourth trip – as part of an International Information Program. We have about 1,200 experts in a range of fields that travel on behalf of the United States every year. About 50 or so of those are religious figures. They come from every stripe. We have rabbis, imams, Protestants, Catholics who participate as part of our effort to promote religious tolerance and religious freedom around the world. The guidelines that we provide him – he is there to promote this kind of international dialogue. We have had conversations with the imam to make sure he understands that during these kinds of trips, he’s not to engage in any personal business. He understands that completely. But this is his fourth trip and we value his participation as a religious figure here in the United States who can help people overseas understand the role that religion plays in our society.

Damaged minaret in war-torn Iraq

It is no surprise that Imam Abdul Rauf’s itinerary includes countries like Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries, which are already staunch US allies. The man wouldn’t stand a chance trying to convince citizens of Kabul or Baghdad that the US is a tolerant, egalitarian entity.

We’re all for dialogue as long as the US boot is not on the neck of those it’s trying to “dialogue” with. Is Imam Abdul Rauf unaware of atrocities the US is committing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq? Has he no concept of decades-long US support for Israel throughout its colonial occupation of Palestine?

This is as ridiculous as a Vietnamese-American cleric flying around to give a good impression of the US around the time of the My Lai massacre. 

For a Muslim to ignore US atrocities and focus on the its supposed “regime of religious freedom and equality” is an expression of American arrogance. House Muslims, with their knowledge of English, their degrees from American universities, their spacious houses in the suburbs and their consumerist lifestyle, perceive their position on the empire’s sociopolitical ladder as more valuable than the lives of dispensable Muslims languishing in refugee camps. An Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan is more “cool” and worthy of advocacy than mosques in Afghanistan and Iraq the US has bombarded.

The House Muslim strives to be tolerated in the US. To convince himself that he is worthy to the slavemaster, he turns a blind eye to the Field Muslims’ suffering. The House Muslim tells himself the empire’s approval of Park51 redeems it to some extent. He thinks his efforts advocating for Park51 absolve him of the responsibility of resisting the wars.

The House Muslim’s throat-gripping fear of the US informs him that he has only two choices: accommodate the US to the point of collaboration with its war crimes or face its disapproval then its wrath. The House Muslim thinks he’s smart for adopting “strategies” that involve going along with the US’s agenda in the short term, which will mysteriously lead to serving Islam and Muslims’ interests in the long-term. America might even give rise to the long-awaited caliphate someday. But for now, it needs a Muslim face to explain away its war crimes, and House Muslims need to step up to the plate.

It’s remarkable how a single two-minute-long speech could succinctly explain this House phenomenon. The bedrock of Ikhras’ mission statement, we never get tired of referring to it as it never stops being relevant as long as there are oppressors and oppressed. As Malcolm X described the House Negro:

The house Negroes – they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good ’cause they ate his food — what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved their master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master’s house quicker than the master would. The house Negro, if the master said, “We got a good house here,” the house Negro would say, “Yeah, we got a good house here.” Whenever the master said “we,” he said “we.” That’s how you can tell a house Negro… the house Negro would look at you and say, “Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?”

Probably one positive use for Park51 will be that it will make our job at ikhras.com easier. A beacon for House Muslims, it will bring them out of the woodworks and brandish their House-related accomplishments in one convenient place for us to observe, expose and tell to Ikhras.

What the Muslim-American Establishment Fights For

If I may sound so callous, allow me to admit that I don’t really care about recent approval of building a mosque near Ground Zero (that’s New York’s ground zero for the purposes of this article, not Baghdad’s or Kabul’s). Aside that this step will anger islamophobes, which is always a good thing, I see nothing to celebrate.

I would be impressed if the mosques that were destroyed in Al-Lid and Palestine 48 were rebuilt for Nakba survivors to pray in, or if the mosques of Iraq that were destroyed during the US invasion and occupation were restored.  However, I fail to see the point of pouring much time and energy into gaining legal and political permits to build a mosque near the site of an event that happened on 9/11/2001, in retaliation for which around 2 million Muslims have been killed between Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan and other sites of the so-called war on terrorism. How will the building of a mosque near Ground Zero alleviate the grief of 2 million Muslim families that have lost loved ones? How will it protect Muslims from the empire’s claws? What role will it play in defanging the US war machine? Will Abu Ghraib survivors’ psychological scars heal? Will this mosque help dispossess Afghani and Iraqi refugees feel safe enough to return home?

Let’s examine what interests will be served. What will Muslims get out of the establishment of a mosque at ground zero? A place to pray at most. And it’s not like there was a shortage of mosques in New York. Indeed, one Muslim who advocated for the building of the mosques stated there were already 200 mosques in New York, so building one at ground zero won’t be a big deal. Any attempt to enhance political standing in the US discredits the entire mosque effort islamically, as the intention (niyyah) behind building a mosque or performing any deed should be made exclusively for pleasing God.

What will the US get out of the establishment of a mosque at ground zero?

1) A PR cover for its war of terrorism against Muslims. The US couldn’t possibly be islamophobic if it builds a mosque near ground zero, right? The best cover for intolerance and xenophobia is building a mosque at ground zero at a time when many Muslims still linger in Guantanamo, many millions live under military occupation, and many Americans approve of Arizona-style immigration enforcement.

2) An opportunity to spy on Muslim congregants. One of the projects sponsors has stated “We have worked to ensure that our mosques are not recruiting grounds for terrorists.” How can that possibly be accomplished without violations of civil liberties? Will people get interrogated about their politics on their way in to prayers? Will there be security cameras installed in the mosque? Will the imam’s Friday sermons be surveilled? Will congregants be required to submit personal data for “record-keeping” purposes? Will phonecalls going in and out of the mosque be monitored? Now that the Muslim American establishment feels indebted to the US for granting it land (it had stolen from Native Americans) to build a mosque on, can you picture Muslims refusing civil liberties intrusions in the name of security at such a sensitive location?

3) A distraction to keep Muslim Americans tied up in the perpetual task of chasing after acceptance in the US instead of engaging in the far more pressing priority of working to end the occupations of three majority-Muslim countries (Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine).

What more could the US ask for? I can’t see what the Tea Party and other islamophobes are fuming about.

Mark my words: the ground zero mosque will be a breeding ground for ikhras-worthy events. Muslims will host US presidents, US National Security Advisers and other such war criminals there. Friday sermons will consistently fail to criticize US foreign policy. Muslim-American soldiers will pray there before getting deployed to participate in the empire’s crimes abroad. Groups like “Seeds of Peace” will use the mosque as a site to engage in useless negotiations between Zionists and Palestinians. The FBI and DHS will hold sessions to learn “Muslim culture” to look more politically correct when detaining and deporting Muslims.

Incidentally, it is remarkable to note how victimized the citizens of the world’s only superpower feel; they’re viewing this event with the same sense of bitterness and irony with which Palestinians view the building of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum near the ruins of Deir Yasin, where a horrific massacre took place in 1948.

Contributed by Ikhras writer Kathim.