There has been some buzz going around in regards to Steve Emerson supposedly having in his possession audio tapes that are to be the smoking gun proof positive that Imam Rauf is not the so-called “moderate” Muslim he portrays himself to be, but rather a closet radical Islamist and terrorist sympathizer/supporter.
The audio hasn’t been released yet, nor the context, but from the sounds of it….the context won’t matter a whole lot:
Steve Emerson has unearthed 13 hours of audio tape of Imam Rauf. Emerson and his team of investigators has spent the past four weeks going through the newly found material. Rauf is a “radical extremist cleric who cloaks himself in sheep’s clothing.”
Among the shocking revelations Emerson’s team will reveal next week — they found Rauf:
Defending wahhabism – a puritanical version of Islam that governs Saudi Arabia
Calling for the elimination of Israel by claiming a one-nation state, meaning no more Jewish State.
Defending Bin Laden’s violence
So…um….when do we get to listen to the tapes?
So far, we really only have Emerson’s word on it along with a few teaser clips, that these tapes are damning proof of Rauf’s “radical” beliefs. But if they are anything like other statements Rauf is already known to have made (like his 60 Minutes interview) which his critics already regard as evidence that Rauf is not a peaceful, moderate Muslim, then I will be colored unimpressed.
What I am curious to hear should these audio tapes be released, is not just the sensationalism of the snippet soundbytes, but the entire context of the speech in which the statements are taken from.
QUESTION: Imam Rauf. There has been some reporting today about – and some recordings of comments he had in 2005 saying that the U.S. Government has more blood on its hands of innocent Muslims than al-Qaida has of innocents. Do you have any reaction to that? And is that the type of outreach that – the type of person you would be sending for outreach to Muslim countries?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, first of all, let me say that Imam Feisal has arrived in Doha, Qatar from Bahrain. He will be giving remarks and attending a traditional event of handing out gifts and treats to children at the Doha Youth Center. He has another – a full range of other private events that include a lecture at a university, meetings with government officials, meetings with NGOs, participants in Iftars, and participation in services at mosques and Ramadan activities.
Imam Feisal is a distinguished cleric in this country, and I will let him discuss remarks that he’s made. We are aware of those remarks. I would just caution any of you that choose to writing – write on this, that once again, you have a case where a blogger has pulled out one passage from a very lengthy speech. If you read the entire speech, you will discover exactly why we think he is rightfully participating in this international speaking tour.
QUESTION: Is he the Muslim Shirley Sherrod?
MR. CROWLEY: That’s a good cautionary tale for everybody.
Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy points out that we can already examine the full context of Rauf’s 2005 remarks:
The University of South Australia’s Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre has the full transcript and full audio recording of Rauf’s 2005 remarks. Here are some excerpts not posted by the Atlas Shrugs blog:
On the bonds between Islam and Judeo Christianity:
We are united with Christians and Jews in terms of our belief in one God. In the tradition of the prophets. In our tradition of scriptures. The Jewish prophets, Jesus Christ and John the Baptist and Mary are in fact religious personalities and prophets of the Islamic faith as well…
From the point of view of Islamic theology, Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic history, the vast majority of Islamic history, it has been shaped or defined by a notion of multiculturalism and multireligiosity, if you might use that term. From the very beginning of Islamic history Islam created space for Christians of various persuasions, of Jews and even of Muslims of different schools of thought within the fabric of society.
On religious freedom:
A necessary part of this is to embrace and to welcome and to invite the religious voices in the public square, in the public debate, on how to build a good society. So multiculturalism, in my judgment, involves not only differences of culture and ethnicity but also multireligiosity, and that’s where the challenge and the rub comes in for many because there is a perception that multireligiosity must mean the potential conflict between different religious voices in the public square. I, for one, believe that that is not in fact the case.
On religious tolerance:[O]ur law, our sense of justice, our articulation of justice, must flow from these two commandments of loving our God and loving our neighbour, and if we are not sure of how to articulate the love of God in the public square we certainly can allow each person and each group of each religious group to choose to love God in the vernacular and in the liturgy that it chooses and it prefers, but it gives us a broad basis of agreement on which we can love our fellow human beings and this, I suggest, is the mandate that lies before us today as we embark on this 21st Century and is the mandate and the homework assignment that lies ahead of us.
On Islam and terrorism:
The broader community is in fact criticising and condemning actions of terrorism that are being done in the name of Islam… What complicates the discussion, intra-Islamically, is the fact that the West has not been cognisant and has not addressed the issues of its own contribution to much injustice in the Arab and Muslim world. It is a difficult subject to discuss with Western audiences but it is one that must be pointed out and must be raised.
Acts like the London bombing are completely against Islamic law. Suicide bombing, completely against Islamic law, completely, 100 per cent. But the facts of the matter is that people, I have discovered, are more motivated by emotion than by logic. If their emotions are in one place and their logic is behind, their emotions will drive their decisions more often than not, and therefore we need to address the emotional state of people and the extent to which those emotions are shaped by things that we can control and we can shape, this is how we will shape a better future.
As I’ve said before, Rauf’s statements on Sharia, 9/11 “blame”, and all the other supposed “gotcha” quotes, are not evidence of supposed “radical beliefs” of Islamist anti-Americanism and terrorist ties, but are rather very much mainstream political beliefs; one shared by many an anti-war pacifist, liberal multiculturalist, and even some isolationist/non-interventionist Paul Bearers coming from the right in criticizing American foreign policy:
What Rauf has been “caught” saying thus far is hardly alarmist beliefs. If you never saw his name associated with the sentence(s), you could just as well see a pacifist multiculturalist liberal or an isolationist/non-interventionist conservative echo the same type of criticism of the United States on foreign policy, “creating more terrorists”, “propping up dictatorships”, etc. How is his historical opinion on Hiroshima and Dresden any different than one held by an anti-war pacifist? How many of them also blame the U.S. for sanctions rather than Saddam that led to “the death of half a million Iraqi children”? During the 1st Gulf War, we intentionally destroyed the Iraqi water supply and then denied Iraqis materials needed to rebuild the supply and purify the water system. Thousands were denied clean water and waterborne illnesses became epidemic. According to the WHO and Unicef reports, over a million Iraqis died as a result, half of which were Iraqi children under 5 yrs old. I hold Saddam accountable. According to Islamic law, poisoning the water supply amounts to terrorism; and killing civilians and children in warfare is strictly forbidden (in the views of “moderates” and “peaceful” Muslims who do condemn terrorism from those they say “hijack their religion”). It’s why al Qaeda has to look to Qutb and Taymiyyah to find justification for acts of terrorism that is condemned by most of the Islamic world.
I look forward to the release of the Emerson tapes…..as well as hearing the full context of any cherry-picked quotes. If he does support Islamic terrorism, then we should all want to know about it.
I believe that the attempt to tie Rauf to Islamic radicalism is a side issue, anyway. Because I think most of those who have been opposed to Park51/Cordoba House from the very beginning before anything about Imam Rauf “came to light” or came to distortion, would be opposed irregardless of whether or not Rauf is “moderate” or radical. Peaceful or extremist. Proving him to have radical ties to Islamic terrorism, however, would make those who take offense to charges of Islamophobia feel better about themselves for their opposition to the Project, in the pretense that they make the distinction between the al Qaeda network and affiliates (those who are at war with us) and Islam itself (which is not).
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.