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September 8, 2010

Irfan Al-Alawi on "Obama, the 'Ground Zero Mosque,' and the World's Muslims''

Topics: Political News and commentaries, Understanding Islam

Irfan Al-Alawi, of the Center for Islamic Pluralism (which appears to be an organization of genuinely moderate Muslims), offers a surprisingly critical, must-read, commentary on Barack Obama, the "Ground Zero" mosque, and the world's Muslims. In his interesting, highly informative, and insightful piece, Al-Alawi informs us that the media and politicians sympathetic to the GZ mosque have have incorrectly acclaimed the "spiritual leader" of the mosque plan, Feisal Abdul Rauf, a mystical Sufi and moderate cleric, whose admirers refer to him as "imam." But the truth is that Rauf possesses no recognized standing in the international Sufi network, and no known religious education that would justify him appointing himself an "imam.". Al-Alawi goes on to conclude that if Obama were a Muslim, he would merit criticism for making the situation of American Muslims worse, rather than better. And as shown by the deluded claims of Pakistani minister Durrani, Obama's improvised posturing distorts his image as an American leader, harming his own credibility.

Here's an excerpt to pique your interest.

Fear and distrust of Muslims have been stimulated in the American public by the proponents of the "Ground Zero mosque" undertaking, rather than by its critics. Opposition to the "Ground Zero mosque" should not imply a denial of religious freedom. The issue is not what rights Muslims possess in America (which are not seriously challenged), but the responsibility with which they are exercised. We are teaching in the UK and elsewhere in Western Europe that the first responsibility of Muslims is to secure good relations with non-Muslims in the communities where we live.

Media and politicians sympathetic to the concept have acclaimed the "spiritual leader" of the mosque plan, Feisal Abdul Rauf, as a mystical Sufi and moderate cleric, whose admirers refer to him as "imam." But Rauf possesses no recognized standing in the international Sufi network, and no known religious education that would justify him appointing himself an "imam."

Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris and one of Western Europe's leading traditional Muslim figures, has opposed the "Ground Zero mosque."

We, too, at the Center for Islamic Pluralism, oppose the spread of other oversized mosques that may be financed by radicals, as well as the Saudi obsession with massive architectural structures erected to replace important heritage sites. The clumsy attempts at pro-Muslim diplomacy by president Obama, in a parallel with the "Ground Zero mosque," complicate, rather than clarifying, these problems.

Recently, the proposal that Obama be named the global emir ul-mominin (commander of the faithful) and caliph was put forward by Pakistan's current State Minister for Industries, Ayatollah Durrani, as reported in that country's daily The Nation on September 2. Given that the U.S. is not a Muslim country, the suggestion ventures beyond the fanciful, and even the paper that publicized the idea, called it "a development that could be duly termed as one and only of its kind."

That U.S. president Barack Obama be considered the caliph (khalifa), or supreme commander of the faithful, over the world's Muslims is but one unintended consequence of Obama's misconceived and awkward attempts to win favor at exploiting his Muslim cultural background - although he adheres to Christianity - by seeking to flatter Muslims, presumably to create a new relationship between the U.S. and the Muslim lands.

Take the time to read it all ...

It's pieces like this that make me wonder why we don't hear more from and about Muslims like the folks at the Center for Islamic Pluralism and Zuhdi Jasser and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy from our politicians and the media?

Suggested reading: Salim Mansur: Ground Zero Mosque really about pushing Shariah law

Posted by Abdul at September 8, 2010 3:12 PM



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