The wrong enemy

THE WRONG ENEMY…. It’s still incredible to me that the right hopes to make Faisal Abdul Rauf a villain. Jeffrey Goldberg shares this anecdote today.

In 2003, Imam Rauf was invited to speak at a memorial service for Daniel Pearl, the journalist murdered by Islamist terrorists in Pakistan. The service was held at B’nai Jeshurun, a prominent synagogue in Manhattan, and in the audience was Judea Pearl, Daniel Pearl’s father. In his remarks, Rauf identified absolutely with Pearl, and identified himself absolutely with the ethical tradition of Judaism. “I am a Jew,” he said.

There are those who would argue that these represent mere words, chosen carefully to appease a potentially suspicious audience. I would argue something different: That any Muslim imam who stands before a Jewish congregation and says, “I am a Jew,” is placing his life in danger.

Remember, Islamists hate the people they consider apostates even more than they hate Christians and Jews. In other words, the man many commentators on the right assert is a terrorist-sympathizer placed himself in mortal peril in order to identify himself with Christians and Jews, and specifically with the most famous Jewish victim of Islamism.

In context, Rauf told attendees, “We are here to assert the Islamic conviction of the moral equivalency of our Abrahamic faiths. If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul Shma’ Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one, Mr. Pearl.”

This is, of course, also the same imam who partnered with the Bush/Cheney State Department on international diplomacy, the Bush/Cheney Justice Department on counter-terrorism, and has devoted his career to combating extremism.

He’s also the imam Fox News personalities have labeled a “radical,” and who Sean Hannity has suggested might need to be expelled from the United States.

I know August has become a time for nonsense, but the right-wing campaign against this Muslim American is really pushing the envelope.