JERUSALEM – A scholar and charity head appointed to President Obama’s White House Fellowships Commission is closely tied to the Muslim leaders behind a proposed controversial Islamic cultural center to be built near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The White House fellow, Vartan Gregorian, is president of Carnegie Corp. of New York.
Gregorian also serves on the board of the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum. The museum is reportedly working with the American Society for Muslim Advancement, whose leaders are behind the mosque, to ensure the future museum will represent the voices of American Muslims.
“[The Sept. 11 museum will represent the] voices of American Muslims in particular, and it will honor members of other communities who came together in support and collaboration with the Muslim community on September 11 and its aftermath,” stated Daisy Khan, executive director of the society.
The future Sept. 11 museum’s oral historian, Jenny Pachucki, is collaborating with the society to ensure the perspective of American Muslims is woven into the overall experience of the museum, according to the museum’s blog.
Khan’s husband, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is the founder of the society as well as chairman of Cordoba Initiative, which is behind the proposed mosque to be built about two blocks from the area referred to as Ground Zero.
With Gregorian at its helm, Carnegie Corp. is at the top of the list of society supporters on the Islamic group’s website.
Carnegie is also listed as a funder of both of the society’s partner organizations, Search for Common Ground and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. Gregorian was a participant in the U.N. body’s first forum, as was Rauf.
Rauf is vice chairman on the board of the Interfaith Center of New York, which honored Gregorian at an awards dinner in 2008.
Gregorian, born in Tabriz, Iran, served for eight years as a president of the New York Public Library and was also president of Brown University. He is the author of “Islam: A Mosaic, Not A Monolith.”
A chapter of the book, “Islamism: Liberation Politics,” quotes Ayatollah Khomeini: “Islam does not conquer. Islam wants all countries to become Muslim, of themselves.” Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, is quoted stating it “is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its laws on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”
Gregorian himself recommends for Muslims a system he calls “theo-democracy,” which he defines as “a divine democratic government” that, according to the book review, “would have a limited popular sovereignty under the suzerainty of Allah.”
Rauf, meanwhile, has caused a stir with his proposed $100 million, 13-story Islamic cultural center and mosque near the corner of Park Place and West Broadway – about two blocks from Ground Zero.
Just last week, WND reported Rauf refused during a live radio interview to condemn violent jihad groups as terrorists. Rauf repeatedly refused on-air to affirm the U.S. designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization or call the Muslim Brotherhood extremists.
The Brotherhood openly seeks to spread Islam around the world, while Hamas is committed to Israel’s destruction and is responsible for scores of suicide bombings, shootings and rocket attacks aimed at Jewish civilian population centers.
During that interview, Rauf was also asked who he believes was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.
“There’s no doubt,” stated Rauf. “The general perception all over the world was it was created by people who were sympathetic to Osama bin Laden. Whether they were part of the killer group or not, these are details that need to be left to the law-enforcement experts.”
Rauf has been on record several times as blaming U.S. policies for the Sept. 11 attacks. He has been quoted refusing to admit Muslims carried out the attacks.
Referring to the Sept. 11 attacks, Rauf told CNN, “U.S. policies were an accessory to the crime that happened. We (the U.S.) have been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. Osama bin Laden was made in the USA.”
Madeline Brooks, a reporter who attended a sermon this year by Rauf, quoted the Islamic leader as stating “some people say it was Muslims who attacked on 9/11.”
Rauf’s 2004 book had two different titles – one in English and the second in Arabic. In the U.S., his book was called, ‘What’s right with America is what’s right with Islam.”
The same book, published in Arabic, bore the name, “The Call From the WTC Rubble: Islamic Da’wah From the Heart of America Post-9/11.”