Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf
The New York Times has minimized the refusal of the controversial imam behind the Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero to condemn the Hamas terrorist organization.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, head of the Cordoba Initiative, which seeks to construct the proposed 13 story, $100 million center, repeatedly refused in a live radio interview to affirm the U.S. designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization or call the Muslim Brotherhood extremists.
Rauf was speaking in June with WND senior reporter Aaron Klein, who hosts a show on New York’s WABC Radio.
In an article entitled, “Parsing the record of Feisal Abdul Rauf,” the New York Times purports to present “a sampling of some of the most often quoted complaints” combined with counter claims by writings and statements from Rauf and his Cordoba Initiative.
Reports the Times: “Mr. Abdul Rauf is often described as having refused to call Hamas – the Palestinian group that pioneered suicide bombings in Israel, prevailed in Palestinian elections in 2006 and now controls the Gaza Strip – a terrorist organization.”
“On 77 WABC radio on June 18, the talk radio host Aaron Klein asked him, “Do you believe that the State Department is correct in designating Hamas as a terrorist organization?”
Listen to interview with Rauf:
The New York Times then selectively quotes from only a small section of Rauf’s interview with Klein.
“There ensued a long conversation with many interruptions, in which Mr. Abdul Rauf said:
“Well, I’m not a politician. … The issue of terrorism is a very complex question. … I am a bridge builder. My work is … I do not want to be placed nor will I accept a position where I am the target of one side or another. My attempt is to see a peace in Israel. … Targeting of civilians is wrong. It’s a sin in our religion, whoever does it. … I am a supporter of the State of Israel.”
The Times apparently implied a small section of Rauf’s interview with Klein is the sole basis for the claim the imam refused to condemn Hamas.
The Times did not report that during the same interview Klein asked Rauf three separate times for his views on Hamas, repeatedly asking Rauf to condemn the Palestinian organization.
Klein also pointed out in the interview that Hamas attacks have targeted civilians and asked Rauf again whether that makes Hamas a terrorist group.
Rauf stated: “The targeting of civilians is wrong. It is a sin in our religion. Whoever does it, targeting civilians is wrong. I am a supporter of the state of Israel. … I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary.”
Also unreported by the Times is that when Klein persisted in asking about Hamas, Rauf charged the radio host was “accus[ing] me of things. You are killing the messenger.”
“You are trying to bring down the person who is trying to build security between our country and our faith tradition,” said Rauf. “My urge to you. I have worked for the law-enforcement agencies.”
Klein interrupted, stating, “And yet you refuse to tell me Hamas is a terror organization.”
Meanwhile, the same New York Times piece implies Rauf does condemn Hamas.
The newspaper quotes a statement from the Cordoba Initiative website:
“Imam Feisal has always condemned terrorism (see his … hundreds of speeches). Hamas is both a political movement and a terrorist organization. Hamas commits atrocious acts of terror. Imam Feisal has forcefully and consistently condemned all forms of terrorism, including those committed by Hamas, as un-Islamic.”
The Times does not inform readers the statement was posted in direct response to public controversy surrounding Rauf’s interview with Klein in which the imam refused three times to condemn Hamas or classify the group as a terrorist organization.