A religion adviser to President Obama has close ties to the imam who wants to build a 13-story Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero.
The two have been documented together discussing America as “the ideal place for a renewal of Islam,” WND has learned.
In February, Obama named a Chicago Muslim, Eboo Patel, to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Patel is the founder and executive director of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, which says it promotes pluralism by teaming people of different faiths on service projects.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the controversial Muslim leader behind the plan to build the Islamic center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, wrote the afterword to Patel’s 2006 book, “Building the Interfaith Youth Movement: Beyond Dialogue to Action.”
Patel is listed as one of 15 “Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow” on the website for the American Society for Muslim Advancement, which is led by Rauf.
In Patel’s 2007 book, “Saving Each Other, Saving Ourselves,” he recounts discussing with Rauf the future of Islam in the U.S.
Rauf “understood the vision immediately and suggested that I visit him and his wife, Daisy Khan, at their home the following evening,” Patel recalled.
Khan founded the society with her husband and has aided him in his plans for the mosque near Ground Zero.
“The living room of their apartment on the Upper West Side was set up like a mosque, with prayer rugs stretched from wall to wall,” wrote Patel in his book.
Continued Patel: “I arrived at dusk, prayed the maghrib prayer with Daisy and Imam Feisal and then talked with them about how America, with its unique combination of religious devotion and religious diversity, was the ideal place for a renewal of Islam.”
“In the twentieth century, Catholicism and Judaism underwent profound transformations in America,” Rauf observed. “I think, this century, in America, Islam will do the same.”
Patel boasts of a “critical mass” of Muslims in the U.S.
“Islam is a religion that has always been revitalized by its migration,” he wrote. “America is a nation that has been constantly rejuvenated by immigrants. There is now a critical mass of Muslims in America.”
Patel last March wrote a Huffington Post piece referring to Obama’s former “green jobs” czar Van Jones as a “faith hero.”
“In my last post on Van, I called him an American patriot,” wrote Patel. “That is high praise in my book. But watching Van’s speech at the NAACP, I have another title for him, one that I reserve for the true giants of history. Van Jones is a faith hero.”
Jones resigned in September after it was exposed he founded a communist revolutionary organization and signed a statement that accused the Bush administration of possible involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks. Jones also called for “resistance” against the U.S.
Jones previously stated his advocacy for green jobs was part of a broader movement to destroy the U.S. capitalist system.
WND reported that one day after the Sept. 11 attacks, Jones led a vigil that expressed solidarity with Arab and Muslim Americans as well as what he called the victims of “U.S. imperialism” around the world.
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.
Rauf sparked controversy earlier this month when he refused during a live radio interview to condemn violent jihad groups as terrorists. Rauf repeatedly refused on the 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 the 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 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 Sept. 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–Sept. 11.”
With research by Brenda J. Elliott