- “I’ve made it clear, Madam President, that the war against terrorism is not a war against Muslims, nor is it a war against Arabs. It’s a war against evil people who conduct crimes against innocent people.” — Remarks by President George W. Bush and President Megawati of Indonesia The Oval Office, Washington, D.C. September 19, 2001
- “Islam is a vibrant faith. Millions of our fellow citizens are Muslim. We respect the faith. We honor its traditions. Our enemy does not. Our enemy doesn’t follow the great traditions of Islam. They’ve hijacked a great religion.” – Remarks by President George W. Bush on U.S. Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan Presidential Hall, Dwight David Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, D.C. October 11, 2002
TPJ: It's kind of hard to be a bridge builder between two waring camps if you condemn one side versus the other. Did president Bush condemn all of the Sunni terrorists in Iraq? No, he worked with some of them to build bridges, which resulted in the successful "Sunni awakening" that helped "the surge" in Iraq be successful. In his book, "The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One (Oxford University Press, 2009), p 179" David Kilcullen argued that the surge was successful in large part because of that "Sunni awakening." The tribal revolt was arguably the most significant change in the Iraqi operating environment in several years. Kilcullen was General David Petraeus's counterinsurgency and troop adviser.
"I'm not a politician. I try to avoid the issues. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question...I'm a bridge builder. I define my work as a bridge builder. I do not want to be placed, nor do I accept to be placed in a position of being put in a position where I am the target of one side or another...
"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."
Besides, how could Imam Rauf be a supporter of Hezbollah when he's publicly said that he's a supporter of the state of Israel? Especially since one of the stated missions of Hezbollah is the elimination of the State of Israel!! He was simply stating that he doesn't want to be a pawn for either side because it would damage his credibility as a bridge builder and neutral party. It is illogical to make a claim otherwise simply because of his Islamic faith. Just because someone is Muslim doesn't mean they automatically support Hezbollah; the same is true of a Muslim if he chooses to not comment on Hezbollah at all. It might be a politically safe answer but lots of people take those positions, especially people in a religious position who wish to stay out of politics.
I turned on the Dylan Ratigan news show today (which is great by the way) and heard two interesting points on this matter that I hadn't considered before. While not all Republicans and Conservatives oppose this mosque, the ones who do are from a party that ironically believes strongly in supporting decisions made at the local, neighborhood, city and state level versus control of issues by the federal government. Yet this mosque has been approved by the local government!! They are also from a party that supposedly supports the rights of private property owners, which this Muslim cultural center happens to be!!
It's also telling to me that most local New Yorkers have no problem with this "mosque." Whereas the opposition increases outside the city. This isn't the first Muslim house of worship to exist in New York City either; there are several and one that's not very far from this proposed new one. So, if it's not about politicizing "Ground Zero" then why hasn't anyone said anything about those previous mosques? I think some of the confusion outside of the city stems from people thinking the mosque is directly next to the "Ground Zero" site. It is actually down the street and around a corner about half a block. This hysteria of "Us vs. Them" has got to simmer down in America or we'll end up in another civil war. A large faction within the right-wing parties in this country seem to have increasingly become hate mongers seeking to turn all Americans against Latinos, Muslims, Atheists, homosexuals and seemingly anyone who isn't white, male, Christian and rich. This narrow-mindedness has got to stop. And if they are spurring on these divisions out of political expediency then that's shameful because in the process they are tearing this nation apart at the seems.