Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nat Hentoff tells Speaker Pelosi: I Oppose the Ground Zero Mosque; Go Ahead, Call me a Bigot and Investigate my Funding

Nat Henthoff does not have what one would typically call right-wing credentials. He is an American historian, novelist, jazz and country music critic, and syndicated columnist for United Media and writes regularly on jazz and country music for The Wall Street Journal. Well, the Journal may be right-wing, but Hentoff also was a featured columnist for many years in The Village Voice, not exactly a flag-waving citadel of conservatism. Moreover, he has a well-earned reputation as an authority on the First Amendment and a defender of free expression and civil liberties. Yet here he is, in the Jewish World Review, siding with us red-neck bigots who oppose the location of a mosque and Islamic education and community center just blocks from Ground Zero.

Hentoff speaks truth to power, in New York City, in the personage of Mayor Bloomberg, and in Washington, D.C., to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, with this challenge:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg charges that opponents of Imam Rauf's mosque "should be ashamed of themselves" and are bigots.

Me, too, Mr. Mayor?

If you want to join Speaker Pelosi in investigating me, your honor, I'd be glad to oblige. I'm just doing my job as a reporter. I wish more reporters had gone beneath the shouting on both sides. There's another part of the First Amendment in addition to the free exercise of religion: The press is free to investigate the reasons for Imam Rauf's fixation on the 9/11 location of his mosque.

Here is one of reporter Henthoff's more startling revelations about Imam Rauf:
I would greatly appreciate it if Imam Rauf explained, maybe Pelosi will ask him, more fully what he meant in his 2004 book, "What's Right With Islam is What's Right With America." In it he declares: "American Constitution and system of governance uphold the core principles of Islamic law." Rauf says Sharia law is a core principle of Islamic law. Does that also include a core principle of our Constitution?

This 2004 book's title in the English-language edition yields to a different title for non-English-speaking readers in Malaysia, reports Andrew McCarthy ("Rauf's Dawa from the World Trade Center Rubble," nationalreview.com).

This alternate title in Malaysia brings us right back into the civil war here about the imam's mosque near Ground Zero: "A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11."

What does "dawa" mean? McCarthy explains: "Dawa, whether done from the rubble of the World Trade Center or elsewhere, is the missionary work by which Islam is spread. … The purpose of dawa, like the purpose of jihad, is to implement, spread, and defend Sharia. … through means other than violence and agents other than terrorists."


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