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Amanpour’s Interview With ‘Imam’ Rauf

From the transcript for yesterday’s ‘This Week’ program on ABC News:

‘This Week’ Transcript: Goolsbee and Rauf

September 12, 2010 —

AMANPOUR: Tell me about your plans for the Islamic center. Are you going to keep it at Park 51, where you proposed?

RAUF: The decisions that I will make — that we will make — will be predicated on what is best for everybody.

AMANPOUR: How do you decide that?

RAUF: That’s been very difficult and very challenging, because, unfortunately, the — the discourse has been, to a certain extent, hijacked by the radicals.

The radicals on both sides, the radicals in the United States and the radicals in the Muslim world, feed off each other. And to a certain extent, the attention that they’ve been able to get by the media has even aggravated the problem.

And by “radicals in the United States” Mr. Rauf means the two thirds of Americans who oppose his mosque.

AMANPOUR: 71 percent of New Yorkers say it should be moved. What is your main reason for not wanting to move it?

RAUF: My major concern with moving it is that the headline in the Muslim world will be Islam is under attack in America, this will strengthen the radicals in the Muslim world, help their recruitment, this will put our people — our soldiers, our troops, our embassies, our citizens — under attack in the Muslim world and we have expanded and given and fueled terrorism.

AMANPOUR: Do you think that is a legitimate reason not to move it?

RAUF: It is an extremely important consideration.

It is an entirely fraudulent reason. Why simply cannot allow terrorists to determine what is build and where in our country.

AMANPOUR: People are saying that because you intimated that it would cause great anger in Muslim countries around the world, it could threaten the United States. And people are saying that you made a threat. Is that — was that your intention?

RAUF: I have never made a threat. I’ve never made a threat, never expressed a threat, never — I’ve never — I would never threaten violence ever, because I am a man of peace, dedicated to peace.

Similarly, no Muslims would ever threaten violence because it is a ‘religion of peace.’ If Mr. Rauf did not make a ‘threat’ then the word has no meaning.

We have two audiences. We have the American audience and we have the Muslim audience. And this issue has riveted the attention of the whole Muslim world. And whatever we do and whatever say and how we move and the discourse about it is being watched very, very closely. And if we make the wrong move, it will only expand and strengthen the voice of the radicals and the extremists.

If Muslims around the world watch the US so closely, why would the moving of this mosque convince them that Islam is under attack in America? Either they are watching closely and they know this is untrue, or they are not.

But, in either case, we say to hell with them. This is our country. We don’t run our business to please the Muslim world. If our troops are so vulnerable that we have to fear what we do within our own borders, than we need more troops.

AMANPOUR: Do you think you, in retrospect, should have done something different from the beginning? Did you do enough politicking, if you like, at a grassroots, local level to involve everybody in the community, including the 9/11 families?

RAUF: Well, we certainly had reached out. And this — this project was front page news in "The New York Times" last December. No one objected.

Again, this is simply a lie. Many people objected. Including this very site.

What has happened is that since May — five, six months later, for political reasons, certain politicians decided that this project would be very useful for their political ambitions.

AMANPOUR: Sarah Palin made a — a famous Tweet saying please reconsider, the feelings are too raw. What did you think about that?

Notice who introduced Sarah Palin into the discussion.

RAUF: I felt it disingenuous, to a certain extent. The fact of the matter is, A, this has been used for political purposes.

Who has politicized this mosque more than Mr. Rauf? In fact, why else did he want to build it, except for political purposes?

And, last time we checked, Sarah Palin was a private citizen. Is she not allowed to express her opinions?

And there’s growing Islamophobia in this country. How else would you describe the fact that mosques around the country are now being attacked?

This is yet another lie. And, worse yet, it is a lie that Mr. Rauf is telling to try to whip up the very Muslim reaction that he says he fears.

We are Americans, too. As — we are — we are treated and talked about today as if — as if American Mus — and Muslims are not Americans. We are Americans. We — we — we are — we are doctors. We are investment bankers. We are taxi drivers. We are store keepers. We are lawyers. We are — we are part of the fabric of America…

Mr. Rauf could have added, ‘we are slum lords, we are tax cheats.’

AMANPOUR: There’s a pastor, Pastor Jones in Florida. What would have happened if the pastor had gone ahead and burnt those Korans?

RAUF: It would have created a — a disaster in the Muslim world. It would have strengthened the radicals. It would have enhanced the possibility of terrorist acts against America and American interests

But since Pastor Jones did not burn any Korans we now have nothing further to worry about from the ‘Muslim world.’

AMANPOUR: Did you ever imagine that recommending or suggesting or buying a place so close to Ground Zero would cause this kind of controversy?


AMANPOUR: And if you thought it would have provoked this kind of controversy, what would you have done?

RAUF: I would never have done it. I’m a man of peace. I mean the whole — the whole objective of peace work is not to do something that would provoke controversy

Again, this is an obvious lie. As we have often noted, the location was purposefully chosen for its “icon status.” Mr. Rauf intended to be provocative.

AMANPOUR: Do you think Muslims feel more afraid today here in America than they did right after 9/11?

RAUF: the recent controversy, I think, has heightened the concern among Muslims, but we feel that there is a spike of — of — of Islamophobia which is reaching and perhaps even possibly exceeding what happened right after 9/11

What an outrageous things to say. Mr. Rauf is not just a liar, he would seem to be deranged. And he is doing everything in his power to incite the Muslim world.

And yet the State Department pays him to be a ‘goodwill ambassador.’

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, September 13th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

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