“We are deeply concerned, because this is like a metastasized antisemitism,” said Daisy Khan, who is spearheading the project with her husband, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. “It’s beyond Islamophobia. It’s hate of Muslims.” – Mosque Planner Says Opposition Goes ‘Beyond Islamophobia’
Even if Pres. Obama publicly takes a stand, speaking out for the people who are against where the Islamic cultural center is to be built, so much time has passed that it may simply be too little, too late. Leadership is about standing up before consensus pushes you into it, taking heat in the face of adversity and leading people who will follow by convincing them you know the way.
With Rabbi Joy Levitt, executive director of the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, by her side, Daisy Khan, wife of Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, had a candid conversation with Christiane Amanpour on “This Week” yesterday that was illuminating for anyone interested in what’s actually intended with Cordoba House. One thing is certain, moving the Cordoba House is not a first or second choice.
Amanpour played the controversial comments that have been seized upon with the right-wing, where Faisal Addub Rauf’s talks about U.S. policies being an “an accessory to the crime” committed on 9/11. His wife, Daisy Khan, stated the obvious, that the U.S. trained Osama bin Laden. But frankly, it’s absurd to me that because during the Reagan years the U.S. took the road of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, which isn’t exactly a stunning military road to take, this act makes the U.S. “an accessory to the crime” of 9/11. It’s an original political sin argument that I just don’t buy, which also reduces the issue beyond its complexity.
But none of this is Pres. Obama’s problem, one that will linger on in people’s minds.
A lot of people on the Sunday political shows pronounced that this issue wasn’t going to drive votes in November, because everyone is thinking about the economy. I have no doubt that jobs and financial instability is on everyone’s minds, but I think people are wrong about the short-term impact of the mosque issue that has potential for long-term residual blowback. I’ve written this before, with the New York Times “Opinionator” picking up what I wrote last week.
It’s an emotionally sticky subject that obviously resonates with people across this country, which feeds into the already built-in feeling that Pres. Obama and his administration just don’t get it. That they are out of touch with how Americans feel, but worse, that he’s not listening, just like many feel Pres. Obama and the Democrats didn’t listen on health care either. It leaves the impression of leadership through force instead of representation. Fair or not, that’s what has developed.
Howard Dean is wrong on the mosque issue, but he’s right that the Obama White House just doesn’t get it. Unfortunately, Pres. Obama thinks he’s above explaining it, going into detail on the Cordoba House, thinking that at this late date turning to jobs and the economy will save the Democrats in November, even as things show no sign of turning upward. A hail Mary pass if ever there was one.