Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind what has been called the Ground Zero Mosque — except it’s not at Ground Zero, nor is it solely a mosque — is being sent on a goodwill tour overseas by the Obama administration. This drew fire from the predictable corners, including Liz Cheney and one of our representatives from South Florida:
Tuesday, Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) called Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf — best known for his work with multicultural Cordoba Initiative to build a mosque and community center in Lower Manhattan — a “radical” and criticized the Obama Administration for including him on a Middle East speaking tour. That tour, which includes stops in Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, is designed by the public diplomacy office to explain to Muslims abroad what it’s like to be a Muslim in America.
If one were to hearken back to the halcyon days of the Bush Administration, one would remember that, when Bush adviser Karen Hughes was appointed Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, the Bush Administration saw improving America’s standing among Muslims abroad as a part of its national security strategy. And, as such, Hughes set up listening tours, attended meetings and worked with interfaith groups that — shocking, by today’s Republican standards — included actual Muslims.
One of those people was Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
So either Ms. Cheney, Mr. King, and Ms. Roz-Lehtinen didn’t know what they were talking about (in which case they should just STFU), or they did and still decided to shoot off their mouths against the Obama administration and stir up more anti-Muslim sentiment. You make the call.