August 17, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, the lead proponent behind the controversial 9/11 mosque is slated to go on a month long "outreach" tour paid for by the State Department. His wife Daisy Khan who runs the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) will also make a similar journey.
Rauf's itinerary, according to some press reports [for example the NY Post, http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/feds_funding_zero_imam_mideast_trip_OTq9dmoHpxbaKvJbB4VLGM] will include Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. Although the State Department stressed that he will not be permitted to fundraise for his mosque it is certain that the trip will put him in contact with potential donors and could easily be used to facilitate funding for his planned $100 million dollar Islamic Center at Ground Zero.
Rauf continues to claim that he is a moderate while at the same time refusing to condemn Hamas. The imam has also made statements suggesting U.S culpability in the 9/11 attacks. Additionally the imam is also a proponent of Shari'a which he unbelievably states is compatible with the U.S. Constitution.
State Department spokesman PJ Crowley on August 9 characterized Rauf as "a distinguished Muslim cleric," adding that "I think we are in the process of arranging for him to travel as part of this program, and it is to foster a greater understanding about the region around the world among Muslim-majority communities."
Below the extended transcript of Crowley's colloquy regarding Rauf:
"QUESTION: P.J., there's a report in Forbes that Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque is going on a trip to the Middle East. It's basically to bring peace – moderation, and peace, and understanding to the region. And the claim by his people is that it's a U.S. Government-supported trip. Do you know or rather is the U.S. Government supporting this trip? And would there be any problem with that in light of the – that this could be used as a fundraising – also simultaneously for fundraising for a controversial project?
MR. CROWLEY: He is a distinguished Muslim cleric. We do have a program whereby through our Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau here at the State Department, we send people from Muslim communities here in this country around the world to help people overseas understand our society and the role of religion within our society. I think we are in the process of arranging for him to travel as part of this program. And it is to foster a greater understanding and outreach around the world among Muslim majority communities. But there are strict procedures as to the kind of activity that occurs during the course of this travel. I think this is exactly what we've presented it as. And we've done this many, many times with many leading figures since – over the past few years.
QUESTION: And is it just him and can you give me any guidance to the itinerary or the cost?
MR. CROWLEY: I think the itinerary is still being worked. And he is by no means the only Muslim religious figure in this country to participate in the program.
QUESTION: And how about just that last point about whether – there's been reports in some Arabic language media that he plans to fundraise for the Islamic center and mosque overseas. Might he be –
MR. CROWLEY: Again, I will double check. But that would not be something he could do as part of our program."
Once again the Obama administration is intentionally aiding and abetting radical Muslims under the guise of "outreach," an act that is now getting stale. Undoubtedly aware of Rauf's controversial political stands, Obama has over the last 48 hours taken both sides of the 911 mosque issue, supporting it during a speech at an Iftar dinner [a meal celebrating breaking the Ramadan fast] and the next day suggesting that his support doesn't really equate to support. His strategy here is to muddy the water around what only appears to be the central issue while conveniently sweeping the real key - the State Department's funding of Rauf's trip - under the carpet.
Obama wants what he can't get - no fingerprints on a project he secretly supports. The president can't put the government seal of approval on Rauf - sending him abroad as an emissary - while claiming neutrality on Rauf's biggest project. Obama's tacit funding of Rauf's Islamism is only serving to add fodder to the growing public outrage attending this issue.