Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf holdt en tale og spørsmål-svar session i Council of Foreign Relations idag, hvor han kom med uttalelser som trolig vil provosere mange amerikanere. Problemet er at Raufs overlegenhet er kledt i en påtatt ydmykhet. Han vil gjerne være ydmyk, men det han sier er alt annet.

Ground Zero er ikke hellig grunn, det er både eksotisk dans og veddesjappe i nærheten, sa han. Dette er å fornærme amerikanernes sans for toleranse og sekulær livsstil. Everyone can do his thing. Veddemål krenker ikke Ground Zero. Men det sier en hel del om hva som krenker imam Rauf og hvordan en verden vil se ut hvor han ikke blir krenket.

If anything, Rauf only deepened the questions around the project’s future, telling an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank that he was «exploring all options» — but declining to specify them — and underscoring what he saw as the importance of a location that would draw attention to his message of promulgating moderate Islam. And while opponents of the project see it as insulting the memories of the thousands killed by Muslim extremists in the 2001 terrorist attacks, Rauf said he didn’t see it as sacred memorial space.
«It’s absolutely disingenuous, as many have said, that that block is hallowed ground,» Rauf said, noting the nearby exotic dance and betting businesses. «So let’s clarify that misperception.»

Det amerikanerne vil tenke er: denne mannen forstår ikke at vi blir krenket av et muslimsk senter nær Ground Zero, men han syntes en veddemålsbutikk og et eksotisk dansesenter er krenkende! Der synker aktelsen som en sten. Rauf setter seg til doms over hva som burde være krenkende, og hva amerikanerne burde reagere på.

Men han forstår ikke hvorfor mennesker reagerer så sterkt på Park51-senteret, også kalt Cordoba House. Det kan han ikke fatte.

He said Monday that the Islamic center’s organizers were surprised by the uproar and might not have pursued it had they known what was coming.
«The events of these past few weeks have really saddened me to my very core,» he said, lamenting that the project had been misunderstood, clouded by stereotypes, and «exploited» by some to push personal or political agendas.
But he declined to detail any strategy for quieting the clamor — or say whether that might include moving the project.
«We are exploring all options as we speak right now, and we are working through what will be a solution, God willing, that will resolve this crisis, defuse it and not create any unforeseen or untoward circumstances that we do not want to see happen,» Rauf said during a question-and-answer session following his speech. «Everything is on the table. … We really are focused on solving it, and solving it in the way that will create the best possible outcome for all.»

Den kjente Midtøsten-professoren Fouad Ajami ristet på hodet.

Fouad Ajami, a Middle East studies professor at Johns Hopkins University, said Rauf’s appearance didn’t change his misgivings about the mosque project.
«I just think it’s provocative,» Ajami said. While organizers may have the right to build it, «the prudence of it, the wisdom of it» is the question, he said.

Imam says NYC mosque site is not ‘hallowed ground’