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(UPDATED) An Iranian Connection to the Cordoba House Ground Zero Mosque?

The Ground Zero mosque website just removed a photo of Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary-general of Iran's High Council for Human Rights. (Screen capture of the original page here.)

by
Anne Bayefsky

Bio

August 13, 2010 - 12:07 am
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The Iranian connection to the launch of Cordoba House may go beyond a relationship between Rauf and Larijani. The Cordoba Initiative lists one of its three major partners as the UN’s Alliance of Civilizations. The Alliance has its roots in the Iranian-driven “Dialogue Among Civilizations,” the brainchild of former Iranian President Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami.  Khatami is now a member of the High-level Group which “guides the work of the Alliance.” His personal presidential qualifications include the pursuit of nuclear weapons, a major crackdown on Iranian media, and rounding up and imprisoning Jews on trumped-up charges of spying. Alliance reports claim Israel lies at the heart of problems associated with “cross-cultural relations,” since the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and “Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories … are primary causes of resentment and anger in the Muslim world toward Western nations.”

In addition, a Weekly Standard article in July suggested that the idea of building an Islamic memorial in lower Manhattan may have originated back in 2003 with two Iranian brothers: M. Jafar “Amir” Mahallati, who served as ambassador of the Iranian Islamic Republic to the United Nations from 1987 to 1989, and M. Hossein Mahallati.

Also pictured at the same Cordoba-sponsored meeting is U.S. representative to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Sada Cumber. The meeting was part of the Initiative’s so-called “Shariah Index Project,” a plan to rank and measure the “Islamicity” of a state or “how well … nations comply in practice with this Islamic legal benchmark of an Islamic State.”

In July of last year, Cordoba chief Rauf was interviewed by a reporter for Abu Dhabi Media about the Shariah Index Project. He told The National, “Determining Islamic principles had been the easy part.” Easy, but not available for examination to the residents of New York City or to the loved ones of 9/11 victims. Despite multiple references to the Initiative’s publication more than a year ago of a book “on the concept of measuring a nation’s ‘Islamicity,’” a request for a copy of the book made directly to the New York-based Cordoba Initiative resulted in a denial of the book’s existence.

The unanswered questions keep mounting.


Comparison:

Cordoba Initiative (before)

Cordoba Initiative (after)

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Anne Bayefsky is director of the Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust at Touro College. She is the author or editor of 12 books and numerous articles in the field of human rights, and a frequent contributor to newspapers in the U.S., Europe, Israel and Canada.
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