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Imam Behind Ground Zero Mosque Silent About Malaysian Government's Pro-Jihad Statements

Evidence continues to mount showing that the developer of the proposed mega-mosque at Ground Zero, Abdul Faisal Rauf, is untrustworthy at best, and possibly downright dangerous. The project would be called Cordoba House, named for a Spanish city conquered by the Moors which Muslims regard as a model for other communities.

Rauf’s political/religious vision is intimately connected with Malaysia, where he lived for ten years as a youngster and where he now owns a home and bases his policy-making organization, the Cordoba Initiative, which also has an office in Manhattan. Malaysian officials have come out with statements that are virulently anti-American and anti-Semitic, including explicit calls for jihad and suicide bombing. Rauf claims that he intends to build bridges between the West and Muslims, yet he has never made any public statement objecting to such incitement.

Previously unpublished English translations of sermons from Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Development reveal potentially lethal levels of hostility towards the West that appear to have gone unnoticed. The Department of Islamic Development cannot be dismissed as some renegade fringe group. It is an official and intrinsic part of the Malaysian government, similar in function to the Department of Health and Human Services in the United States. On its website, the Department defines itself thusly:  “Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) is a Malaysian Government institution which has a vision to assist in the creation of a progressive and morally upright ummah based on Islamic principles in line with the Malaysian vision through an efficient and effective Islamic Affairs Management organisation.” JAKIM is an acronym for Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia.

Every Friday, the Muslim holy day, sermons (khutbahs) are given in mosques. During Israel’s Cast Lead operation in January 2009, when Israel entered Gaza to stop being bombarded with rockets, the khutbahs of Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Development became warlike.

On January 9, 2009, the khutbah denounced Israel as "evil" and a call was made to use the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to channel financial assistance to the Palestinians. A boycott was demanded of all goods and services connected with both Israel and America. Countries that are part of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and all other Muslims were urged to stop using the American dollar as currency.

(Click here for the link to a translation of the January 9, 2009 khutbah.)

On January 16, 2009, military plans were further consolidated. There was a call to “strengthen strategic planning in the defense system of Islamic countries” and to stop allowing foreign military bases to be built in Islamic countries on the grounds that they are used for spying.

(Click here for the link to a translation of the January 16, 2009, khutbah.)

On January 2, 2009, we have the most alarming khutbah of the three given here. The unnamed imam proclaimed his support for Hamas and Hezbollah, demanded a boycott of any goods associated with all Jews (not just Israelis), and called for jihad and suicide bombing, or “bind(ing) the stomach” in the manner of the “fatwa [of] Sheikh Yusof Al-Qaradawi.

By using the word "fatwa," the imam gives moral authority to his call for jihad and suicide bombing. Sheikh Qaradawi is a Muslim Brotherhood ideologue based in Qatar who has made himself very popular throughout the Muslim world by constantly calling for “martyrdom operations” against Israelis. Qaradawi even expresses admiration for Adolf Hitler and hopes that Jews will be "punished" with another Holocaust. He has stated: "Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption.The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them -- even though they exaggerated this issue -- he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers." (Translated by MEMRI).

What could be more hateful than to call for another Holocaust against Jews, assume that Jews deserved a Holocaust because they were guilty of something or other, and say that Jews "exaggerate" what was done to them, implying they are lying to manipulate public opinion? And what was "peacemaker" Rauf’s response? Nothing. He was silent.

Similarly, what was Rauf’s response to the khutbahs that called for a state of war against American interests?  Nothing.

It is very hard to conceive of Rauf not knowing about these pronouncements.  They were up on the JAKIM website, and as previously stated, JAKIM is an official department of the Malaysian government.

(Click here for the link to a translation of the January 2, 2009, khutbah.).

These khutbahs and others in the original Malay can be viewed here. [Acknowledgement is gratefully given to Kalvan Kam, a Malaysian native, who found these khutbahs and brought them to my attention.]

What does this mean for the United States? As a fairly stable constitutional monarchy, Malaysia appears to be considered a moderate Muslim country by the U.S. State Department, whose website claims that the two countries “share a diverse and expanding partnership” with “robust” economic ties. The United States is Malaysia's largest trading partner and Malaysia is the sixteenth-largest trading partner of the U.S. The fact that Malaysia would even consider boycotting American goods, services, and currency shows that the level of rage is extraordinarily high and must be carefully monitored.

Our State Department’s website writes that it sees itself cooperating closely with Malaysia on security issues, including counterterrorism, of all things. The State Department claims that “the relationship between the U.S. and Malaysian militaries is strong with numerous exchanges, training, joint exercises, and visits.” In July 2006, a mutual legal assistance treaty was signed between the U.S. and Malaysia.

One has to wonder if our State Department is aware of rising levels of anti-American sentiment in Malaysia. Certainly Israel has had to wake up to that with the May 21, 2009, flotilla of thugs posing as humanitarians who tried to force their way into Gaza. The largest backer of that convoy was a Malaysian NGO called the Perdana Global Peace Organization (aka Perdana4Peace), an organization that purports to call for an end to all wars.

In a country where the government runs the Department of Religion, and has state-run television and radio stations (RTM TV1), it is hard to conceive of a true NGO -- meaning a non-governmental organization. The Perdana Leadership Foundation is a state-run organization founded by a former prime minister. It was started in 2003, presumably when Mahathir left office. The name Perdana is taken from Mahathir's official residence, Sri Perdana, where he lived from August 1983 to October 1999. The residence was later turned into a museum, also bearing his brand, Galeria Sri Perdana. Mahathir has been the honorary president of the Perdana Leadership Foundation since the organization’s inception.

Mahathir’s presence in Malaysia is inescapable, and with his larger-than-life personality, he made himself a notable figure on the world stage. In 2005, he founded the Perdana Global Peace Organization, dedicated to "criminalizing" war. Mahathir is the first signatory, followed immediately by Imam Abdul Faisal Rauf.

Mahathir Mohamad is posing as a peace maker?  He condemned the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948. In a speech before a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 1997, Mahathir called the declaration an oppressive instrument imposed on Asians by the United States in order to change their "values." Mahathir has made repeated sharp criticisms of the United States and has distinguished himself in the Muslim world as an anti-Semite. Some of his more notable remarks are:  “Jews rule the world by proxy and get others to fight and die for them. ... Jews are not happy to see Muslims progress.  If it were Palestine, the Jews would rob Palestinians. Thus this is what they are doing to our country. … The expulsion of Jews from the Holy Land 2,000 years ago and the Nazi oppression of Jews have taught them nothing. If anything at all, it has transformed the Jews into the very monsters that they condemn so roundly in their propaganda material. They have been apt pupils of the late Dr. Goebbels.”

Ironically, the Perdana Global Peace Organization was the largest sponsor of the convoy of activists trying to breach Israel’s marine safety in May 2010, donating $366,000 to the Free Gaza Movement. And, as mentioned earlier, Rauf’s name is the second down from the top, directly preceding Mahathir’s signature.

During Mahathir’s twenty-two years as prime minister of Malaysia, from 1981 to 2003, and frequently thereafter, he has been outspoken in his anti-West and anti-Jewish views.  Rauf -- as a peace maker -- has had plenty of occasion to disagree with Mahathir, or at least to distance himself from Mahathir. This has not happened. Instead, when Mahathir went from talking to acting, putting into motion the convoy threatening Israel, Rauf apparently followed him.

Rauf has had a long and involved connection with Malaysia for decades. As a professed peace maker, a builder of bridges between Muslims and the West, Rauf has had countless opportunities to speak out against Malaysia’s belligerence towards the West, or at least, to be on the record as distancing himself from those attitudes and policies.

Rauf has not done so. One can only wonder, with alarm, about his true beliefs and what his hidden agenda for the planned Cordoba House mosque and community center at Ground Zero might be.