Roger L. Simon

Who's the Bigger Narcissist — Rev. Terry Jones or Imam Rauf?

Now that hitherto unknown Florida pastor Terry Jones has called off his Quran burning, all eyes turn to Imam Feisel Rauf to see what he will do about building his mosque near Ground Zero. Because make no mistake about it — these are the same guy in many ways, both motivated by an extreme neurotic need to be in the public eye.

But Imam Rauf is worse. He is the kind of insidious narcissist that causes real disasters. Little Terry Jones was just a side show.

Rauf claims to be a moderate Moslem or something, but given the evasiveness of his words it’s hard to tell where he stands. (Well, we can guess.) But more importantly, it’s clear he stands, in the final analysis, for nothing as much as himself. He is what is important. The rest of the world be damned. (No wonder Michael Bloomberg finds him so attractive.)

Pathological narcissists often latch on to causes convenient to their pathology. Rauf is an almost classic case of this. Walid Shoebat has pointed out on these pages and elsewhere that Rauf says one thing in New York and another thing in Cairo. That’s no surprise on the political level — we’ve seen that before — but it’s also no surprise on the psychological level. He could well believe both. Anything that’s convenient for him at the moment is what is true. As long as he is in the eye of the hurricane it’s not really a hurricane. It’s a giant ego bath.

It’s easy to see how such a man is truly dangerous. It’s also, alas, easy to see why he is attractive to politicians. Many of them suffer from the same illness. Mon semblable, mon frere, as Baudelaire put it. Indeed, this neurosis exists in all of us to one degree or another.

So it is important now that we must fight Rauf, stop what he is doing as soon as possible, or he will be demanding our attention for the rest of our lives. The world does not need that.