Rev. Wallis Defends Imam Feisal, Plans to Build Cordoba House
WASHINGTON, DC – Feisal Abdul Rauf is good friend who I have known for many years. I’ve had the pleasure to work beside him in building bridges between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. His heart and commitment to the work of reconciliation between people of different faiths and backgrounds has always shone through in everything that Feisal and his wife, Daisy Khan, do. They are genuine peacemakers, and I know this controversy about their dream of a multi-faith cultural center pains them deeply. I do not doubt for a second that every action they have taken towards building this Islamic Cultural Center has been with peace and reconciliation in mind.
When the story first broke in the New York Times this past December, it was met with little interest. A moderate Muslim leader who had lived and worked in the community of lower Manhattan for 25 years hoping to build a cultural center was not considered controversial. Unfortunately, there were those who saw this as a political opportunity to create conflict and division and stir up ideological passions through distorting Imam Feisal’s mission and purpose. He told the nation last night that if he had ever imagined that his plans would cause this much hurt and distress he never would have proposed building the center where he did.
But I do not believe the center of the debate is merely the community center’s proximity to Ground Zero. Across the country, the building and even existence of mosques are being protested, others are being vandalized, alarming attacks on individual Muslims are occurring and, now, a fringe group in Florida is planning to burn the Quran in the name of their extreme brand of Christianity. This conflict is really about the role that faith will play in America. It is about whether or not we will accept Muslim Americans as true Americans or just second class citizens. It is about whether we will blame or even associate millions of American Muslims and a billion Muslims world-wide for the actions of a small number of Muslims who try to use their brand of faith to murder innocent people. It is about whether or not the country will embrace a Muslim who seeks peace and wants to help rebuild lower Manhattan or reject him because of his religious beliefs. This is a test of our character; and we dare not fail it. ###
Jim Wallis is the president and CEO of Sojourners (for whom I am a columnist and contributing editor), the largest network of social justice Christians in the United States focused on the biblical call to social justice. Wallis is also author of the New York Times bestsellers God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It and The Great Awakening: Seven Ways To Change The World, Reviving Faith & Politics. His latest book is Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street.
Sojourners’ mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Visit www.sojo.net, and www.GodsPolitics.com.
Donald Trump offers cash for “Ground Zero” mosque property, talks with TMZ’s Harvey Levin
Trump has offered to pay the owners of the property the amount they purchased the property for … plus an extra 25%.
As part of the deal, Trump is asking that the mosque be built at least 5 blocks from the WTC site.
Trump says he doesn’t even think his offer is a good business deal, but he’s doing it, “Because it will end a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation that is destined, in my opinion, to only get worse.”
Of course, Donald’s offer is all cash. No word yet on how the offer is being received by the property owner.
You can see Trump’s letter to the mosque’s investor(s) HERE:
In an update posted late this afternoon, TMZ reports:
UPDATE: The lawyer for the investor in the real estate partnership that controls the site just said Trump’s offer is “just a cheap attempt to get publicity and get in the limelight.” But it looks like the investor is pissed off at Donald’s price, not the principle.