Imam Abdul Rauf, the founder of the Park 51 Islamic community center planned near Ground Zero in New York City, has served as a diplomatic envoy to the Muslim world under both the Bush and Obama administrations and wants to build “a cultural center that includes Jews and Christians on the board.” Conservatives have lashed out at Rauf, calling him a “radical” and a “stealth jihadist.”
As The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart noted last night, one of these conservative smear artists is Glenn Beck. Stewart played a clip of Beck last mocking the idea that Rauf is a moderate Muslim cleric. As proof for his smear, Beck cited a statement Rauf gave to CBS News shortly after 9/11, in which the imam stated that he “wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”
Stewart, feigning outrage, then asked, “Wow! Abandoning our values and principles somehow caused problems for us and we weren’t just minding our business and got hit? What kind of scheming, America-hating extremist monster would say something so profoundly evil?” The host then played a clip of Beck’s show from April 15th where Beck essentially endorsed Rauf’s view. In the clip, Beck stands next to a white board labeled “Beck’s Policy On Defense” and explains that while the 9/11 attacks were unjustified, it “causes problems” for us in the world to be “in bed with dictators” and abandon “our values and principles”:
BECK: I wasn’t paying attention before 9/11. I didn’t know what the heck was going on in the world. Now I’m paying attention. When people said they hate us. Did we deserve 9/11? No. But were we minding our business? No. Were we in bed with dictators and abandoning our values and principles? Yes. That causes problems!
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
Last spring’s Beck and Rauf aren’t the only ones who have recognized that pursuing foreign policy that fails to address the welfare of innocent Muslims can lead to their radicalization and provide propaganda for terrorist groups.
In September 2004, the Bush Defense Department under Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld commissioned a report designed to study the causes of radicalization among the Arab and Muslim world. The report finds that “American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists” and that Muslims “do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) made a similar argument, arguing that our “strategy of relying on autocrats” fueled “intolerance and hatred.” Even Bill Kristol has acknowledged that, prior to 9/11, “we had made too many accommodations with dictators” who “were exporting terror and extremism as a way of keeping themselves safe at home.”