Green Room

State Department to send Ground Zero Mosque Imam on third Middle East tour

posted at 8:22 am on August 11, 2010 by

Not one to rest on its laurels, the administration extends its incredibly tone-deaf streak by sponsoring an overseas “goodwill” trip featuring Feisal Abdul Rauf, executive director of the Cordoba Initiative and proposed Park51 NYC mosque.  The ACLJ is filing a complaint with the State Department in an effort to stop taxpayer funding of the trip, Fox News reports:

The State Department confirmed Tuesday that the administration is sponsoring Feisal Abdul Rauf’s trip to Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which is described as part of a program to send Muslims abroad to educate other countries about the role of religion in the United States. Rauf made similar trips during the Bush administration.  [...]

“This shows a tremendous lack of judgment on behalf of the State Department; and for the American taxpayers to be funding this global journey is not only wrong, but deeply offensive,” Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the organization, said in a written statement. “It seems with each passing day we learn more disturbing information about this project and the people behind it. We demand that the State Department put a halt to the Imam’s participation in this publicly funded trip.” (Emphasis mine.)

Two lawmakers have also gone on record condemning the trip, says CNN:

Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Peter King (R-NY), the ranking members of the Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security committees, called the State Department’s funding of Rauf’s trip “unacceptable,” and said American taxpayers should not have to subsidize his tour.

The State Department response?  Nothing to see here:

“He is a distinguished Muslim cleric,” said State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley. “We do have a program whereby, through our Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau here at the State Department, we send people from Muslim communities here in this country around the world to help people overseas understand our society and the role of religion within our society.”

The State Department has “a long-term relationship” with Rauf, Crowley told reporters, noting that Rauf had visited Bahrain, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in 2007 and went to Egypt last January as part of an exchange program run by the department’s Office of International Information Programs.

“His work on tolerance and religious diversity is well-known and he brings a moderate perspective to foreign audiences on what it’s like to be a practicing Muslim in the United States,” Crowley said.

This admitted “long-term relationship” with Rauf makes the administration’s reticence over the Ground Zero project even more curious.  Given that we’re footing the bill for these jaunts to the Middle East, we deserve to know a little more about this “relationship.”  (I’m looking at you, too, Bush.)  What, exactly, ingratiated him to our government the most: Was it his refusal to call Hamas a terrorist organization, his claiming that “American political structure is ‘Sharia compliant,’” laughably calling Muhammad the “first feminist” or was it implicating the United States as partially responsible for the attacks on 9/11?

Perhaps national sensitivity concerning the prospective mosque should take precedence over a taxpayer funded global religion class, long-term relationship aside? Just a thought.

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Good Lord(or should I say Allah)–who have we become? Our government works very hard for everyone but it’s citizens.

jeanie on August 11, 2010 at 8:34 AM

A nation in judgment is a very sobering thing.

Inanemergencydial on August 11, 2010 at 9:53 AM

What, exactly, ingratiated him to our government the most

Given that it was under both O and W? He probably stated that Muslims don’t believe in borders.

MadisonConservative on August 11, 2010 at 10:27 AM

This is just the latest example of how much progress the Islamists (those who seek to make America just another muslim run caliphate complete with sharia law and dimmitude for all non-believers) have made. It was going on under Bush but has accellerated greatly under the 0. I believe Valerie Jarrett was a main speaker at one of their recent national conferences. The Soros puppet Obama and his minions are doing untold damage to this country and I only hope and pray we can survive till this too shall pass.

shmendrick on August 11, 2010 at 11:03 AM

“We do have a program whereby, through our Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau here at the State Department, we send people from Muslim communities here in this country around the world to help people overseas understand our society and the role of religion within our society.”

Oh, we shouldn’t shut down this guy’s trip because it’s part of a program of such trips. Thanks, State Department, for pointing that out.

We need to shut down this entire program — and, frankly, the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau sounds like something we’d be better off without as well.

cthulhu on August 11, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Given that it was under both O and W? He probably stated that Muslims don’t believe in borders.

MadisonConservative on August 11, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Nice. I really wish this had only happened under Obama, but Bush was acutely interested in making sure Muslims knew he wasn’t after them generally. Didn’t stop the crusade comments though.

Esthier on August 11, 2010 at 1:03 PM

American taxpayers have to make it clear that they don’t want their money spent irresponsibly, especially not at a time when funding is needed AT HOME and national debt is through the roof.

1 million pet projects funded by tax payers adds up. How many people are we sending around the world to do PR for their own agenda while Americans are struggling?

Amy Ritter on August 12, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Let them eat cake

ELMO Q on August 13, 2010 at 11:16 AM