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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's in a Word?

by Peter Hannaford

"Dawa" may be an unfamiliar word to you. It is to most Americans, but we had better learn to understand it for it is almost certainly the motivation behind the drive to build the "Ground Zero" mosque in Manhattan.

It is an Arabic word. As Andrew McCarthy, the former U.S. prosecutor who put the "blind sheik" and his allies in prison for their part in the 1983 World Trade Center garage bombing, puts it this way: "Dawa, whether done from the rubble of the World Trade Center or elsewhere, is the missionary work by which Islam is spread...The purpose of dawa, like the purpose of jihad, is to implement, spread and defend sharia."

The leader of the movement to build the 13-story mosque and "community center" 600 feet from the hole in the ground where the twin towers stood, is Feisal Abdul Rauf, imam of one of New York City's 100 or so other mosques. The site where he wants to build it is owned by Sharif el-Gamal, who, until a few years ago, was waiting tables in New York restaurants. He now owns several expensive properties. The sources of his wealth are unclear as are the sources of the $100 million that must be raised to build the structure.

Imam Rauf, now on a U.S. State Department-sponsored "good will" tour of Muslim countries, is widely considered to be an example of "moderate" Islam; however, among his more memorable quotations are these:

…United States policies were an accessory to the crime (9/11) that occurred.

…the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaida has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims. You may remember that the US-led sanctions against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children.

While Rauf does not endorse violence, he professes to understand its roots; that it is the reaction of oppressed people to authoritarian regimes supported by the U.S. He has declined to describe Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Rauf has been heading the Cordoba Initiative which professes to create "an atmosphere of interfaith tolerance and respect." That should appeal to many Americans, but they should note also that the name of the proposed mosque-community center is Cordoba House, is derived from the Cordoba, Spain mosque built on the ruins of a Catholic church after the Muslim conquest of Spain in the 8th Century. The Christians reconquered Spain in 1492 and Islam lost "al Andalus."

This is one of the "humiliations" that ardent Muslims want to avenge. Thus, the name "Cordoba House" stands for "conquest" and the siting of it is an example of dawa in action: Islamist triumphalism... Read the whole article.


About Me

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.