Ground Zero imam hails Iran's Islamic revolution

Ground Zero imam hails Iran's Islamic revolution
Aaron Klein - Aug 24, 2010

Iranians wave flags as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Iran on February 11, 2010. Ahmadinejad said that Iran has succeeded to produce its first batch of Uranium enriched to 20 percent. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian

JERUSALEM – The controversial imam behind a plan to build a Muslim cultural center near Ground Zero recommended that President Obama support the Islamic revolution in Iran.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf also argued against the U.S. aiding the pro-democracy protesters who were being violently suppressed by the Iranian regime.

The information comes after it was reported Rauf's Cordoba Initiative website scrubbed a photograph of the imam posing with the chief of an Iranian "human rights" council that has been accused of multiple human rights violations as well as imposing Shariah law.

Also, WND reported Cordoba's website scrubbed a sister project of the organization founded by Rauf, the Shari'ah Index Project. The project's stated goal was to "define, interpret and implement the concept of the Islamic State in modern times." The website documented how an Iranian official was among the Shariah project's founding members.

Just after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was accused of voter fraud in last year's presidential elections in Iran, Rauf penned a Huffington Post piece in support of the Iranian regime.

Rauf recommended Obama "should say his administration respects many of the guiding principles of the 1979 revolution – to establish a government that expresses the will of the people; a just government, based on the idea of Vilayet-i-faqih, that establishes the rule of law."

The Iranian regime, however, was accused of violently suppressing pro-democracy supporters, some of whom were filmed by international news outlets holding banners protesting the Islamic government.

The Iranian government has confirmed the deaths of 36 people during the protests, while protest leaders allege there were 72 deaths.

Obama largely refused to interfere in the protests, calling the disputed election an internal Iranian issue.

Rauf touted thedecision. He also hailed the Islamic revolution of 1979 that brought to power Iran's Shiite theocracy.

He wrote: "The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was in part to depose the shah, who had come to power in 1953 after a CIA-sponsored coup overthrew democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossaddeq. And in part it was an opportunity to craft an Islamic state with a legitimate ruler according to Shia political theory.

"After the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took the Shiite concept of the Rightly Guided Imam and created the idea of Vilayet-i-faqih, which means the rule of the jurisprudent. This institutionalizes the Islamic rule of law. The Council of Guardians serves to ensure these principles."

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been accused of state support of terrorism and of aiding the insurgency against U.S. troops in Iraq. Iran is a main backer of the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations.

Terrorism expert Michael Ledeen, writing at Pajamas Media, accused Rauf of "appeasement of Iranian tyranny."

"Rauf’s notion of bridge building is simple and straightforward: applaud the murderers in Tehran," he wrote.

Discussing Rauf's sentiments on Iran, Christopher Hitchens wrote in Slate that the controversial imam supports “the most extreme and repressive version of Muslim theocracy.”

Meanwhile, Blogger Anne Bayefsky, writing at Pajamas Media, last week documented how the Cordoba website previously featured a photograph of Rauf with Iranian official Mohammad Javad Larijani at an event the Initiative sponsored in Malaysia in 2008.

Larijani is an Islamic cleric and serves as secretary-general of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, which has been accused of human rights violations. His brother, Ali Larijani, is Iran's top negotiator for nuclear issues.

Rauf was in Malaysia just last week as part of a multi-week Ramadan "public diplomacy" tour sponsored by the State Department.

The controversial photograph of Rauf and Lirijani has been removed from Cordoba's site but is still available by web archive.

Creating 'perfect' Islamic state

The website BigPeace.com uncovered a scrubbed section of the Cordoba website that detailed a sister project of the organization founded by Rauf called Shari'ah Index Project.

The project's stated goal was to "define, interpret and implement the concept of the Islamic State in modern times."

"Imagine: a Perfectly Islamic State," stated the deleted section of Cordoba's website.

Before the section was scrubbed, the Cordoba website described a series of planning meetings beginning in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in August 2006: "This session consisted largely of brainstorming and exploring the idea of creating an index of Islamic governance. At its conclusion, the group presented a vision for the project as well as a roadmap."

At the second planning meeting, in February 2007, the website documented how Rauf expanded the group to include Shariah experts from "Indonesia, Iran (to represent the Shi’a perspective), and Turkey, as well as two additional participants from Pakistan and Malaysia."

The website did not identify the experts. However, Cordoba's deletion of a picture of Rauf with Larijani leaves open the possibility the Iranian cleric was involved.

In 2008, Cordoba furthered its Shariah project, deciding to put together a book on the subject as well further refine the philosophy, overall structure and organization of the Shariah Index.
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