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« The Looming Tower | Main | Shanah Tovah »

Asking Kazerooni the Hard Questions

Our Favorite Imam is at it again, this time with the enabling help of the Denver Post. Asked about the Pope's comments and the worldwide Islamic justification thereof, Kazerooni replied:

Said [Denver Archdiocese Chancellor Fran] Maier: "Holy war is becoming a cult in parts of the Islamic world, and naming that for what it is needs to be done. The pope spoke reasonably and truthfully. The criticism so far is neither."

Kazerooni said Benedict's comments inflamed tensions as the Middle East simmers over Danish cartoons portraying the prophet Muhammad and President Bush's comments about "Islamo-fascism." Kazerooni leads an interfaith program based at St. John's Episcopal Cathedral.

Asked about the violence in recent days in the Muslim world, Kazerooni said, "I condemn violence of any shape or form. But one has to understand, if you have a charged atmosphere and add fire to it, the situation gets out of control. People in the Middle East, rightly or wrongly, they perceive or believe this is the old crusade coming back."

Kazerooni called Maier's comments about a cult of holy war a stigmatization of all Muslims.

As Wolfgang Pauli used to say about some of his dimmer students' work: This isn't right. This isn't even wrong.

Kazerooni focuses on one sentence in the speech, reducing it to the very caricature (oops!) that the radicals used as a catalyst for the violence in the first place. He avoids the call for dialogue that he's supposedly employed to pursue. He notes the "charged atmosphere," but conveniently forgets his co-religionists who've ionized it in the first place. He refuses to engage the Pope's definition of and call to defend Christianity.

He avoids the fact that Islamists - alone among those criticized - decided to burn churches, some of them Catholic, and shoot nuns. Maybe he's been in on meetings at St. John's where the church fathers are discussing their imminent midnight raid on the cathedral. As for the crusades, the Islamists have been referring to Israel as a "Crusader State" for at least 15 years. And this idea that Maier, who hedged his indisputably true comments so much they need garden clippers, has "stigmatized all Muslims" is just victim politics, pure and simple.

In the meantime, the US has played host to two Iranian Islamo-fascists speakers and at least half a dozen speeches by them. The Post unthinkingly reprints a Boston Globe report calling Ahmadinejad "conciliatory." Here's an example of his conciliation:

The pretexts for the creation of the regime occupying Al-Qods Al-Sharif are so weak that its proponents want to silence any voice trying to merely speak about them, as they are concerned that shedding light on the facts would undermine the raison d'ĂȘtre of this regime, as it has. The tragedy does not end with the establishment of a regime in the territory of others. Regrettably, from its inception, that regime has been a constant source of threat and insecurity in the Middle East region, waging war and spilling blood and impeding the progress of regional countries, and has also been used by some powers as an instrument of division, coercion, and pressure on the people of the region. Reference to these historical realities may cause some disquiet among supporters of this regime. But these are sheer facts and not myth. History has unfolded before our eyes.

At the same time, Mohammed Khatami spoke at the University of Virginia's Rotunda. He began his remarks by quoting Jefferson: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man," which is like Hitler quoting the Hebrew Bible of Amalek from a synagogue pulpit.

Kazerooni has at least indirect ties to these guys, he's a Shiite Iranian Imam who studied in Qom and was chosen to translate a speech by Mesbah-Yazdi celebrating the Iranian Revolution and ridiculing the Jews in the process. (To call Mesbah-Yazdi the Iranian Billy Graham is to explain all you need to know about the difference between the Islamists and contemporary Christianity.) You'd think he might have some useful insights, some telling embarassment, or more-telling lack thereof, on these speeches. Instead, crickets. They bury the story, leaving the questions not only unasked, but even un-alluded to. Readers wouldn't even know those questions are there to be asked.

All of this allows Kazerooni to pose as the wounded, spurned moderate. It's a useful mask, and one the Post ought to be exposing, not enabling.


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