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Press Release - JINSA to Clinton: Feisal Wrong Person to Deliver America's Message to the Muslim World

WASHINGTON – On Monday, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton protesting the decision to send Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf abroad to discuss Muslim life in America and religious tolerance with audiences in Qatar, Bahrain, and the UAE. As many others have noted, several of Feisal's statements concerning U.S. foreign policy are both divisive and offensive. Imam Feisal's participation in this trip will harm rather than benefit America's image abroad. The text of the letter is as follows:

August 11, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Department of State

Dear Madame Secretary:

As an organization whose primary objective is to safeguard American security and to achieve peace through strength, we applaud all efforts toward peace except those that threaten the security of the United States and its allies.

It has recently come to our attention that the State Department is planning to send Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to the Middle East to bring a message of "moderation, peace and understanding."

Unfortunately, Imam Feisal's message, unless he has had a change of heart, is that the United States deserved what she got in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and was, in essence, "an accessory to the crime that happened." In a 60 Minutes interview, when asked why he considered the United States an accessory, Imam Feisal replied, "Because we have been accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the U.S.A." If our State Department gives its imprimatur to this trip, it will also put its imprimatur on the message delivered.

Furthermore, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is currently in the center of a major controversy concerning the building of a mosque, the Cordoba Initiative mosque, near Ground Zero, the World Trade Center site in New York City. Regardless of one's opinion of Imam Feisal, or whether the opponents of a mosque near Ground Zero are right or wrong, Imam Feisal has become a symbol of the conflict between Islam and many Americans. Everywhere the imam goes he will be the symbol of conflict and not of harmony. Even if Imam Feisal does not raise the issue of the Cordoba Mosque, his very presence will raise the issue. In other words, we will be responsible for having exported the debate to the Middle East and the messenger will be the message.

We are certain that the State Department would not want to consciously promote anti American sentiment into a part of the world that needs little encouragement to embrace such sentiments.

In the interest of our country we are asking you to reconsider the decision to use Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to be part of our outreach program to the Middle East. This, unfortunately, is the wrong message, with the wrong messenger, at the wrong time to the wrong place. It cannot serve American interests.

Respectfully,

David Ganz - President
Thomas Neumann - Executive Director

Click here to see this letter quoted by JTA

Click here to see this statement quoted in Contentions, Commentary magazine's Blog

Jewish Institute for National Security of America
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Washington, D.C. 20005

(202) 667-3900 Office • info@jinsa.org