Sunday, August 8, 2010

Motives of the Cordoban Mosque builders Rahman and Rauf


Billy Blogblather wrote a brief snippet of a comment in response to my post It follows:

"Earlier Observation by Lawrence: We see from the above that this golden period of Cordoba described in the "time" article was relatively brief. The Caliphate began in 929 as a sort of parenthesis, as though the Islamic conquerors forgot why they were there. But by 997 general Al-Mansur got them back on track. So at the very most, this period lauded by Tharoor lasted 68 years -- after which Muslims resumed to slaughtering Spanish Christians. Islamists looking back on this period are ambivalent about it."
Blogblather: Reminds me of a Doonesbury strip.  An American soldier is driving a jeep down a road in Iraq with an Iraqi soldier.  The Iraqi suddenly shouts: "Stop!  Stop!" 
"What?  What?  Why"  the startled GI cries searching out danger.
"That's Hassan Mohammed Karami,  I must kill him."
"Because his family killied one of my family."
"In 1342.  Stop.  Pull over."
"1342?!  Dear god, what is it with you people?"
Lawrence  carries a grudge even if no one in his family is involved.  What's with the man?
Lawrence: No doubt Billy is too busy to read my notes all the way to the end. I can understand that. Many's the note of his that I gave up on after only a few lines. But in this case he is missing the reason for the note; which has to do with the Cordoba Mosque soon to be constructed in New York. Some favoring the mosque assert that to construct one near Ground Zero is a sign of wanting Muslims and Americans to draw close together, a symbol, in short, of peace. But in examining the evidence available to us, we find something very different. Let's look at the original Mosque, at the period when it was open to Christians, Jews and visiting scholars, when it was a great center of learning and of the promulgation of the wisdom of ancient Greece. The period when that was true was relatively short. Still, if that was the intent of the new Cordoban Mosque, I would be on the side of those who want to build it.

However, that is not the case. Those who want to build it are descended (ideologically) from General Al-Mansur who had no patience with all that falderal with Christians and Jews in the Mosque. He resumed what he believed Mohammed instructed all Muslims to do. He resumed advancing the cause of Allah by any means available which in al Mansur's case meant military means.

In the earlier note I mentioned the slaughtering of Christians in order to relate it to the Mosque. Here is this gorgeous Mosque, the great "symbol" of wisdom and learning, and what did it give rise to? What developed from this Mosque in the Muslim world? The answer is a brief one: nothing. The "enlightened" activities at the Cordoban mosque were considered an aberration. "True Muslims" of that day (and this one) want to get on with the task of furthering the advance of Islam by any means available. First there was the Mosque; then there was General Al-Mansur. What is their connection? There was none. Al-Mansur got back to the business of killing Christians instead of carrying on the "enlightened" Cordoban influence.

If that was what Rauf had in mind with his new Cordoba Mosque I would be reluctant to condemn it. Surely if the people inspired by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to want to build this mosque had in mind the emulation of what was taught at the original mosque then that would be a good thing. But is that the case? Is Rauf a great admirer of Classical learning? Does he read Aristotle and Plato? Does he embrace the Greek and Latin Classics? Let's see if we can find out:

Here is a site that tells us a bit about Rauf . "Rauf's book suggests that the “American Constitution and system of governance uphold the core principles of Islamic law” (i.e., sharia). The author concludes, therefore, that the “American political structure is sharia-compliant.” In December 2007 Rauf promoted What's Right with Islam at a Malaysia gathering of Hizb ut Tahrir, which seeks to impose sharia on the United States and other countries worldwide.
"In July 2010, journalist Andrew McCarthy revealed that What's Right with Islam was originally published in Malaysia under a different title: A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11. What's Right with Islam was a “special, non-commercial edition” of the book and was produced after the original, with Feisal’s cooperation, by the Islamic Society of North America and the International Institute of Islamic Thought. Both of those organizations are American tentacles of the Muslim Brotherhood. McCarthy explains the meaning of the term dawa, from the book's title:

"'Dawa, whether done from the rubble of the World Trade Center or elsewhere, is the missionary work by which Islam is spread.... [D]awa is proselytism, but not involving only spiritual elements — for Islam is not merely a religion, and spiritual elements are just a small part of its doctrine. In truth, Islam is a comprehensive political, social, and economic system with its own authoritarian legal framework, sharia, which aspires to govern all aspects of life....
"'The purpose of dawa, like the purpose of jihad, is to implement, spread, and defend sharia. Scholar Robert Spencer incisively refers to dawa practices as 'stealth jihad,' the advancement of the sharia agenda through means other than violence and agents other than terrorists. These include extortion, cultivation of sympathizers in the media and the universities, exploitation of our legal system and tradition of religious liberty, infiltration of our political system, and fundraising. This is why Yusuf Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the world’s most influential Islamic cleric, boldly promises that Islam will 'conquer America' and 'conquer Europe' through dawa.'"

I can Imagine Billy Blogblather dismissing the above site along with Robert Spencer as not being of the left and so not worthy of being believed. That's fine, Billy, but see if you can find something different. Find something that says Rauf did not call our political system "Sharia Complaint." I can assure you that it is not (unless he had in mind suing his political opponents until he got his way. If you elect Rauf president in 20 years or so, and you might, do you think he will try to make Islamic doctrine and practice more like our political system or the reverse? Do you think he will be proposing Sharia-compliant Supreme Court Justices or not?

And if there really was a more Sharia-compliant edition of Rauf's book entitled, A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11. What's Right with Islam, then Rauf's intention was not so very different from the motives of the builder of the first Mosque. Yes, the first mosque became a place of enlightenment, but that doesn't seem to be what the first builder was interested in when he built the Mosque about 200 years before the period we have discussed. And it was for purposes of considering his motives that I posted the quote from the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. I'll repeat a small part, and then go on a bit about it: "But the glory of Cordova, surpassing all its other Moorish or Christian buildings, is the mezquita, or mosque, now a cathedral, but originally founded on the site of a Roman temple and a Visigothic church by Abd-ar-Rahman I. (756-788), who wished to confirm the power of his caliphate by making its capital a great religious centre."

Note first that Abd-ar-Rahman was ambitious. He wanted to establish his power. He wanted to build a better Mosque than anyone else had built. We might not be far off if we guess that he wanted visitors to see this Mosque he made and admire him at the same time they said "Allahu Akhbar." I doubt that Rahman had a great grasp of Helenistic philosophy. He was a politician like Mayor Bloomberg. Politicians don't have a lot of time to read. They don't spend much time with matters that don't pertain to their political interests. How did one become or stay political correct in Rahman's day? He exalted the cause of Allah. No one in his day probably quibbled with his Cordoba Mosque motives the way I have. Surely it was a great thing, they would say, to build this beautiful edifice in praise of Allah. If Rahman ever leaned over from the top of his mosque, spread his arms wide and said to an aid "look at all I have made," there is no mention of it. Nor any mention that he spent any time routing about on the ground like a bovine.

Note one other thing about the original Cordoban mosque. It was built on the "site of a Roman temple and a Visigothic church." Was the Roman temple still standing when Rahman's Mosque builders got started? Perhaps not. Perhaps the Visgoths destoryed the Roman Temple, or parts of it, in order to build their Visigothic Christian Church. But Rahman probably had no compunction about destroying the work of the Visigoths and if necessary, the remains of the Roman temple as well. Was this just a builder's convenience? Was Southern Spain in the 8th century chockablock full such that if you wanted to erect a Mosque you had to tear something else down? I doubt it. I suspect there were many other fine places, places that had nothing built there before, that would have been suitable for Rahman's Mosque. But what a great statement he made by building his Mosque on top of previous religious buildings. We have stomped on you, oh pagans. We have stomped on you, oh Christians. And we exalt Allah to the skies. Only those who haven't the time, as Mayor Bloomberg probably hasn't, to read Muslim history (or modern Islamist braggadocio), would think that what I am describing is farfetched.

If what I have described has validity; then the construction of the new Cordoban Mosque at "Ground Zero" has an equivalent symbolic message: We have stomped on you, oh Americans (by destroying your twin towers). And now we will exalt Allah to the skies.

I don't live in New York, and I know Billy Blogblather doesn't either, but he lives in Memphis and Memphis is only a four or five hour drive to Murfreesboro. Murfreesboro intends to allow the building of a large Muslim center near some sort of subdivision, probably not on top of a demolished church, but I don't know. Hundreds of protestors turned out to protest the Murfreesboro Mosque. That might not sound like a lot, but don't forget we are a tolerant nation; so Americans are slow to realize that the Muslims building these Mosques have no intention of being as tolerant as they are. The belief is slowly growing (to quote an article by Laurie Goodstein in my morning paper) "that even the most Americanized Muslim secretly wants to replace the Constitution with Islamic Sharia law."

What do you think of that belief that is growing in Murfreesboro and elsewhere in America? Is there any validity to it? Are these Muslims anxious to be just as tolerant as the rest of us think we are? Or are they secretly bent upon, or at least cheering on, the same mission that inspired the Cordoban General Al-Mansur? Maybe you can get hold of a copy of Rauf's A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11.

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