Demand a refund.
It wasn’t worth the price of admission when the man behind the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, sat down with CNN on Sept. 9 to give his first television interview about the touchy topic which — for all the right reasons — has gripped the nation’s consciousness like no other since 9-11.
After spending months gallivanting in the Middle East to “build bridges” with our sworn enemies -— and squandering even more time evading domestic concerns about a mosque that most Americans want erected elsewhere -— the overblown spiritual leader finally opened his yap and showed us that he suffers from chronic hoof-in-the-mouth disease.
About as slick as a rubberized skating rink, Rauf blew his big moment and ended up being a catastrophic liability to his own cause.
He dodged the tough questions — including why near Ground Zero? He didn’t elaborate about his state-sanctioned travels beyond terming them an “exchange program” visit, he insinuated that John Q. Public and Jane Doe were akin to al Qaeda for opposing the project, and he warned that relocating the project would threaten our national security.
Then, he curiously fixated upon his desire to “perfect” Christians and Jews, though — prophetically — not Muslims.
“I, as a Muslim, want you as a Christian to really be a perfect Christian. I want my Jewish friends to be perfect Jews…” he waxed poetically to viewers, oblivious to the mounting accusations against him of being a cheap and petty slumlord.
Rauf demonstrated none of the compassion that he contended to feel for 9-11 victims. Instead, he relegated their heartache to the back burner alongside the cold hard fact that thousands of innocent people were murdered near the site where he insists Muslims should now set up religious shop.
Is this the type of spiritual advisor New York needs near Ground Zero?
To his detriment, the imam did nothing to squash the legitimate hysteria surrounding his corrosive campaign. Nine years after America’s worst day, the best he could cough up was: “We are willing to sit down and engage, and do something that will help us heal.” That engagement should have begun on the evening of Sept. 11, 2001, with a public vow to dismantle Islam’s nut-jobs.
Disturbing, too, were Rauf’s jabs at the United States, where the 62-year-old Kuwaiti national has lived and prospered since the 1960s.
“We have been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world,” he said, without reference to the indiscriminate and widespread bloodshed perpetrated by his own religion’s extremists. Unless, of course, he thinks they are already “perfect.”
America is not, and never has been, a persecuting nation. The imam knows that only too well. That is why he felt free to trot out his pap on national television — a feat for which he receives a Z-minus.
Most distressing of all, though, is that organizers likely won’t change the location of the mosque.
Where else would they find a decoy so conveniently located near forbidden-fruit strip joints? Like the ones frequented by the 9-11 terrorists, some of whom inked their evil plans in between receiving lap dances and bolting down shots of liquor in a go-go bar — even leaving the Koran behind on the bar in their warped stupor.
Ground Zero is sacred for obvious reasons. A mosque there is less welcome than a pork store in Mecca. If Imam Rauf cannot understand that, then he should shift his shady project from this Judeo-Christian nation to an Islamic one where it belongs.