One positive outcome to draw from Egypt’s crisis is the public’s elevated awareness about the Muslim Brotherhood. It is now clearer to many that the Brotherhood’s members are exploiting our open societies and political system right here in our own communities.The media’s role in deflating the Brotherhood’s dangerous agenda is profound. But other segments of our society are equally guilty. And so, to learn how steadily and consistently the West is losing to a totalitarian political doctrine, read this account. On the surface it may seem an insignificant episode, but assuming it is the model for interfaith or “twinning” devotees, it should be illuminating.
On Dec 4th I attended an interfaith event about which I wrote an article on Pajamas Media, “Where Islamism starts, Interfaith Dialogue Stops.”
At the event, I wanted to share a quote from a document stating the mission of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S: “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within [...].”
To my dismay, as I was about to read the quote, the host, Rev. Yorty, wouldn’t allow me to do so, stating that he did not want to discuss politics. However, he and his cosponsor guest, Reform Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld, allowed other participants to defame Israel with impunity. For them, criticizing Israel did not seem to fall under the rubric of “discussing politics.”
I left the room, not imagining that within weeks I would face these individuals with such low moral standing yet again.
But on January 29th, two Muslim Brotherhood affiliate organizations — the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) — invited and sponsored Imam Rauf as a keynote speaker at the University of Buffalo. And who do you think participated in the interfaith panel session along with Imam Rauf? You guessed correctly. The same Presbyterian Pastor Thomas Yorty and his cosponsor Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld, who joined Imam Rauf to discuss “how Americans of all faiths can work together for lasting peace.” They both spoke favorably of Imam Rauf and supported the work of MPAC. Overall, the interfaith session was devoid of any theological substance. Instead, the same superficial clichés often repeated during these events were offered yet again with petty statements like “We need to improve our knowledge of other people’s religions.” Of course, during the first event I tried to “improve our knowledge” of the political tenet of Islam, but to no avail. They sabotaged critical thinking and rejected any dissent from their rigid narrow-minded creed.
In the Q&A last session with Imam Rauf, a question was asked about persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Pastor Yorty responded: “Christian persecution is not a topic I know much about.” If the pastor knows nothing about his fellow Christians (hundreds of thousands of murdered Christians in the past three decades), how can he be trusted on interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Christians?
The rabbi’s response to the same question was that Christian persecution in the Middle East is NOT religiously oriented; rather, it’s all political. For example, he stated that Christians who left Beit Lechem did it because of “political fear.” Unfortunately, this stunning response was not followed with any evidence.
Next, a question was asked about the rise of the new anti-Semitism. Rabbi Rosenfeld responded that “lousy economics” has been the reason for the hatred, assuring the mostly Muslim audience of some 150 individuals that anti-Semitism is currently “much less than ever before.” The rabbi also blamed the media for exaggerating anti-Semitism. Surely, the “rabbi” is unaware that his statement is strongly contradicted by the FBI, the CIA, and the U.S. State Department.
The same Rabbi Rosenfeld showed no inhibition in mocking his political opponents. He referred to those who raise the alarm on the supremacist doctrine of Islam as “wacko” and “extremists” and even asked his embracing audience: “don’t you have to laugh at some of these people?” The rabbi’s partner, Pastor Yorty, used the word “haters” to describe opponents of his views.
I primarily attended this event to hear what the controversial Imam Rauf had to say. Yet I found the comments of the pastor and the rabbi more distressing. This is not because Imam Rauf has gone through an epiphany and now displays a drastic change of heart. After all, I have heard the imam a few times throughout the years, at the Chautauqua Institution, and I am used to his polished tone and deceptive language.
What I did not anticipate was the eagerness of Jewish and Christian clergy leaders to capitulate to a mostly Muslim audience [some of whom] believe in a doctrine of Islamic world conquest supported with a dogma which aspires to destroy our way of life, a real threat to our liberties in our Western civilization.These two clergymen ignored and belittled the horrific suffering of their own people. The persecution of Christians by Muslims was not an issue the pastor “knew much about,” and new anti-Semitism, instigated mostly by Muslims, was “much less than ever before,” merely exaggerated by the media. Of course, anyone who follows world affairs, even occasionally, knows how ludicrous their claims are. These two individuals preferred ingratiating themselves in front of their Muslim counterparts rather than challenging this particular audience to defend the rights of religious freedom and stand up against persecuting people with differing religious views. These clergymen and those who support them betray their communities by ignoring the looming issues and declaring platitudes, all under the name of progressiveness and multicultural understanding.
The organizer of this program is the president of MPAC Western New York chapter and on their national board. In Feb. 2008, Dr. Khalid J. Qazi ran a similar program titled “Understanding Islam,” together with the aforementioned Rev. Yorty. There, Mr. Qazi falsely asserted that Israeli laws institute hate, that Jews rejoice when Palestinians are murdered, and that Jews “got all the goodies after World War II.” While he persistently attacked Israel and Jews, he barely addressed the topic of “Understanding Islam.” Additionally, in the MPAC newsletter of April 2009, Qazi asks “how and why the world could stand by while the state of Israel is subjecting Palestinians to a Holocaust in their own homeland.”
In spite of these outrageous and offensive statements by Dr. Qazi, he still has been accepted by his Jewish and Christian counterparts — while, at the same time, they demonstrate contempt toward their opponents, who are genuinely concerned about what Dr. Qazi and his like really are all about.
Lt. Col. Allen West, newly elected Republican congressman from the state of Florida, shared his concise assessment of political Islam during a panel discussion on the topic. “This is not a religion,” he said, that “you are fighting against. You are fighting against a theo-political belief system [... and] until you get principled leadership in the United States of America that is willing to say that, we will continue to chase our tail, because we’ll never clearly define who this enemy is.”
The question for Rabbi Rosenfeld, Rev. Yorty, and their supporters is: how can they label people with differing viewpoints, or anyone challenging their views, as “extremists” and “wackos”? Is this an honest dialogue? Where is the “principled leadership” among Jewish and Christian clergy who would take the politically incorrect stand and clearly spell out what we are up against? We need ordained religious leaders with intellectual honesty to come forward and let their voices be heard.