Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Zero Tolerance for “Ground Zero” Mosque

In ISLAM on July 16, 2010 at 14:13

The five-story building at 45-47 Park Place in Manhattan, two blocks north of “Ground Zero,” was built more than 150 years ago. The religion practiced within its walls, however, dates back nearly 1,500 years—and is directly responsible for the slaughter of nearly 3,000 Americans.

Last year, Soho Properties, a Muslim-run real estate company, paid $4.85 million cash for the property. Two of the investors—Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement—now want to turn it into what has been called a “mega mosque.”

According to its website, the “Cordoba Initiative hopes to build a $100 million, 13-story community center with Islamic, interfaith and secular programming.” In addition to the mosque, the project calls for a 500-seat auditorium, swimming pool, art exhibition spaces, bookstores and restaurants.

Please understand that I have no problem with buildings. But I have a very big problem with the politics and symbolism behind this building.

The proposed “Ground Zero” mosque, despite its humanitarian cocoon and politically correct marketing, would shout five times every day the contempt the American Muslim community has for thousands of innocent victims and their families. While Westerners who consider themselves chic and enlightened go to any lengths to avoid offending Islam, the Muslim community appears to think nothing of pouring acid in America’s open wounds.

Why was this particular site selected? Because the need for a $100 million mosque is so great? Because 45-47 Park Place is the only place left in Manhattan to put a mosque? No. Because it will make a powerful political and religious statement.

Americans need to understand that the soul of this so-called community center will be an altar to the god that justified and mandated the 9/11 massacre. If allowed to proceed unopposed, it will stand as a bold affirmation of the same Qur’an quoted on camera by 19 fedayeen as they prepared to kill themselves and thousands of innocent men and women. It will be a Petri dish for the virulent virus called Islam, a holy place where its dark god is honored and worshiped.

We need to remind ourselves where thousands of Muslims in America have come from. They came from mosques, just like the one the Cordoba Initiative wants to build up the street from the ruin of the World Trade Center. Mosques in Iran and Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. They came here to escape the corrupt systems and brutal regimes of their homelands.

From the oppression of these Quranic cultures, they came to America to enjoy the benefits of liberty and the protections of the Constitution. Now a growing number of Muslim organizations are using their precious freedoms of speech and religion as weapons against the freedoms themselves. They are using fine-sounding arguments to convince uniformed Westerners that Islam is peaceful, good and caring. And they shame others into feeling foolish and guilty if they dare to insist that the emperor is naked.

“I think this particular group of people in the Cordoba Institute can do a huge amount of good not only for Muslims in New York but also for interfaith relations throughout the country,” said Ibrahim Ramey, director of the Human and Civil Rights Division of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, on CNN’s American Morning.

If Cordoba and other Muslim organizations in America would like to “do a huge amount of good,” let them build a hospital instead of a mosque. Build something that will help the families of the 9/11 victims. Do something productive for humanity in general, instead of challenging liberty and confusing people about the realities of Islam. This is how they can generate good will, not by building a rock of offense two blocks from Ground Zero.

The Heart of the Matter

In PERSONAL on July 10, 2010 at 18:20

Gonen ben Yitzhak and Mosab Hassan Yousef - living proof that there absolutely can be lasting peace in the Middle East.

I am posting the article that Gonen and I wrote for The Washington Post before the deportation hearing because, in it, we were able to express some very important things that have gotten lost in the media mist.

First, the Department of Homeland Security’s campaign to send me back to the Palestinian territories and to certain death was a test of America’s moral strength and the precious freedoms that are too often taken for granted.

Second, the deep, enduring friendship that developed between Gonen and me shouts to the world that peace in that region is definitely possible.


By Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen ben Itzhak, Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ours is an unlikely friendship. Gonen ben Itzhak is an Israeli, the son of a retired Israel Defense Forces (IDF) general who was in charge of defeating the first intifada some 20 years ago. Mosab Hassan Yousef is a Palestinian, the son of a founder of Hamas whose father was one of the leaders of that intifada. The Palestinians’ goal for the intifada was to elevate their cause. Israel sought to keep violence down and protect its citizens. Today we are sacrificing everything—possibly even our lives—to build a bridge of peace between our peoples.

As detailed in the book Son of Hamas, published this year, we became partners in the fight against terrorism; Mosab became an undercover agent for the Shin Bet, Israel’s security service; Gonen became his Shin Bet handler. In the nine years we worked together, the two of us, once sworn enemies, embraced mutual recognition and rejected the mindset of revenge.

All the efforts of Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization failed to achieve the goals of the intifada. All the efforts of the IDF failed to stop the hate that fueled the intifada.

Mosab observed firsthand the craziness of the cycle of violence. Mosab began to question who his real enemies were: the Hamas leaders who tortured their fellow Palestinian prisoners, or the Shin Bet, who arrested and imprisoned him. Over the 16 months that Mosab was in prison, the answer became clear, and this persuaded Mosab to go undercover for the Shin Bet. Gonen, whose code name was “Captain Loai,” became Mosab’s handler. Mosab’s reports led to the arrests of several high-ranking Palestinian figures. As we worked together to prevent the deaths of hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians, the two of us became friends.

We believe that friendships like ours are key to eliminating hate and promoting the liberty that both our peoples so desperately desire.

Mosab converted to Christianity in 2005 and moved to California in 2007. America has a vision of a world where liberty reigns. When Mosab brought terrorists to justice while working undercover for the Shin Bet, he was American at heart, fighting for liberty and justice.

Mosab has lived in this country for more than two years. We were shocked when, in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security opposed his request for political asylum, all the more so when it threatened to deport Mosab in the name of protecting American security. If this decision is upheld, it will signal to the world that America does not stand by those who sacrifice to oppose terrorism. If America wants liberty to prevail in all places, it must not abandon those who share the ideals of freedom.

Gathering human intelligence in the war against terrorism will become impossible if the United States does not protect those who risk their lives on behalf of American values.

Mosab was born a son of Hamas, but he rejected his violent destiny and found the strength to choose a different path. But having left revenge behind, he faces possible deportation as payback for embracing the ideal of loving his enemy.

When an immigration judge in California decides about Mosab’s future on Wednesday, the ramifications will be much greater than whether he is sent back to certain death anywhere in the Middle East. It is a decision about the future of liberty and about the best path to peace.

Whatever happens in San Diego, we hope that our story can be a bridge to peace. Peace is a state of mind and heart before it is a political reality. Our friendship is proof that hating hearts can change — and that changed hearts are the only hope for liberty.

Political Asylum Granted!

In PERSONAL on July 1, 2010 at 05:01

Honestly, I am still in shock. I was sitting beside my attorney, focused on how I would answer the questions that were coming. Gonen ben Itzhak, my dear friend and former Shin Bet handler, had flown in from Israel to testify on my behalf and waited with a security guard in the empty courtroom next door.

Judge Rico Bartolomei was entering into the record all the documents and motions that had been introduced since my last hearing, getting everybody on the same page before we started.

That done, he called for Gonen.

That’s when DHS senior attorney Kerri Calcador dropped the bombshell. The Department of Homeland Security, she said, no longer opposes the asylum petition of Mosab Hassan Yousef.

No one in the courtroom could get hold of what had just happened. Not me, not the judge, not my attorney. We were prepared for several hours of testimony and defense. But 15 minutes after we walked into the courtroom, it was over.

There was nothing left to do. Judge Bartolomei granted me political asylum, pending a routine background check, rose and left the courtroom. Then the security guards efficiently led all of us out of the courtroom, down the halls, through the razor-wired fences and out into the parking lot, where a crowd of well-wishers applauded and cheered and network cameras rolled.

As we drove home through San Diego, we thanked God for his grace and for all those he used to make this happen.

For countless people around the world who prayed for me.

For FOX News, which is a lot more than just a conservative voice. Over the past year and a half, I have come to know and respect the professionals at FOX who have become much more to me than reporters, producers and camera crews. They are good people who had the courage to cover a story that others rejected and/or did not understand. Special thanks to chief correspondent Jonathan Hunt.

For U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), who circulated a letter through the House of Representatives that was co-sponsored by 21 other congressmen, asking DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to give “full consideration . . . to Mr. Yousef’s views and conduct in recent years, particularly his cooperation with Shin Bet at significant risk to his own safety and life.” Signatories include Representatives Frank Wolf (VA), Trent Franks (AZ), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Bill Posey (FL), Kenny Marchant (TX), John Kline (MN), John Shadegg (AZ), Joe Wilson (SC), Daniel Lungren (CA), John Boozman (AK), Michele Bachmann (MN), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Bill Shuster (PA), Joseph Pitts (PA), Lynn Jenkins (KS), Rob Bishop (UT), Jeff Fortenberry (NE), Dan Rohrabacher (CA), Robert Aderholt (AL), Mike Pence (IN) and Aaron Schock (IL).

For Tzachi Hanegbi, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of The Knesset (Israeli Parliament), MK Einat Wilf and other committee members for their very kind letter thanking me for my “actions to strengthen the security of Israeli citizens and Palestinian residents from 1998 to 2007.”

For the wisdom and integrity of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.

I am especially grateful to Sarah Stern, president of the Endowment for Middle Eastern Truth. Today’s blessings would not have happened without her and this amazing organization.

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