Walid Shoebat’s September 3 “open letter” to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, published by WorldNetDaily, is a barely coherent mess of right-wing anti-Islam talking points and unexplained allusions. In the middle of it, Shoebat sticks in this slur:
You have worked tirelessly for peace. All you wanted was: "an icon [Cordoba Mosque]." My mother asked me: On God's green earth, there is no other place you can put a mosque except by the 9/11 rubble? And since we rejected the mosque idea, will the pool at your center allow Jews to swim, or were you kidding when you wrote the N.Y Times that Israel will be Judenrein (free of Jews)?
“Judenrein” was a term used by the Nazis to describe areas from which Jews had been “cleansed.”
Needless to say, Rauf said no such thing -- there’s no evidence Rauf ever used the term “Judenrein,” in The New York Times or anywhere else. Shoebat appears to be referring to a 1977 letter to the Times in which, according to The Wall Street Journal, Rauf wrote: “In a true peace it is impossible that a purely Jewish state of Palestine can endure. . . . In a true peace, Israel will, in our lifetimes, become one more Arab country, with a Jewish minority.” That is clearly not the same thing as Shoebat’s inflammatory accusation that Rauf declared “Israel will be Judenrein.”
Shoebat’s eagerness to smear Rauf seems to come from ignorance of anything he’s written that didn’t come from anti-Islam activists. For instance, Shoebat asks of Rauf, “I would like to know if your American-style Islamic Shariah would include interest banking since our whole capitalistic system depends on it.” If Shoebat had read Rauf’s book What’s Right With Islam, he would have something of an answer. In it, Rauf asserts that America’s political system is already “Shariah-compliant,” suggesting that he has no particular desire to eliminate the nation’s interest banking system. Rauf also wrote that the corporation structure provided the West “great competitive advantages” over Islamic ways of doing business, adding, “Until the Muslim world finds a way to opening embrace these concepts and ideas in a manner consistent with Islamic law, it will continue to lag economically” [page 210].
But Shoebat hasn’t read Rauf’s book. In a different version of the “open letter” posted on his own website on August 27, Shoebat writes, ”I admit that I failed to read your book ‘What’s Right With Islam.’ “
Perhaps Shoebat -- whose self-proclaimed past as a “PLO terrorist” has raised questions -- should get a copy of Rauf’s book and read it quietly until he is able to offer an informed opinion.
(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)