Category Archives: Rauf Imam

The Imam and the Sergeant: Open Letter to Mr. Jeffrey Goldberg

Dear Mr. Goldberg,

In your Atlantic article last week (“‘Ground Zero’ Immam…”) you heap praise on Imam Rauf and excoriate his critics:

The right-wing campaign against the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” includes vicious personal attacks on the Muslim cleric who leads the Cordoba Initiative, the organization behind the plan. I know Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, and I know him to be a moderate, forward-leaning Muslim — yes, it is true he has said things with which I disagree, but I have never expected him to function as a member of the Zionist Organization of America.

Now here is why I am writing. You no doubt know of Sgt. Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was abducted from Israel by Hamas more than four years ago and who has been held hostage, incommunicado, for all this time. International groups like the Red Cross have been denied access to him. It is a barbaric action by these Islamists, and it is ongoing. So here is my thought. You tell us that Imam Rauf, while devoted to Islam, of course, is also both moderate and forward-leaning (whatever that means), and you tell us that he is a man you know. You vouch for him. So this is my suggestion. Get the Imam to prevail upon Hamas (a group the Imam has always refused to criticize), to prevail upon this group of fellow-Muslims to end their barbaric imprisonment of Sergeant Shalit.

Can you do that, Mr. Goldberg ? That would be, how can I put it, very forward-leaning on your part.


Werner Cohn