Assessing Imam Rauf, Cont'd

by Conor Friedersdorf

Claire Berlinski responds to my earlier post on the Imam behind the Park51 project, and makes a persuasive case that whatever his intentions -- and I still see no convincing evidence that they are malign -- it is a fool's errand to associate with Hizb ut-Tahrir, a case that is only bolstered by this BBC piece I found while trying to read up on the group.

I'd be interested to hear why he attended a conference that they sponsored. [See correction below -- he didn't.] It would certainly clarify this discussion. Ms. Berlinski has already made inquiries, and I'm going to do the same. In general, I'd very much benefit from a better understanding of the attitudes, pressures, and perspective of people who see themselves as bridge-builders between Islam and the west. The last time I embarked on that particular intellectual project I read "Whose Afraid of Tariq Ramadan" in The New Republic, and I was so exhausted by the end that I didn't read anything else.

Any reader recommendations on this subject?

UPDATE: Clare Berlinski issues a correction:

Imam Feisal was not at a conference sponsored by Hizb ut-Tahrir, just a conference where some members of Hizb ut-Tahrir were present. I still wouldn't have gone, if I were him, just knowing they would be there. but that's not quite the same as accepting an invitation to their conference.

This makes me think my initial position was correct. A necessary part of persuading people to abandon radical Islam is engaging people who aren't entirely on your side.