by Conor Friedersdorf
Over at Ricochet, Claire Berlinski has been asking tough questions about the Cordoba Initiative, engaging that organization via social media, and expressing dismay at certain remarks made by Imam Rauf even as she opposes the approach taken by Sarah Palin, Abe Foxman, and Newt Gingrich. In other words, she's one of the people whose take on this differs from my own, but whose work on the subject nevertheless seems to me a valuable contribution.
In her latest, I want to highlight an excellent point:
I am all for pointing out good reasons to be offended by Imam Rauf's political opinions, but one argument that keeps coming up is actually not compelling at all. Feisal has been roundly criticized for saying the the September 11 attacks were a "reaction against the U.S. government politically, where we [the U.S.] espouse principles of democracy and human rights, and [yet] where we ally ourselves with oppressive regimes in many of these countries.” Feisal has said many stupid things, but these words can hardly be numbered among them by any enthusiast of the Bush Doctrine, given that they're indistinguishable from the standard neoconservative critique of American foreign policy prior to September 11. This point is explained approvingly by none other than William Kristol.
Elsewhere in the same post, she writes, "Those smiling photos of the good Imam at a Hizb ut-Tahrir conference at the very least suggest that the man is naive to the point of lunacy about what that organization represents and the likelihood of spreading moderation among its members through any form of outreach short of a Hellfire missile."