Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cordoba House: What's in a name?

I'm trying to quickly read through Feisal Abdul Rauf's 2004 book, What's Right with Islam, to try to get a sense of the man. I mentioned in an earlier post that some of the critics of Park51 point to the initial name "Cordoba House" as evidence that the project was intended as a symbol of Islamic conquest. I also pointed to Carl Pyrdum's response to this claim, wherein he pointed out that, among other things, the name is far more strongly associated with Islamic tolerance. So, it's interesting to read the last paragraph of Rauf's introduction:
We strive for a "New Cordoba," a time when Jews, Christians, Muslims, and all other faith traditions will live together in peace, enjoying a renewed vision of what the good society can look like. In this good society all religious voices are welcome and given maximum freedom, and no one religion (or even atheism) is allowed to inhibit any other. Toward this dream we aspire.
So, barring dissimulation—a charge for which I have not yet seen any good evidence—that's what the name "Cordoba" means to Rauf.

I want to finish the book before I comment more generally on him, but I must say that so far, he sounds much more like a fluffy religious leftist type (like Karen Armstrong, who wrote the foreword) than a jihadi monster.

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