Ground Zero Imam

Feisal Abdul Rauf

By Alyssa Lappen

An investigative report prepared for ACT! for America

Feisal Abdul Rauf, born in Kuwait in 1948, boasts of his issue from an “Egyptian family steeped in

religious scholarship.” 1 He presents himself as a Muslim moderate.2 Yet Feisal Rauf’s Muslim

Brotherhood provenance, radical by definition, is as authentic as it gets.

Evidence of family, and direct Rauf Muslim Brotherhood connections

?? Rauf’s father Dr. Muhammad Abdul Rauf (1917-2004), was an Egyptian contemporary of

Muslim Brotherhood (MB) founder Hassan al-Banna.

?? Rauf’s father studied and taught at Islam’s closest equivalent to the Vatican — Al-Azhar

University — beside Hassan al-Banna, perpetuating the pious family tradition of radicalism.

?? In 1948, Rauf’s father fled Egypt, during its first MB crackdown; Feisal was born in Kuwait. 3

?? In 1965, Feisal’s father left Malaysia for New York City to stealthily buy two thirds of an E.

96th Street block for an Islamic “personal trust,” revealing its $1.3 million Islamic money from

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Libya only after construction of the MB mosque began in 1984. 4

?? Likewise, 46 Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) nations funded the $17 million

Islamic Cultural Center, only after its 1992 opening did Rauf’s father reveal that funding source

or admit his long-term plans for discriminatory Muslim-only housing for the Islamic complex. 5

?? Rauf’s father named Feisal as a permanent trustee of the MB mosque.

?? Under Feisal’s permanent trusteeship, ICC employed Al-Azhar imam Muhammad Gemeaha. A

week after fleeing the U.S. on Sept. 28, 2001 he stated, “only the Jews” could have perpetrated

9/11; Allah says Jews “disseminate corruption in the land,” spread “heresy, homosexuality,

alcoholism, and drugs.” Americans would exterminate Jews like “Hitler did” if they knew.

?? ICC then hired Al-Azhar envoy Omar Saleem Abu-Namous. He too saw no “conclusive

evidence” that Muslims committed the atrocities, but rather saw Muslims as innocent victims. 6

?? At Perdana Global Peace Organization, an MB, Hamas and al-Qaeda affiliate, Rauf is second in

command to antisemitic former Malaysian P.M. and Islamic law advocate Mahathir Mohamad,7

who in Nov. 2002, incited global anti-West financial war as a “jihad worth fighting for.”8

?? On May 7, 2010, Rauf himself stated, “Some people say … Muslims … attacked on 9/11 … ”9

?? In 2001 on 60 Minutes, Rauf called U.S. policies “an accessory to the crime that happened,” and

said, “In … the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden was made in the USA.” 10

?? Rauf wants to impose sharia in the U.S. His 2004 book, What’s Right with Islam, is translated

into Malay as the Call from the WTC Rubble. 11

?? In Dec. 2007 Rauf promoted the book at a Kuala Lumpur Hizb ut Tahrir (HT) meeting. 12

Banned in Germany since 2003 and outlawed in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey

and Saudi Arabia, among other places — the organization is ideologically akin to the MB.

?? In the fiscal year ended Jun. 30, 2009, Feisal’s ASMA accepted at least $1.3 million, including

$576,312 from Qatar,13 whose government stands accused of funding international terrorism,

has long harbored terror financiers, and for decades hosted Muslim Brotherhood spiritual chief

Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Rauf is quite friendly with Qaradawi, a large, founding shareholder in

terror-funding al-Taqwa Bank who champions sharia law, wife beating and suicide bombing. 14

?? Rauf concluded in the Washington Post, shortly after President Obama’s June 2009 Cairo

speech, that he’d challenged Muslims to “Live up to the tenets of our religion, embrace Shariah

law as conceived by the Prophet, and see what happens.” 15

?? Rauf seeks more U.S. legal “leeway” for sharia — to put Muslims above the law — by

“[Inviting] voices of all religions to join the dialogue in shaping the nation’s practical

life, [and allowing] religious communities … to judge …according to their own laws.16

?? On Dec. 9, 2007, Rauf said in Arabic to Sa’da Abdul Maksoud of the Hadi-el-Islam website,

that current, unjust governments, “do not follow Islamic laws.” He advocates establishing sharia

“in more [ways than one] … through a kingdom or a democracy, [so long as the]

fundamentals of Shariah [exist, with standards of Muslim scholars] required to

govern. …to organize … relationships between government … and the governed.” 17

?? In March 2010, also in Arabic, Rauf stridently denounced interfaith discussions. “I don’t believe

in interfaith dialogue,” he said in an article that highlighted his statement in its headline. 18

?? Rauf’s Manhattan ASMA offices at 475 Riverside Drive occupy the suite next door to Council

of American-Islamic-Relations (CAIR) of NY; its national parent is the U.S. arm of the MB

terrorist group, Hamas, and an unindicted coconspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation

terror financing case in which the organization and five officers were convicted.19

?? At the Jul. 13, 2010 New York Landmarks hearing on the fate a 152-year-old wrought-iron era

building where a piece of jet fuselage fell through its roof on 9/11 — CAIR-NY executive

director Zaed Ramadan supported destroying the structure opposite Ground Zero to build Rauf’s

15 story mosque, a monument to Muslim victory to tower above the memorial site. 20

?? Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan in 2009 both refused to sign a Freedom Pledge to protect former

Muslims from the death sentence sought by most sharia interpretations for Muslim apostates.

On Oct. 20, 2009, Former Muslims United asked ASMA’s executives to pledge to

renounce, repudiate and oppose any physical intimidation, or worldly and corporal

punishment, of apostates …, [however] that punishment may be determined or carried

out by myself or any other Muslim including the [apostate’s] family, community,

Mosque leaders, Shariah court or judge, and Muslim government or regime.”21

?? Rauf’s 2000 and 2004 books both laud sharia and envision implementing it in the U.S. – and

“rejuvenating” the Islamic spirit of 14th century jurist Taqi al-Din Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah and

his 18th century heir Muhammad bin Abdul al-Wahhab. Rauf also lauds purported “modernists”

Jamal al-Dinal-Afghani (d. 1897) and Muhammad Abduh (d. 1905) who revered Wahhabis, Ibn

Taymiyyah and like Rauf pretended sharia – with perennial jihad and countless strictures on

non-Muslims and women – complements Western ideas like those in the U.S. Bill of Rights. 22

?? Rauf also authorized two mainstay MB organizations, the International Institute of Islamic

Thought (IIIT) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) to produce “a special noncommercial

edition” of his 2004 book to promote “proper [Western] understanding of


?? Rauf’s ASMA in 2004 established the purportedly liberal Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow.24 Its

liberal faces are largely overwhelmed by sharia devotees like al Qaeda supporter Yasir Qadhi,25

CAIR-NY community affairs director Faiza N. Ali — who co-authored CAIR’s fallacious

“denunciation” of a superb 2008 NYPD report on homegrown jihadists — and CAIR-NY

community organizer Debbie Almontaser, who once ran the city’s Khalil Gibran Academy.26

?? Since at least 2006, Rauf’s U.S.-based Cordoba Initiative has partnered with Gallup

Organization and “Sunni and Shi’a scholars from Morocco to Indonesia” to create “an Islamic

legal benchmark for measuring ‘Islamicity’ of a state”—sharia index—for official, state, public

and press use in the “Muslim and Western worlds.” He initiated the project, funded by Malaysia

and many other nations in the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). 27

?? A key sharia index board member, Jasser Auda, doubles on the academic council at the U.K. the

International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) office and in summer 2010 taught with Muslim

Brotherhood heavies—e.g. former ISNA leadership development head Louay Safi, IIIT v.p. and

NAIT founding general manager Jamal Barzinji and Minaret of Freedom head Imad Ad Deen

Ahmad, present at the Beirut terrorist convention in January 2001. No mistaking their intent.

Attended school in U.K. And Malaysia

Rauf attended grammar and high school in the U.K. and Malaysia, according to his biography. He

probably arrived in America in 1965, at 17, when his father moved to New York City from Malaysia to

plan and head the Islamic Cultural Center on 96th Street (built in the mid-1980s).28 Rauf obtained a

bachelor’s of science in physics at New York’s Columbia University.29 In 1971, the family moved to

Washington D.C., where Rauf’s father headed the Islamic Center completed in 1957 on Massachusetts

Ave.30 (His father, buried in Suitland, Md.’s for-profit Washington National Cemetery, also founded

four Malaysian Islamic studies programs — an Islamic college in Klang, the Islamic Studies

department at Malay University, an Islamic Studies School at University of Malaya — and finally

International Islamic University of Malaysia.)31 Rauf’s key sharia index pals also frequent Malaysia.

Instructed by a master dissembler, Feisal Rauf had long planned to further develop his father’s U.S.

Islamic expansionism. In 1990, Rauf opened the tiny al-Farah Mosque at 245 West Broadway

downtown. Area residents didn’t notice it until 2006, when the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA)

suddenly refused to license a new bar on the block and began yanking others’ liquor licenses too. 32

In Rauf’s 2004 book he stated, “American Constitution and system of governance uphold the core

principles of Islamic law.” The U.S. Constitution is sharia-compliant, and U.S. “political structure is

sharia-compliant,” since Muslim jurists over the centuries have “defined five areas of life” to be

protected by Islamic law — life, mind, religion, property, and family, which the Constitution and U.S.

laws protect. Rauf seeks to seduce Americans into accepting sharia on Islamic terms.

This too explains Rauf’s ties to Malaysia — a state with a heavy sharia influence and MB presence that

his father shaped. It has an official Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) to promote

“advancement of Islamic affairs,” formulate “policies for the ADVANCEMENT of Islamic affairs in

the country and to safeguard the sanctity of the aqidah and the teachings of Islam.” (Emphasis in


Described in one Asian report as an Egyptian citizen living in the U.S., as journalist Alyssa A. Lappen

observed in May 2010, Rauf’s assertions like those of his father before him

“merely fulfill the Muslim Brotherhood doctrine of flexibility — adapting to each and every

environment in which the brothers eventually hope to force Islamic law upon the masses. Rauf’s

claims starkly represent taqiyya, the Islamic practice of deception, to further theocratic and

essentially fascist Islamic advances. And the additional “leeway” Rauf seeks for intracommunity

religious-law enforcement is a thinly veiled attempt to impose sharia more widely in

the U.S., in direct contravention of the U.S. Constitution.34

Rauf’s early U.K. education and familiarization with American values and popular culture made him an

acutely adept practitioner of taqiyya.35 Indeed, sharia inhibits all kinds of freedoms, especially for

women and non-Muslims. Islamic law protects only the lives, minds, religion, property and families of

Muslims — not those of all peoples of all faiths, as Rauf pretends. 36

Furthering Islamic gains

To further North American Islamic gains, Rauf in 1997 established the American Society for Muslim

Advancement (ASMA). His Kashmir-born interior-designer wife, Daisy Khan, has run it since 2005. 37

Khan’s uncle Faroque A. Khan is a trustee at the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Society of North

America (ISNA), and ISNA’s Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) subsidiary.38 In

July 2006, Faroque Khan gave the IMANA keynote in Beijing. He touted both Rauf’s books, which

seek a clean, pure Wahabbi brand of sharia. Until at least 2006, Faroque Khan also chaired Westbury’s

Islamic Center of Long Island, an affiliate of the MB Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).39

Rauf then cultivated new influence spheres. In about 2002, Rauf began lecturing on Islam at the 750-

acre southwestern New York Chautauqua Institution (CI), a 136-year-old non-profit. CI Religion

director Joan Brown Campbell took Rauf under her wing. Under a convenient “Abrahamic” faiths

rubric to cover Rauf’s radical Islamic agenda, Campbell named him prospective head for a CI Muslim

house, planned by Rauf’s new tax-free 501(3)c organization, Muslim friends of Chautauqua. He also

befriended former British nun Karen Armstrong, a devotee of Islam, 40 who in 2002 promoted the

Muslim Brotherhood, as if the father of all Islamic terror groups was a progressive charity. She said,

“[it] set up a wonderful welfare program before it was suppressed. … factories where Muslims

could work, had time for prayers, had vacation time, insurance, [learned] labor laws,

[provided] clinics, they taught people how to treat sewage, drainage, and it was always the

religions response to try to help modernity to give to the ordinary people the benefits of

modernity in an Islamic setting that made sense to them and made things more balanced.” 41

In 2003, Rauf allied with Denver’s Aspen Institute (AI) leaders, including its former executive director

and four-term Aspen mayor John S. Bennett. In 2004, when Rauf established ASMA’s radical Muslim

Leaders of Tomorrow, he and Bennett also co-founded Cordoba Initiative in Aspen, purportedly to

“improve” Muslim-West relations.42 Rauf gets funding from many liberal organizations, including

Gloria Steinem’s Ms. Foundation. The Carnegie Corp. under Iranian Muslim immigrant Vartan

Gregorian, in 2008 gave $300,000 to ASMA and $800,000 to AI for “Islamic understanding.”43

Defying purported intentions

Even in English, however Rauf has often contradicted his conciliatory pretense. “The Islamic method

of waging war is not to kill innocent civilians,” Rauf told the Sydney Morning Herald in March 2004.

He added that terrorism will end only when the West acknowledges the harm it has done to Muslims.

“[I]t was Christians in World War II who bombed civilians in Dresden and Hiroshima, neither

of which were military targets.” 44

But the West’s strictly defensive World War II role invoked no religion. And Rauf ignores continuous

7th through 16th century Islamic attacks on non-Muslim peoples throughout the Mid East, Africa,

Europe, central Asia and India. And Daisy Khan glossed Rauf’s insults in a Dec. 2009 Fox interview. 45

While he frequently insults the West and the U.S., however, true to Muslim Brotherhood form, Rauf

also happily expands his Islamic outreach at U.S. government and taxpayers’ expense. Since ASMA

registered itself with the IRS as a “church,” it thus acquired doubly beneficial tax-exempt status, in that

churches need not file annual 990 tax forms ordinarily required for non-profit groups.

Worse, both Rauf and his wife since at least January 2009 have worked for the U.S. State Department,

which has also funded at least one radical ASMA Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow meeting. 46 In August

2010, news broke that the State Department had hired them both as envoys to the Islamic world. Rauf

was then already in Malaysia, and planned to remain abroad until completing a State Departmentfunded

Middle East tour — with stops in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar.47

Despite White House and State Department denials, moreover, London’s Arsharq Alawsat reported in

Arabic that Rauf might use the U.S.-funded travel to raise money for his Ground Zero mosque. 48

Indeed, Saudi Arabia founded the OIC in 1969 to promote the “struggle for Islam,” and served as its

chief sponsor since. The OIC charter includes all Muslim Brotherhood principles, foremost to spread

sharia worldwide. Headquarters remain in Jedda, pending “liberation of Jerusalem.” In 1973, the OIC

established the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) “according to the Islamic sharia principles” — and

thus launched the petrodollar-based Islamic financing market to stealthily spread Islam and sharia

worldwide.49 “[A]n Islamic organization must serve God…and ultimately sustain…the growth and

advancement of the Islamic way of life,” writes Nasser M. Suleiman in “Corporate Governance in

Islamic Banking.” 50 Obviously, with sharia principles in mind, 46 OIC member states secretly funded

the 1984 construction Rauf’s father orchestrated of New York’s Islamic Center.

Like his father, Rauf may also get major Saudi funding: In February 2001, the IDB established the U.S.

dollar denominated Awqaf Properties Investment Fund (APIF) to “develop and invest in accordance

with … Islamic sharia [principles], in Awqaf real estate properties … in [IDB] member countries … and

Islamic communities in non-member countries.” (emphasis added) Financing applications go — where

else? — to Saudi Arabia, which has worked tirelessly for decades to advance Islamic communities in

non-Muslim nations — predominantly the U.S. 51

The MB seeks to replace the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law (sharia), and impose Islam and sharia

law worldwide. Most North American MB organizations, including Rauf’s, avoid widely publicizing

their aim. But the HT at a July 2009 suburban Chicago Khalifah conference openly promised to replace

capitalism with Islam and sharia.52 Rauf’s December 2007 appearance with HT in Kuala Lumpur is not

surprising, given his early, and often-stated desire for a wholesale shift to sharia law, by any means.

Cordoba’s real meaning

For those knowledgeable in Islamic history, the name of Rauf’s Cordoba Institute telegraphs his

deceptiveness. Cordoba (also the name for Chautauqua’s proposed new Muslim house) ruled the

Islamic Caliphate for most of Spain from Tariq ibn Zayid’s 711 invasion through 1248. Cordoba

controlled some Spanish regions until their full liberation in 1492. Neither the Umayyads (who ruled

monolithically until about 1031), nor the vicious Almoravids (who swept over the Atlas mountains into

Spain in 1080), ruled non-Muslims so kindly. Islamic harshness varied, but remained ever-present.

Rauf blatantly whitewashes the brutal Islamic history in Spain. While others also purvey this historical

falsehood, Muslim rule in Spain never remotely approached the mythic beneficence Rauf pretends.53

Muslims have traditionally destroyed the worship houses of virtually every other faith. Islam plundered

tens of thousands (if not 100,000s) of Christian churches and monasteries, synagogues and holy Jewish

holy archaeological sites, Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Sikh and other temples and retreats. To

advance jihad, Islam then claimed them all as “mosques,” forever Muslim. That’s what Rauf really

wants at Ground Zero, to proclaim Islamic victory.


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