American Future Fund Attacks Rep. Braley With False Anti-Muslim Ad

August 25, 2010 2:55 pm ET

The American Future Fund has released a new ad attacking Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) for supporting the construction of an Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan.  The ad states that the center would be built "at Ground Zero" and attempts to paint Imam Abdul Feisal Rauf, the leader of the project, as a terrorist sympathizer.  Both claims are demonstrably false.

American Future Fund: "Mosque"

For centuries, Muslims built mosques where they won military victories.  Now they want to build a mosque at Ground Zero, where Islamic terrorists killed 3,000 Americans.  It's like the Japanese building at Pearl Harbor.  The Muslim cleric building the mosque believes America was partly responsible for 9/11, and is raising millions overseas from secret donors.  But, incredibly, Bruce Braley supports building a mosque at Ground Zero.  Tell Braley what you think.  [American Future Fund: "Mosque" via YouTube, 8/24/10]

The Islamic Center Would Not Be "At" Ground Zero

Associated Press: "No Mosque Is Going Up At Ground Zero." According to the Associated Press:

No mosque is going up at ground zero. The center would be established at 45-51 Park Place, just over two blocks from the northern edge of the sprawling, 16-acre World Trade Center site. Its location is roughly half a dozen normal lower Manhattan blocks from the site of the North Tower, the nearer of the two destroyed in the attacks.

The center's location, in a former Burlington Coat Factory store, is already used by the cleric for worship, drawing a spillover from the imam's former main place for prayers, the al-Farah mosque. That mosque, at 245 West Broadway, is about a dozen blocks north of the World Trade Center grounds.

Another, the Manhattan Mosque, stands five blocks from the northeast corner of the World Trade Center site. [Associated Press via CBS News, 8/19/10; emphasis added]

Rauf Has Denounced Terrorism And Has A Long Record Of Promoting Tolerance And Interfaith Dialogue

Rauf: "We Condemn Terrorists. We Recognize It Exists In Our Faith, But We Are Committed To Eradicate It."  According to the New York Daily News: "The Imam planning an Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero says his critics are bigots and the project will stamp out terrorism - not fan the flames.  'We condemn terrorists. We recognize it exists in our faith, but we are committed to eradicate it,' said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is leading the charge to build the Cordoba House.  'We want to rebuild this community,' he said. 'This is about moderate Muslims who intend to be and want to be part of the solution.'" [New York Daily News, 5/21/10]

Rauf Believes "American Democracy Is The Embodiment Of Islam's Ideal Society." According to Time: "The Kuwaiti-born Rauf, 52, is the imam of a mosque in New York City's Tribeca district, has written extensively on Islam and its place in modern society and often argues that American democracy is the embodiment of Islam's ideal society. (One of his books is titled What's Right with Islam Is What's Right with America.) He is a contributor to the Washington Post's On Faith blog, and the stated aim of his organization, the Cordoba Initiative, is 'to achieve a tipping point in Muslim-West relations within the next decade, steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition and respect and away from heightened tensions.' His Indian-born wife is an architect and a recipient of the Interfaith Center Award for Promoting Peace and Interfaith Understanding." [Time, 8/3/10, parentheses original]

Rauf Preaches "Tolerance And Interfaith Understanding."  According to the New York Times: "Those who have worked with him say if anyone could pull off what many regard to be a delicate project, it would be Imam Feisal, whom they described as having built a career preaching tolerance and interfaith understanding.  'He subscribes to my credo: 'Live and let live,'' said Rabbi Arthur Schneier, spiritual leader of Park East Synagogue on East 67th Street.  As a Sufi, Imam Feisal follows a path of Islam focused more on spiritual wisdom than on strict ritual, and as a bridge builder, he is sometimes focused more on cultivating relations with those outside his faith than within it." [New York Times, 12/8/09]

Note: AFF's argument that the construction of the Islamic center "is like the Japanese building at Pearl Harbor" is grossly inaccurate.  Japan is a foreign country that declared war on the United States; Islam is a religion whose followers include many patriotic Americans.  The Pearl Harbor analogy is predicated on the idea that the United States is at war with Islam, which it is not, and the implication that all Muslims, including Americans, bear collective responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.