US media is widely reporting that the US Muslim Brotherhood has issued a statement of support for the “Ground Zero” mosque. According to a report in the Boston Globe:
Leaders of prominent US Muslim groups called yesterday for a national week of interfaith dialogue to combat religious intolerance and said they support the right to build a controversial Islamic center near ground zero. “We stand for the constitutional right of Muslims, and Americans of all faiths, to build houses of worship anywhere in our nation as allowed by local laws and regulations,’’ the Muslim leaders said in a statement delivered at the site of the proposed Islamic center and mosque, to be called Park51. They called for a week of dialogue on the weekend of Oct. 22-24, during which Muslims would conduct open houses at their places of worship to help ease tensions.“We ask Muslims to open mosques nationwide to welcome people, to let them understand the Islamic faith, and what American Muslim community is,’’ said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on Islamic-American Relations. “We also urge Muslims to visit places of worship in other faith communities.’’ The Muslim leaders spoke after a daylong summit meeting Sunday at a hotel near Kennedy Airport. The 20 groups participating in the summit included the Council on Islamic-American Relations and the Islamic Society of North America, the two best-known US Muslim groups, as well as the Islamic Circle of North America and the Muslim Alliance in North America. Neither the developer of the Islamic center nor its imam attended the news conference, though developer Sharif El-Gamal attended the summit. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf welcomed the Muslim leaders’ support in a statement. “I welcome the support of the Islamic Leadership Council for the Cordoba Initiative’s plans to proceed with a community center in lower Manhattan, which has attracted such broad national and global attention,’’ Rauf said. “On a day when American Muslim leaders stand strongly in favor of protecting civil rights, and denouncing bigotry in all forms, it is important to remember that world-wide efforts to foster peace must begin in our home communities. “We must insist on going background forward with causes that we know will further peace between all peoples.’’The developers said in a separate statement: “The leaders of Park51 are grateful to the over 100 Muslim American leaders and their organizations who announced their support today of the Islamic community center being built in Lower Manhattan. Our community remains committed to building bridges of understanding to our neighborhoods, to our city and to the rest of America.’’ Summit organizers said Rauf did not attend Sunday because of security concerns….The Muslim leaders who spoke yesterday did not address proposals to move the mosque to a less sensitive location. They called on elected officials “to join their colleagues in denouncing and rejecting inflammatory rhetoric that endangers the lives of Muslim Americans.’’
One of the most emotive new supporters was Mahdi Bray of the Muslim American Society, who said that like Rosa Parks, the center’s planners were being told: “We want you to move. You offend us being where you are. This is not the right place for you to be.” Mr. Bray was asked about a video from 2000 in which he appeared to cheer and pump his fist when asked if anyone in the crowd supported Hamas and Hezbollah, listed as terrorist groups by the United States government; he said the scene was taken out of context. Asked Monday by an audience member whether they would condemn Hamas, those at the news conference declined to answer, saying they wanted to focus on the planned center. At the same time, they said their main concern was not the center itself but what they saw as a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment that had led people to oppose mosques in neighborhoods from Staten Island to California. “Ground zero does not belong to a specific group of people or religion,” said Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Ground zero belongs to all Americans.”
A Hudson Institute report identifies CAIR, ICNA, ISNA, and the MAS as parts of the US Muslim Brotherhood. Previous posts have discussed the ties between the Muslim Alliance of North America and the US Muslim Brotherhood.
A previous post discussed the background to the summit at which this statement was issued.