A NYC anti-mosque activist, Madeline Brooks, has published an article on “Pajamas Media,” alleging Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf attended a “Hizb-ut Tahrir Conference” in 2007, with a “feeling of celebration.”
However, her article appears to provide a misleading view of the event based on foreign web pages that she has linked to her article without translations, which appear to be contradicted by a translation of the Indonesian web site that she uses as her basis. The translated Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia website condemns Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf for his support of the U.S. Constitution, calls him a “propagandist,” and condemns his “propagandist lie” that the U.S. Constitution supports “freedom, justice, equality and fraternity.”
Madeline Brooks has supported and documented protests against Islamic centers planned in Manhattan and Brooklyn. As part of her repeated protests against NYC Islamic centers and mosques, she has been writing about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
In Madeline Brooks’ article “Terror Ties: Ground Zero Imam Attended Hizb-ut Tahrir Conference,” she states that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf “seems to have an irresistible attraction to extremists and terrorists, in spite of frequent declarations that he is a peacemaker and a ‘bridge builder.'” She then goes on to ask that “So what was he doing at a 2007 conference in Indonesia of an international terrorist group seeking a global caliphate?” (R.E.A.L. notes that Hizb ut-Tahrir is not listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.)
As her sole justification for this claim, Madeline Brooks provide a link to an Indonesia Hizb ut-Tahrir web site from December 2007, where photos of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf appear, apparently promoting his book “A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Da’wah From the Heart of America Post-9/11″ in Indonesia.
For those of us familiar with the anti-democracy group Hizb ut-Tahrir and who have led challenges to its views on human rights, the date of the article looked odd, even without translation. We knew of a Hizb ut-Tahrir international conference in Indonesia in 2007, but that was in August 2007. This HTI article, referenced in Madeline Brooks article, is about an event in December 2007, not August 2007.
The Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) web page is in Indonesian. It would be responsible if one were to make Madeline Brooks’ claims to either have some knowledge of the Indonesian or Malay language, or at least attempt to make an automated translation of the page.
The Google translation of the HTI web page into English gives a different appearance. See this Google translation from Indonesian, and see this Google translation from the Malay language. The translations make it appear that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was holding a book tour to promote his book in Bandung, Indonesia. There is no information as to who sponsored the event, other than a poster on the wall that was apparently promoting Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s book. Bandung is the second largest metropolitan area in Indonesia with a population of 7.4 million people. Without more information, certainly not on the web page in English right now, there is no specific indication as to who sponsored this apparent book promotion, which could have been any number of groups in this major Indonesian city, although Madeline Brooks concludes that this was a Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia conference.
From the translated web page, we know that apparently there were some HTI members there and they asked Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf questions during the questions and answers period. What the rough English translation states is “when the question and answer session opened, some of his pen [sic], including the delegation of HTI Jabar, Lutfi Afandi convey several things to Imam Feisal and hundreds of attendees who crowded the discussion room.”
We can see by the Google translation of the HTI web page into English that Rauf defends the U.S. Constitution as allowing support for religious freedom and diversity, something that the Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia members apparently rejected. The HTI web page states that Rauf defends the U.S. Constitution as compatible with Islam pointing out what is “common between Islam and the U.S. Constitution, namely freedom, justice, equality and fraternity,” and stating it “guarantees huquq (rights) fundamental human rights, which according to Feisal, is in the U.S. constitution.”
We also can see by the Google translation of the HTI web page into English that the Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia members were obviously unhappy with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his message, at one point calling him a “publicist” for America,” “American agent,” and an American propagandist. The HTI web page article concludes “do we believe [the] American propaganda lie?”
Because in one photo a person is smiling, Madeline Brooks states in her article that “there is a feeling of celebration in these photos.” I suggest that you see for yourself – in a language you can read.
There is certainly not enough information to conclude, as Madeline Brooks has done, that this was a Hizb ut-Tahrir event.
However, for the sake of argument, let’s say that it was a Hizb ut-Tahrir conference. Who else has gone to documented Hizb ut-Tahrir conferences?
Having protested and been to a Chicago 2009 Hizb ut-Tahrir America (HTA) conference (documented in English, led by Hizb ut-Tahrir members and with Hizb ut-Tahrir signage), I can answer this from personal experience. Individuals who were inside the HTA conference in Chicago 2009 to observe and ask questions, included federal law enforcement individuals, representatives of counterterrorism groups like IPT, myself , and representatives of the Act for America group – that Madeline Brooks is a part of. Now it would be absurd to state that because I went into the HTA conference and asked them questions that I was a HTA supporter, just like it would be illogical to reach such conclusions about any of the other group attendees, including the Act for America group of which Madeline Brooks is a Manhattan chapter leader. If any of us happened to smile during all that time, it would also not have been a “feeling of celebration,” either.
We are deeply concerned that articles like those written by Madeline Brooks are consciously purveying misinformation with the intent to seek to deny others their Constitutional rights and their Universal Human Rights. We object to this.
We will be making our objections much clearer in the coming days including our participation in an interfaith event on 9/11 in Washington DC’s Freedom Plaza in support of these universal human rights. More information will be available soon at 911Freedom.com
Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) is nationally and internationally known for our challenge to the Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) political organization’s views on human rights and democracy. We led the 2009 protest outside the Hizb ut-Tahrir conference in Chicago, and we have repeatedly challenged HT’s views on our human rights. What R.E.A.L. does not and has not sought to do is deny Hizb ut-Tahrir’s freedom of religion, freedom of worship, and freedom of conscience — or Imam Rauf’s – or anyone else’s freedom. That is precisely what Hizb ut-Tahrir does in Indonesia and many other parts of the world. What R.E.A.L. does not do is deny Hizb ut-Tahrir’s freedom of speech, and we have repeatedly invited them to debate us, we have also invited them to come to our Lincoln Memorial rally to publicly provide a platform for them to state their views to the American people. We can disagree with the views of others and still respect our Constitutional rights and our Universal Human Rights for all.
Furthermore, R.E.A.L. does not agree with Imam Rauf on all of his past stands or even his associations, as we have previously publicly stated. Our statement above is not a “defense” of Imam Rauf or his views, but clarifying the facts on what is clearly a misleading article. It is a free country, Imam Rauf, Madeline Brooks, you, or I have the right to say, think, and associate with who we want, without the denial of our Constitutional rights or our Universal Human Rights.
Those rights also include R.E.A.L.’s rights to challenge those who promote intolerance and hate, whether it is in New York City or anywhere else in the world. We have learned that intolerance does not limit itself to one identity group, but spreads like a cancer to attack any and every identity group that does not conform to others’ views. While Madeline Brooks seeks to suggest associations of individuals on web sites in foreign languages, we have seen troubling associations here in America on web sites in English on topics that she knows well.
A year ago, R.E.A.L. held a public event in New York City’s Union Square Plaza, where we challenged racism and racist views, including those of self-proclaimed “racialist” Lawrence Auster in New York City, as R.E.A.L. has challenged repeatedly in writing. One of Lawrence Auster’s preoccupations is regarding “Black and other nonwhite violence against whites,” where he has an entire category of articles on topics such as “Black savagery, white acceptance,” and where Lawrence Auster seeks to educate us that “Whites’ mistake is that they think blacks are rational, and so they admit them as equal participants in discussion” (also see article). Lawrence Auster who calls himself a “racialist,” condemns the 1964 Civil Rights Act, stating that “in passing the Act, white America in effect admitted that it was responsible and guilty for black inferiority.”
But when we publicly challenged the racial views of Mr. Auster last summer, we failed to point out that, in April 2009, a Manhattan “anti-jihad” group had invited “racialist” Lawrence Auster to speak, despite our private but clear warnings and protestations of Auster’s “racialist” views.
That event was led by NYC anti-mosque protest activist Madeline Brooks, the author of this latest article on Imam Rauf, who invited “racialist” Lawrence Auster to speak as a “nativist,” as well as Muslim Supna Zaida, in determining “who belongs in our counter-jihad movement”. In Madeline Brooks’ invitation for this event for “racialist” Auster to speak on Islam, she mentions that he had spoken on Islam at the Preserving Western Civilization conference, which was described by the Anti-Defamation League as “Racists Gather in Maryland to ‘Preserve’ Western Civilization.” In Lawrence Auster’s views on Islam at that conference he called for deporting Muslims from America, and closing any mosque in America that promoted Sharia of any kind. On Lawrence Auster’s website, he thanks “Madeline Brooks, who organized and moderated the event, deserve credit for allowing my non-mainstream views to be heard.”
We continue to see an unfortunate pattern of association with intolerant extremists here.
In September 2009, Madeline Brooks sought to invite Pastor James David Manning to a 9/11 remembrance and to other events that she was leading, who views President Obama “as born trash,” because “His African in heat father went a-whxring after a trashy white woman.”
Anti-mosque protester Madeline Brooks has also written articles in support of the efforts of Brooklyn Tea Party anti-mosque protests, led by John Press, who views himself as a “culturist” in support of “European” cultures in America only. “European-American cultural” activism is a widely used code word for white racist groups throughout America that we have challenged, and that have challenged us.
On June 25, 2010, Madeline Brooks led a NYC Islamic Center protest in coordination with the Christian Action Network (CAN). On the website promoting this event, one commenter states “There should not be ANY mosque in USA!” CAN’s virulent anti-homosexual statements and campaigns had become so widely known and rejected, that even the leaders of the Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) group disassociated with CAN over their bigoted views and statements.
There is a pattern of intolerance associating with intolerance, just not the one that Pajamas Media is reporting today.
R.E.A.L.’s concern with such intolerance is not to seek to limit the freedom of expression of those with diverse views that we may disagree with, although we too have the freedom of expression to challenge intolerance. But R.E.A.L.’s primary concern is about those who use such intolerance to deny freedoms to other Americans, other human beings, including those who seek to deny our universal human rights of freedom of religion, freedom of worship, and freedom of conscience.
In America and in the rest of the world, we have the right to freedom, to our Constitutional rights, and to our universal human rights. We have the freedom to agree and the freedom to disagree. Madeline Brooks, SIOA, CAN, Imam Rauf, and Hizb ut-Tahrir all have the same freedoms not just in America but around the world.
But to maintain this delicate balance of providing freedoms for diverse views and ideologies, we must ensure that we are CONSISTENT in being Responsible for Equality And Liberty for all.