It turns out the Obama administration thinks Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is the right man to participate in a State Department trip to Muslim countries in the Middle East.
“The State Department has no responsibility to send fruitcakes around as if they are representatives of America,” says former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, who told Fox News that Imam Rauf should be dumped from the trip and that the State Department should investigate how he was included in the first place.
“I am just amazed that he could be selected to represent our country speaking around the world,” Bolton observes.
Imam Rauf has been a lightning rod for many.
While Time magazine called him “The Moderate Imam Behind The ‘Ground Zero Mosque,’” he recently refused to call Hamas a terrorist organization and he has said that the United States was partly to blame for the terrorist attacks on 9-11.
In an interview with “60 Minutes,” in 2001, Rauf claimed that U.S. policies were quote, “an accessory” to the 9-11 attacks.
He also was quoted in a 2008 interview for “Malaysia Matters” saying that “when people feel they’ve been humiliated, when people feel they’ve been frustrated, when people feel they’ve been ignored, when people feel justice is not meted, then they feel the need to conflagrate.”
The controversy over the Mosque, and the Imam’s views, haven’t stopped the Obama administration from planning to send him soon as part of a special State Department cultural program, that reportedly includes stops in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley praised the Imam, calling him “a distinguished Muslim cleric,” who is part of a program where “we send people from Muslim communities here in this country around the world to help people overseas to understand our society and the role of religion within our society.”