Perhaps Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf really is a moderate Muslim. Yet if his words yesterday to the Council on Foreign Relations are any guide, he adheres to an orthodoxy even more defining than his brand of Islam: American liberalism.
Just before he spoke, Council President Richard Haass described Imam Rauf as a man "dedicated to building bridges between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds." The imam spoke accordingly. In a reassuring, National Public Radio sort of tone, he thanked Barack Obama and Michael Bloomberg for their support, spoke of "interfaith dialogue," and called for American Muslims and non-Muslims to "break bread" together.
In this spirit, we might ask: If this is about mutual understanding, what are the fruits of his effort? We see them all around us. An obscure Florida pastor announces he's going to burn the Quran and becomes a national figure. A group is videotaped ripping out pages of the Quran in front of the White House. On the 9/11 anniversary, Ground Zero becomes the site of angry marches between pro- and anti-Islamic Center crowds.