Tim Pawlenty rips Obama on Imam hired by George W. Bush
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has been sent on a speaking tour of the Middle East by the Obama administration to explain the religious freedoms and tolerances of the United States. Gov. Tim Pawlenty calls that "concerning" and "dangerous." On Fox. Of course.
Tough words for the Imam of the Cordoba Initiative, better-known as the right-wing talking point of the day, the "Ground Zero Mosque." Now we're waiting to hear T-Paw level the same vitriol at former President George W. Bush, too. W's the guy who first hired Rauf to do exactly the same thing.
It's open season for right wing politicians when it comes to the YMCA-style community center and mosque planned for construction two blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.
Too close to hallowed ground, Pawlenty asserted. Only fast-food hamburger joints, tacky tourist trinket stalls and a strip joint are allowed that close. Anything less is unpatriotic.
And Cordoba's leader now doesn't pass T-Paw muster.
"To have him be the leader not just of this mosque but to hire him through the State Department and send him around the world on our behalf is ridiculous," T-Paw told Sean Hannity. "It is quite quite dangerous, quite concerning."
When Bush adviser Karen Hughes was appointed Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, the Bush Administration saw improving America's standing among Muslims abroad as a part of its national security strategy. And, as such, Hughes set up listening tours, attended meetings and worked with interfaith groups that -- shocking, by today's Republican standards -- included actual Muslims. One of those people was Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
"I know he wants to be president really bad," Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison said of the governor last week. "I know he's trying to appeal to the most extreme elements of his party to do that, but I hope he doesn't want to be president so bad that he's willing to dishonor the First Amendment and our heritage of religious tolerance."
A group of Republican Muslims, including six officials from the Bush and and Reagan administrations, worry about the same thing:
"Does our party believe that one can only practice his/her religion in certain places within defined boundaries and away from the disapproving glances of some citizens?"
"That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here."
Check out the video below. The discussion of the mosque starts about two minutes in.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.