The Wall Street Journal editorial staff dug up some New York Times letters to the editor by the imam behind the Ground Zero Mosque. The Journal editorial reports:
In a letter published on November 27, 1977, Mr. Rauf commented on Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic trip to Israel and encouraged his fellow Muslims to “give peace a chance.” That John Lennon lyric sounds good. But he added: “For my fellow Arabs I have the following special message: Learn from the example of the Prophet Mohammed, your greatest historical personality. After a state of war with the Meccan unbelievers that lasted for many years, he acceded, in the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, to demands that his closest companions considered utterly humiliating. Yet peace turned out to be a most effective weapon against the unbelievers.”
The Journal also quotes Rauf supporting the Iranian revolution of 1979: “The revolution in Iran was inspired by the very principles of individual rights and freedom that Americans ardently believe in.”
The editorial explains the historical reference to the Treaty of Hudabyiha and elicits this characteristically forthright comment from the imam on the status of his current views:
“It is amusing that journalists are combing through letters-to-the-editor that I wrote more than 30 years ago, when I was a young man, for clues to my evolution. As I re-read those letters now, I see that they express the same concerns–a desire for peaceful solutions in Israel, and for a humane understanding of Iran–that I have maintained, and worked hard on, in the years since those letters were published.”
Thanks, as always, for clearing that up.