Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is of course the man who seeks to plant a Muslim victory monument at Ground Zero as a venture in interfaith understanding, or something. Unbelievably, the State Department has found Rauf an appropriate spokesman for the United States in the Middle East.
I’ve nominated Andrew McCarthy to take Rauf’s place. Andy advises that he remains available, but that no phone call from Hillary Clinton has been forthcoming. Unlike Rauf, McCarthy might actually do some good representing the United States in the Middle East. He has the appropriate background as well as an important message to deliver.
Claudia Rosett has taken a professional interest in the taxpayer-funded travels of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. For reasons that escape me, Rosett is apparently alone in her efforts. In any event, in a dispatch posted late last night, Rosett reports:
[L]ate Thursday night, New York time — Thursday morning in the Middle East — I phoned the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain, the first stop on Rauf’s “public diplomacy” tour.
Asked if the imam had arrived in Bahrain, an embassy official told me: “Yes, that’s correct.”
And that, folks, is the sum total right now of the information available to the American public about the taxpayer-funded public outreach activities these next few days of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf in Bahrain. I had more questions. But Imam Feisal evidently moves in circles in which inquiries about whom he’s meeting overseas, what he’s telling them, or where he plans to get $100 million for his mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero are seen by both Rauf and his hosts as an extraordinary intrusion on his public outreach and bridge-building endeavors. The U.S. Embassy in Bahrain would offer nothing further on the record about Ambassador Adam Ereli’s controversial guest. There is so far no reply to queries I emailed to the U.S. embassies in Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE.
Readers interested in Rosett’s continuing efforts to contact Rauf and follow his travels will want to check out Rosett’s updates at the Rosett Report.