The right-wing campaign to smear Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the developer of the Park51 Islamic community center, as a "radical" churns on, but more and more bits of evidence are popping up showing that Rauf is anything but an extremist, despite what people like Glenn Beck might say.
Much has been made already of Rauf's work with the Bush administration to promote tolerance and religious diversity in the Muslim world. And according to a 2004 New York Sun article (retrieved via Nexis), Rauf made the case that Muslims identified more with Republican Party values until the Iraq war strained that relationship:
Local Muslims have few plans to participate in protests against the Republican National Committee Convention in New York City this month, according to a sampling of area mosques.
Imams and administrators at Islamic institutions across New York City said their communities are generally apathetic toward the convention.
"The people from our mosque are generally not the ones who will be demonstrating," said Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, a leading spokesman for the Muslim community and a spiritual leader of Masjid al Farah mosque on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Imam Abdul Rauf said Muslims have traditionally found themselves more in alignment with the Republican Party because of "its personal values and its family values."
He said many Muslims find themselves caught between a loyalty to those values and a disagreement with Bush administration policies "since 9/11," such that "the winds have been more toward the Democratic side."
His sentiment is consistent with the perspective of Mubashir Ahmed, one of two Muslims working closely with United for Peace and Justice to develop a massive protest in New York City prior to the convention. The group was a primary organizer of the anti-Iraq-war protest in the city last year that drew an estimated 500,000 attendees.