Amanpour Paints Rauf's Protection Racket as 'a Matter of Vital National Security'

Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf chose ABC's Christiane Amanpour to spend “several hours” with on Thursday in New York City, and just as she did back on the August 22 This Week when she featured Rauf's wife and an ally, she again served as his public relations agent, forwarding his claims without challenge. After passing along his denial of any deal to move his project, Amanpour gushingly relayed meaningless blather about his great concern: “The imam went on to tell me that this whole issue is so sensitive because he has to really take care of sensitivities here in the United States and abroad.”

Amanpour proceeded to tout that he's now back from an overseas trip “all about interfaith dialogue and trying to reach the moderates,” and he warned, as he did on Wednesday's Larry King Live, that if he doesn't get his way Muslims will murder Americans. Amanpour, however, didn't describe that as a protection racket or suggest he's employing blackmail. Instead, she just paraphrased his spin that his warning -- about his vanity – is “a matter of vital national security” to the U.S.:
He says that this has become a huge international issue, the issue over the Islamic center in Manhattan and also the threatened Koran burning. And so everybody, all over the world, not just here in the United States, is watching. And he felt, and he said to me, that he thought it was a matter of vital national security not to give in or to move that Islamic center.
She then played a soundbite from Rauf:
My major concern with moving it is that the headline in the Muslim world will be, “Islam is under attack in America.” This will strengthen the radicals in the Muslim world, help their recruitment. This will put our people, our soldiers, our troops, our embassies, our citizens, under attack in the Muslim world. And we have expanded and given and fueled terrorism.
Despite what he said, Amanpour assured viewers: “So, he said he wasn't making any threats or predicting any terrible worst case scenario.”

To say nothing of how this awful scenario was set in motion by his quest to put a mosque so near Ground Zero and refusal to address the sensitivities of 9/11 victims.

Nonetheless, Amanpour agreeably related his rejection of any comparison to burning Korans when he's just trying to build a wonderful “multi-faith monument” to “tolerance,” as she described how he called it “extraordinary to try to equate destroying anybody's scripture with building what he called his center to be a multi-faith monument for cultural and ethnic tolerance and for all religions and groups to come and try to share the moderate ground of the current space.”

My August 22 NB posting, “Amanpour on One-Sided This Week: ‘Profound Questions About Religious Tolerance and Prejudice in the U.S.’” recounted:
Not even feigning the pretense of balance, a week after her roundtable hailed President Obama’s initial endorsement of the Ground Zero mosque (GZM), on this Sunday’s This Week host Christiane Amanpour featured an “exclusive” with two GZM proponents as she declared “the controversy has raised profound questions about religious tolerance and prejudice in the United States. And the backlash against Islam has been seen across the country...”

Holding up the current Time magazine with its “Is America Islamophobic?” cover, she forwarded the contention: “Is America Islamophobic? Are you concerned about the long-term relationship between American Muslims and the rest of society here?”

Amanpour’s guests, to “cut through the heated rhetoric” on the only Sunday interview show with a guest segment on the GZM (Fox News Sunday took it up in its panel time): Daisy Khan, wife of imam behind the project, and Rabbi Joy Levitt, from the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, “who's an adviser on the project.”...
From the Thursday, September 9 ABC World News:
DIANE SAWYER: Tell us more about your interview with that imam today.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Well, yes indeed Diane, he's just come back, as you know, from a rather lengthy overseas trip, sponsored by the State Department, all about interfaith dialogue and trying to reach the moderates. And he says that this has become a huge international issue, the issue over the Islamic center in Manhattan and also the threatened Koran burning. And so everybody, all over the world, not just here in the United States, is watching. And he felt, and he said to me, that he thought it was a matter of vital national security not to give in or to move that Islamic center. This is what he said.

IMAN FEISAL ABDUL RAUF, AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MUSLIM ADVANCEMENT: My major concern with moving it is that the headline in the Muslim world will be, “Islam is under attack in America.” This will strengthen the radicals in the Muslim world, help their recruitment. This will put our people, our soldiers, our troops, our embassies, our citizens, under attack in the Muslim world. And we have expanded and given and fueled terrorism.

AMANPOUR: So, he said he wasn't making any threats or predicting any terrible worst case scenario, just that he said that this was an extremely important consideration in these talks about anybody potentially moving that Islamic center. Diane?

SAWYER: And what else did he say about the equation of the Koran burning and the mosque near ground zero?

AMANPOUR:  Well, he said it was really -- he said, extraordinary, to try to equate destroying anybody's scripture with building what he called his center to be a multi-faith monument for cultural and ethnic tolerance and for all religions and groups to come and try to share the moderate ground of the current space. And he said there was no way to draw any kind of equivalence.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center