Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Important Details Not Being Reported: Is Feisal Abdul Rauf a Sufi?

While I haven't been following the Manhattan Mosque story very closely I was rather surprised to stumble across an extremely important detail that I hadn't heard yet.  According to an op-ed in the NY Times today, "Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Codoba Initiative is one of America's leading thinkers of Sufism."  Now, I couldn't confirm this in 10 minutes on Google, Sufism is a more generic term applied to mystical Islam so it isn't easy to identify without going into some detail with an individual's writings, but if this is true this is a very important detail that the news media has largely left out.  I had been led to believe from previous news reports that Imam Rauf was a moderate but fully mainstream, not a Sufi.  His being a Sufi makes the entire controversy even more absurd, Sufism is pretty much as far away from Islamic fundamentalism as you can get. 

This just goes to show how thoroughly ignorant most Americans, even educated ones, are about Islam.  This is a rather critical detail in understanding the issue and the form of Islam being practiced.  That it has hardly been mentioned at all, and that virtually all the reporting seems to be written as if the Cordoba Initiative was a mainstream Sunni organization, tells us a lot about the negligence on the part of the media.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. Alas, considering that most reporters seem content to absurdly call it the "Ground Zero mosque", when ground zero is quite a large area encompassing many city blocks (home to a strip bar, two existing mosques, numerous fast food restaurants, and a wide array of other sundry features), it is a bit much to expect them to report - or even understand - the different strains of Islamic thought. Sad, much like the rest of the "debate".