Known By the Company They Keep?

February 8, 2007

Memo to the national Democratic Party: Having a reputedly Hezbollah-supporting imam lead you in a Muslim-based spiritual and political prayer does not support your contentions that your values better reflect true Christianity than those of Republicans and that you support the troops.

Democrats invited Imam Husham Al-Husainy of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center in Dearborn, Mich., to pray at their annual winter meeting in Washington. Columnist Debbie Schlussel has reported that last summer this same imam led “almost-daily protests of thousands of Hezbollah supporters on the streets of Dearborn and Detroit, swarming with swastikas and anti-Semitic, anti-American signs.”

Though other commentators have also addressed this, I am surprised it hasn’t drawn more attention, and, frankly, more outrage. It is beyond belief that one of the two major parties in the United States would embrace a person who has openly rooted for terrorists and condemned Jews and America.

To the untrained ear or the Democrat apologist, Al-Husainy’s prayer might have sounded inclusive and innocuous. Husainy’s prayer included these words, “We thank you, God, to send us your messages through our father Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Mohammed. Through you, God, we unite. So guide us to the right path. The path of the people you bless, not the path of the people you doom. Help us, God, to liberate and fill this earth with justice and peace and love and equality. And help us to stop the war and violence, and oppression and occupation. Amen.”

Democratic commentator Geraldine Ferraro and Fox News’ Alan Colmes seemed determined to characterize these words as completely inoffensive and the type that might have been delivered at any Catholic Church on Sunday morning.

But according to some with a bit more background in these matters, like author Robert Spencer, the words were hardly inclusive or tolerant. As Spencer, and Cal Thomas have noted, Al-Husainy was surely expressing the Muslim belief that Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed were all Muslim prophets “and that the followers of Moses and Jesus corrupted their teachings to create Judaism and Christianity.”

I am certainly not offended by a Muslim imam promoting the exclusive truth claims of the religion he practices. I would expect him to believe in the superiority of the creeds of his religion. Contrary to the commonly accepted nostrums of political correctness, almost all religions — and several non-religious worldviews — have exclusive truth claims.

But I do believe it is noteworthy that many secular liberal Democrats selectively decry the Christians’ exclusive truth claims as intolerant and exclusive, while giving the proponents of other religions and worldviews a pass. And they wonder why they have difficulty attracting “values voters.”

How about the political implications of the imam’s prayer? Ferraro copped the intellectually indefensible position that the imam could have been referring to any war or any oppression. “He may have been talking about Darfur. He might about talking about [unintelligible]. He might have been talking about what’s going on in Afghanistan. … Talk about oppression? He may have been talking about China and Korea.”

Since many Democrats have referred to Americans as “occupiers” in Iraq or the Israelis as occupiers of Palestine, perhaps they were not uncomfortable with the imam’s words. But one thing is for sure: The former Democratic presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro knows that in referring to “the war” the imam was not talking about Darfur. In referring to “oppression and occupation” he was either talking about America, Israel or both.

The upshot of this is that Democrats were joined in prayer with a Muslim spiritual leader who at the very least sympathizes with the terrorist group “Hezbollah,” who was characterizing the United States or its ally, Israel, or both, as an oppressor and occupier, and who, evidently, was affirming the Muslims’ exclusive truth claims. Was the imam not — right in front of the Democrats’ noses — rooting for our enemies?

Were Democrats not bothered upon realizing they had given this imam a platform to seek guidance from Allah to follow “the path of the people you bless, not the path of the people you doom?” Any guesses as to which groups are blessed and which are doomed under this formulation?

Is this the type of spiritual message with which Democrats want to identify?

Can you imagine what kind of hell there would be to pay if a Christian pastor were invited to a Republican meeting and delivered a similarly pointed spiritual and political prayer? We’d hear about it for weeks.