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Imam At Center Of 'Ground Zero Mosque' Controversy Assisted Bush-Era State Department With Outreach To Muslims

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The more you dig into the wild-eyed frenzy over the so-called "ground zero mosque" (by which, of course, I mean the "ground-zero mosque" that the Cordoba Initiative plans to build and not the "ground-zero mosque" that's already at "ground zero"), the more plain and simple stupidity you uncover.

Today's example: mosque opponents have been falling all over each other to paint the imam behind the proposed Cordoba House, Feisal Abdul Rauf, as some sort of terrorist sympathizing radical. Going further, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.) have criticized Rauf's inclusion in a State Department speaking tour of the Middle East.

Well, if you've been playing the Ground Zero Mosque "But There's Just One Problem With That" Drinking Game, steady your shotglass, because there's just one problem with that. I'll let TPM's Megan Carpentier explain:

If one were to hearken back to the halcyon days of the Bush Administration, one would remember that, when Bush adviser Karen Hughes was appointed Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, the Bush Administration saw improving America's standing among Muslims abroad as a part of its national security strategy. And, as such, Hughes set up listening tours, attended meetings and worked with interfaith groups that -- shocking, by today's Republican standards -- included actual Muslims.

One of those people was Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.

In separate posts, Greg Sargent and Adam Serwer remind us that Liz Cheney, who's part of the Ground Zero Mosque Paranoiac Choir caterwauling on and on about Rauf, was at the State Department when the Bush administration first started using Rauf as a part of their outreach effort to the Muslim World.

It's almost as if there's no real substance to anyone's fearful claims, and the Cordoba House has just gotten subsumed within a the cynical aspirations of a lot of right wing political hacks! At any rate, rage over Rauf officially qualifies as a facepalm moment for everyone foaming at the mouth about his "radicalism."

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