The organization behind the proposed Cordoba Initiative — more commonly known as the Ground Zero mosque — is the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA). As reported here previously, the government of the Netherlands has been implicated in the funding of ASMA — $500,000 and $1,000,000 respectively, in separate instances — and thus can be considered a co-financier of the Ground Zero mosque.
The Dutch government stoutly denies funding the Cordoba Initiative, maintaining that the money it gave ASMA was earmarked for other uses. Overlooking for the moment the fact that money is fungible — funds specified for one purpose may free up money for another — how plausible is the official denial? Can the generosity of the Netherlands with its taxpayers’ money be traced directly to the Victory Mosque at Ground Zero?
Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated a massive investigative article from the Dutch-language section of the ICLA website which provides some answers to these questions. He says, “The more pressure (scandal) on the Dutch the better, now that the CDA is slightly annoyed that Wilders will speak in New York on 9/11.”
A Mosque Too Far II: Does a Dutch minister mislead parliament over the Ground Zero mosque?
In late July the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Verhagen (CDA, Christian Democrats) answered parliamentary questions from the Party for Freedom (PVV) about the involvement of the Netherlands with the organization behind the Ground Zero mosque (MDG3 Fund; Millennium Development Goals). In his answers the Dutch Minister denies involvement, because according to his information ASMA would have nothing to do with the Ground Zero mosque.
However, on closer examination of both ASMA and The Cordoba Initiative and the 2009 Audit of ASMA, the opposite seems to be the case. The Netherlands indeed is involved. ASMA — which received a grant of €1,000,000 for the term October 13, 2008 to June 30, 2011 from the Dutch MDG3 Fund — and the Cordoba Initiative are deeply intertwined with respect to leadership, organization, and financing. Therefore the assumption of the Dutch Minister that ASMA has nothing to do with The Cordoba Initiative is wrong, and his answers to Dutch parliament do no correspond with the facts.
Below are comments on the replies of the Minister who since the fall of the government Balkenende replaces the resigned responsible Minster of Development Cooperation Bert Koenders (PvdA, Labour Party, Socialists):
Answers from Mr. Verhagen, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to questions of members Wilders and Fritsma (PVV) on ‘the co-financing by the Netherlands of a mosque on Ground Zero’.
Question 1: Is it true that Dutch taxpayers’ money is used for the support of the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), the organization Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, who wants to build a mosque on Ground Zero?
Answer: No, the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) is not involved in the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero in the United States. For that reason, therefore, there is thus no Dutch tax money used.
However, the American Society for Muslim Advancement does receive subsidy from the Dutch MDG3 Fund to implement the program of the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equity (WISE) Compact program. […]
First: ASMA (American Society for Muslim Advancement) at the website of the Cordoba Initiative, which wants to build the mosque Ground Zero, is called a “partner organization”.
Second: The co-founder and Director of ASMA, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, is co-founder, Director and Chairman of the Board of The Cordoba Initiative.” Also Daisy Khan, director of ASMA, is co-founder and Director of The Cordoba Initiative, which has as “principal place of business” the office address of the ASMA society.
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Third: Faisal Rauf himself suggests that the Netherlands supports the Cordoba Initiative, “My Cordoba Initiative is supported by both the West and the Muslim world,” he insists. “My work has drawn the attention of governments of many countries,” he said, naming Malaysia, Qatar, the Netherlands and Britain. And that corresponds with the facts: ASMA and the ‘Cordoba Initiative are one, thus is ASMA involved in the (planning of) the construction of the mosque.
Northeast Intelligence Network (NIW) has examined the books of ASMA and concludes:
Abdul-Rauf founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) in 1997, which has been run by his wife, Daisy KHAN since 2005. According to a review of financial statements, ASMA is the fiscal agent for the Cordoba Initiative. The Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement share the same infrastructure, space, and other operational assets, making them virtually one in the same, except on paper.
In the Audit [html, pdf] it is indeed stated that The Cordoba Initiative and ASMA are sister organizations, “sharing the same infrastructure, space, utilities, vendor services and co-sponsorship of programs to remain fiscally lean and keep operational costs low for both” [Audit, p.10], which in fact means they basically operate as one: “ASMA is acting as a fiscal agent and is developing Cordoba’s ability to function independently.”
Fourth: As NIW further sates, a review of the same financial statements provides interesting insight into the funding of ASMA: International donations included $576,312 from the government of Qatar and $481,942 from the Millennial Development Goals Fund (MDG3) of the Netherlands [according to Ayssa Lappen transferred directly to ASMA, only days before Feisal Abdul Rauf closed the purchase of the building on June 20, 2009]. Also remarkable is a $53,664 contribution from the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) of which the Netherlands is the biggest sponsor: “We are by and large the biggest donor to UNFPA, and also will continue to be,” Minister of Development Cooperation Bert Koenders said in 2009 in the Dutch Parliament. Daisy Khan, who is Director of both The Cordoba Initiative and ASMA, is and supervising ASMA’s program WISE, joined a UNFPA conference in 2009 with the theme “Women’s Empowerment” on behalf of the ASMA Society.
Besides the “Cordoba House” (the Ground Zero mosque), the Cordoba Initiative itself labels not only ASMA as its partner organization, but also the “intrafaith” program of ASMA, “WISE” (Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality) as one of its projects, quote:
Women’s Empowerment (WISE): Coming Soon: The Women’s Islamic Initiative wisemuslimwomen.org in Spirituality and Equality (WISE) Portal is Currently in development. Following the feedback Received at the WISE conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
we are working hard to complete the portal and launch AIM to consistently Ramadanwe are working hard to complete the Portal and aim to launch during Ramadan.
WISE is the ASMA project for which the Dutch funding is intended.
On WISE Muslim women, Daisy Khan is quoted as saying: “We must lift up the truth of Islam, a truth that has inspired positive social change for fourteen hundred years,” which shows chutzpah. It further mentions: “[Daisy Khan] has led numerous interfaith events, such as the […] Cordoba Bread Fest Banquet.” This “Cordoba Bread Fest Banquet” is mentioned by the Cordoba Initiative website as “an accomplishment of The Cordoba Initiative leadership team”, and Daisy Khan presents herself as one of those:
2003 June: Córdoba Bread Fest: The Children of Abraham Break Bread Together. Organized by Daisy Khan and the ASMA Society, the Cordoba Bread Fest convened over three hundred Christians, Jews and Muslims to break bread, dine together and share stories about the historic role of bread in the different Abrahamic religions and cultures.
In addition, WISE is mentioned by the Cordoba Initiative website as an accomplishment of the Cordoba Initiative leadership team: “2006 November: WISE—Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equity The WISE conference, organized by Daisy Khan [of the Cordoba Initiative] and the ASMA Society and co-sponsored by the Cordoba Initiative.”
The ASMA Society states: “WISE: Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality programs [and “Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow” (MLT)] were launched at an international scale in Doha (MLT) and in Malaysia (WISE).
According to the Audit, ASMA has, including staff for WISE, etc., a total budget for the period 13 October 2008 to 30 June 2011 of US $1,000,000 (Audit, p. 10), which corresponds to the mentioned official Dutch Millennium Development Goals Fund (MDG3) grant to WISE for exactly that period (October 13, 2008 to June 30, 2011). The grant of €1,000,000 (circa US $1,300,000), however, cannot be found as such in the books, except possibly the mentioned “temporary restricted” grant/contribution of US$1,298,918 [Audit, p.3]. It seems in any case that the Dutch grant covers the operating costs of the organization as a whole over the period October 2008-June 2011.
Furthermore, ASMA is not included in the Guidestar declarations of “nonprofit reports and Forms 990”, which is mandatory for a non-profit organization such as ASMA. This means that no tax report has been filed, which would be illegal. Thus there is no transparency, which suggests ASMA may not be a bona fide organization.
Rep. Peter King (R-LI), who opposes the mosque, said in the New York Post that the developers seem to be operating under false pretenses. “I wonder what else they are hiding,”… “If we can’t have the full truth on this, what can we believe?”
Conclusion: Contrary to what the Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen states (on behalf of former Minister Bert Koenders), ASMA is indeed related — and not insignificantly (including financially) — to the Cordoba Initiative, the organization that wants to build the Ground Zero mosque. Both Faisal Rauf and Daisy Khan represent “The Cordoba Initiative” and ASMA, and both organizations are deeply intertwined. This means a subsidy to ASMA for the WISE program also benefits The Cordoba Initiative organization.
WISE has as its aim the self-determination and full participation of Muslim women in their communities. To achieve this goal, activities focus on among other things the reform of existing legislation, the design of new legislation, and training for women, activities that are oriented towards increased equality between women and men.
Concerning the “women empowerment” of WISE, Daisy Khan states the following in an article for the Rockefeller Fund:
It is my dream that 2009 will be a watershed year for Muslim women’s activism and organizing. To achieve this goal, WISE will offer lectures, panel discussions, and training sessions on effectively promoting women’s human rights within an Islamic legal framework [=sharia] at its 2009 conference. With these initiatives, WISE will continue to create a space where Muslim women from every field, branch of Islam, and region of the world can dialogue, debate, and collaborate.
That determination of the principles of WISE, which is within sharia, simply means that WISE does not want to question sharia itself, “laws absolutely incompatible with the principles of democracy, laws violating each and every human right you can think of, laws rejecting our basic civilizational concept of human dignity,” says Gandalf of the Alliance to Stop Sharia.
WISE thus in principle does not promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, let alone those of women in general, but the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam of the OIC which is based on sharia, and for instance allows men and women the “right to marriage, regardless of race, color or nationality,” but not regardless of their religion. Moreover, women in the Cairo Declaration are granted “equal dignity”, but not equal rights in general, nor is apostasy recognized as a human right.
Another link (of the many) between ASMA/WISE and the “Cordoba Initiative is the co-sponsoring of conferences: The Cordoba Initiative, which co-sponsored the WISE conference, is a non-profit organisation with offices in New York and Kuala Lumpur. It is funded by the Malaysian government and other sources in both western and Muslim countries.”
They do this primarily in Afghanistan, Egypt and Pakistan.
That “greater equality between women and men” mentioned by the Dutch Minister has not led to much more than some meetings and conferences, like one in which Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf of ASMA most notably announced his “Shariah Index Project”:
Many countries are Islamic, but some may be more Islamic than others. Now moves are afoot to rate nations according to how closely they adhere to the principles of Islam.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder and President of Cordoba Initiative briefed a select group of scholars and IIIT [International Institute of Islamic Thought] staff  on Friday, December 19, 2008 on the Shari’ah Index Project, a pioneering effort which aims at developing an index based on Maqasid al Shari’ah for the purpose of measuring the performance of Muslim countries in relation to the implementation of Shari’ah.
The Dutch Minister only lists Afghanistan, Egypt and Pakistan, and not Malaysia, which is remarkable. Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf an his wife Daisy Khan maintain excellent contacts with Islamists in politics and government within Malaysia, and they even have an office in Kuala Lumpur (The Cordoba Initiative/ASMA: travel expenses maybe paid for by the Dutch subsidy, see the Audit), and precisely that country is excluded from the list. The Dutch embassy sums up as target countries for The Cordoba Initiative/ASMA’s WISE project: “Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Administrative Areas, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Turkey”, also leaving out Malaysia. A country with a increasing Muslim majority and increasing gender inequality and discrimination against non-Muslims. Is this country not in the WISE program because the Rauf family has such comfortable ties with the Islamists of Malaysia?
Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf for that matter is also a prominent member of the Malaysia-based Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO), the largest donor ($366,000 as of June 2010) to the Free Gaza Movement [the Gaza Flotilla] which is also the coordinator of the flotilla’s operations along with the Turkish Hamas-affiliated organization IHH that was recently banned in Germany. The PGPO is also the founder of the “Kuala Lumpur International War Crimes Tribunal” that condemned the United States and Israel in 2003 for the invasion of Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict. [source] Faisal Rauf is one of the signatories, along with the former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is the founder of the PGPO.
The lines therefore are short. Still, Faisal Rauf does no “bridge building” in Malaysia, nor stands up there for “greater equality between women and men” or “equal rights for [all, including] women.” On the contrary. Concerning the heated controversy about whether Christians in Malaysia were allowed or not to call their God Allah, the Netherlands-subsidized Imam Faisal Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative/ASMA wrote:
My message to the Christian community in Malaysia is that using the word Allah to mean the Christian God may be theologically and legally correct, but in the context of Malaysia, it is socially provocative. If you want to have influence with people in Malaysia, you must find a way to convey your message without provoking this kind of response.
If you want to reach the Malays, then use the Malay word for God, which is Tuhan.
About the burka, he explained away:
For Muslims, respect for the Prophet Muhammad is much more sacred than respect for elders. In fact, Muslims would not insult Jesus or Moses because they were prophets of God and demand respect. The same is true on the issue of the burqa, which covers the entire body and face, leaving just a slit for the eyes. In the Western world now, the right to wear almost anything has become a symbol of freedom. It is an expression of women’s equality. In the Muslim world, men and women dress so they are not provocative to one another.
Regarding the penalty for an Indonesian Muslim woman — who was sentenced to a fine and flogging because she was caught having a glass of beer in the company if a man — Imam Faisal Rauf does not consider this punishment medieval, neither does he see it as an expression of “violence against women” and think that sharia should be abolished, but simply advocates a little less punishment:
But if the Pahang Syariah court insists on establishing a penalty for the mere consumption of alcohol, why not replace the current law — a maximum penalty of a RM5,000 fine and six lashes of the rotan — with spending RM5,000 on feeding the poor and fasting for six days? Wouldn’t that be more in keeping with the letter and spirit of the Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah?
It is about programs to prevent genital mutilation, counteracting violence against women, and organizing training of women (including media, leadership).
It seems that ASMA/WISE promotes with especially great agility the introduction of sharia, and manages thereby to completely fool the Dutch Ministry. “Leadership” also refers to ASMA’s highly controversial MLT program, led by imam Faisal Rauf and Daisy Khan. Alyssa Lappen writes concerning this program:
[…] the Muslim leaders of Tomorrow also includes radicals like Yasir Qadhi — a favorite speaker at conferences of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and Dhaba “Debbie” Almontasser, who works closely with Hamas’ U.S. arm — the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), itself an unindicted co-conspirator in terror financing.
In a 2007 report, Militant Islam Monitor stated:
ASMA promotes jihad through da’wa and the Islamisation of the West by grooming “Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow” (MLT). At the Saudi backed 2006 MLT conference in Denmark “moderate” Islamists discussions of how to increase Muslim political and social influence was euphemistically termed “bridge building”.
The duration of the project is from 13 October 2008 to June 30, 2011.
As mentioned earlier, this is indeed consistent with the budget period in the Audit (October 13, 2008 to June 30, 2011).
Question 2: If yes, do you acknowledge that it is absurd to build a mosque right at Ground Zero and that this is also an insult to (the families of) the victims of 9-11? If not, why not?
Answer: See question 1
Question 3: If so, are you, given the offensive plan to build said mosque, willing to immediately withdraw the subsidy to ASMA? If not, why not?
Answer: No. Because there is no question of support for the construction of a mosque.
Given the above, the answer to question 3 is much too pertinent. The far-reaching financial and personal interdependence means that grants to ASMA/WISE directly or indirectly serve projects such as the Ground Zero mosque.
But the directors of ASMA/Cordoba Initiative who are subsidized by the Dutch MDG3 Fund have even deliberately looked for a controversial location for their bridge building.
The Star Online wrote in January: “The cleric admits that over the years, Islam has been perceived in the US as a national threat to security.” And this is why “the independent, multi-national initiative [The Cordoba Initiative/ASMA] deliberately sought a property near where the towers once stood”.
The withdrawal of the subsidy to ASMA, which focuses on promoting equal rights for women in countries such as among others Afghanistan, Pakistan and Egypt, is therefore not being considered.
Aaron Klein writes on ASMA:
In February, Obama named a Chicago Muslim, Eboo Patel, to his Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Patel is the founder and executive director of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, which says it promotes pluralism by teaming people of different faiths on service projects. Patel is listed as one of 15 “Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow” (MLT) on the website for the American Society for the Advancement of Muslims, or ASAM (ASMA), which is led by Rauf. In Patel’s 2007 book, “Saving Each Other, Saving Ourselves,” he recounts discussing with Rauf the future of Islam in the U.S. Rauf “understood the vision immediately and suggested that I visit him and his wife, Daisy Khan, at their home the following evening,” Patel recalled. Khan founded the ASAM with her husband and has aided him in his plans for the mosque near Ground Zero. “The living room of their apartment on the Upper West Side was set up like a mosque, with prayer rugs stretched from wall to wall,” wrote Patel in his book.
Raymond Ibrahim on the ME Forum:
Such, then, is the dual significance of the Cordoba Initiative: What appears to many Americans as a gesture of peace and interfaith dialogue, is to Muslims allusive of Islamist conquest and consolidation; mosques, which Americans assume are Muslim counterparts to Christian churches — that is, places where altruistic Muslims congregate and pray for world peace and harmony — are symbols of domination and centers of radicalization; the numbers of the opening date, 9/11/11, appear to Americans as commemorative of a new beginning, whereas the Koranic significance of those numbers is suicidal jihad. Of course, the two faces of the Cordoba House should not be surprising considering that the man behind the initiative, Feisal Abdul Rauf, also has two faces.
One face for Bert Koenders’ Millennium Development Goals, the other for the Muslim world?
|||Source Gates of Vienna “Is the Netherlands Subsidizing the Ground Zero Mosque?” — In May it was unveiled that the Netherlands was possibly involved in the Ground Zero mosque project: “Faisal Abdul Rauf [who wants to build the Ground Zero mosque] promotes the further advance of the Islam founded 1997 the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA). His wife Daisy Khan, born in Kashmir, has led the organization and its subsidiaries since 2005, including the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equity (WISE). In 2009 ASMA was awarded a subsidy of €1,000,000 from the Dutch Millennium Development Goals Fund (MDG3) of the then Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation, Bert Koenders [PvdA, Labour Party, Socialists… It seems that the Netherlands, which has the dubious honor alongside Qatar as one of the largest public funders of the ASMA, is co-financing the planned “Ground Zero mosque; or at least has dirty hands.”
|||Source: Articles of Incorporation of the The Cordoba Initiative, 20041191886 N, 05-26-2004, Colorado Secretary of Sate; the principal place of business mentioned is “New York 175 E, 96th Street, Suite 21T, New York, NY 10128”; the address of the ASMA Society.
|||The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1981, is an Islamic “think tank” in the Washington area, dedicated to what it describes as “the Islamization of knowledge” [NRO].
The IIIT is co-editor of the American version of “Seruan Azan dari Puing WTC; Dakwah Islam die Jatung Amerika Pasca 9/11” (Prayer Call from the rubble of the World Trade Center; Islamic Da’wa in the heart of America post-9/11), written by Faisal Rauf. The cleaned up U.S. edition is called “What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America”.
This IIIT has a far-reaching involvement in supporting Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood which, according to their charter, has destroying Israel as ultimate goal. The IIIT is listed by the U.S. Department of Justice as co-conspirator in a crucial case concerning the financing of terrorism [by the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development].
Imam Faisal Rauf has more ties to controversial Islamic organizations. In 2007 for example, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf promoted his book “Seruan Azan dari Puing WTC” at a meeting in Bandung, Indonesia of Hizb ut Tahrir, a fascist Islamic organization
Update: Errors in the text have been struck out and corrected after proofreading by VH.