Islamic expert Tawfik Hamid tells Newsmax that many Muslims will view the construction of a mosque near ground zero as symbolizing a “triumph over America.”
He also declares that if the mosque is built it could prove to be the “spark” that begins a “war between civilizations.”
Hamid is well acquainted with the threats from radical Islam — he was once a member of a terrorist Islamic organization along with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, who later became the second in command of al-Qaida.
Today Hamid is a senior fellow and chair for the Study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. He is the author of "Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam," and a regular Newsmax contributor.
President Barack Obama said over the weekend that the Muslims have the right to build the mosque near ground zero in Manhattan, although he later stated he did not advocate the construction. But New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he does advocate construction.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Hamid criticized Bloomberg’s advocacy of the mosque.
“I believe he did this without doing the most basic step, which is to make sure that the leaders of the mosque are truly moderates,” Hamid says.
“I don’t have any specific negative things against them except for the issue of Hamas. They support Hamas. This is a very serious issue. It means they support killing innocent children in the name of Islam. This is what Hamas does. He should have made sure first that this group [that wants to build the mosque] is moderate.
“He should have asked them, if they are truly moderate, shall they tell us, and tell the media and tell the world, their position on the violent Shariah teachings, such as killing the apostate and stoning women to death and declaring wars to spread their religion.
“How could he consider them moderate without making sure that they stand clearly and unambiguously against the violent ethics of Shariah?”
As for why he personally opposes construction of the mosque, Hamid says: “Many Islamists believe that this is a sign of victory for Islam, a triumph over America. It’s a symbol of victory for Islam over the values of America.”
Questions have arisen over where the funding for the $100 million mosque project is coming from. Hamid says: “Mostly from Muslims around the world — most likely personal donations from people who want to see Islam victorious in the West.”
Asked if the mosque project will further polarize Muslims and non-Muslims, Hamid says: “Absolutely. It will create friction between civilizations, and I’m afraid it can be the spark that will start the big fire of a war between civilizations, because I can see people are getting angry.
“And it shows a lot of insensitivity from the Muslim side. Doing something legal does not mean that you are sensitive to others.”
Hamid was also asked why Muslims aren’t speaking out more against Islamic radicals.
He questioned “how many Muslims are true moderates here.
“Some people pretend they are moderates but they are not moderates. And there are some people who do not have the theological knowledge to discredit the beliefs of the radicals.
“It’s tribal mentality. We haven’t seen demonstrations in the Muslim world against bin-Laden, for example. So it’s sort of a tribal mentality that makes them unable to criticize their fellow Muslim brothers.”
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