American core values compatible with Islam

AFP “Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a leading figure for the plans to build a mosque near the site of the September” by W.G. Dunlop W.g. Dunlop “Tue Aug 31, DUBAI (AFP)”

America and its core principles are compatible with Islam, the US imam behind a controversial initiative to build an Islamic centre near the site of the 9/11 attacks said Tuesday in Dubai.

“The American way of thinking, the American construct, is extremely co-congruent with the Islamic world view,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said at the Dubai School of Government.

His visit to the United Arab Emirates is the last leg of a US State Department-sponsored trip that has already taken him to Bahrain and Qatar.

The aim of the visit was for Abdul Rauf to “talk about Muslim life in America” and his “work promoting inter-faith dialogue,” according to a statement by the US embassy in Abu Dhabi announcing the visit.

Abdul Rauf specifically singled out principles outlined in the 1776 US Declaration of Independence from Britain as being in line with Islamic thought.

He noted that the Declaration describes life, liberty and property — changed in the final version to the “pursuit of happiness” — as “inalienable rights.”

“I cannot fail but be struck by how these rights that are described, parallel what Islamic jurists have written, six centuries before it and more,” Abdul Rauf said.

There was a consensus among Islamic scholars at that time that “the whole objective of Islamic law… is to further and protect five, and some say six, fundamental issues” — life, dignity, religion, family, property and intellect, he said.

“The very definition of the American way of being, the very definition of the American existential viewpoint… is consistent with the very thinking of Muslim scholars,” Abdul Rauf said.

Freedom of religion in America also squares with the Islamic principle that “there shall be no coercion or compulsion in matters of faith or religion,” he said.

“The real battlefront” is between moderates and extremists, not Muslims and non-Muslims, Abdul Rauf said

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