The separation of mosque and state?
Posted: July 24, 2011
9:00 pm Eastern
A USAID official spoke with FactCheck.org and confirmed about $2.3 million was used on the Cairo mosque “to help lower the groundwater at the mosque area, replacing the old sewage collector, and providing a healthier environment for people living in the area.” In addition to that 1,000-year old mosque, more than $15 million was given by the U.S. and the Egyptian government to restore another 1,300-year-old mosque, a Roman tower, a Greek Orthodox church and other buildings. And in Cyprus, $5 million in U.S. federal funds was granted to restore a mosque and a Greek Orthodox monastery. FactCheck.org went on to confirm that the Mali and Tajikistan mosque projects involved funding for computer equipment. Though USAID won’t specify exactly how much of their monies in 2010 profited mosques, the agency says it committed $18.8 billion for all of its global projects.
The U.S. State Department confessed that, “Since its creation by the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation has also provided financial support to more than 640 cultural preservation projects in more than 100 countries. This accomplishment … represents a contribution of nearly $26 million …”
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The Associated Press reported that during America’s recession in 2010-2011, the Obama administration has doled out 6 million of American tax dollars to restore or preserve 63 historic, religious and cultural sites, including Islamic mosques and minarets, in 55 nations under the guise of “Cultural Affairs” and “Cultural Preservation 2010 Awards,” and they include:
- $50,000 for conservation of Sundarwala Burj, a 16th-century Islamic monument in New Delhian, India
- $76,000 for the restoration of a 16th-century grand mosque in China, with one of the longest histories and largest premises in the world.
- $67,000 for the restoration of the mid‐18th‐century Sunehri Masjid (Golden Mosque) in Lahore, Pakistan
- $77,000 to restore minarets (tall slender towers attached to mosques) in Nigeria and Mauritania, Africa
- $80,000 for the restoration of the 18th-century Sultan Palace of Ujumbe in Mutsamudu, Comoros, with its highly ornate ceilings featuring Arabo-Islamic calligraphy and designs
- $30,000 for the restoration of the 19th-century fort at Lamu, Kenya, a significant center for the study of Islamic and Swahili cultures where Muslim religious festivals have been hosted since the 19th century
- $10,000 for the restoration of the Kofar Kansakali Gate in the Medieval Walled City of Kano, Nigeria, where the stone-laying ceremony was performed by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji (Dr) Ado Bayero, an influential Muslim spiritual and community leader in Northern Nigeria
- $49,000 for restoration of a mid‐19th‐century Musafirhana (hostel) in Fojnica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, originally intended to house and feed Muslim travelers for free
- $54,000 for the preservation the 6th century Castle in Vushtrri, Kosovo – a city that overthrew its once-dominant Christian population with a Muslim majority via the Ottoman conquests and a military post of an Ottoman garrison
- $30,000 for conservation of murals at the early 19th-century palace of Ahmed Bey ben Mohamed Cherif, who led a fierce resistance against French forces from that palace in Constantine, Algeria
- $100,000 for the restoration of 17th- and 18th-century monuments in the Kasbah of Mehdiya, Morocco, which was built in 1185 by Yacoub el Mansour, the third Almohad Amir and Muslim military conqueror who was responsible for capturing thousands of Christians and killing tens of thousands
- $95,000 for the preservation of the Varendra Museum Building at Bangladesh and its prehistoric and historic collections – gallery six of which contains Persian, Sanskrit and old Bangla stone inscriptions and sculptured stones of the Muslim period.
- $34,000 for the preservation of traditional Uzbek music in Uzbekistan, which is one of the many forms of Islamic regional music.
- $450,000 for the restoration of Qala Ikhtyaruddin, the 15th-century citadel of Herat, Afghanistan – once used by Alexander the Great but also used in more modern times by even the Taliban. The extremely large project is employing many local Muslims seven days a week via U.S. funds.
Where are the separatists of church and state when it comes to separating mosque and state? The First Amendment provides citizens with the freedom to choose their religion; it doesn’t provide the federal government with the right to fund the building of mosques overseas. In fact, it specifically says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
One thing is certain: President Obama certainly has kept the global promise he made to the Muslim world from Cairo in 2009, when he said that he considers it “part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear” and create a “partnership between America and Islam.”
And that’s exactly what the president has done. In countless speeches and actions since taking office, President Obama has sympathized and supported pro-Islamic ideologies, practice and culture, in and outside our country. That is why even the New York Times published a multiple-page report on how the “White House quietly courts Muslims in the U.S.”
To be fair, in 2011 the U.S. State Department has also doled out monies to restore Buddhist monasteries and early Christian Frescoes in Greece, as well as 17th- and 18th-century church paintings in Peru, etc., too, but the ratio is far less for non-Islamic projects. Should the federal government be subsidizing any of these religious projects, especially when the U.S. is broke and indebted up to its ears? How long will we continue to finance other countries’ economies as our own goes down the tubes? Maybe it’s time we ask all the countries we’ve been aiding to return the favor?
Are these really examples how you want the federal government spending your taxes? I’m certain that the 9.2 percent of unemployed citizens in our country would rather see these monies building jobs in America. (And President Obama wonders why the majority of Americans don’t want to pay more taxes?)
The federal government’s actions using taxpayers’ monies to build Islamic structures overseas during a recession brings me back to the wisdom of our fourth president, James Madison, who said, “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
I understand the necessity of America maintaining good global relations with other countries, but when we can’t even rebuild our economy, should we really be rebuilding others? Does diplomacy always have to include America dumping dollars at everyone’s front door? And if part of the increased Islamic grants under the Obama administration is to appease the wrath of extremists, then America is to be most pitied. For we above all should know that bribing Muslims not to bomb us is bad and futile diplomacy.
In a little more than a month, the U.S. will be commemorating the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. Ten years ago we all declared, “We will never forget.” But when does subsidizing Islamic structures and culture abroad with U.S. taxpayers’ monies cross the line and trample on the memory of 9/11 victims and their families? They brought down our twin towers and we build up their mosques?