Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the leader of an initiative to build an Islamic center and mosque two blocks from New York’s World Trade Center site, told the members of one of the nation’s most influential foreign policy think-tanks on September 13 that his group is exploring alternate options for the highly controversial project.
The aborted plan of Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, to burn copies of the Muslim Koran has received national and international attention that is far out of proportion with the proposed action. The media gives scant attention to the actions of any Christian minister, especially when the man in question serves a flock that reportedly consists of 50 souls. And yet Rev. Jones’ plan to burn the Koran generated such a storm of media attention that his proposed course of action may even have briefly eclipsed the notoriety of his famous high-school classmate, Rush Limbaugh.
The fire-breathing — as his reputation would have it — Chief of Staff of the Obama Administration has seemed to keep a low profile of late. Indications are that Rahm Emanuel may be opting to resign his post in the near future. The office of Chief of Staff to the President of the United States is said to be the toughest one in Washington. It is a Cabinet-level position responsible for overseeing the White House staff, managing the President’s schedule and supervising who meets with him — a position dubbed the Gatekeeper to the Oval Office. Even among Presidents who have served two terms, the longest a Chief of Staff has lasted is six years.
On September 14, 2001, President George W. Bush declared a national emergency with respect to the terrorist attacks of three days earlier. The National Emergencies Act of 1976 requires the President to renew this state of emergency on an annual basis if he wishes it to remain in effect. Bush renewed it every year he was in office, and now President Barack Obama has extended it for the second time during his term.
Nine years ago today, 19 hijackers commandeered four civilian jetliners in American airspace and perpetrated the worst act of terrorism in American history. None of us who witnessed those terrible events will ever be able to contemplate or discuss them without the emotions natural to every human being who has ever experienced shock or tragedy. I lost no friends or relatives in the 9/11 attacks, nor has anyone of my acquaintance been killed or injured in the wars that ensued in Afghanistan or Iraq. But I feel now, as I felt on September 12, 2001, a sense of loss for an America that I had known for the first 37 years of my life, an America that quite possibly has been lost forever.