NY Post: Imam terror error; Ground Zero mosque leader hedges on Hamas

Today, the New York Post reports:

The imam behind plans to build a controversial Ground Zero mosque yesterday refused to describe Hamas as a terrorist organization.

According to the State Department’s assessment, “Hamas terrorists, especially those in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings, against Israeli civilian and military targets.”

Asked if he agreed with the State Department’s assessment, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf told WABC radio, “Look, I’m not a politician.

“The issue of terrorism is a very complex question,” he told interviewer Aaron Klein.

“There was an attempt in the ’90s to have the UN define what terrorism is and say who was a terrorist. There was no ability to get agreement on that.”

Asked again for his opinion on Hamas, an exasperated Rauf wouldn’t budge.

“I am a peace builder. I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary or as an enemy,” Rauf said, insisting that he wants to see peace in Israel between Jews and Arabs.

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What is Islam’s mission at Ground Zero and everywhere else? “To transform sinners into believers, to transform wrongers into being good people,” according to Imam Rauf. Here is the audio:

Hamas rebuts Carter’s claim of concession

The Washington Times reports this morning that Hamas, a Sunni terrorist group (as designated by the U.S. State Department) which is controlled by Shiite Iran, says they made no deal with private citizen former President Jimmy Carter:

Hamas said yesterday it was prepared to accept a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, but contradicted a statement by former President Jimmy Carter that it would accept Israel’s right to exist if that was the will of the Palestinian people.

State Department officials said the Hamas statement fell far short of what was needed for the militant movement to play a constructive role in the administration’s drive for a Middle East peace deal before President Bush leaves office.

Hamas “said they would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders if approved by Palestinians, and that they would accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbor in peace, provided the agreements negotiated by [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas were submitted to the Palestinians,” Mr. Carter said.

However, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said in Washington that it was clear “nothing has changed in terms of Hamas’ basic views about Israel and about peace in the region.”

“They still refuse to acknowledge or recognize any of the basic Quartet principles, including recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing terrorism and acknowledging all the previous agreements that have been made between the Palestinian Authority and Israel itself.

“I think,” he said, “if you look back at the history of the rhetoric from Hamas, you see… language about truces and other kinds of issues.

“But the bottom line is, Hamas still believes in the destruction of the state of Israel. They don’t believe Israel has a right to exist. And it’s pretty hard to see how Hamas becomes any kind of legitimate partner for Israel or for President Abbas, for that matter, as long as its fundamental view is that the person that you would achieve a peace agreement with doesn’t have a right to exist.”

Go home, President Carter, and please stay there; you are not helping.