I had my eye on the Cordoba Initiative for nearly as long as I’ve been observing the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations initiative. It was in 2006 that the Alliance appeared on the world stage to calm Mideast tensions which resulted from the Danish cartoon crisis. For one to understand the Cordoba Initiative one must gain insight into the Alliance of Civilizations. The two are mutually-reinforcing, partnered initiatives. Cordoba’s web site, which has changed extensively over the past few weeks, still displays the Alliance of Civilizations as a partner organization. Noticeable omissions include organizations such as the United Religions Initiative, Karen Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and others. I suspect Cordoba scoured affiliations from its web site not only to lessen the severity of its own scrutinization but also prevent shifting it to others. For scrutinization of CAIR would lead one to find the FBI severed ties with the organization due to its affiliations with terror group Hamas. Alliance of Civilizations’ High Level Group member Karen Armstrong no longer is listed as the Cordoba Board’s most significant contributor. She is now only a board member.
As a bridge builder having the mission to facilitate intercultural and interfaith dialogue, tolerance and understanding, the Cordoba Initiative surely must have known that placement of the mosque so close to the Ground Zero Twin Towers would be received as insensitive and as anything but understanding. Moderate Moslem critics say this defies logic and call the mosque confrontational and in bad faith. They are questioning what is going on here?
I have found Cordoba’s partner, the Alliance of Civilizations, to be confrontational from its very inception. While they use nice words such as social inclusion, social cohesion, human family, ad nauseum, they speak with forked tongues. For this initiative has mobilized to facilitate a cultural divide—to build a new civilization. This crisis reminds me of a passage from new age writer Peter Lemesurier’s Armageddon Script, Prophecy in Action where he describes a time when the old religions would be manipulated and set against one another: “the wisdoms of all ages and cultures will be called upon to surrender their most precious secrets…The masses of the Old Age, however, will be unable to check their headlong onrush. In large measure they will go on to destroy each other in a massive, mutual venting of long pent-up aggression”.
This Cordoba mosque crisis is somewhat reminiscent of the 2006 “spontaneous” Danish cartoon crisis which firmly rooted the newly formed Alliance in a global political role. The cartoon crisis was the result of a Danish newspaper’s publication of caricatures which depicted the prophet Mohammed as a terrorist. Violence erupted four months later when these images were published in newspapers throughout the Mideast. The three most inflammatory caricatures seen in the Mideast’s had never been part of the Danish newspaper’s collection. The Alliance was soon to become the United Nations’ response to Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” theory which subsequently accused the West of insensitivity and placed blame for the clash squarely upon the West. The High Level GroupFinal Report attributes no positive values to the West. So why would the Islamic world seek to join an Alliance with the West?
This Cordoba crisis further exhibits the Alliance’s anti-western bias. Rather than accepting responsibility for their own insensitivity, High Level Group (HLG) members are actively guiding Moslems to feel victimized by an intolerant, Islamophobic West. John Esposito is using this controversy to bolster the Alliance’s position that Christianity and the political right are anti-democratic. It is ironic the Alliance would even argue this with a straight face.
The Alliance’s response to the cartoon crisis was a collaborative effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) which, at that time and ever since, called for the West to place restrictions on free speech. Defamation of Religions resolutions intended to restrict religious criticism and free speech were introduced to UN governing bodies. The resolutions are pillars of the Alliance’s framework. Hillary Clinton addressed this at the Roosevelt Institute last year stating that the United States would never agree to such resolutions. Within weeks President Obama and the OIC co-authored an anti-defamation resolution which contains the same language as what Clinton opposed. This proved a bit much for even the Huffington Post which cried foul.
The Alliance of Civilizations calls for the establishment of a review board and accreditation for journalists who wish to report on areas involving cross cultural and political-religious tensions.
High Level Group member Karen Armstrong has long portrayed Christianity and the political right as anti-democratic. As a “religious historian” she has no regard for historical accuracy and is known to fabricate quotes. As most significant contributor to the Cordoba Board, I suspect she was aware opportunity would be found in this emotionally-charged crisis they have created. While people are re-living the traumatizing events of the 9-11 attacks, the Cordoba controversy is being used to aggressively attack them as anti-democratic and opposed to religious freedom.
The Alliance says that global governance will require nations to accept a redefinition of national sovereignty. They define democracy as an evolutionary process where national parliaments no longer serve as the monopolist voice of the people. That voice is to be shifted to non-governmental organizations which are better positioned to represent the people. Terms often used to describe this new style are “safe”, “participatory”, and sometimes “anticipatory” democracy.
Religious freedom is also redefined. Both Cordoba and the Alliance interlock with Karen Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion. The Charter’s intent is to provide global “guidelines” for the interpretation of religious texts. An indication of where this is headed can be found in Armstrong’s thesis on Genesis where she argues that the serpent was more truthful than God in the garden. Armstrong is an apologist for Islam. According to Armstrong:
“Christianity, which has as its main image, in the west at least, a man dying in a devastating, disgraceful, helpless death…Mohammed was not an apparent failure. He was a dazzling success, politically as well as spiritually, and Islam went from strength to strength to strength. But against the West, it’s been able to make no headway...whatever they do, they cannot seem to get Muslim history back on track, and this has led some, and only a minority, it must be said, to desperate conclusions.”The United Nations spiritual foundation’s writings indicate that their political-spiritual leader will lead all “true Moslems” to spiritual victory. Iran has significantly shaped Alliance of Civilizations initiative.
The Alliance of Civilizations uses Cordoba as a model for the global governance of the culture. It portrays Cordoba as a utopian society and ignores the suffering of non-Moslems under the system of dhimmitude. The Alliance of Civilizations supports integration of Sharia law into Western democracies.
There is no Christian or orthodox Jewish representation on the Alliance of Civilizations.
Outwardly the Alliance and Cordoba Initiatives argue they favor bridge building and religious pluralism through interfaith dialogue. In practice they advance Universalism. The two are distinctly different. While pluralism requires tolerance, the Alliance’s Universalist value system rejects belief systems which make exclusive truth claims and refuse to adopt the mindset that we all worship the same God but follow different paths to the Almighty. Christian adaptation of Universalism constitutes apostasy. John Esposito has said that if one believes their religion to be right and another to be wrong, that person has adopted the “theology of hate” which is a root cause of terrorism. The HLG refers to this as religious fundamentalism. Georgetown University, an Alliance think tank which houses Esposito’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, defines fundamentalism as “those with an absolute conviction in the fundamental principles of their faith to the exclusion of other beliefs.”
Combating religious fundamentalism is the basis of the Alliance of Civilizations’ framework. The Alliance is the United Nation’s “mother tongue” and the core component of the UN global counter-terrorism strategy.
NATO’s Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World includes combating of religious fundamentalism as well. The Alliance of Civilizations is now part of the NATO framework. Secretary General Rasmussen represented NATO at the AoC Istanbul Conference.
The Albright Group (as in Madeline, former Secretary of State) is a supporter of the Cordoba Initiative. Albright participates on NATO’s Group of Experts which is implementing a “New Strategic Concept”.
The White House announced United States’ partnership with the Alliance of Civilizations on May 20, 2010.
Carnegie Corporation President Vartan Gregorian serves on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. Vartan is active with the Alliance of Civilizations and a bridge between the White House and the Alliance.
During the initial planning process the Alliance of Civilizations envisioned placement of Alliance temples in every major city throughout the world. The Cordoba mosque may well be a starting point. This “clash of civilizations” appears deliberate having a political objective. Again, as Jean Monet chair for European Integration once said, the United Nations has proven itself to be actually dangerous. This time, it appears, they have provoked a national controversy within one of its member states.