Feisal Rauf, once the public face of the proposed Ground Zero mosque, has been replaced by Abdallah Adhami, a 44-year-old former architect and current cleric born in Georgetown. Rauf had become a drag on the project, thanks to his notoriety. Will Adhami equal him in that regard? Asked last year about sharia and apostasy, he gave a ten-minute answer in which he said, inter alia, that some jurists had prescribed death, though perhaps imprisonment was enough (comforted yet?); private apostasy might incur no sanction (how private?). Adhami also has associations that would take more than ten minutes to explain. He has spoken for the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, a Muslim Brotherhood front, and he designed a mosque for Siraj Wahhaj, a black-radical convert who was a character witness for Omar Abdel-Rahman, the blind sheik behind the 1993 World Trade Center plot. Will he invite Wahhaj to preach at Ground Zero now?
At the state dinner for Chinese boss Hu Jintao, President Obama and the White House laid on some entertainment, including Lang Lang. He is the young Chinese pianist educated and launched in the United States. Among his selections was “My Motherland,” which many Chinese describe as an anti-American propaganda song. Hu Jintao was visibly delighted, embracing Lang Lang. Chinese democracy leaders were shocked and amazed, saying that the United States had been humiliated, in its own house. Before the dinner, Lang Lang had a statement for Chinese television: “I thought to play ‘My Motherland’ because I think playing the tune at the White House banquet can help us, as Chinese people, feel extremely proud of ourselves and express our feelings through the song.” After the dinner, when a controversy arose, he told the American media that he had no idea the song had any political or propaganda associations. He is just a simple musician, you know. He is also a vice chairman of the All China Youth Federation, that country’s version of the old Soviet Komsomol. In 2009, the pianist played at the Nobel ceremony for Obama. He would not have dared play at the next year’s ceremony. The 2010 laureate languishes in a PRC prison.