Rauf’s summer itinerary suggests odd priorities for a man who, in the name of harmony and bridge-building, has stirred up a furious debate in the U.S. — and then quietly left the country last month, leaving many questions unanswered about such matters as where and how he plans to raise the $100 million he’ll need to realize his dream of a high-rise Islamic hub right up the street from where the Twin Towers stood.
Neither Rauf nor the State Department seems eager to publicize his summer trip to Saudi Arabia and points nearby, though his tour appears imminent — as in, he’ll probably be touching down in the Middle East this coming week, and he’s not due back till early September. My source for this information is the New York office of his Cordoba Initiative foundation, and his wife and co-director at the Cordoba Initiative, Daisy Khan. But they didn’t exactly volunteer the information unbidden. Rauf himself came briefly to the phone last week, at his Cordoba Initiative office in Malaysia, when I tracked him down there on a hunch — after his New York office said he was traveling, not feeling well, and could not be reached. As soon as I asked about funding, he said he was in an “important meeting,” and got off the phone.That's not very neighbourly of him. You don't suppose he has something to hide, do you?