American taxpayers will pay the imam behind plans for a mosque near the Manhattan site of the Sept. 11 attacks $3,000 in fees for a three-nation outreach trip to the Middle East that will cost about $16,000, the State Department said Wednesday, according to an Associated Press report.
The department said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will get a daily $200 honorarium for the 15-day tour to Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
For a country with a national debt of $13.3 trillion, the money for the imam is less than a drop in the bucket. But the concept is not likely to sit well with citizens who are worried about their economic future.
We believe it is not the role of the federal government to pay for random international public relations efforts. Isn’t that what we have diplomats for? And don’t taxpayers pay the salaries of those diplomats?
The decision to fund Rauf’s trip is just another example of the disconnect between the federal government and the citizens who fund it.
We think it’s time for Washington to wake up to the realities of 2010. Americans are carefully watching their own spending, and it’s time for the feds to do the same.
THE GRIFFIN DAILY NEWS