Common Cause New York and the New York Society for Ethical Culture are teaming up to co-host a panel discussion among religious leaders on campaign finance reform next week, and one of the names headlining the event is a notable one indeed: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Imam Rauf, named one of Time Magazine‘s 100 most influential people in the world, is perhaps best known as being a key figure behind the controversial Cordoba Initiative, which opponents labeled the “Ground Zero Mosque.”
According to an announcement email for the forum, the event “will focus on a wide variety of religious perspectives, and seek to address the moral context of campaign finance reform.”
The discussion represents the latest push for reform legislation as advocates ramp up their efforts to pass campaign finance legislation in Albany. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has shown a lot of interest in passing some kind of reform, but the State Senate reportedly has little appetite for the idea.
Albany recently thwarted good government groups’ efforts to pass redistricting reform and pieces of legislation that threaten the powers of incumbency are always harder to push. Thus, whether or not the State Senate will respond to attempts to drum up support for reform measures remains to be seen.
Imam Rauf’s exact reason for joining the campaign finance cause isn’t clear, but he has been involved in various forms of activism, so it might not be considered surprising. Joining him on the panel will be religious leaders from various other faiths, including Rabbi David Saperstein of Religious Action Center; Rev. Dr. Alison Boden, who’s the Dean of Religious Life at Princeton University; and Leader Anne Klaeysen from the Society for Ethical Culture.