The old minaret in the historic Crater district of Aden, Yemen, benefited from a $44,120 award for a restoration project from the U.S. State Department in 2011. The project was part of the rightly maligned U.S. “Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation” which has diverted millions of dollars to mosque refurbishment abroad over the last several years.
As Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan once said, “minarets are our bayonets.” The U.S. has no business entangling itself in a project such as the Aden Minaret restoration. America is indirectly subsidizing five daily calls to prayer by the muezzin from the sixth story of this white, octagonal-walled tower.
Even though you paid for it, can you even visit the Aden Minaret? Not really. According to Lonely Planet, only Muslims can go inside this minaret. Moreover, in a Mar. 27 advisory, the U.S. State Department announced that it “urges U.S. citizens not to travel to Yemen.”
But perhaps it’s all okay in light of our warm relations and vibrant alliance with Yemen, right? And Al Qaeda will back down and play nice now knowing that we’ve forfeited precious taxpayer dollars to fix a drab old Sunni minaret to make it easier for the muezzin to wail at people to submit to Allah, right? Wrong.
The USS Cole was attacked in Yemen, and Yemen is the base of operations for AQAP, the branch of Al Qaeda that American politicians and national security reporters say they’re most concerned about. Funding Islamic buildings in that country is an act of extreme government mismanagement and folly.