There's a renewed call from two religious institutions for the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) and the David Project to drop their lawuits, per yesterday's Boston Globe article:
"The presidents of two prominent local religious institutions are calling on a Jewish advocacy organization and the backers of a Roxbury mosque project to drop their lawsuits in their contentious dispute over the mosque's construction."
"Nick Carter, the president of Andover Newton Theological School, and David Gordis, president of Hebrew College, yesterday announced that they had sent a joint letter to leaders of the Islamic Society of Boston... and The David Project ...offering outlines for a resolution to the long-running and bitter dispute. Andover Newton and Hebrew College are located on the same hilltop in Newton Centre, and their jointly sponsored program, the Interreligious Center for Public Life, has met with both the Islamic Society and the David Project in an effort to find a solution."
This is old news, actually. Back in July 2006, the Interreligious Center for Public Life (ICPL) was trying to mediate between the two organizations (I wrote about it here). I also wrote about the members of the interfaith group here. BTW, Salma Kazmi, Assistant Director of the Islamic Society of Boston, is on the Executive Committee of the ICPL.
My feeling is that the horse has well and truly left the barn. We're past mediation. There's no equivalency between the roles of the ISB and the David Project in this matter. The ISB has sued seventeen people and organizations for defamation and civil rights violations. The defendants include Steven Emerson and his Investigative Project, Inc., William R. Sapers of Roxbury Community College, Anna Kolodner and the David Project, Inc. (for which she serves as Director of Education), Steven A. Cohen, Ahmed Mansour and Dennis Hale, and the Citizens for Peace and Tolerance of which they are officers, and the Boston Herald and Fox 25 Television News, as well as some of its reporters. The ISB has subpoenaed a freelance writer (Tamar Morad) and talk show host Michael Graham, who simply wrote about and discussed the case.
Now the ISB is interested in dialogue? Now the ISB wants to "heal the rift?"
In contrast, the David Project has sued one entity, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), to disclose details of the sale of land to the ISB by the BRA. The David Project is also seeking details of an ISB-funded trip of a BRA member to United Arab Emirates to raise money for construction of the mosque. We probably would never have known about this highly questionable trip - or the extremely discounted sale of BRA land to the ISB - except for the ISB's lawsuit.
More ideas from Carter and Gordis:
"The two presidents proposed not only that the two groups drop their suits, but that they issue a joint statement condemning terrorism, declare their shared support for the construction of houses of worship, support the creation of a new center for interfaith understanding, and that they hold a joint "celebratory event." "
I used to think that such people were naive but well-intentioned. I no longer give them such credit.
Why exactly should the David Project issue a statement to condemn terrorism? It's the ISB that had Sheihk Yusuf Abdullah al-Qaradawi and Walid Fitaihi on their Board of Trustees, not the David Project. Nor should anyone want to see a "house of worship" that has questionable ties to radical Islamists and that uses lawsuits to intimidate its critics. "Interfaith understanding" won't take the place of vigilance against the influence of radical Islamists in Boston. Once the ISB (which has operational relationships with the Boston branch of the Muslim American Society and several local mosques) drops their lawsuits and renounces any affiliation with radical Islamists, then maybe we have that "celebratory event." Please open your eyes, Mr. Carter and Mr. Gordon.