Wowee, Maui, this e-mail from Jessica Masse, spokesman of the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) is a doozie. Somebody's been drinkin' the Kool-Aid. In its entirety, here's the e-mail from the ISB, sent via the Muslim American Society of Boston e-mail listserve. This e-mail was apparently in response to the April 25, 2007 column by Jeff Jacoby on the ties between the ISB and Abdurahman Alamoudi, and recent articles in the Jewish Advocate about former trustee Walid Fitaihi's apology to some Jewish groups. What will Ms. Masse's reponse look like to Donovan Slack's recent front-page story on the lobbying by a BRA official for the ISB project? One can only imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth at that article. Is Donovan Slack a "well-known Islamophobe" too?
The fisking will have to wait until I have a big chunk of free time, there's a lot to fisk on this one. Warning: must be able to open your eyes really, really wide.
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May 1, 2007
Dear Friends and Supporters, asalamu-aleikum:
The Islamic Society of Boston is profoundly disappointed by the continued media attack upon it initiated by those who wish to prevent area Muslims from building a place of worship, this time in the form of a document fed by our litigation opponents to Jeff Jacoby, a Boston Globe columnist who is a well known Islamophobe.
As you know, for many months now, the ISB has made significant efforts to reach out to other communities, and in particular the Jewish community, to begin the process of healing and reconciliation even while our opponents refuse to sit down and talk with us in a professional mediation forum as called for by Workmen's Circle, a proposal which the ISB has accepted. Our sincere efforts to reach out have included the visit by Dr. Walid Fitaihi who came to Boston from Saudi Arabia to make an apology concerning statements which offended our Jewish friends. Indeed, this latest media attack comes as reconciliation efforts are appearing increasingly promising and exciting. We should all pause and recognize that these efforts towards meaningful reconciliation are something that those who reject dialogue between Muslims and Jews cannot tolerate. Therefore, it should be surprising to no one that the efforts of the David Project and its affiliates to destroy developing good will between the Jewish and Muslim communities here in Boston will continue unabated until we all demand that they stop. It is significant that this latest attack comes literally one day after the David Project's lawyers turned over to the ISB's attorneys emails among David Project members and third parties which demonstrate in dramatic fashion the multi-faceted plan to "attack the mosque" which the defendants, working in close cooperation with Fox TV and producer Jon Wells, perpetrated in 2004. Attached to this email are some of the documents received by the ISB. Please read them and pass them along to all people of goodwill. They make very clear that the goal of the David Project was and remains to stop area Muslims from building a place of worship.
The after-the-fact claim that by the David Project they were merely involved in a public effort to raise legitimate concerns about the ISB and its leadership is now completely debunked. Let all people of conscience call it what it is: a well planned attempt to marginalize, denigrate, demonize and exclude an entire faith community under the cover of a vigilante effort to raise false security concerns in a post 9/11 atmosphere of mistrust.
Unlike the David Project and its apparent seamless access to the Boston Globe editorial page through Jeff Jacoby, the Muslim community has no mouth-piece in a major newspaper to publicize these emails and ask their authors "questions," and if the local media acts as it has in the past it will simply ignore the latest revelations
• that Jonathan Wells, a local reporter acting in his professional capacity, conspired with the David Project in a plot to stop the building of a place of worship
• that in 2004, the David Project, a 501c3 charitable organization, appears to have received half a million dollars in tax-payer funded government grants while at the same time planning a well organized campaign to deny the Boston Muslim community their 1st amendment rights to worship freely.
• that Charles Jacobs, the Director of the David Project, apparently was recruiting “prospects in the Black Church community in the suit as a possible plaintiff” against the ISB as part of a legal attack to unravel the land deal and get the mosque torn down.
Thus, we are contacting you directly and we ask for your patience, and your help in getting the truth out. We all need to be asking ourselves and others, “is this the type of behavior that should be deemed acceptable here in Boston?”
Regardless of the source of this latest attack upon us, the ISB recognizes that it owes its friends and supporters a direct answer about any contact between the ISB and Abdurrahman Alamoudi. Here is that answer: Mr. Alamoudi left Boston in the 1980s and did not thereafter have any meaningful role with the ISB. He was not a director. He was not a trustee. He did not influence our thinking. And, of course, we had no role in anything he did that caused him to be arrested years after he left Boston. The ISB has canvassed the directors and trustees who remain associated with the ISB about the speaking engagement referred to in the memo section of the check given by the defendants to Mr. Jacoby. Uniformly, they have no memory of Mr. Alamoudi speaking at the ISB or the ISB sponsoring him to speak elsewhere. We do note that from time to time the ISB is asked to help facilitate speakers who come to Boston by helping with their expenses. In 2000, Mr. Alamoudi was a person of prominence who was invited to speak regularly before many groups. It is possible that this is what happened here. Again, at the time the check was written in 2000, as even the Jacoby attack is forced to concede, Mr. Alamoudi was held in the highest regard in the United States, including by our government and irrespective of his personal views of the conflict in the Middle East. It is also worth noting that the travel agency which Mr. Jacoby refers to as being part of the so-called "Safa Group" has never been the subject of criminal charges. Similarly, the affidavit of Agent Kane which Mr. Jacoby mentions as the source for his information was filed years ago in an investigation which apparently went nowhere and which is widely recognized to have resulted in the unfair tarnishing of the names and reputations of many innocent people. Indeed, it is in part the media defendants' irresponsible reliance upon the admitted speculation contained in that affidavit about American Muslims which forms one part of the ISB's lawsuit.
Without a doubt, the defendants will use the litigation to continue to "tie" the ISB to Mr. Alamoudi and perhaps others based upon hyper-attenuated links that are, in reality, nothing more than the type of McCarthyesque, guilt by association which caused us to bring our lawsuit in the first place. As part of our ongoing efforts to be ready to respond to these attacks, we will try and anticipate them as best we can. We are confident that when a jury learns how the defendants portrayed the ISB's relationship with Mr. Alamoudi to the public in their media campaign and the fear-mongering manner in which they did so, it will have little difficulty understanding the very real wrong done here.
This brings us to the subject of our Board of Trustees. As many of you know, Dr. Walid Fitaihi has resigned as an ISB Trustee. Although his resignation is dated in early March, he did not make a final decision to resign until after his appearance at Workmen's Circle and only at that time was his decision made known to the ISB Board and made final by filing it with the necessary authorities. Regardless of his resignation, Dr. Fitaihi remains a key leader of our community. The simple facts are as follows: Given the defendants' demonstrated litigation tactics and the pressing needs of Dr. Fitaihi's day to day job responsibilities running a large medical center, he is unable to play a major role in the litigation as will be required from all trustees. Dr. Fitaihi will be returning to Boston in the future to continue his outreach efforts. He will soon assume a new position with the ISB and we hope to be able to announce this in the near future.
The ISB recognizes that by bringing its civil rights and defamation lawsuit it is subject to the rules of discovery. You should know that our records, and the records of our directors and virtually anyone who has come in contact with us over the years have been and are being subpoenaed by the defendants on a near daily basis as part of their ongoing efforts which we view as a continued witch hunt. We too, are looking for information from the defendants and it was through a subpoena that we were able to gather the emails we have provided with this statement. We expect, and you should expect, that the defendants will seize upon and misconstrue any sliver of information which can be used to poison our efforts to reach out to each other. We will do our best to respond. We ask, however, that our friends and supporters stand with us as we endure this treatment and continued attack and not let those who seek to divide us succeed in doing so.
We brought our lawsuit because we were under attack and had no choice. We will continue our lawsuit because we remain under attack and have no choice. Our basic civil rights have been compromised – our right to gather and to build a place of worship free from fear and intimidation. It is difficult to think of a more important principle to stand up for in this day and age.
Let us close by saying that as a community the ISB desires only to live in an atmosphere of peace and tolerance. We are committed to open dialogue with all people of good will. We may not agree on all issues, but we believe genuinely that it is up to people in all of our communities to marginalize those who would divide us and to unite to combat intolerance. We will not give up this effort to defend our religious freedom. We ask you not to give up either. We thank you for your continued support.
Interfaith Coordinator, Islamic Society of Boston
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