This panel discussion promises to be lively and informative, although the majority of the sponsors no doubt do not support the Fusion Centers.
“Fusion Centers and Homeland Security Directives”
When: Thursday, March 25th, 2010 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm Location: Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC), 100 Malcolm X Boulevard, Roxbury, MA 02120 (Main Hall, First Floor). Sponsors: Muslim American Society of Boston (MAS Boston), Dept. of Homeland Security, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Arab-American Institute, Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC)
Speakers: Mike German (Policy Counsel, Washington Legislative Office, American Civil Liberties Union ACLU). Mike German is a sixteen-year veteran of the FBI, where he served as a Special Agent in domestic terrorism, bank fraud and public corruption investigations. While at the FBI, German also served in undercover operations, successfully helping to prevent several terrorist attacks. He resigned in 2004 to make Congress and the public aware of the continuing deficiencies in FBI counterterrorism operations after the implementation of the 9/11 Commission’s reforms.
Carol Rose is the Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. A lawyer and journalist, Carol has spent her career advocating for human rights and civil liberties both in the United States and abroad, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Japan, Sri Lanka, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Northern Ireland, and Vietnam.
David Gersten (Acting Deputy Officer for Programs and Compliance, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, US Department of Homeland Security) David Gersten normally holds the position of Director of the Programs Division for DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Before joining DHS, Mr. Gersten led customer service efforts for the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. Prior to his work at the Department of Education, he served as executive director of the Center for Equal Opportunity providing assistance and scrutiny for the public and private sector on immigration and assimilation policy making. Mr. Gersten also spent four years as director of education for an educational foundation dedicated to identifying, training and placing young people in public policy positions. He is the proud parent of five children including six year old triplets.
Juliette Kayyem (Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs, US Department of Homeland Security) Juliette N. Kayyem was appointed as Massachusetts’ first Undersecretary for Homeland Security by Gov. Deval L. Patrick in January 2007. When appointed by Governor Patrick, she became the first Arab-American to serve as a homeland security advisor at the state level. As undersecretary, she has been responsible for developing statewide policy on homeland security and specifically focused on preventing, protecting, responding to, and recovering from any and all critical incidents. Undersecretary Kayyem focused much of her time on coordinating efforts across local, state and federal entities.
UPDATE: You can see a video of the press conferencehere.
This sounds extremely interesting.....I hope our local media and politicians pay attention to who's in charge at the Islamic Society of Boston. This deserves attention, scrutiny and action from our leaders. From Americans for Peace and Tolerance:
WHAT: Press Conference to Caution about Extremist Leadership of the Boston Islamic Center.
WHEN: Thursday, June 25th, 10:30 AM
WHERE: Sheraton Crowne Plaza Hotel, Newton, 320 Washington Street, Newton MA 02158
"In response to MEMRI TV's February 1, 2009 release of a translated and subtitled clip capturing prominent Sunni sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi on Al-Jazeera TV in January 2009 calling the Holocaust "divine punishment" for the Jews and warning that "Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers [i.e. Muslims]," and also saying that he would "shoot Allah's enemies, the Jews," it was reported that Muslim Imams and Islamic groups in Scandinavia have distanced themselves from the remarks and are questioning association with Al-Qaradhawi."
"....On February 16, the Norwegian newspapers Dagbladet and Aftenpost reported that the Islamic Council of Norway had, on that same date, denounced Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi's statements on Al-Jazeera TV as "unacceptable." According to the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPE), Aftenposten quoted Islamic Council of Norway head Senaid Kobilica as saying that the council also planned to raise the matter with the European Council for Fatwa and Research, which Al-Qaradhawi heads."
MEMRI has numerous quotes from Norwegian, Danish and Swedish Muslim council leaders and imams who strongly criticized Qaradawi's statements. We haven't heard anything similar from Massachusetts Muslim leaders and imams, have we? Imagine Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) imam Basyouny Nehela or Muslim American Society (MAS) director Bilal Kaleem saying something like "It's unacceptable that Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi honors the Holocaust, we strongly reject that"? I'm guessing that'll never happen, but I'd love to be proven wrong.
Just remember, OK, that when the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) leaders participate in an interfaith event, it's dawah. The ISB (actually Muslim American Society) leaders and their imam aren't engaging in these events to learn about other faiths, they're there to invite others to Islam. Ditto for MAS college student groups participating in interfaith events. Some modern Muslim jurists consider the U.S. (and Europe) to be dar al dawah, "the land of invitation, land to which dawah has been presented and its people are invited to Islamic values and practices." Luckily for local proselytizing Muslims, the ISB's imam Basyouny Nehela is teaching a course on dawah starting this month. From the MAS website:
Islamic American University and MAS Boston present: The Quranic Methodology for Da'wa and Thought by Sh. Basyouny Nehela.
The course is tentatively targeted to begin on March 18th 2009, for twelve weeks on Wednesday evenings, 6:30-8:00PM.
The mind reels at who the founder,chairman and vice-chairman are of the Islamic American University. Solomonia did the research:
"Orchard Park police are investigating a particularly gruesome killing,
the beheading of a woman, after her husband — an influential member of
the local Muslim community — reported her death to police Thursday."
"Muzzammil Hassan is the founder and chief executive officer of Bridges
TV, which he launched in 2004, amid hopes that it would help portray
Muslims in a more positive light."
Aasiya Hassan had recently filed for divorce. (Photo of Muzzammil Hassan and his wife Aasiya from Buffalo News.)
The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) and the Muslim American Society are holding a fundraiser dinner on Saturday, January 17 at the ISB Cultural Center (aka the Roxbury mosque). The ISB/MAS co-organized several anti-Israel protests around Boston last week, aligning itself with radical Marxist organizations such as A.N.S.W.E.R. This weekend, it's a fundraising dinner for Gaza sponsored by the Islamic Relief USA. More info here. The speakers include Abed Ayoub and Yousef Abdullah, CEO and Operations Manager, respectively, of Islamic Relief.
So is the ISB raising money for Hamas?
Boston's own Citizens for Peace and Tolerance issued a press release earlier this week that examined the links between the Islamic Relief Worldwide and Hamas and with the Muslim Brotherhood:
Dennis Hale, President of the Boston based Citizens for Peace and Tolerance (CPT) - an
interfaith group of Christians, Muslims and Jews - warned today that an
upcoming Muslim American Society of Boston (MAS Boston) fundraising event advertised to donors
as humanitarian aid to Gaza
may instead channel funds to the terror group, Hamas.
"The January 17th fundraiser
is collecting money for the Gaza
operations of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), a group previously accused of
transferring funds to Hamas," Hale said.
Hamas is an Islamic supremacist organization that belongs to
branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is considered to be
the origin for most of the modern jihad movements. Hamas is dedicated to the
destruction of the Jewish state and uses terrorism and murder to achieve its
goals. It is an openly genocidal organization that has explicitly and
continuously called for the murder of all Jews worldwide. The founding charter of
Hamas proclaims that peace will come to Earth only when all the Jews are killed:
" ... as long as Islam does not take its rightful place on the
world arena everything will continue to change for the worst...The Last Hour [redemption]
won't come until the Muslims fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill
"Virtually the entire civilized world, from Barack Obama to
the government of Egypt,
agrees that Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel's
right to exist and renounce terrorism against Israeli civilians is the root
cause of the horrible violence in Gaza and Israel,"
said Hale. "For the Muslim American
Society to raise funds for a Hamas-linked charity in the heart of Boston is an affront to
the traditions of liberty and tolerance on which this city was built. "
"As (reporter) Bernstein found, the public record strongly
suggests that a well-regarded BRA staffer, Muhammad Ali-Salaam, played
both sides against the middle in acting as an inside advocate and
actual fundraiser for the mosque project, all while executing his
public responsibilities as a taxpayer-paid employee. Whether such
conduct represented a conflict of interest is a question for Attorney
General Martha Coakley to tackle."
"...The city's blind dedication to building the
mosque prevented BRA officials from considering other proposals. Anyone
who thinks that the area is now a thriving economic hub should look
again. While notable and worthwhile development has taken place in
other parts of the city — a new Prudential Center project was announced
just days ago — development in and around the area of the mosque
stagnated. Would the public good have been better served if, during the
10 years when the mosque projected stalled, that land was opened up to
others with competing ideas? Taxpayers will never know."
one thinks of the favorable deal the city struck with the mosque, there
remains a question as to whether this is the best way for the city to
conduct itself. That is why the Phoenix joins in calling for
the independent Boston Municipal Research Bureau to examine the mosque
deal and offer its opinion on whether this is the way the city should
be conducting its development business."
"Meanwhile, the City Council should look into
whether the playgrounds by the mosque are being properly maintained;the attorney general should review whether the public's business was
properly transacted; and the secretary of state should seek changes in
the law governing public documents, so that in the future, getting
answers to questions such as these might be possible."
Them's fightin' words.
The Mayor and the City Council were negligent in their fiduciary duties, and we now have a Muslim Brotherhood front organization running the largest mosque in New England under our noses. With the taxpayers' assistance. It's not too late! I applaud the Phoenix for this strong call for an investigation.
Dennis Hale of the Citizens for Peace and Tolerance finds many connections between the recent Holy Land Foundation trial in Texas and our fair city. From Market Watch:
"Dennis Hale, President of
Citizens for Peace and Tolerance, called today for a public investigation of
the Boston Redevelopment Authority's sale of land to the Islamic Society of
Boston (ISB) for the construction of New England's largest mosque."
"Hale noted that officers of the largest Muslim charity in America, The
Holy Land Foundation (HLF), convicted in Texas last week of funding Middle
East terrorism, have ties to the ISB and its close affiliate, the Muslim
American Society. 'The convictions in Texas are a victory in the government's
efforts to prevent charities from being used to support terrorism,' said Hale.
The Holy Land Foundation and five of its organizers were convicted for sending
more than $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. 'It is
shocking to discover the ties between the HLF and the leadership of the
Islamic Society of Boston,' said Hale.
--" 'Jamal Badawi, an ISB Trustee, was a frequent speaker at HLF
fundraising events, and was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF
-- " 'Osama Kandil, the ISB Board Chairman, founded the Muslim Arab Youth
Association (MAYA), which provided venues for HLF fundraising events where
Hamas members made explicit calls to murder Israelis.' For its role in Hamas
fundraising, MAYA was also listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF
"The Phoenix report is the first public account of how a well
intentioned Mayor tried to help local African-American Muslims in
Roxbury build a mosque, but wound up subsidizing what many in Boston
worry is a Saudi-funded and controlled center with connections to
radical Islam --- a mile from downtown."
"Phoenix reporter David Bernstein sketches a complex tale of good
intentions gone awry. At the center of Bernstein's account is Muhammad
Ali-Salaam, who played a double role: as promoter and fundraiser for
the mosque, while being paid as a city official to guard Boston's
Excellent investigative article in the Boston Phoenix, available on the web today, to be printed tomorrow. Reporter David Bernstein covers a lot of ground here, going back to 1988 and the very beginning of the mosque project, which was initiated by a council of Roxbury Muslims. This article is terrific, he covers all the salient issues:
Mosque project of local Roxbury Muslims taken over by Middle Eastern immigrant Muslims,
City gives sweetheart deal, essentially subsidizes a religious entity,
Ciy gives the OK to a woefully underfunded project (it's still $2 million short),
City never got the "benefits" promised by the Islamic Society of Boston (the mosque has "neglected its contractual obligation to maintain nearby parks"),
BRA's Muhammad Ali Alaam worked on behalf of the mosque, clearly had its interests at heart, not the City's, in an obvious conflict of interest,
Notes the replacement of the ISB by the Muslim American Society, and the MAS's takeover of other local Muslim orgnizations,
Notes the ousting of Imam Talal Eid from the slamic Center of New England,
Covers the ISB lawsuits against the Herald, Fox News, David Project and others,
Discusses the links between ISB/MAS folks and P-Tech, which was raided by the feds, P-Tech was also connected to Care International (small world!), P-Tech gets its own sidebar.
Tracks Dianne Wilkerson'strong support of the mosque project (given her recent bribery and corruption charges, one wonders if the ISB gave her any moula),
Reminds us about Walid Fitaihi, the on again/off again ISB trustee, who recently gave $250K to the mosque (he always was their sugar daddy),
Menino's role and the inability of Boston city councilors to challenge him.
Great article, lots of material, much of it new. Also excellent sidebars. Excerpts:
"But while the community watches to see whether
this new facility grows more inclusive or more conservative and
separate, questions remain unanswered about why the city government
went through so much effort — seemingly against its own policies and
regulations at times — to facilitate a project that had no adequate
funding, questionable community benefit, and uncomfortable associations
"It is the involvement of city officials — backed
by the strong support of Menino and the now scandal-tinged state
senator Dianne Wilkerson — that distinguishes this project from the
many churches, synagogues, mosques, and other facilities that are built
and expanded all the time."
I'm disappointed that ISB/MAS imam (sheikh?) Basyouny Nehela wan't even mentioned in the article. He once again manages to escape any scrutiny. How did he get here? Who brought him here from Egypt? Given all the seaminess with these folks, Nehela has to have something going on. Also no mention of the ISB's latest trustee, Dr. Jamal Badawi, who was personally named in the US Muslim Brotherhood's 1991 planning document. Remember this charming quote from that document:
Ikhwan (Muslim Brothers) must understand that their work in America is
a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western
civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their
hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s
religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
For even the liberal Boston Phoenix to sit up and pay close attention to the ISB/MAS and the City's role in the mosque project is news in itself. Good job, Boston Phoenix!
Fitahi resigned as an ISB
trustee days before he was to be subject to interrogatories in the ISB
lawsuit. Shortly after the lawsuit was withdrawn, Fitaihi was
reinstated as a trustee. Even the Boston Gobe wrote an editorial back in 2004 calling for the ISB to "distance themselves"
from Fitaihi. They've done the opposite.
Ikhwan (Muslim Brothers) must understand that their work in America is
a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western
civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their
hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s
religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
The Dr. Jamal Badawi Foundation is listed in the 1991 master plan, along with Islamic Society of North American (ISNA), as
"providing the seed of the comprehensive dawa organization." The document details the plan to establish an array of interlinked Islamic organizations, so that Muslims can create their own society within the larger U.S. society. And the Muslim American Society (daughter organization of the US Muslim Brotherhood) is doing just that.
There were a few amusing misstatements in Boston Globe article, including this one:
"Determining the size of the Muslim population is an inexact science.
The Muslim American Society estimates that about 120,000 Muslims live
in Massachusetts; a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and
Public Life found the population to be less than 32,000."
"The mosque has been controversial for years. A conservative
Israel-advocacy organization called the David Project asserted that
some of the mosque's founding leaders had links to terrorism. In 2005,
the Islamic Society filed a lawsuit against the David Project and two
media outlets, saying that those allegations were defamatory, but
dropped the suit last year after another suit, challenging the mosque's
construction, was also dropped."
I'm hearing that Nancy Khalil will no longer be the Muslim Chaplain at Wellesley College. I'm further hearing that Najiba Akbar is slated to walk into that position, with no open announcement or competition for for job. That's a little odd, innit?
Phyllis Chesler raised a few questions about the former Muslim chaplain here last October. Ms. Khalil was known as a big proponent of hijab. According to several Wellesley
Muslim students, there was strong peer pressure in the Wellesley Muslim
student group to wear headscarves and cover up. Otherwise, you were not considered a
“real Muslim.” Another student reported being told "not to run and not to laugh too loudly" at an Al-Muslimat weekend retreat. At Wellesley, Hillary Clinton's college, imagine a woman being told this! The former Wellesley chaplain routinely took her students to
the ISB mosque and she studied under the ISB's imam Basyouny
Nehela. Will the next Muslim chaplain also be an advocate for the ISB?
Najiba Akbar (seen in this photo) is reportedly married to Bilal Kaleem, the Executive Director of MAS Boston. As I've mentioned before, the Islamic Society of Boston and the Muslim American Society are esentially the same organization, sharing funding, directors and office space. The ISB/MAS organization works hard to establish itself as the voice of Massachusetts Muslims. But not all Muslims are happy about the "Muslim mafia" and their monopoly on leadership in local Islamic organizations. If it's true that Ms. Akbar is going to simply assume a vacant chaplain position at Wellesley College, then it appears that the ISB/MAS is further spreading their tentacles, putting their people in positions of power at prestigious local colleges. Is this some sort of dynasty?
Why woulnd't Wellesley publicize this position in the open job market? Why wouldn't the MAS/ISB send out an e-mail announcement of this vacancy at Wellesley? They send out job openings - both religious and secular - all the time, but I've not heard a peep about the vacancy at Wellesley. Is Ms. Akbar the most qualified person for this position? Why doesn't the college advertise and have an open competition? Who funds that position? Are there requirements for a transparent hiring process - with equal opportunity for all - in hiring chaplains at Wellesley?
"July 24, 2008 update: A reader, the producer of L'Afrique (lafrique.com), was surprised to see that the Roxbury Crossing station of the Boston area subway system sports a painting of the nearby Islamic Society of Boston mosque and other Islamic themes. He sent me pictures of the still-unfinished mural and its surroundings, one of which I reproduce here. (For the others, click here, here, here, here, and here)."
"Comment: As the photographer points out, the Boston public transportation system does not sport crosses, stars of David, or other religious insignia. How did this exception come about? One hopes that Bostonians are not so beat down by ISB litigiousness that they have lost all curiosity about that institution's activities."
I vaguely recall the interior of the Copley Square T station (on the Green line) having a stylized silhouette of the Copley Trinity church, and the Kenmore T station had (still has?) references to Fenway Park (also sihouettes, strike signs, etc.). Having such references inside the subway stations gives a distinct sense of place to each station and alerts riders to what station they're in. But a detailed mural on the outside of a T station seems to be doing something else. When the mosque is right there in front of you, why paint a mural depicting it? I find it odd, and I tend to agree with Eleanor that someone's marking their turf.
I'll try to find out how this mural came to be, who designed it, etc. I didn't find anything on the MBTA website about this. You'd think the MBTA's website would have a page about the artwork at each station, but no such luck. If anyone has the scoop on the mosque mural at Roxbury Crossing, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope the mural isn't part of the "services in the public interest" that the ISB is providing to the City in exchange for the BRA property. As you recall, BRA Parcel R-14 in Roxbury had a fair market value of $2 million according to the BRA, although the BRA later reduced that figure to $400K. The BRA transferred the property to the ISB for $175K in cash and $225K in "services in the public interest," including an Islamic law library at Roxbury Community College (RCC), lectures about Islam in Africa at RCC and maintenance of the local Clarence "Jeep" Jones park. We haven't heard a peep about these "public benefits", although the ISB has held several park cleanups.
UPDATE: False alarm? Molly provides some info in the comments below:
right then, if the painting of the mosque means that the Muslims are
taking over, how do you explain the painting of the basilica on the
other side of the post?"
"Seriously folks, not a single person has gone to look at it for
yourselves, have you? The painting of the mosque is done so that a
person looking at it will see the mosque in the background. On the
other side, there's a painting of the Mission Church so that a person
on that side will see the church in the background."
"I'm heading over to Mr. Pipes's site next, but sometimes a distinctive building is just a distinctive building."
The Boston Muslim American Society and the Islamic Council of New England are holding a "special Farewell Dinner" and fundraiser for Masood and his family tomorrow, July 26, 2008 (6 PM) at Ashur's Restaurant, behind the yet-to-be-finished Islamic Cultural Center in Roxbury.
According to the e-mail notice about this special dinner:
"Imam Masood will be leaving the US, with his family, on August 2nd, according to an agreement he has reached with his case. This event will go towards funding the travel expenses for 10 family members, and to support the family in their time in need. Funds will also go towards helping local Muslim immigrant families experiencing financial hardship."
What's so special about Masood? I bet Emadeddin Muntasser wished that the local MAS would have helped him out. I bet Martha Stewart and Marion Jones wished they could have avoided jail time for lying to federal agents. How does Masood escape jail time? Is there a different justice system for the brother of Hafiz Saeed?
You can make a financial donation at the MAS website here (select "Shaikh Masood Family Support" in the drop-down menu). The website says that "All donations to MAS Boston are tax deductible." Hmmm, here we go again. Is it really tax deductible to give money to a criminal who's essentially being deported from the U.S.?
Masood, with his criminal convictions, gets to board a plane and skedaddle out of here. What's going on here? Is this simply the most expedient way to deport Masood and his family? If that's the case, I'm OK with that. I don't see the need for my tax dollars to support these folks in jail and subsidize their dawah there. Fine, let them all leave now.
I welcome any legal minds out there to shed some light on this.
Previous postings on the Muhammed Masood/Abdul Hannan case here (scroll down).
UPDATE: Hmmm, now why would the MAS send out an e-mail dated Tuesday, July 22nd, announcing that Masood and his family are leaving on August 2nd, when Masood's sentencing has been postponed from August 1 to September 26th, 2008? The motion for continuance of the sentencing was filed on July 22nd, and granted on July 23rd (masood_sept_08_continuance.pdf ). Maybe they're not going anywhere for a while after all. Such a strange case this has been.
A little birdie tells me that Sheihk Basyouny M. Nehela, imam of the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), is seeking American citizenship. There's a hearing on Monday, May 19th, which the Sheikh is reportedly trying to move from immigration court to citizenship court. I have to admit I'm not keen on granting American citizenship to this man. There's something not quite right about Mr. Nehela (on the left below). He's a mystery man. In his ten years here, he's assumed a controlling position in virtually every Islamic organization in the greater Boston area. Yet there's very little information available about his background. Why is his background such a big secret? Who brought Nehela here back in 1996? Nehela has been associated with Ikwhan, the Muslim Brotherhood, as I describe below. Are there other affiliations we should be concerned about? Is the judge who decides whether Nehela can stay here and become an American citizen going to thoroughly scrutinize this man? It would be a wise thing to do. American citizenship is too precious to give to someone whose allegiance might be to an outside power, not to our country, our government and our way of life. American citizenship requires taking an oath to uphold the U.S. constitution. Can Nehela do that? If he does, is he telling the truth?
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was mocked for making the following statements, even though it's a good approach to any problematic situation:
"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."
And these "unknown unknowns" are the things that can really bite us in the butt. We're unprepared for them, we don't see them coming.
With Sheikh Nehela, the "known knowns" are what Nehela is doing in the Boston area now, where he has many roles as imam, teacher, director and advisor, as I've discussed here and here in earlier posts. His roles are:
imam of the ISB,
on the board of directors of the Muslim American Society (MAS),
heads the Tarbiya program at MAS,
director and teacher at the Islamic Academy of New England (IANE) in Sharon (There's much rancor about the "take-over" at the Islamic Center of New England (ICNE), and a threatened lawsuit at the ICNE. Nehela reportedly brought a check for $100,000.00 on September 17, 2002 from the Islamic Society of Boston to the school, and essentially took it over. Lots of $$$ went back and forth between the ISB and the ICNE.)
leads Hajj trips, bringing along favored (recruited?) students and subsidizing their trips,
teacher at the Boston branch of the Islamic University of America (IAU), where he teaches Arabic and "Koranic science," (The IAU was founded in Ohio by Salah Soltan, who was recently denied American citizenship and who openly works for the Muslim Brotherhood on Egypt), and
active with the Al Huda organization in Revere, MA, which is heavily supported by the MAS.
Busy guy! When does he have time to sleep and spend time with his family? There are three other possible "known knowns" that were reported to me. I have been unable to independently confirm these claims, but I put them out, hoping that someone else can either confirm or refute them:
The ISB mosque in Cambridge used to be known as the Ikwhn mosque. According to a reader, "Until 2001, any one walking to Prospect Street mosque would say that I am going to the Ikhwan Mosque."
The "known unknowns" are what Nehela did in Egypt before he came here. There's no information published anywhere about his background except for his education at Al-Azhar University in Egypt, the oldest and most prestigious Islamic university in the world. The basic program of studies was, and still is, Islamic law, theology, and the Arabic language. Nehela's degree is in da'wah, or bringing people to Islam. But we don't know if Nehela ever worked as an imam anywhere else before coming to Boston. (One wonders what he put on his visa when he first came here to do Traweeh during Ramadan....don't you have to be an imam before you can work here as an imam?) There's no resume available on Nehela, which is unusual. Another "known unknown" is who Nehela's spiritual adviser was back in Egypt or is now (possibly Yusuf Qaradawi?). We don't know what denomination of Islam he is, which is usually one of the first things a Muslim will tell you about himself. Is Sheikh Nehela a Sunni or Shia, Salafi, Wahabi, Sufi, Akhwan, Deobandi, Ismaili or Ahmedi? Something else altogether? Why is that kept secret?
The last category is the "unknown unknowns," which are, of course, hard to anticipate. But I do wonder how it is Nehela came here in the first place, what was the connection, who was responsible? And how did Nehela escape unscathed by the ISB lawsuit saga? Several ISB officers and trustees were deposed and provided sworn statements. Nehela was subpoenaed, but he objected to the subpoenas long enough to avoid being questioned. The lawsuit was withdrawn just before he was finally going to be deposed. Was that a factor in the withdrawal of the lawsuit, what Nehela knows? Are there unseen hands back in Saudi Arabia or Egypt that are directing things at the ISB in Massachusetts? Who are those folks?
I'd recommend that any judge making a determination of whether Nehela can stay here and become a citizen think about Nehela's links to questionable people and a questionable ideology (Ikwhan). Maybe the judge can think about whether having Nehela and the ISB (with their Arabic culture) monopolize all the area Islamic organizations is a good thing. And I hope the judge considers the "unknown unknowns" about Mr. Nehela, before they bite us in the butt.
Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in the news again in the U.S., as the conviction of a Maryland man for supporting the terrrorist group LeT was recently upheld. Hafiz Saeed, the founder of LeT, is named in the article. Given that Hafiz Saeed had so many family members who were (and still are) imams in Massachusetts, has the government looked into LeT financing and support in Massachusetts mosques? It has been reported (anonymously) to Miss Kelly that an imam of the Islamic Society of Boston used to introduce Saeed's brother Muhammed Masood as a Jihadi fighter who used to fight in Kashmir before he (Masood) came to the U.S. This was reportedly said at lectures at the Cambridge mosque in 1998 and 1999. Have we really thoroughly investigated connections to Hafiz Saeed and LeT in our country?
"....(Ali Asad) Chandia, who taught third grade at the al-Huda school in College Park, Md., was convicted in 2006 of providing military support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group in Pakistan that violently opposes Indian rule of the disputed Kashmir territory."
As reported in India Express, the LeT is "accused of operating several militant training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and linked to Al Qaeda, was founded by Pakistan-based Islamist leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who has vowed to separate Jammu and Kashmir from India." You can read my previous postings about Hafiz Saeed here and here (the Masood/Hannan immigration arrest).
"....Specifically, Chandia was found guilty of acting as a driver and assistant to Lashkar leader Mohammed Ajmal Khan on his visits to the U.S. in 2002 and 2003 and helping Khan ship 50,000 paintball pellets from the U.S. to Pakistan."
Question: Did Lashkar leader Mohammed Ajmal Khan visit any Massachusetts mosques in 2002 and 2003?
I received a comment today on the blog post about the Roxbury mosque documentary. This person has many concerns and questions about the new mosque and apparently, with the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) and its imam, Basyouny Nehela (if I'm correctly reading between the lines). The comment in its entirety:
"There is a large Muslim community in Boston. Majority of them are trying to live their life under the law of the land (as the Muslim Prophet,PBH, has asked the Muslims to do when they go to a different land)."
"This Muslim community has to build places of worship. The question that needs answer is not that some red bricks soared to the sky and the result looks like a Middle Eastern Mosque but what "ideology" will flow through there? Is it the 'ideology' subscribed to by the Majority of the Muslims in the Boston area or in some stealth way leadership was imposed on the community (and by foreign money involvement also)?"
According to Sol, although Porter calls himself a journalist, the documentary (mockumentary?) was anything but even-handed. The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) comes off as the good guys, Citizens for Peace and Tolerance (CPT) comes off as the bad guys. BC professor Hale of CPT was portrayed negatively because he didn't "engage in dialogue" with the ISB.