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Sep
18

Mosque Linked To Muslim Brotherhood Opens In Boston

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Local media has reported that a new Boston mosque with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood has begun its operations. According to the report:

Every night since the start of Ramadan this month, hundreds of Muslims have been gathering for evening prayers at the mosque, now called the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. Officials of the Muslim American Society, which is overseeing the project, say they plan to gradually add activities throughout the fall and winter and hope to hold a formal opening of the building early next year. The worshipers gathering at the mosque are ecstatic to finally be able to use the building, which has been delayed for years by fund-raising troubles, controversy surrounding various mosque supporters, and litigation. Last year they held three Ramadan services in the building, but it had no walls or concrete floors; now they are in the building nightly. Mosque officials say they have raised, through donations and noninterest loans, $15 million toward the $15.5 million they need to open the building, and the construction work is largely complete…..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.

The Muslim American Society itself (MAS) was established in 1993 by leaders of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and a Chicago Tribune investigation has revealed it’s close ties to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. In addition local media began reporting in 2002 on the connections between the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) and the global Brotherhood which included ties to:

  • Youssef Qaradawi (Most important leader of the global Brotherhood)
  • Abdulrahman Alamoudi (Imprisoned leader of the U.S. Brotherhood)
  • The SAFA Group (Network of Muslim Brotherhood charities under investigation by the Justice Dept.)
  • Taibah International (International Muslim Brotherhood Charity with ties to Al Qaeda in Bosnia)

The latest media report cites a spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), another part of the U.S. Brotherhood, who employed standard Brotherhood rhetoric in dismissing concerns about the mosque:

Although mosque construction has proved controversial in many places around the country, it has been particularly contentious in Boston, according to a national watchdog group.”Usually we find there’s some level of resistance, but the situation in your area was unique in its level of vitriol and viciousness,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. “It was atypical in the level of controversy that was generated by those who were opposed to the mosque, and I don’t mean legitimate controversy, I mean fake controversy. There’s an effort by some minority of people in any community who seek to marginalize Muslims and demonize Islam, and that’s what we saw in this case.”

However, the former head of The David Project, continued to express concern:

The leading critic of the mosque, Charles Jacobs, said he continues to have concerns about the mosque’s leadership, but that “our concerns were never with the rank and file of the Muslim community.” Jacobs was president of the David Project until leaving the post in July. “Our concern was with the leadership, and the ties that that leadership had, it seemed, to terrorism and the teaching of hatred,” Jacobs said. He said he has ongoing concerns about the Islamic Society of Boston and the Muslim American Society, both of which, he says, have expressed extremist views. He said “it’s been estimated that 80 percent of mosques are radicalized” but that “it’s very difficult for American citizens to speak about these things, because they don’t want to be labeled as bigots or Islamophobes, so that has allowed these connections to go much unspoken and unreported.”

For their part, mosque officials say they are taking counter-terrorism measures:

Mosque officials say they are aware that everything they do is being scrutinized by their critics. They said they have been checking all donations of $5,000 or more against a Treasury Department list of terrorists and drug traffickers, and they are trying to be attentive to events at the mosque, but they are also concerned that they can’t control every remark anyone makes on the premises. “We definitely feel the pressure,” said M. Bilal Kaleem executive director of the Muslim American Society’s Boston chapter. “I feel that everything we say is overanalyzed and overscrutinized to a degree that’s certainly unfair, but I feel that it’s also an opportunity in disguise, which is that people are asking, ‘What do Muslims think? Who are Muslims?’ And even though the questions are coming in a very pointed, accusatory sort of way, it’s still a chance to speak for yourself.”

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