Local media is reporting that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit over the decision by the Illinois State Police to revoke the appointment of the agency’s first Muslim Chaplain. According to an Associated Press report:
A Muslim advocacy group filed a federal discrimination lawsuit Monday over an Illinois State Police decision to revoke the appointment of the agency’s first Muslim chaplain. Kifah Mustapha, a Chicago-area imam, was named a chaplain in December along with chaplains of other faiths. He underwent training, passed a background check and was issued state identification. But shortly after, the appointment was criticized by the Washington-based Investigative Project on Terrorism, which said Mustapha was a “radical fundraiser” and alleged he had links to Palestinian militant group Hamas. Mustapha hasn’t been charged with any crimes and denied wrongdoing. According to the lawsuit filed on his behalf by the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Chicago office, Mustapha was then told by Illinois State Police that he had passed only a preliminary background check and another should have been conducted before the training. Mustapha was asked to submit paperwork for another check. In June, the police department revoked his appointment, citing only information revealed during a background check. According to the lawsuit, Mustapha was told by a police employee that articles by the investigative think tank prompted the second background check. The lawsuit claims the think tank is known for “anti-Muslim views” and alleges religious, national origin and racial discrimination on the part of police. Mustapha is a Lebanese Muslim of Palestinian descent. It also alleges Mustapha was denied his First Amendment right to freedom of association, which prohibits the government from imposing guilt by association. “Imam Kifah is an upstanding citizen who has served this country and his community time and again,” said Christina Abraham, the council’s civil rights director in Chicago. “It is time to put an end to the fear-mongering and anti-Muslim rhetoric that has senselessly engulfed our nation.” The lawsuit seeks damages, attorneys fees and the reinstatement of Mustapha to the chaplain post. Police spokesman Master Sgt. Isaiah Vega said the agency had not been served with the lawsuit and would not comment on pending litigation. Police Director Jonathon Monken is among those named in the lawsuit. In December, community and religious groups hailed Mustapha’s appointment as a nod to the growing diversity among the agency’s nearly 2,000 officers. Since 2002, Mustapha has been an imam and director at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, one of the Chicago area’s oldest and largest mosques. He also served as a designated chaplain with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, helping to counsel Hurricane Katrina victims. The Investigative Project on Terrorism alleged Mustapha was linked to the Palestine Committee of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, which advocates the formation of Islamic governments in the Middle East. It also alleged he raised money for the Holy Land Foundation, a now-defunct Islamic charity whose founders were sentenced last year for funneling money to the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The think tank cited internal documents and a list of unindicted co-conspirators. In the lawsuit, Mustapha said he had never heard of the Palestinian committee, was not connected to Hamas and any work or fundraising he did for Muslims was helping those who were disadvantaged.
In addition to being an imam at the Mosque Foundation, also home of the Bridgeview Mosque, Mr. Mustafa serves as the Foundation’s Associate Director. The Foundation’s last know Director was Sheikh Jamial Said identified by a 2004 Chicago newspaper investigation as inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood, educated at a Saudi Arabian University, and noted for his sermons espousing strict Islamic fundamentalist views and critical of America as “a land of disbelievers.” Part of his salary was paid by the government of Saudi Arabia. As much as $1 million a year was raised from mosque members which was then sent to overseas Muslim charities. The mosque donated money to three Islamic charities that have since been identified as involved in financing terrorism—the Holy Land Foundation, Benevolence International, and the Global Relief Foundation. One of the mosque’s eight-member executive committee was Muhammad Salah, a Muslim Brotherhood member who was arrested in Israel in 1993 and has since been identified as a Hamas military commander. Mosque leaders were also leaders of the Quranic Literacy Institute, and the Islamic Association for Palestine, the predecessor of the Council fof American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Interestingly, Mr. Mustapha’s online resume indicates that in addition to his role as Associate Director of the Mosque Foundation, he is also a teacher at the Universal School, also located in Bridgeview . It should also be noted that both Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) President Ingrid Mattson and ISNA Secretary-General Safaa Zarzour have also been associated with the Universal School which although located next to the mosque denies any connection to it. Despite these denials Bassam Osman is listed on the school website as a director and as a “Representative of NAIT.” A Hudson Institute report identifies Mr. Osman as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leader and NAIT (North American Islamic Trust), as a part of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), holding title to many U.S. mosques and Islamic facilities associated with the U.S. Brotherhood. The Tribune reported that the Bridgeview mosque had also been deeded to NAIT in 1981 by Islamic fundamentalists who had taken over the mosque from its former leaders. Dr. Mattson also currently serves as one of the NAIT Trustees.