The website of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is reporting that the Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice gave a speech in December at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. According to the ICNA report:
Speech delivered by Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center on December 18, 2015.
I thank Shaykh Yasir Fahmy and Executive Director Yusufi Vali for their generous introduction. It is my pleasure and privilege to join you here today, and I promise I will not delay you too long from your afternoon prayers. This may surprise you but this is not where I usually spend my Friday afternoons. So it is appropriate to ask why I am here today.
I asked to speak with you today because I know that this is a difficult time for persons who practice the Islamic faith in this country. And I am here to assure you that you do not stand alone: you have a Constitution and laws to protect your right to practice your religion, to protect you from discrimination and the denial of your equal rights, and to protect you from acts of violence that might be committed because of your religion or your nation of origin.”
And as the Chief Justice of the highest court in Massachusetts, as one who has sworn to uphold that Constitution, and whose job it is to interpret its meaning, and, where appropriate, to enforce it, it is only fitting that I be the one to bring you that message. In fact, you have two Constitutions: the United States Constitution, with its Bill of Rights, and our Massachusetts Constitution, with its Declaration of Rights, drafted by John Adams in 1780, which is older than the United States Constitution and we think, at times, wiser, at least as we have interpreted it. Because we have at times interpreted our Declaration of Rights more broadly than the Bill of Rights, which is why residents of Massachusetts enjoy more rights than residents of many other states.
Read the rest here.
The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) drew national attention in 2013 after it was revealed that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects and who was killed by police, was ejected from the ISB mosque after he stood up and shouted at the imam during a Friday service. (At that time, Reuters published an article which, aside from looking at possible reasons for the radicalization of Tsarnaev, also provides details about his attendance at the ISB mosque.) In April 2013, the GMBDW reported that the mosque Imam, William Suhaib Webb, was replaced by the Massachusetts governor as a speaker at the interfaith service held for the bombing victims.
In December 2011, the Boston Globe published a profile of William Suhaib Webb, the new imam of the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) but neglected to mention his longtime involvement with the Muslim American Society (MAS). In 2008, Egyptian media reported that Imam Webb’s training at Al-Azhar was sponsored by the MAS and that upon his return to the U.S., he and the MAS planned to establish “a foreign version of Al-Azhar.” In addition, Imam Webb was also a former lecturer at the Islamic American University (IAU) in California which originated as a project of the MAS. Imam Webb’s ties to the MAS, a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and closely connected to the Egyptian organization, are not surprising given that the Islamic Society of Boston has long-standing relations with the Global Muslim Brotherhood. In 2003, the Boston Herald reported on ties between the ISB and Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders Youssef Qaradawi and Abdurahman Alamoudi later imprisoned by the U.S. in connection with a Libyan plot to assassinate then-Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah:
…public records indicate Al-Qaradawi and Alamoudi have both held leadership positions with the Islamic Society of Boston. Alamoudi, of Falls Church, Va., founded the Islamic Society of Boston in Massachusetts in 1982 and was the group’s first president, according to incorporation records in the Secretary of State’s office. Al-Qaradawi, who is based in Doha, Qatar, was listed as a member of the Islamic Society of Boston’s board of directors from at least 1998 until sometime in 2001. In 1993, when the Islamic Society of Boston set up a real estate trust, it identified al-Qaradawi as a “proposed additional trustee,” records show. The cleric never became a trustee of that real estate trust, which now holds title to the land on Malcolm X Boulevard where the new Islamic center is to be built. The Islamic Society of Boston identified al-Qaradawi as one of its four directors in its income tax return filed two months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In July 2002, when the group filed its 2001 income tax return, however, al-Qaradawi’s name no longer appeared on the list of directors.
In 2008, the Boston Phoenix published an investigative report on the Roxbury Mosque which was turned over to the MAS by the ISB.