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Minneapolis Imam Decries ‘the Hell of Living in America’

Hassan Mahmoud was already under fire for defense of suicide bombings and the airport alcohol fatwa.

by
Patrick Poole

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May 22, 2009 - 12:23 am
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As the FBI has ongoing investigations in numerous cities across the country looking into the disappearances of possibly dozens of young Somali men who have left the country to presumably  join the jihad and train in terror camps back home, attention has recently been focused on one Minneapolis imam. Hassan Mohamud (Jamici) has been singled out by some in that community as being one of the radicalization influences in the Twin Cities.

Minneapolis has the largest Somali population in the country. In an interview with USA Today, Mohamud denied any connection to the missing men. But the findings of one recent news report by the Minneapolis Fox News affiliate is sure to keep Mohamud in the spotlight.

According to that Fox News report, the imam appeared in a fundraising video posted on YouTube (now since removed) for his mosque, the Islamic Daw’ah Institute in St. Paul. In his appearance he encourages viewers to donate to the mosque’s project, which he says “can save you from the hell of living in America.”

When questioned by reporter Tom Lyden, Mohamud attempted to clarify (with his attorney immediately at hand) that by “hell” he was using a religious term denoting “suffering and pain” and general hardships in America, not the travail of living with non-Muslims. Having offered that explanation, however, he did not explain why the video had been taken down from the website.

He was also asked about the following comments he had made two years ago when he was interviewed by Minnesota Law & Politics magazine about the legitimacy of suicide bombings for an article:

L&P: The Quran equates the taking of an innocent life with killing all of humanity, yet some Muslims say suicide bombings are justified. Can you explain this contradiction?

HM: There are scholars who say that there is one place where suicide is not prohibited. It’s an exceptional case for them because they have no other means. It is Palestine. This is because it is the only means they have to free their country. Otherwise, any other places in the world, suicide means becomes prohibited.

Mohamud contends that he was not offering his own opinion. When asked if he believed that suicide bombings were wrong under any condition, he had to stop the interview three separate times and consult his attorney before responding. That prompted Lyden to comment, “It may be complicated, but if it’s difficult for the imam some may wonder how clear it is for the young people he’s teaching.” Coincidentally, Mohamud is also an attorney and teaches a course on Islamic law at the William Mitchell College of Law.

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