Last week my PJM colleague Barry Rubin noted that Egyptian shiekh Dr. Salah Sultan had issued a fatwa earlier this month at a Muslim Brotherhood rally in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo authorizing that “every Muslim who meets a Zionist is entitled to kill him.” He also noted that I have written extensively on Sultan. Why so much attention paid to this individual, you may ask?
Because he used to be my neighbor.
That’s right. Prior to Sultan being denied U.S. citizenship and later being denied reentry into the United States because of his advocacy of violence against the U.S., he lived in my own hometown of Hilliard, Ohio, not a mile from my own house. In fact, he still owns his home and some of his family still reside here. His oldest son, Mohamed, is the president of the Ohio State Muslim Student Association.
When I wrote my first article about Salah Sultan in April 2006, noting his close association to Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef Al-Qaradawi and his many public statements promoting anti-Jewish blood libels, I was attacked by my own hometown newspaper, the Columbus Dispatch, as a racist, bigot and Islamophobe in an article written by religion reporter Felix Hoover.
Several prominent Islamic organizations and the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio launched a smear campaign attacking me, including the Islamic school in Hilliard that had employed Sultan as their religious director, enlisting the Dispatch to defend the school and portraying Sultan as a peaceful moderate, not the racist, terror-supporting Muslim Brotherhood cleric that I claimed he was.
Two weeks after the Columbus Dispatch article was published defending Sultan, he appeared on Saudi Al-Risala TV where he defended designated Al-Qaeda terrorist and Osama bin Laden mentor Abdul Majid al-Zindani, and claimed that the U.S. was behind the 9/11 attacks in order to launch a war against Muslims. Even though I forwarded the information to the Dispatch editors, they never made mention of the “peaceful moderate” cleric’s statements.
Since then, the Dispatch has run several articles attacking my work (including one front page piece), and in each and every case time and circumstance have entirely vindicated me.
That hasn’t prevented the Dispatch from publishing letters to the editor from leaders of the Central Ohio Muslim community attacking me, such as one letter from one of their sometime op-ed contributors, Mahmoud El-Yousseph, who wrote that my “hatred runs deep and wide” against Muslims because of my criticism of Salah Sultan and his local accomplices.
So I’m hardly surprised that the Dispatch has yet to acknowledge that our former area resident issued his fatwa allowing Muslims to kill Jews with impunity. Though, I might add, they have removed Felix Hoover’s May 5, 2006 article defending Sultan from their website.
Don’t expect this to make the news in the Columbus Dispatch or any of the other establishment media outlets in Central Ohio anytime soon. That’s because over the more than five years that I’ve reported on my former neighbors activities, they have yet to make any mention of:
- Sultan leading a Hajj tour with Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki following the 9/11 attacks (after Awlaki had been allowed to leave the country);
- His appearance at a July 2006 pro-Hamas rally in Turkey featuring leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and the prime minister of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh;
- Sultan’s attendance at a July 2007 conference in Doha, Qatar, where he shared the speaker dais with the head of Hamas, Khaled Mishal, and Yousef al-Qaradawi;
- The cancellation of his TV program in Bahrain by the that government (who he worked for at the time!);
- The L.A. Times article that identified Salah Sultan by name as a “controversial Sunni figure”, among those “glorifying holy war” and “sharing the outlook of Al-Qaeda” causing trouble in Bahrain;
- His interview with the official Muslim Brotherhood website following the November 2008 elections where he claimed that Jews assassinated President Kennedy and advocating Islamic theocracy in U.S. elections;
- His December 2008 appearance on Egyptian Al-Nas TV (which I reported on here at PJM) warning of the imminent destruction of the U.S., invoking notorious Islamic hadith calling for the extermination of the Jews by Muslims, and citing approvingly the Protocols of the Elders of Zion;
- His March 2010 interview on the Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV, where he invoked the blood libel claiming that Jews make their Passover matzos with the blood non-Jews;
- His leading a crowd in cheering fires in Israel that had claimed the lives of dozens of Israelis in December 2010;
- And following the killing of Osama bin Laden in May, in an article published on the Muslim Brotherhood website he lauded bin Laden as a warrior who “had raised the banner of jihad for the sake of Allah and had served a lofty goal”, and stating that U.S. “terrorism” was greater than bin Laden’s.
I should add that the Columbus Dispatch is joined in silence by the many Islamic organizations and Islamic leaders in Ohio and around the country that publicly defended Salah Sultan and have attacked me and my family. That would include our local mosque, the Noor Islamic Cultural Center (where Sultan served as resident scholar); our local Islamic school, Sunrise Academy (where Sultan served as religious director); the Fiqh Council of North America, which bills itself as the highest Islamic religious authority in North America (which Sultan was a member of); or the Muslim American Society (where Sultan served as director of tarbiyeh). And did I mention that Sultan was a signatory to the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2005 fatwa condemning terrorism (which never defines terrorism or condemns any specific terror group)?
Needless to say, I don’t anticipate any apologies to be forthcoming. But with his recent fatwa authorizing the killing of Jews, and his public call last Friday on Al-Jazeera for the assassination of the Israeli ambassador to Egypt, I think we can safely lay to rest any claims that Salah Sultan is a peaceful moderate; and consider myself vindicated that, yes, my former neighbor really is a racist, terror-supporting Muslim Brotherhood cleric.