A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Completing the Mosque

If you build it, the radicals will come. Or, shall we say, once it's built, there's no way to keep the radicals away.

Would it be churlish at this point to say I told you so? I'm talking about the $20 million Boston mega-mosque, built on discounted city land with massive funding from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf sources.

Scandal has plagued the project from the beginning. Two years ago I recounted the saga in a lengthy piece here at Pajamas Media called "The Silencing." At the time, the mosque builders were suing a laundry list of individuals, media outlets, and activist groups -- basically anyone who had the bad taste to point out and call into question the unsavory nature of many of the Islamic Society of Boston's (ISB) connections to radicals and the unseemliness of the land deal. It was a strategic suit intended to stop public scrutiny and criticism, as one email exposed during the discovery process revealed.

The strategy was largely effective, as defendants were quickly advised by counsel to remain silent. Even after the suit was dropped, what scant media coverage there was tended to focus on generic issues regarding the land deal, while continuing concerns regarding radical influence on the new mosque went, and continue to go, largely unexamined in mainstream outlets.

It should come as no surprise that the mainstream media's reluctance to report has been no indicator of there being nothing left to report on, but with no questions even being asked, the Muslim American Society (MAS -- the Muslim group now running the mosque) hasn't even had the inconvenience of needing to come up with excuses.

That wasn't always the case. In the early days of the project, pre-lawsuit, the ISB was keen to answer its critics. After all, at that time the structure was little more than a hole in the ground, the funding was trickling in, and the ISB officials responsible could still have been replaced if city fathers had started asking the difficult questions and demanding serious answers. In short, the entire project was still vulnerable to public exposure and a Muslim Brotherhood foothold in America hung in the balance.

It would take another 5,000-word essay to begin to recount all of the excuses they offered at the time, but let's focus on one particularly problematic association they'd rather not have us notice: the mosque's association with arch-Islamist Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

From the pulpit on his popular al-Jazeera television program and as purported spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, the octogenarian Qaradawi has expounded the nuances of Islamic doctrine to enthralled millions. Whether it's the permissibility of blowing up American troops in Iraq (he's fer it) or killing people on buses in Israel (also fer it), to the dangers of female masturbation (he's agin' it, as it may lead to accusations of fornication, which may result in relatives wanting to kill her, which is unjust; at most she should be flogged), to the appropriate punishment for homosexuality (perhaps either casting them from a tall building or burning; there is disagreement on this), the old sheik has an answer for everything and millions look to follow his lead. He is undeniably a very important person in the Islamic popular consciousness.

He has, by the way, gone from holding the Jews of today responsible for the death of Jesus (like we've never heard that one before) to more recently proclaiming that the Holocaust was God's punishment upon the Jews -- not that there was much of a Holocaust, mind you, but to the extent that there was, by gum, next time, Allah willing, it will be done at the hand of the Muslims. Nice fella.