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.
When early news reports noted that Qaradawi had been listed for years as an ISB trustee, that a pitch had been used by him in fundraising materials, and that he had appeared in a videotaped message at a mosque fundraiser (he had been banned from the United States by the Clinton administration), a mosque spokesperson responded:
Dr. al-Qaradawi has never held a position of leadership with the Islamic Society of Boston.
Dr. al-Qaradawi was invited to become an honorary trustee of the Society because of popularity within the Muslim community [emphasis mine]. This invitation was extended long before he was considered a controversial figure and was refused per Dr. al-Qaradawi’s apparent policy not to hold such positions.
Imagine, if you will, the media outcry were followers of David Duke to start construction of a mega-church on government-subsidized land in the city of Boston. There wouldn’t be enough ink in Inkville for the size of the headlines the Boston Globe would put out on the subject. Do they make font faces that big? There’d be a run on cardboard for all the signs the demonstrators would be carrying. Ah, but those would be radical Christians, not Muslims. Christian bigots are fair game, but when it comes to Muslim radicalism, political correctness rules and we’re all in the outer limits, where someone else’s hands are on both the horizontal and the vertical. The only transmission the MAS has to make is a generic denial, most recently in the form of an insipid whitewash of a film on the subject. In a post-lawsuit environment, that’s been more than enough.
After all, wouldn’t be comfortable to ask too many questions; might ruin our interfaith events, don’t you know …
Funny thing about sweeping problems under the rug — that lump never really goes away, and eventually someone’s liable to trip. After all the denials of the mosque being used for radical teaching, we come to find out that ISB imam Basyouny Nehela will be teaching classes under the auspices of Qaradawi’s own school of Islam in the United States, the Islamic American University. It’s to be a twelve-week course in da’wa (Islamic proselytizing).
The IAU was founded by the viciously anti-Semitic and anti-American Salah Soltan (also spelled “Sultan”; for background, see here for a search at my blog on the name; see here for Patrick Poole’s exposé here at Pajamas). Its vice chairman is ISB trustee, former Muslim Brotherhood director, and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial Jamal Badawi.
Finally, the IAU’s chairman is none other than Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi himself.
Prior to the mosque’s completion, two previous spokespeople assured the community that they had no plans to broadcast an audible call to prayer (adhan) outside the grounds of the mosque. Now that the mosque construction has been completed, those assurances have been conveniently forgotten.
Likewise, when mosque leadership was in a more vulnerable position, they did everything they could to sit on the Qaradawi connection. But now that folks are feeling more secure, we begin to see just whose brand of Islam will be taught in Roxbury, and ecumenical isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind.