Reports tying worshipers at U.S. mosques in Massachusetts and Minnesota to the ISIS terror network in Syria have opened up old wounds among Muslims in America and prompted new questions about how well the FBI monitors mosques with radical leanings.
The Islamic Society of Boston, the same mosque attended by the two Tsarnaev brothers accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, has now been tied to ISIS.
One of the members the brothers may have come in contact with was Ahmad Abousamra, a 32-year-old man who once frequented the Boston mosque and now serves as the chief propagandist for ISIS. The gruesome videos of ISIS militants beheading American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley apparently were the handiwork of Abousamra.
“The Islamic Society of Boston has been, historically, one of the most radical mosques in the United States,” said Steve Emerson, who has authored six books on Islamic extremism and serves as executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism. “I’ve been investigating them for more than 20 years while CNN has been defending them for 20 years.”
Emerson said the FBI finds it difficult to penetrate the mosques and find recruiters.
“They’re very slick in the way they operate. Their Facebook pages are clean. They are very careful in how they communicate electronically, and they’re pretty wise in terms of appearing suspicious to potential informants,” he said. “So you really have got to either infiltrate a recruiting plot, if you can, or you have to find evidence of it electronically, or you need an informant to come forward and say, ‘They’re recruiting in our mosque.’”
Emerson said the Boston mosque was linked as early as the late 1990s to groups connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, “but nothing was done and it turned out that you have at least seven or eight people convicted of terrorism charges while dozens of others from this mosque have been investigated.”
The infamous Aafia Siddiqui, known as “Lady al-Qaida,” attended the Boston mosque before she was convicted of plotting terrorism, as did Imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the spiritual guides of global Muslim Brotherhood doctrines.
But the FBI was “thoroughly derelict” in investigating the Tsarnaev brothers, Emerson said. After Russia tipped off the bureau about the brothers’ radical leanings, he said the FBI reached out to mosque leaders to build a dialogue but failed to monitor mosque teachings.
WND reported last week on how the FBI has scrubbed its internal training manuals of all references to radical Islam after it was pressured to do so in 2011 by 56 Muslim-American organizations, including several with known ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, in late August, 70 Islamic-American groups have again written a letter to the White House demanding that all law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels audit and purge their materials of anything deemed to be biased against Muslims.
“Anyone in the intelligence agencies, with the restrictions of not being able to look at radical Islam and not even being able to use that term ‘radical Islam,’ it’s only going to stop us from pre-empting attacks,” Emerson said.
The strange case of Amir Meshal
The situation is equally dire at the Al Farooq Youth and Family Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. At least 12 Muslims from Minnesota have left the country to fight for ISIS in Syria, the FBI acknowledges, while 20 to 30 have joined al-Shabab, a terrorist group based in Somalia, since 2007.
The government believes some of the 12 ISIS fighters may have been recruited, either in person or online, by 31-year-old Amir Meshal, a native of New Jersey. The FBI has been well acquainted with him since 2007, when he was detained for about four months in Kenya but never charged. He allegedly admitted he attended an al-Qaida training camp, learned about various weapons and served as a translator but was not arrested. Instead, the FBI dumped Meshal back in New Jersey, after which the ACLU, in cooperation with the Council on Islamic American Relations, or CAIR, sued the U.S. government for violating Meshal’s civil rights.
KMSP-TV in Minneapolis reported Meshal claims in the lawsuit to have been recruited by the FBI as an informant, and he could have been working as a double agent for both the FBI and for ISIS. In exchange for providing information, he may have been taken off the government’s no-fly list, the TV station reported.
Meshal reportedly showed up this summer at the Al Farooq mosque in Bloomington. Sometime in late June or early July, an 18-year-old boy was stopped by authorities trying to depart the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on a flight to Turkey. The boy fingered Meshal as his recruiter.
In June, the parents of another teenage boy reported to the mosque’s leadership that Meshal was preaching a radical jihadist philosophy to their son. That’s when then the mosque called police and banned Meshal from returning.
The FBI now says it doesn’t know where Meshal might be hiding.
Pamela Geller, author of “Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance,” says no one should be surprised by the recent news coming out of Minnesota and Massachusetts.
She pointed out Meshal was detained in 2007 for his ties to al-Qaida, “after young Muslims went missing and it became news that the Twin Cities are seething with jihadists, part of the ‘terror pipeline’ as it’s now colloquially called.”
So, she emphasized, the mosque didn’t ban him until after the boy’s parents complained.
“Why was he allowed to preach jihad to the people in this mosque?”
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