Clarion Project National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro talks to Bill O’Reilly about five Islamist radical groups in America: Muslims of the Americas; Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center; the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA); Masjid at-Taqwa led by Siraj Wahhaj and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
American Thinker, By Carol Brown, Jan. 8, 2015:
As the Islamic invasion advances, mosques are proliferating across the United States at breakneck speed. And there appears to be no end in sight.
Since 9/11, the number of mosques in America has grown by 75%. The timing of this is no coincidence. Mosques are a symbol of Islamic supremacism. Islam attacks. Then it plants a triumphal mosque on the battlefield. And another. And another. And another.
The proliferation of mosques is also a sign of our incomprehensible response (or lack thereof) to the threat of Islam.
War has been waged against the United States and what have we done? We have welcomed the enemy with open arms. Dhimmitude has paved the way for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of new mosques since the day nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered in the name of Islam.
If we don’t put an end to this madness, we will ensure the continued assault against us – an assault that, ultimately, will spare no one. (Do you hear that, dhimmis? That includes you.)
Mosques pose a dual risk to Americans. First there is the nature of what is preached inside the walls of the mosque. Second is the nature of the walls themselves.
But the horror doesn’t end there as one considers the issue of funding. While many Muslims claim they raise the money for mosques within the local community, there is reason to doubt this assertion in many cases. Common sense alone would cause one to question how, for example, tiny communities of Muslims could raise millions of dollars to built gigantic mosques. Common sense aside, there is evidence that shows that 80% of mosques in this country receive funds from Saudi Arabia.
So here we are with at least 1,700 mosques that promote jihad, the vast majority of Muslims attending such mosques, and millions upon millions of dollars flowing in from Saudi Arabia building this dangerous empire. Put it all together and one realizes that mosques serve as jihadist recruitment and training centers.
Welcome to the intersection of religion and politics. In the case of Islam, welcome to hell. Because at its core, Islam is a totalitarian ideology that demands submission. In fact, the word Islam literally means submission: as in convert, pay the jizya tax and live as a second-class citizen, or die.
Anyone who wants to argue otherwise (1) has not read the Koran, (2) does not understand the implications of Chapter 2, Verse 106: Abrogation, whereby more recent violent verses supersede earlier more peaceful verses, (3) is uneducated about world history as it pertains to the rise and fall of Islam, (4) is not paying attention to the Islamic savagery unfolding before our eyes in the Middle East and elsewhere, (5) is in deep denial, and/or (6) is lying.
To fully appreciate the danger of mosques, once should also heed the words of Turkish poet Ziya Gokalp (quoted by Turkey’s PM Erdogan in a 1997 speech):
The minarets are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the faithful our army.
These words are a chilling reminder of the role mosques serve when the time arrives for violent conquest. Although Gokalp wrote the words in 1912, the idea dates back centuries, as the Investigative Project on Terrorism reports. (If you have difficulty with the link, the same report can be found at here.)
…The prophet Muhammad’s first project was to construct a mosque in his city, Medina, which served as his residence and a government headquarters of sorts. Muhammad turned the mosque into a center of preaching where…the Muslim army was prepared for wars and raids on the enemies of Islam. A commonly held view by Muslim religious scholars is that a mosque is more than just a place of worship and can have military and political uses….
The view that mosques can serve as military bases is upheld today by influential Muslim clerics who preach that mosques be used as places from which to launch jihad attacks. And, indeed, in modern times we have seen mosques used for military operations in countries around the world. Here is a snapshot of places and situations where mosques have been used as military outposts per an analysis posted at the Investigative Project on Terrorism:
- Lebanon, Afghanistan, and areas where the Palestinian Authority has control; Hamas and Hezb’allah routinely use mosques for military operations.
- In Iraq, US military forces frequently discovered munitions stored in mosques and had intense battles against terrorists using mosques for military purposes.
- Mosques are also routinely used for military operations in places where Islamic terror organizations wield political and/or military might against the government. This occurs in many Arab countries (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria) and has also been seen in Pakistan.
- In addition, mosques have been used for military purposes in Great Britain, Italy, Germany, and Spain.
Do you see a pattern here? It’s the same pattern we see with all aspects of the growing Caliphate as Islam spreads outward from the Middle East to engulf more and more nations. And toward that end there is the ever-present mosque – a place where jihad is preached and in some cases, a place from which the jihadist attack is launched. (If the idea of having jihad attacks launched from mosques across America does not seem plausible, in addition to pondering what I just wrote, look into the 3 stages of jihad.)
When considering this intolerable situation be aware that increasing numbers of mosques in the United States are enormous mega mosques. Some are in cities. Some are in small (once quiet) residential communities. And some are in rural areas where the size of the building/compound is drastically out of proportion to the Muslim population of the region. CBN reports:
“It does seem to be part of a larger strategy to build mosques in rural areas and create Islamic communities — large Islamic communities — in rural areas for some larger purpose,” said Bynum, a columnist for the New English Review.
“For some larger purpose.” Hmm. And what might that purpose be?
(To read more about mega mosques, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. To watch videos on the subject, see here, here, here, here, and here, among a litany of examples.)
And if all this weren’t bad enough, we the people are battling our own government facing off against these dangerous mosques. As has become the norm with the Obama administration, the enemy Department of Justice under Eric Holder has aligned with mosques against the people. Here are just two examples from last year, among an ever-growing list:
In Bridgewater, New Jersey, a mega mosque was rejected by the city council due to a local ordinance that limits houses of worship to major roads. The DOJ and CAIR teamed up and forced the town to pay nearly eight million dollars to the mosque, which will be built elsewhere.
In St. Anthony Village, Minnesota, after the city council voted down a mosque citing zoning laws, once again the DOJ stepped in, sided with CAIR, and paved the way for the mosque to be built. A few years prior when a Christian group was denied use of the same space for the same reason, Holder did nothing. Apparently he can’t resist an opportunity to help Islam plant the flag of conquest on American soil.
Holder’s on a reckless roll and he’s only warming up. As recently reported at American Thinker:
Holder is confidently moving ahead with investigations into twenty-eight cases nationwide involving local denials of mosques, many of which have seated radical imams and officials tied to terrorist groups.
The mosque nightmare is riddled with one disastrous layer after another. In this case, Holder, Muslim Brotherhood front groups, and the ACLU form a triad of evil-doers who are using the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) to force mosques on communities that reject them.
RLUIPA is about places of worship, zoning, and discrimination (real or imagined). The law gives authority to the federal government to step in and steam roll over local control regarding religious venues. Per the DOJ web site:
The land use provisions of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc, et seq., protect individuals, houses of worship, and other religious institutions from discrimination in zoning and landmarking laws…. (snip)
…RLUIPA prohibits zoning and landmarking laws that:
(1) treat churches or other religious assemblies or institutions on less than equal terms with nonreligious institutions;
(2) discriminate against any assemblies or institutions on the basis of religion or religious denomination;
(3) totally exclude religious assemblies from a jurisdiction; or
(4) unreasonably limit religious assemblies, institutions, or structures within a jurisdiction.
The Department of Justice can investigate alleged RLUIPA violations and bring a lawsuit to enforce the statute….
Holder’s actions fall within the larger context of Obama’s persistent and intentional alignment with America’s enemies against the nation he has sworn to protect. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the mosque menace occurred in 2011 when Obama shut down all FBI monitoring of mosques in the United States. Investor’s Business Daily reports:
Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string (sic) operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.
Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.
We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims….
Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.
So here we are with at least 1,700 mosques that promote jihad, the vast majority of Muslims attending such mosques, millions upon millions of dollars flowing in from Saudi Arabia, increasing numbers of mega mosques, a history of mosques being used as military outposts, an antagonistic DOJ forcing mosques on communities, a neutered FBI, and a president who sympathizes with Islam – the greatest national security threat this nation has ever faced.
It is that simple, that stark, and that horrifying. Regrettably, the masses (including most elected officials irrespective of political party) do not appear to grasp this shocking and dangerous truth.
The situation, as noted at the outset of this article, is incomprehensible.
Speak out. Take action. Get involved. Join an organization to help focus your efforts. Let your elected officials know where you stand and what you expect. Educate them. Many are woefully uninformed.
Hat tips: While I used numerous sources for my research, a special expression of gratitude is extended to Atlas Shrugs and Creeping Sharia for their meticulous work documenting and cataloguing information on issues related to Islam which helped expedite access to certain information.
The Brotherhood has established the most powerful Islamic institutions in the West, even though Muslims are not necessary on board.
BY RYAN MAURO:
A prominent Muslim leader in the United Kingdom with links to the Muslim Brotherhood estimates that half of the mosques in the West were founded by Brotherhood members. The Brotherhood presents itself as moderate, but it supports violent jihad and is the parent organization of Hamas.
The estimate was made by Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO of London-based Islamic Relief Worldwide, the world’s largest Muslim charity.
He was responding to his organization’s admitted Muslim Brotherhood origins and its designation as a terrorist entity by the United Arab Emirates and Israel. The Israeli government saysIslamic Relief Worldwide sends “millions” of dollars to Hamas every year.
“If this is a crime to have someone as a founder as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, they will have to close 50 percent of the mosques in the West because they also had founders from this group,” he said.
The Muslim Brotherhood is responsible for establishing the most powerful Islamic institutions in the West, though that does not mean that most Muslims or most mosque attendees subscribe to its Islamist ideology. Surveys consistently show that Muslim-Americans largely reject extremism, though a formidable minority remains committed to it.
A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo discusses how the group established a network of front organizations in America for “unifying and directing Muslims’ efforts” under an “an effective and a stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The Brotherhood hoped that its control of the main infrastructure would enable it to lead the growing community.
The struggle that followed is encapsulated in this 2004 Chicago Tribune story about Islamists taking control of the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Illinois. A 2003 St. Petersburg Times article also reports on the Islamist challenges for the leaderships of mosques in Florida, California, Illinois, Texas and Arizona.
The Brotherhood’s purpose, as stated in the 1991 memo, is to wage “a kind of grand jihad, in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers…”
One of the organizations listed in the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo as a front for this purpose is the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), an organization that owns mosques across America. Its offices were raided in 2002 as part of a terrorism-financing investigation.
Its website says:
“Since NAIT’s founding, Muslim communities have entrusted the titles of over 325 properties in 42 States to NAIT. More are added every year. Market value of these Waqf [NAIT] properties is several hundred million dollars.”
Another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has said that NAIT owns about 27% of mosques in America. National security expert Dr. J. Michael Waller had a higher estimate of 50% to 79% of mosques being owned by NAIT.
NAIT’s status as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity was confirmed by federal prosecutors during the prosecution of another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity named the Holy Land Foundation. The Justice Department designated NAIT as an unindicted co-conspirator in that case.
NAIT’s designation as an unindicted co-conspirator was upheld in a 2009 ruling because of “ample evidence” linking it to the Hamas-financing network of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. A NAIT bank account gave the checks for the “Palestinian mujahideen” to the Holy Land Foundation, which then distributed the funds to Hamas.
In the documentary The Grand Deception, former FBI special agent Robert Stauffer talks about taking part in an investigation into the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, including NAIT. He said that many millions of dollars were donated to NAIT from foreign countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran.
A declassified FBI document from 1987 summarizes intelligence provided by an informant inside the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood who adamantly stated that NAIT is a Brotherhood front with a “secret agenda” that includes supporting terrorism and a long-term Islamic revolution in America.
“[NAIT wants] all the mosques to be ideologically pure in their own Wahhabist line. They want to prevent others from having influence,”said Islamic scholar Khalid Duran.
There are also mosques and Islamic centers that are not technically owned by NAIT but are officially affiliated with other U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities.
Another significant problem within U.S. mosques is the widespread presence of radical literature. A 2011 survey of 100 U.S. mosques found that only 19% of mosques were completely absent of texts promoting violence, and only a mere 15.5% had imams who did notrecommend violent texts for studying. In addition, just 42% of mosques did not have guest speakers known for promoting violentjihad.
About 51% of U.S. mosques were found to have texts that “severely advocate” violent jihad, preaching that supporting it is an obligation of Muslims. Literature in this category includes texts like Milestonesby Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb and those by Jamaat-e-Islami founder Abdul Ala Maududi/Mawdudi.
About 30% of U.S. mosques were found to have texts that “moderately advocate” violence, such as Fiqh us-Sunnah by Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Sabiq and Tafsir Ibn Kathir.
This shocking number is substantiated by Sufi Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, the chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America. Kabbani has founded 28 Sufi Islamic centers in North America and is listed as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world.
In 1999, Kabbani said during an event at the State Department that 80% of U.S. mosques follow an extremist Saudi-sponsored form of Islam. He said that 90 of the 114 U.S. mosques he visited had a radical ideology.
A 2006 study by Freedom House likewise found that Saudi-sponsored extremist texts are widely present in U.S. mosques. The study was based on a survey of over 200 books from 15 major mosques in seven states.
Readers can learn about the Islamist mosques in their state through the Clarion Project’s Islamist Organizations in America page.
In addition, the following is an incomplete list of over 60 mosques and organizations known to be affiliated with NAIT and other U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); Muslim Students Association (MSA), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim American Society (MAS) and the now-defunct Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA).
Read more at Clarion Project
Published on Oct 20, 2014 by MEMRITVVideos
In a recent TV interview, former Iraqi MP Ayad Jamal Al-Din called for the establishment of a civil state in Iraq based on man-made law and equality, rather than on Islamic jurisprudence, as the only way to combat ISIS. He further said that there were thousands of mosques in the U.S. and worldwide that incited and prepared people to join ISIS. “Islam has been politicized and is used as a sword,” he said in the Al-Iraqiya TV interview, which aired on October 17.
Published on Oct 2, 2014 by theunitedwest
Tom Trento interviews Robert Spencer on the Oklahoma beheading and all the implications for increased violent activity coming from jihad mosques here in the United States. Do not miss this amazing analysis by Robert Spencer, one of the world’s top experts on Islamic jihad.
Front Page, by
Jah’Keem Yisrael (formerly Alton Alexander Nolen), who beheaded one of his coworkers and was shot while in the process of trying to behead another on September 26 in Vaughan Foods, a food processing plant in Moore, Oklahoma, didn’t live in a vacuum. His mosque, the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, worked hard to distance itself from him before its leaders stopped talking to the media altogether, and has denounced his actions. That will probably be good enough for the clueless and politically correct Obamoid FBI, which has forgotten what the “I” stands for in its name, but it leaves too many questions unanswered. Chiefly this one: when Jah’Keem Yisrael went to his mosque, what kind of teachings did he hear?
Unfortunately, the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City doesn’t offer tapes or transcripts of Friday khutbas. And while they have been affecting a pose of being as moderate as the day is long, some clues to the contrary have appeared. Last week from a former member of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City:
I went to the same mosque the Oklahoma Muslim who beheaded his co-worker today. I live ten minutes away!
The Imam was Imad Enchassi the last I heard. He was a friend of mine. He is a Lebanese-born Sunni who hates Israel. He once gave a sermon that the Israelis were trying to collapse al-Aqsa mosque by digging tunnels underneath it. They have no issue with Palestinian suicide bombings because, as it was explained to me, that is the only weapon the Palestinians have.
They sold Milestones in the book shop while I was there, which as you know calls for replacing all non-Islamic governments with Islamic ones. I remember listening to a tape a friend of mine, Yahya Graff, another white convert to Islam, had that prayed for the destruction of Israel and America.
The imam when I first converted, Suhaib Webb, is hailed as a moderate by liberals in the United States but he was the one that explicitly told me that according to Islam, three choices are to be given to non-Muslims: convert, pay the jizyah tax and live under Islamic rule, or jihad. They try very hard to whitewash Islam when the media is around, but they believe in their religion and the ultimate goal of an Islamic caliphate.
Then on September 30, , who has left not only the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City but also Islam as a whole. He gave more details to demonstrate that this mosque was not at all as “moderate” as its leaders claimed in the wake of the beheading:
Among the explosive revelations: Mosque members said that if Osama bin Laden showed up at the door and needed help, he would help him because he is a Muslim brother. Once this former member went target shooting AK-47’s with two other Muslim converts — the targets were labeled George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon.
Has the mosque changed since this man stopped going there? That’s unlikely. The current imam, Imad Enchassi, is a friend of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In a sermon he preached on September 19, just a week before the beheading, said that CAIR Oklahoma City Executive Director Adam Soltani “doesn’t do anything without consulting me.”
While CAIR is quite mainstream these days, this self-styled “civil rights group” was actually named an by the Justice Department. CAIR operatives have repeatedly Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several . CAIR’s cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Ibrahim Hooper), have made . Its a poster telling Muslims not to talk to the FBI. CAIR has opposed every anti-terror measure that has ever been proposed or implemented.
In sum, Imad Enchassi’s association with CAIR doesn’t speak well of his moderate bona fides.
Enchassi also claimed, just days before Jah’Keem Yisrael’s jihad rampage at Vaughan Foods, that “Islamophobes” in Oklahoma were . This was the environment in which Jah’Keem Yisrael lived and moved. His Facebook page contained numerous photos of himself at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, and it has since been revealed that he attended frequently, at least once a week. While there, he would likely have heard about the anti-Muslim machinations of the kuffar (unbelievers), and come out seething with resentment and righteous rage. Maybe he even beheaded Colleen Hufford at Vaughan Foods before the Infidels could behead him.
The Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City should be thoroughly investigated, and if found to be fomenting hatred, violence and sedition, shut down. Instead, however, Obama’s politically correct Keystone Kops will likely only go there to conduct an “outreach” program.
Truth Revolt, by Ilya Feoktistov:
The revelation that Boston-area fugitive Ahmad Abousamra is running the Islamic State’s (ISIS) sophisticated social media propaganda campaign casts light on the leadership of a complex of radical mosques in and around the Greater Boston area. According to information obtained during litigation discovery and provided by Boston Muslims who asked not to be identified out of fear for their physical safety, Ahmad Abousamra is deeply connected to the top Muslim community leaders in Boston.
Ahmad’s father, Abdulbadi Abousamra (Abousamra Sr.), has served as a president or board member of several mosques, Islamic schools, and Muslim political organizations in Massachusetts from the mid-1990s. In fact, he is still the president of an Islamic elementary school in Sharon, MA. Abousamra Sr. had used his leadership position in multiple Boston Islamic institutions to import extremist and terrorist-affiliated imams into Boston. One of these imams, Hafiz Masood, appears to be the one who radicalized his son, Ahmad Abousamra (Abousamra Jr.).
Until 2007, when Abousamra Jr. was first questioned by the FBI over a plot to provide assistance to Al Qaeda in Iraq and to massacre shoppers at the Emerald Square Mall in North Attleboro, MA, his father, Abousamra Sr., was vice-president of the Boston branch of the Muslim American Society (MAS Boston). According to federal authorities, the Muslim American Society was created to be “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” MAS Boston operates the largest Islamic center in the Northeast, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC). The Boston Marathon bombers attended the ISBCC’s sister mosque in Cambridge. Both mosques have a long history of Islamic extremism and terrorism.
In 1994, Abousamra Sr. joined the Islamic Center of New England (ICNE), another Muslim organization that runs two mosques in the Boston suburbs of Quincy and Sharon. By 1998, he became its president. Abousamra Sr.’s passion lay with influencing the religious education of the Center’s youth. He personally founded two schools at the ICNE: the Islamic Academy of New England elementary school in 1999 and the Al Noor Academy secondary school in 2001 – the latter with $100,000 in seed money he received from the Islamic Society of Boston. Even though Abousamra Sr. left the country shortly after the FBI put a bounty on his son, he is still the president of the Islamic Academy of New England.
In 1998, Abousamra Sr. hired Mohammed Hafiz Masood to be the new Imam at the Islamic Center of New England and a teacher at the Islamic Academy of New England. At that time, Masood was in the United States illegally.
Masood quickly began to clash with the moderate members of the community over the extremist ideology he was teaching their children. Masood told one child, whose father was Egyptian but whose mother was Jewish that he won’t get into heaven unless he disowns his mother. The couple pulled their son out of the school. According to another mosque member, Masood told his eight-year-old nephew that Americans are “Shataan [Satan] and will not go to paradise because they don’t do prayers.” This mosque member insists that:
“In my view, this type of talks to young generations is creating hate towards the U.S. and its people, which include us too. He is brainwashing young kids with material that has nothing to do with Islamic teaching.”
Yet another mosque member claimed that Masood and Abousamra Sr. “were making eight-year-old, seven-year-old girls wear hijab [head scarf], and they were making young boys go and talk to these girls [if they weren’t wearing a head scarf], so there was indoctrination.”
Moderate Muslims in Boston who spoke out against Abousamra Sr. and his fellow extremists were often intimidated or directly assaulted. According to one of the victimized Muslim community members, Abousamra Sr. had a former convict who converted to Islam in prison hang around the mosque and threaten those who objected to Abousamra Sr.’s ideology.
“They’ll beat you up,” he said.
Mohammed Hafiz Masood has since been deported for immigration violations. After his deportation, it turned out Masood was not an ordinary radical.
Masood is the brother of Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed, who founded and runs Lashkar-e-Taibah (LeT), one of the largest and most violent terrorist groups in Pakistan, and who has a $10 million FBI bounty on his head. Saeed’s terror group is responsible for the 2008 Mumbai massacre, which targeted India over the conflict in Kashmir and left 166 people dead. A Boston Muslim community member claims that while living in Massachusetts, Masood “has stated many times in closed gatherings that, ‘I used to go to Kashmir and kill people and come back,’ and that was why he was a hero to many people.”
After the Mumbai massacres, The Times of India reported that Masood was using his status as Imam at the Islamic Center of New England to raise funds and recruit local Massachusetts Muslims for Lashkar-e-Taibah. Now living in Pakistan, Masood has become the spokesman of his brother’s terror group.
Hafiz Masood’s son, Hassan Masood, allegedly conspired in terrorist plots with Abousamra Jr. He turned informant and testified against Abousamra Jr. and his captured co-conspirator, Tarek Mehanna. According to Muslim community members, Tarek Mehanna and Abousamra Jr. were “thick with Masood” and had been radicalized by his preaching.
The Tarek Mehanna / Abousamra Jr. partnership and Mehanna’s subsequent arrest has spawned a popular radical movement that lobbies, among other things, to free Tarek Mehanna from prison. It is called the Tarek Mehanna Support Committee – and it has a large presence in Boston. Many of its members are former students of Hafiz Masood.
The Tarek Mehanna Support Committee encourages Muslims here to view American law enforcement with hostility and suspicion. On October 10, 2012, the group denounced the bounty the FBI put on Abousamra Jr., saying:
“The Tarek Mehanna Support Committee opposes all attempts by the US government to capture and prosecute Tarek Mehanna’s co-defendant, Ahmad Abousamra. … The bounty offered to capture Abousamra is part and parcel of the US government’s attempts to destroy the Muslim community through fostering informants and mistrust. … Our prayers go out to Ahmad Abousamra and his young daughter, wherever they are. … We call upon members of our community to take a principled stance of non-cooperation with any and all FBI and US Attorney’s office attempts to gather information and testimony in this case. We further call upon community members to take a stance of complete non-cooperation with federal agents and future grand juries or trials.”
Many of the current top leaders of mosques formerly led by Abousamra Sr. are also leaders in the Free Tarek Support Committee. Moderate Boston Muslims insist that the indoctrination that led to Abousamra Jr.’s joining ISIS is still ongoing at several Massachusetts mosques, and it’s only getting worse. One such Boston Muslim asked to pass along this warning:
“They have now made it a goal to go after the elementary schools, high schools, and college students. Parents are losing their children.”
Ilya Feoktistov is the Director of Research for Americans for Peace and Tolerance.Charles Jacobs is the President of APT.
- An ISIS Nest Grows in Boston (frontpagemag.com)
Spectator, By Scott McKay:
Let’s see if we can all agree on a few points:
1. Whether our leaders wish to accept it or not, it is a fact that throughout America’s history, including current times, there have been and are people who do not subscribe to our way of life and wish to destroy us. Such people have been adherents to any number of noxious ideologies. In the past, they’ve been secessionists, anarchists, Bolsheviks, Nazis, black separatists, among other things.
2. Today, the most prominent and worrisome group is Islamists — more precisely, Muslim adherents to the doctrine of Sharia.
3. Sharia — a system of law that includes a definition of jihad as a program of violent subjugation and/or conversion of the infidel—is properly described as a hostile doctrine. That it derives from a major religious text does not change the fact that it represents a threat to the American way of life. The incompatibility of Sharia and pluralistic, democratic Western culture based on individual rights easily merits its own column; for a good summary,click here.
4. Yet Sharia is being preached in mosques across America. Those mosques are not just houses of worship; they are cultural and political centers, and they are vehicles for organization of communities. Let’s be clear: some mosques are upstanding assets to their communities. But let’s be equally clear: others are not. The Islamic Society of Boston, which spawned the Tsarnaev brothers who bombed the Boston marathon, is an example of the latter. Though numbers are difficult to come by, it is believed that many American mosques and Islamic organizations receive foreign funding from Sharia states such as Saudi Arabia. These can only be prudently viewed as centers of foreign, and at least potentially hostile, influence.
5. We have history to draw upon here: The Roosevelt administration came down hard on theGerman-American Bund, an effort to organize Americans of German descent into a foreign influence operation, and ultimately put it out of business. This action seems to have been accepted as advancing a legitimate government interest, since virtually no one looks upon the treatment of the German-American Bund as a black mark on our national escutcheon.
6. In contrast, nothing whatsoever has been done to rein in Sharia mosques. To the contrary, there is even evidence that Sharia adherents are proselytizing their brand of Islam in our prisons on a wide scale. The security implications of this are staggering.
7. This prison outreach appears to have had an role in radicalizing Alton Nolen, who beheaded a woman at a food processing plant in Moore, Oklahoma, last week. Nolen was converted to Islam while serving prison time, and he attended a mosque in Oklahoma City with connections to jihad. Yet the case is being processed—as were terror attacks at Ft. Hood and the Army recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas—as workplace violence.
8. This problem didn’t originate with the Obama administration, but it has certainly become far, far worse since he was inaugurated president and his attorney general Eric Holder took office. Moreover, it appears to be getting worse. Just days after Nolen’s savage attack, which coincided with another incident in which a woman was threatened with beheading in Oklahoma City, the Justice Department announced it would no longer allow religious profiling in law enforcement — even in cases where national security is involved.
9. We are therefore less safe from lone-wolf jihadists than we have ever been, at a time when we are actively bombing the most high-profile jihadist organization on earth and giving them a real-time rationale for inciting jihadist attacks — and beheadings in particular — against us.
10. It is untenable and dangerous to have a government that abdicates its proper duty to keep the public safe from enemies foreign and domestic. We are increasingly playing with fire.
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?”
Read more at WND
by Steven Emerson
Interview on Fox News
September 6, 2014
Judge Jeanine Pirro: And with me now, the founder of The Investigative Project, Steve Emerson. Alright Steve, ISIS has Americans worried. How justified are those fears?
Steve Emerson: Very justified. Look, Judge, the problem here is that it’s not just a regional issue. ISIS definitely is a threat in the region in the Middle East, it’s a threat to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, to Jordan, it’s a threat to Israel, they’ve made statements now they’re going to attack Israel, but they’re also a threat to the United States. There are nearly 300 to 400 American volunteers with U.S. passports now fighting for ISIS. They can return to the United States anytime they want. The FBI has been handcuffed in terms of investigating religious extremists in mosques, as a result of guidelines put out by the attorney general earlier this year. And so therefore, there is… a definite problem now in investigating those militants in the United States who are either recruiting for ISIS or have returned from Syria or Iraq having fought for ISIS, and are ready to carry out freelance or directed terrorist attacks on behalf of ISIS against the United States. That’s the first problem that we’re facing that’s not being met or being handled properly because of the constraints put on law enforcement by this administration.
Pirro: Tell me, Steve; tell the audience exactly what you mean by the restraints being put on the FBI by the Department of Justice.
Emerson: The FBI [has been constrained by] the Department of Justice [which] put out guidelines that restricted the FBI and other law enforcement agencies from using religious factors in identifying threats, national security threats to the United States in the homeland. That is so if someone was a religious extremist, though they didn’t plot to carry out an attack, that [indicator] could not be factored into an investigation, into an intelligence investigation, into identifying them as a potential threat to the United States. Therefore, they [law enforcement] would have to wait until they actually plotted to carry out an attack. Well that’s too late. And unfortunately, what we’re seeing right now is the fact is that we’ve seen massive numbers, increasing numbers of volunteers going over not just from Europe, from Asia and Africa, but we’re seeing ISIS recruiting biophysicists, engineers, social media types, people who have expertise in really carrying out sophisticated terrorist attacks coming back to the United States. And look, if you remember 20-, I got an email from an FBI agent just yesterday, he said, ‘Steve, nobody remembers what happened in the 1980s when all the jihadists were recruited, went over to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, then came back, and then what happened?’ In February, 1993 they plotted, they almost took down the World Trade Center bombing, [the World] Trade Center at that time; they didn’t, they failed, they [Al Qaeda] returned again in 2001. So the reality is, Judge, that with the handcuffs put on by this administration, there’s a disconnect between what we’re not doing against ISIS, [which is that] we should be decimating them. The president said it may take one, two, three years; we don’t have that kind of time to wait. Within three years –
Pirro: Steve, you know what’s amazing to me, I mean it’s just like the Tsarnaev brothers, the Boston bombers, I mean you get, they’re telling us not once, but twice, these guys are terrorists. We’re letting them go in and out of the country, I mean and you know not calling the Fort Hood shooter a terrorist, but instead it’s workplace violence. Steve Emerson, really fast, these recruiters where are they going to get these potential jihadists, American jihadists?
Emerson: Well they’re going– I mean there’s one recruiter that [had been]… picked up [in the past], well identified, in Bloomington, Minnesota at the Al Farooq Mosque. There are recruiters going around the country in other mosques, where they identify potential volunteers. They test them out to see if they’re willing to die on behalf of martyrdom of the cause for Allah. Then they give them cash, they provide money for their families in case they die. They give them tickets to go to Turkey. Turkey has allowed them, hundreds, to go through to Syria, then to Iraq. And we [the U.S.] count Turkey as one of our top allies. We haven’t put [many of] them on the terrorism watch list, which we should. So there’s a major disconnect, Judge, here between what we should be doing to protect the homeland and protect American citizens versus what the president is doing, in not stopping ISIS on the ground in Iraq, versus what he’s not doing here in the homeland itself.
Pirro: Alright, Steve Emerson, always good to hear your take on things. Thanks so much for being with us.
Holders Bans Profiling Islamic Terrorists by Religion by Daniel Greenfield, Jan. 17, 2014:
A lot of profiling restrictions are stupid, but in this case religion is the motivation. Banning profiling of perpetrators by their motives is a sure way of crippling investigations.
This is what I predicted was going to happen and I’m surprised it took this long. If terrorists can’t be profiled by religion, then preventing attacks becomes incredibly difficult.
The Justice Department will significantly expand its definition of racial profiling to prohibit federal agents from considering religion, national origin, gender and sexual orientation in their investigations, a government official said Wednesday.
The Bush administration banned profiling in 2003, but with two caveats: It did not apply to national security cases, and it covered only race, not religion, ancestry or other factors.
Since taking office, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been under pressure from Democrats in Congress to eliminate those provisions.
It is not clear whether Mr. Holder also intends to make the rules apply to national security investigations, which would further respond to complaints from Muslim groups.
“Adding religion and national origin is huge,” said Linda Sarsour, advocacy director for the National Network for Arab American Communities. “But if they don’t close the national security loophole, then it’s really irrelevant.”
The Justice Department has been reviewing the rules for several years and has not publicly signaled how it might change them. Mr. Holder disclosed his plans in a meeting on Wednesday with Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, according to an official briefed on the meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the conversation was private.
Bloomberg, as bad as he was, might have objected, but Bill de Blasio is on the same page as Holder when it comes to empowering terrorists.
- Holder To Ban Religion In Terror Probes (investors.com)
Center for Security Policy, by Kyle Shideler:
The New York Post’s Paul Sperry reported Sunday that the media director of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) maybe a former Boston resident named Ahmad Abousamra. Abousamra was an attendee at the same infamous Boston-area mosque that played host to Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Not only that but Abousamra’s father, was a board member at the mosque, according to Sperry.
The Islamic Society of Boston, founded by self-identified Muslim Brother and convicted Al Qaeda financier Abdulrahman Alamoudi featured Muslim Brotherhood chief jurist Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, famous for authorizing the use of Hamas suicide bombings and the killing of American civilians in Iraq, as a trustee. Other terrorist alum from ISB include Tarek Mehenna, a long time friend of Abousamra, and “Lady Al Qaeda” Aafia Siddiqui, whose release ISIS demanded as part of their negotiations over the fate of executed American journalist James Foley.
The ISB mosque was the same one that U.S. Representative from Texas Louie Gohmert questioned then FBI director Robert Mueller over in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, which led Mueller to admit that while he was unaware that the elder Tsarnaev attended the mosque, the FBI had done “outreach” there.
This preference for outreach to, rather than investigation of, groups (and mosques) associated with the Muslim Brotherhood will only worsen if efforts to hamper U.S. government’s use of informants in and around mosques are successful. This campaign, called the Safe Spaces Initiative, is led by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, but has received assistance from a wide variety of Islamic and left-wing organizations, including Human Right’s Watch (HRW). HRW recently launched a major campaign to prohibit the use of informants in tandem to the MPAC effort. The HRW’s poster boy for that campaign was convicted terrorist James Cromitie, who was the center of a terrorist plot given a recent whitewashing by the HBO documentary “The Newburgh Sting.” As CSP has documented elsewhere, Cromitie was a man committed to the doctrine of shariah, who desired to engage in jihad. The fact that defense allegations of entrapment were demolished by a court has not stopped HRW from attempting to re-characterize the case as one of FBI malfeasance. Like the false allegations of illegal surveillance of Muslim suspects, these campaigns seek to use public opinion to force law enforcement and national security officials from engaging in the necessary, and legally authorized, work of protecting the country.
How many Abousamaras, Mehennas, Tsarnaevs, and Siddiquis are out there, who will not be uncovered until it is to late because the hands of law enforcement have been tied to a failed strategy of outreach?
By Paul Sperry:
When it was revealed that the Boston Marathon bombers attended a Cambridge, Mass., mosque, its leaders were quick to disavow their actions.
Elder brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s ideology was not their own, the leaders of the Islamic Society mosque claimed. In fact, he was admonished for an extremist outburst he made during one sermon.
So, one crackpot in a congregation. Who can blame the mosque?
But what about eight — including a prominent member of ISIS?
As it turns out, worshippers at the Islamic Society have included:
- Abdurahman Alamoudi, the mosque’s founder and first president who in 2004 was sentenced to 23 years in prison for plotting terrorism. In 2005, the Treasury Department issued a statement saying Alamoudi raised money for al Qaeda in the US.
- Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT scientist-turned-al Qaeda agent, who in 2010 was sentenced to 86 years in prison for planning a New York chemical attack. Known as “Lady al Qaeda,” she is related to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. ISIS has tried to trade her release for journalist hostages.
- Tarek Mehanna, who in 2012 got 17 years in prison for conspiring to use automatic weapons to murder shoppers in a suburban Boston mall.
- Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a mosque trustee and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader banned from the US after issuing a fatwa that called for the killing of US soldiers.
- Jamal Badawi, another former trustee who in 2007 was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a plan to funnel more than $12 million to Palestinian suicide bombers.
Now it can be revealed that another regular worshipper at the Islamic Society mosque was Ahmad Abousamra, who is now the top propagandist for ISIS.
Abousamra’s father, a prominent doctor, even sat on the board of directors of the Muslim organization that runs the mosque. He stepped down after the FBI began questioning his son.
The FBI suspects Abousamra now operates ISIS’s sophisticated media wing promoting the group’s beheadings and other atrocities through slick videos posted on the Internet. The brutally effective English-language propaganda campaign has helped attract thousands of Western jihadists, including at least 300 Americans.
The FBI says Abousamra, 32, traveled to Pakistan and Yemen to train to kill Americans while enrolled at Boston colleges. He justified murdering civilians because “they paid taxes to support the government and were kufar [nonbelievers],” Boston FBI Agent Andrew Nambu testified in an affidavit.
Another agent, Heidi Williams, says Abousamra, who has a $50,000 bounty on his head, was inspired by the 9/11 attacks and, in fact, “celebrated it.”
Where did he learn his views about Islam and jihad? A federal indictment says he even plotted to randomly gun down shoppers, then emergency responders, in a Boston mall. But when he couldn’t obtain the automatic weapons for the attack, he abandoned the plan and moved to Syria where he could enter Iraq and kill US soldiers as part of “violent jihad.”
The Islamic Society insists it’s moderate — that these extremists were fed by online forums. But Charles Jacobs, head of Boston’s Americans for Peace and Tolerance, says the mosque has hosted pro-jihad speakers and has stocked its library with classic jihadi texts — including writings by Osama bin Laden mentor Syed Qutb.
And Islamic Society leaders have openly defended their worshippers convicted of terrorism — including Siddiqui and Mehanna — despite overwhelming evidence against them. At their hearings and trials, officials have sought their release or lenient sentences. They have also held fund-raisers and rallies for the terrorists.
Read more at New York Post
As Americans come to better understand that Sharia is real law and jihadis intend to impose it on all Muslims and non-Muslims alike, it becomes important to know when Sharia adherence is increasing in a particular area because it indicates violence from the jihadis will soon follow.
As law enforcement and military units have discovered, adherence to Sharia is directly proportional to the level of violence advocated in the Islamic community against those who do not want to be adherent to Sharia – Muslims and non-Muslims alike. A 2004 study entitled Understanding Terror Networks by a former CIA case officer revealed that 97% of jihadis were highly adherent to Sharia. This adherence was measured in observable behavior including the wearing of traditional Islamic garb and growing a Sharia adherent beard.
A study published in 2011 randomly surveyed 100 mosques across America and measured the correlation between Sharia adherence and the promotion of violence through published literature at the mosque, comments and teachings of the Imam, and other factors. This “Mapping Sharia” study revealed a one to one correlation between Sharia compliance and violence taught at Islamic Centers, Mosques, and Masjids.
In the New York Police Department’s landmark 2007 report on the homegrown threat entitled, “Radicalization in the West” the NYPD identified the implementation of Sharia and the establishment of a global Islamic state (Caliphate) as the driving “Jihadi-Salafi ideology” behind jihadists in the U.S and beyond (page 17). The report notes the “progression or gravitation towards Salafi Islam” and regular attendance at a Salafi mosque are two key indicators of “radicalization” of Muslims towards jihad. The term “Salafi” comes from the Islamic phrase “al salaf al-salih” or the “righteous predecessors”—the first three generations of Muslims. These are individuals who strictly follow Sharia, and while there are debates among Salafis on a variety of issues, there is no legal disagreement in the Sharia on the definition and obligation of jihad, nor of how Muslims must relate to non-Muslims.
The NYPD report identifies “signatures” of “Salafism” – or what I call here “Sharia Adherence”—which include: being part of a group which will strengthen your Salafis/Sharia Adherence, and “wearing traditional Islamic clothing, growing a beard (page 31).” If you see an increase in Sharia adherence in your community, you will see an increase in violence and jihad.
Here are a few of those signatures of Sharia adherence:
Sharia adherent men will have short/trimmed mustaches but their beards are often unkempt.
“Cut the mustaches short and leave the beard as it is.” Bukhari 7:781
In Islam, Mohammad is the most perfect example of a Muslim. Islamic men who dye their beards red with henna are identifying themselves with the Prophet Mohammad who wore his beard this way.
Black Islamic Headdress
Islamic men who wear the black headdress are identifying themselves as jihadis. Overseas, American military soldiers and Marines understand this. While only a few sightings have been reported in the United States, if this is seen in your community, it should be taken seriously.
Gold and Silver
In Sharia, men are not to wear gold and women are not permitted to wear silver.
Hijabs and Burkas
The greater degree to which an Islamic woman covers herself is indicative of the level of Sharia adherence to which she subscribes or, more likely, with which she is forced to comply.
Black Flag of Jihad
While seeing the black flag of Jihad is not common in the United States, it is becoming more common in Europe and elsewhere. Seeing this flying in a market place (as it has been seen and photographed in numerous cities around Europe) is a significant indicator of violence brewing in your community. It means the jihadist are identifying themselves in the open meaning they are bold and unafraid of the local security apparatus (police etc).
IPT, by John Rossomando
Tens of thousands of Turkish Islamists held a triumphalist gathering outside Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia museum on Saturday. Originally built as a cathedral in 537 by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, it was converted into a mosque by the Ottomans following the fall of Constantinople in 1453.The former religious site was re-opened as a museum in 1935. The Islamists who prayed at the site on Saturday did so with the hope that it would be converted back into a mosque by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The protest also coincided with the anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople on May 29, 1453, an event for which Erdogan has encouraged the celebration.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic, converted the massive structure into a museum in 1935.
For Turkey’s Islamists, Hagia Sophia serves as a symbol of Islam’s triumph over Christianity.
“Ayasofya is a symbol for the Islamic world and the symbol of Istanbul’s conquest. Without it, the conquest is incomplete, we have failed to honor Sultan Mehmet’s trust,”Reuters quoted Salih Turan, head of the Anatolia Youth Association, as saying. The association claims it has collected 15 million signatures asking for Hagia Sophia to reopen as a mosque.
Details of the conquest and Hagia Sophia’s conversion from being a church into a mosque stand in stark contrast to the picture of Islam that Islamists want to portray – that of a tolerant and ethical faith. Islamic law might forbid the slaughter of innocent non-combatants during times of war, but that was not what happened in Hagia Sophia the day Constantinople fell.
The late Sir Steven Runicman, widely regarded as one of the greatest scholars of Byzantine history, noted that Ottoman soldiers under Sultan Mehmet’s command entered the cathedral and indiscriminately slaughtered men, women, children and the elderly. Mehmet’s personal imam then climbed into the pulpit to proclaim the shahada, transforming Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Sheik Abdullah Basfar, the imam of the Ka’aba in Mecca, who led Saturday’s prayer gathering outside Hagia Sophia, has a history of extremist rhetoric. In a translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), he notably stated in September 2005 that funding the Palestinian jihad against Israel was a religious “duty” of all Muslims.
Erdogan’s government, however, says no plans currently exist to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
The world’s 350 million Eastern Orthodox Christians still look to Hagia Sophia as one of the most sacred places in their faith – a reminder of the Christian Byzantine Empire that stood for over 1,000 years.
Hagia Sophia’s place in the Orthodox consciousness was such that a group of American Greek Orthodox Christians similarly and unsuccessfully tried to hold services there in 2010. Talk about converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque has provoked strong condemnation from the Greek government, which issued a statement in November 2013, saying talk about “converting Byzantine Christian churches into mosques [is] offending the religious feeling of millions of Christians.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, the world’s most senior Orthodox bishop, similarly condemned the effort, saying it should remain a museum or be reopened as a church.
Transforming Hagia Sophia back into a mosque would necessitate the whitewashing of priceless treasures of Byzantine iconography.
Turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque reinforces the narrative that Muslims seek to subordinate other religions to Islam, and it reinforces the idea of a clash of civilizations.
“It would strengthen the mutual suspicion and polarization between the West and the Muslim world,” Sahin Alpay, professor of political science at Bahcesehir University,told Reuters. “All hell breaking loose is a high price to pay.”