New Yorkers wondering what the $100-million, fifteen-story mega-mosque at Ground Zero will be like need only cast their eyes north to Boston. There they’ll find the giant mosque of the Islamic Society of Boston, which, like the newly-approved Ground Zero mosque, was sold to the public by the politicians as a marvelous, desperately needed home for interfaith healing, and which quickly devolved into a cesspool of hate speech, terrorist affiliations, a lawsuit to shut down the mosque’s critics, and a one-stop shop for genuflecting politicians to suck up to Muslims and collect their cash.
Yes, for those who followed the sordid saga of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, Ground Zero’s promised Cordoba House is déjà vu all over again. On May 25, Lower Manhattan’s Community Board 1 approved the Ground Zero mosque’s construction by a vote of 29 to 1, with the warm blessings of Mayor Bloomberg and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who rhapsodized about its potential for “multi-faith dialogue” and accused its opponents of “outright bigotry and hatred.”
These politicians, intelligent and canny men, chose to ignore certain, shall we say, troublesome signs: the deliberately provocative opening date of September 11, 2011. The refusal of Shari El-Gamal, who paid $4.85 million in cash for the site, to disclose investors. The testimony of the 9/11 families that El-Gamal showed them architectural renderings of a fifteen-story building with a mosque on the top floor, providing worshipers with a commanding view of Ground Zero — despite public assurances that he’s building a thirteen-story community center, not a mosque. And most glaring of all, the two-faced, double-talking, shariah-lovin’ characters at the front of the operation, Imam Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan.
Imam Rauf knows how to sling the peace and harmony mumbo-jumbo that makes the multicultural crowd go weak in the knees. He writes, “We believe that people of good faith can use the common core of their religions to find solutions to problems that will let them live together.” Sweet, isn’t it? But according to Debra Burlingame, co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America, “Imam Rauf is a Muslim cleric who, immediately after 9/11, blamed the attacks on U.S. treatment of Muslims, asserting that Osama Bin Ladin [sic] was ‘made in the U.S.A.’” His wife, Daisy Khan, showed her touching sensitivity to the sacredness of the Ground Zero site by testifying at the community board meeting that Cordoba House would provide “much needed party space.” Who wouldn’t want to party overlooking the site where 20,000 body parts were recovered? She also gave a PowerPoint presentation promising Cordoba House “would help non-Muslims to integrate” — help some of us non-Muslims can do without.
All signs point to a repeat of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center debacle, in which Mayor Thomas Menino practically gave away city-owned land worth $2 million to the Islamic Society of Boston, whose founder Abdurrahman Alamoudi currently sweats out a 23-year prison term for terrorist crimes. Mayor Menino donated the public’s land for the construction of the ISB mosque — excuse me, “Cultural Center” — with the standard pleas for diversity, healing, peace, and frolicking unicorns. Of course, he didn’t bother to investigate the peaceful healing record of the Middle Eastern men he was donating to: ISB Trustee Yusuf Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who’s been banned from the U.S. and dubbed “the theologian of terror” by the ADL; ISB Trust President Osama Kandil, director of an Islamic charity designated as terrorist by the U.S. government; and ISB Trustee Jamal Badawi, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial. But the mayor’s speeches sure sounded pretty, and that’s what counts.
When the Boston Herald and local Fox Network affiliate began exposing the ISB’s nasty connections, the ISB responded with the typical relish of democracy’s free speech hurly-burly we’ve come to expect from these types: They sued every single one of their public critics, including a refugee Muslim scholar who had translated some of their anti-Semitic, anti-American literature to enlighten the citizenry. Their brass-knuckles intimidation worked beautifully: the media went silent on reporting anything negative about the ISB, while the private citizens they sued were ordered by lawyers to keep daintily quiet. The ISB bigwigs sashayed to their opening ceremony in June 2009, where they were fulsomely feted by top politicians, Harvard scholars, and Christian and Jewish clergy.
So how’s that new mosque working out for the Boston taxpayers who donated the valuable land? Well, there’s hardly a dull moment around this hardworking bunch. One month after the mosque’s opening, one of its biggest donors, Oussama Ziade, was indicted for taking cash from al-Qaeda’s top fundraiser, Yassin Qadi. The son of the Islamic Center’s vice president was arrested in October for plotting to murder shoppers in New England malls. And the Boston-based “Grey Lady of Al Qaeda,” Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted of trying to murder FBI agents in Afghanistan, enjoys the warm support of Imam Farooq, a leader in the local Muslim American Society (MAS), which controls the ISB Cultural Center.
But for politicians who want to grovel before perpetually aggrieved Muslim groups, the ISB Cultural Center is a godsend: a conveniently located mega-mosque packed with thousands of worshipers they can simultaneously appease. And thus it came to pass that on one glorious May morning in 2010, Governor Deval Patrick was graciously granted an audience before 1,100 worshipers in a collective snit over the recent arrest of two Massachusetts Muslims linked to the Times Square bombing. They demanded their rights! They demanded the governor’s “Recognition of our presence, our pain and our power.”
Administering a high-stakes pop quiz to Governor Patrick, they insisted on an instant yes-or-no commitment on seven massive policy shifts. Would the governor grant them special privileges in the workplace, financial sector, schools, and with the police? Governor Patrick, who, like Barack Obama, is an African-American Harvard Law grad whose campaign was managed by David Axelrod, instantly capitulated on everything. Yeah. Sure. Shrug. Whatever.
He then allowed himself to be photographed embracing Imam Farooq, the “spiritual leader” and head cheerleader of the Grey Lady of al-Qaeda. It made a lovely photo op, even though Farooq was recently captured on tape urging followers to “pick up the gun and the sword. Don’t be afraid to step out in this world and do your job.”
Finally, Governor Patrick got down to the real business at hand: accepting money. A staffer of Attorney General Martha Coakley publicly accepted a $50,000 check from the Muslim American Society to train state law enforcement agencies in Muslim cultural sensitivities. Apparently, the coast is clear for Imam Farooq to instruct his followers to pick up their guns and police officers to put down theirs. What could go wrong?
Now this same brand of clueless politicians is kissy-facing the Ground Zero mosque gang and asking New Yorkers to love it. After his self-inflicted fiasco with the Kahlil Gibran International Academy, Mayor Bloomberg should know better. He promised New Yorkers the city’s first Arabic-themed public school would bring a bonanza of multicultural harmony; instead, the whole thing instantly collapsed when the principal was caught praising intifada, was fired, sued to get her job back, and ignited a still-ongoing saga of legal skirmishes, aggrieved parents, secret curricula, and general chaos.
But is anybody still surprised by the relentless folly of our betters? It seems no lessons are ever learned or conclusions ever reached by the professional multi-cultural crowd. They’ve got a utopia train to catch, and they’re taking you with them, whether you like it or not. And never underestimate the rutting determination of a politician in hot pursuit of money and a voting bloc.
By Stella Paul