Though many Islamic groups across the United States have been closed since 9/11 for ties to terrorism, some Muslim organizations being accused of having similar such connections have turned for help to a branch of the government, specifically the courts. In most instances, though, the point does not seem to be winning or clearing one’s own name, but rather to do what the government cannot: stifle criticism.
The latest plaintiff in the campaign of intimidation-by-lawsuit is the Islamic Society of Boston, which boasts clear, identifiable relationships with overt supporters of terrorism, from its founder to a former board member to the previous affiliations of its current president.
Despite having little chance of winning, ISB’s suit against 16 defendants, including the local Fox-TV affiliate and the Boston Herald, could cause them serious headaces—and cost each of them a mint in the process.
Here’s the background. In 2002, ISB cut a sweetheart deal with the city of Boston, buying nearly 2 acres of prime real estate at the fire-sale price of $175,000, less than half of the $400,000 at which the relevant city agency had it appraised. But according to the Boston Herald, “The Islamic Society of Boston’s own newsletter said the land is worth $2 million.”
Various local media outlets began looking into ISB once the deal was announced, and what they found was shocking—especially since ISB, like so many others, had positioned itself as decidedly moderate.
Among the most damning evidence to emerge were the ISB’s connections to two high-profile radical Muslims, and the fact that the mosque’s longtime leader was a co-founder and former vice-president of a virulently anti-American and anti-Semitic organization that apparently raised truckloads of cash to support Islamic terrorism.
The Boston mosque was co-founded by, among others, Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who was sentenced to 23 years in 2004 after he pleaded guilty to assisting in a plot to assassinate the leader of Saudi Arabia. But even if ISB can be taken at face value that Alamoudi had no involvement for the past “15 or 20 years,” it seems clear that a radical cleric from Qatar, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, did. Famous because of his fiery fatwas, Qaradawi hardly represents the moderate brand of Islam to which ISB supposedly adheres.
Qaradawi, whose al-Jazeera television show has become a phenomenon in the Muslim world, is an active cheerleader for Palestinian suicide bombers, has issued religious edicts encouraging the mass murder of Americans in Iraq, and has called for the murder of all apostates (those who convert away from Islam) and homosexuals.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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