Skip to comments.Boston - Islamic radical tied to new Hub mosque
Posted on 03/08/2004 9:45:19 AM PST by swarthyguy
A towering new mosque soon to join the Boston skyline has the secret endorsement of a radical, anti-Western cleric who preaches Muslims will one day ``conquer'' the United States.
The endorsement of the $22 million mosque and cultural center project in Roxbury by the cleric, Dr. Yusuf Abdullah al-Qaradawi, appears prominently in an Arabic-language brochure published last year by the Islamic Society of Boston, which is the group Mayor Thomas M. Menino has approved to construct the mosque.
Al-Qaradawi's enthusiastic backing of the project is nowhere to be found in the group's English-language brochure.
After the backers of the mosque denied any connection to the radical sheik in October, the Herald obtained a copy of the Arabic brochure, had it independently translated and discovered al-Qaradawi's endorsement of the project.
The influential Qatar-based cleric is best known for his public support of the terrorist group Hamas and his religious rulings applauding suicide bombings, positions which caused the U.S. State Department in 1999 to bar him from entering the United States.
Beyond that, however, al-Qaradawi also promises that eventually Islam will prevail over all other religions and a single Islamic state will rule the world.
Al-Qaradawi says some countries will fall to the armed Islamic jihad, but in others, such as the United States, victory will come through Da'awa - the teaching of Islam to non-Muslims - which will trigger Westerners to convert to Islam ``in droves.''
``We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through (the) sword, but through Da'awa,'' al-Qaradawi told members of the Muslim Arab Youth Association at the group's 1995 convention in Toledo, Ohio.
In its Arabic language brochure, the Islamic Society of Boston states that al-Qaradawi is one of ``several international Islamic personalities who are working to support the project.''
The pamphlet quotes ``a video recording taped specifically to support the project'' in which al-Qaradawi says: ``This is one of the greatest projects, and supporting it is one of the best deeds, and establishing it is a step that will greatly benefit Islam and Muslims. May Allah reward well those overseeing it.''
The Herald has reported that a videotape message by al-Qaradawi was shown during a November 2002 fund-raiser for the project at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.
The importance of the Boston mosque project to al-Qaradawi and other supporters is made clear by the soaring height - 120 feet - of the minaret tower planned for the site. In Islam, the height of a mosque's minaret represents the power and influence of the Muslims who worship there.
In the society's Arabic-language brochure, one of its directors, Walid A. Fitaihi, said the Boston mosque's minaret will be the tallest in the country.
``This is a dream for generations of Muslims which is beginning to be accomplished here in the heart of the city of Boston,'' Fitaihi said. ``We will build, with Allah's permission, an Islamic cultural center and we will raise the tallest minaret on a mosque in the United States.''
Al-Qaradawi's active support of the Boston mosque - in Arabic only - contradicts the society's statements in English about its relationship with the cleric.
In October, the society said: ``Dr. Yousef al-Quaradawi has never played any role in the ISB.''
On its Web site, the society claims it has no ``significant or longstanding relationship'' with al-Qaradawi and its only dealings with al-Qaradawi came in 1993, ``long before he was considered a controversial figure.'' He was offered a position as an honorary trustee, but declined, the society said.
However, records show al-Qaradawi's name was listed on federal tax forms as recently as 2001 as a member of the society's board of directors. When questioned by the Herald in October, the society claimed that was an ``administrative oversight.''
Asked to explain al-Qaradawi's endorsement in the Arabic brochure, the society's lawyer, Albert Farrah, declined comment.
Meanwhile, in March 2003, al-Qaradawi issued a religious ruling, a fatwa, encouraging Muslim women, as well as men, to become suicide bombers in the name of Allah and jihad.
Since that ruling, two female suicide bombers have blown themselves up in Israel, killing 25 people.
Now in his late 70s, al-Qaradawi is a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood - a group widely viewed as the oldest and most influential radical Islamic organization in the world.
According to its Web site, the Muslim Brotherhood's ultimate objective is ``mastering the world with Islam.''
( Tomorrow: The anti-Jewish writings of another Muslim leader behind the new mosque in Boston. ) One of the Muslim leaders behind the new mosque planned for Roxbury has written a series of anti-Jewish articles in Arabic, including one in which he condemns Jews as the people who ``killed prophets.''
Dr. Walid Ahmad Fitaihi, a longtime director of the Islamic Society of Boston who recently moved back to his native Saudi Arabia, also wrote that Jews are in the midst of committing a ``second transgression'' and will soon suffer a major defeat at the hands of Muslims.
Armed with the support of Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the Islamic Society of Boston is set to begin building the largest mosque in the Northeast on land it obtained from the city on Malcolm X Boulevard.
In an article in October 2000 published in the Arabic-language London daily newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Fitaihi provided his views on the conflict between Jews and Muslims in Israel, according to an independent translation commissioned by the Herald.
They have perpetrated the worst of evils and they have brought the worst corruption to the earth, and what we see of them these days is glad tidings for the Muslims heralding the fulfillment of Allah's promise of victory after the second transgression. - Dr. Walid Ahmad Fitaihi
``I am puzzled by anyone who wonders in amazement at what is taking place in Jerusalem, as if what is happening is an unexpected outcome,'' Fitaihi wrote, according to the Herald's translation.
``Are some of us so naive as to think that any manner of peace can possibly be obtained with a people who hide that which Allah has shown them, and who distorted the words and wrote the Book with their own hands; a people who have betrayed the trust of Heaven and who have killed prophets,'' he wrote.
In a follow-up article published seven days later in the same newspaper, Fitaihi referred to passages in the Koran, the holy book of Islam, which tell of a ``second transgression'' by the Israelites. Fitaihi wrote that ``many commentators'' on the Koran say present-day actions by the Jews in Israel constitute that second transgression.
``They have perpetrated the worst of evils and they have brought the worst corruption to the earth, and what we see of them these days is glad tidings for the Muslims heralding the fulfillment of Allah's promise of victory after the second transgression,'' Fitaihi wrote.
In an article published in November 2001 in the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat, Fitaihi wrote that despite ``the strong slander campaigns'' organized by ``the Zionist lobby,'' the number of Americans converting to Islam since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. had increased ``four-fold over the normal average.''
After citing examples of a new openness and acceptance of Islam in the United States, Fitaihi wrote:
``Thus, the Muslim community in the U.S. generally, and in Boston in particular, presents a problem for the Zionist lobby. In that the words of the Noble Book (Koran) ring correct: `Shame is pitched over them (like a tent) wherever they are found, except where under a covenant (of protection) from Allah and from men; they draw on themselves wrath from Allah, and pitched over them is (the tent of) destitution.
Seth Gitell, a spokesman for Menino, said the mayor does not believe the Islamic Society of Boston ``should be tainted by one or two individuals.''
``We don't have independent confirmation of those comments, but he (Menino) doesn't find those comments representative of that community,'' Gitell said.
In October, when the Herald first reported on Fitaihi's Arabic-language articles, the group's lawyer, Albert Farrah, claimed the Internet translations of Fitaihi's work did not accurately reflect either his words or views.
After the first Internet postings began circulating, Trinity Church officials became concerned because Fitaihi had been a featured guest, with Menino, at a post-Sept. 11 interfaith service at the church.
To smooth over the controversy, Fitaihi wrote a letter to an official at Trinity claiming he was a victim of ``false'' translations.
``After reading each loosely and inaccurately translated article, my heart heaved more and more, with each sentences (sic),'' Fitaihi wrote to the church. ``My words have been translated incorrectly, inaccurately, and in an insulting way.''
To determine the validity of Fitaihi's claims, the Herald retained Tarjama, Inc. of North Carolina to do independent translations of his articles.
With the exception of some minor discrepancies, the independent translations commissioned by the Herald confirmed the accuracy of the original MEMRI translations.
When told that Fitaihi's claims of being mistranslated were apparently false, Farrah declined comment.
Fitaihi, a former instructor at Harvard Medical School who lived on Rogers Street in Cambridge, could not be reached for comment.
Fitaihi is a member of a wealthy Saudi family that made its fortune in jewelry and shopping centers.
In part one of the series yesterday, the Herald reported the Boston mosque project has support from a radical cleric barred from entering the United States who predicts Islam will ``conquer'' America. The endorsement by Dr. Yusuf Abdullah al-Qaradawi appears only in the project's Arabic-language brochure, not in an English version.
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This is nothing less than a Trojan Horse.
Our Grandchildren will question what was in our minds.