Chicago ABC Station, Financial Institutions Co-Sponsor CAIR Banquet

Chicago ABC Station, Financial Institutions Co-Sponsor CAIR Banquet

Published on Friday, 18 April 2014 06:08

Written by John Rossomando and Steven Emerson

CAIR ExposedThe Investigative Project on Terrorism

A federal court established a link between the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the terrorist group Hamas, but that did not stop Chicago’s ABC 7 joining Morgan Stanley and New York Life in co-sponsoring its Chicago chapter’s March 15 banquet.

An FBI agent testified that CAIR was a Hamas front group in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorist money-laundering trial. It was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the same case.

In a 2009 ruling, U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis wrote that the government’s evidence delivered in the case creates “at least a prima facie (face value) case as to CAIR’s involvement in a conspiracy to support Hamas.”

Questions about CAIR’s Hamas ties led the FBI to break off official contact with the group in 2008.

Its representatives have consistently claimed that the U.S. government frames terror suspects, defended Hamas and other terrorist groups against Israel, and told Muslims not to cooperate with the FBI.

CAIR tries to censor any media critical of “militant Islam” and “Islamic terrorism,” two terms that the group has tried to scrub from the American lexicon.  It has even tried to censor prosecutors who use these terms.

So it was surprising to see Chicago’s ABC affiliate, Morgan Stanley and New York Life Insurance Company among the sponsors of the recent CAIR fundraiser.

That a media outlet and established national financial institutions would sponsor an organization directly linked to Hamas and its censorship campaigns against human-rights activists who have decried attention given to “honor crimes” against Muslim women is curious to say the least.

962 largeCAIR recently launched a censorship campaign against the documentary “The Honor Diaries,” which featured Muslim women talking about the violence committed against Muslim women around the world merely because they had incurred the wrath of their husbands or brothers. It also recently pressured the ABC Family Channel into dropping a TV series about a young Muslim-American teenager held against her will in Saudi Arabia by her Muslim relatives and forced to conform to the severe restrictions imposed on women by Islam’s Wahhabi sect. And last week, CAIR successfully forced Brandeis University into rescinding plans to award an honorary degree to former Muslim and human-rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

These campaigns demonstrate the true aim of CAIR: to erase from American culture, history and politics any reference to Islamic extremism.

In light of CAIR’s extremism, its defense of terrorist groups and its routine censorship campaigns, the participation of national financial institutions and corporations—New York Life and Morgan Stanley – and a media outlet – ABC 7 – only serves to legitimize an organization that is the Muslim equivalent of the Italian American Civil Rights League, which was a front for the Mafia.

The station was a sponsor of the 2013 CAIR-Chicago banquet, too.

Perhaps most disturbing is the apparent collusion between a news organization and a group whose sole goal is spreading propaganda; this should raise alarm bells among all who look to news organizations for unbiased, neutral coverage.

ABC 7 and Morgan Stanley did not return the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s multiple requests for comment; however, New York Life said on background that its corporate office had no record of having sponsored the CAIR event. The New York Life representative said it is possible that a local representative had made a “very small” donation had been made but no records existed at headquarters.

CAIR has placed considerable effort into molding the news to censor perspectives it considers “Islamophobic,” such as the mere mention of the term “radical Islam.”

“Media in the United States is very gullible,” Sarwat Husain, vice chair of CAIR’s national board of directors, said at a 2008 conference sponsored by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Husain also noted that reporters will come running to CAIR and its aligned groups in the Muslim community when they need comments and that they should “take advantage of that.”

CAIR’s national spokesman and chief propagandist Ibrahim Hooper told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in 1993 that he “wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.”

CAIR spends a considerable amount of time and money trying to manipulate and intimidate the media into promoting CAIR’s agenda instead of the truth.

It wants the media to parrot CAIR talking points because it means that the group can hide from statements and actions its officials have made in supporting the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and suicide bombings.

CAIR co-founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad participated in a secret meeting of Hamas leaders and supporters in the U.S. in 1993 to plan a campaign of deception among the American public to soften the image of Hamas.

Six months later, on March 22, 1994, at Barry University, Awad openly expressed his support for Hamas. “I used to support the PLO, and I used to be the President of the General Union of Palestine Students which is part of the PLO here in the United States, but after I researched the situation inside Palestine and outside, I am in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO.”

He continued his defense of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups a decade later when he accused CAIR’s critics of spreading “an Israeli viewpoint” during a 2004 interview with Al-Jazeera. He referred to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, as well as Hizballah, as “liberation movements.”

“I truly do not condemn these organizations,” Awad said. “I will condemn them only when I see that media outlets are requiring the heads of Jewish foundations in America to condemn Israel for its treatment of innocent people; for killing people whether in Lebanon, Qana, or Palestine; for bulldozing their homes; and for their flagrant human rights violations.

“We do not and will not condemn any liberation movement inside Palestine or Lebanon.”

Awad’s name also appeared in a phone book of members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, which worked covertly to support Hamas.

“CAIR is a group, which seeks to not enlighten, but control news coverage,” said Tucker Carlson, editor in chief of the Daily Caller. “It doesn’t mean that you can’t call CAIR on the phone for comment. You ought to,” Carlson continued. “They have a point of view that I think should be represented, but to co-sponsor an event with them suggests a level of collusion that it wrong for a news organization.

“Would the station co-sponsor an event with AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Council) or how about with the Catholic Church? Of course not, and it shouldn’t,” Carlson continued. “I know they wouldn’t, and why are they doing it with CAIR? I know the answer.”

Carlson has confronted CAIR in the past and says no group is automatically entitled to positive coverage.   Instead of investigating CAIR, ABC 7 has parroted CAIR-Chicago’s talking points about the past banquets the station co-sponsored on its website, such as promoting “A Future Without Bigotry” or about its banquet honoring civil rights.

In one August 2011 report, ABC 7 uncritically covered CAIR-Chicago’s attack on a coloring book that used the term “radical Islamic Muslim extremists” to describe the 9/11 hijackers.

CAIR-Chicago spokeswoman Amina Shariff denounced the coloring book’s description of the 9/11 cross as “a sign of hope,” suggesting its author was “trying to imply subliminally some kind of Christian-Muslim conflict here, I think that that is very dangerous and completely inappropriate.”

The station quotes CAIR-Chicago’s Executive Director Ahmed Rehab in a December 2012 story about its “MyJihad” campaign whitewashing the violent connotations of jihad, saying, “”Jihad in Islam simply means to struggle to a better place.” No opposing view was presented in ABC 7′s brief on the campaign.

But had ABC 7 chosen to look deeper into Rehab’s past statements and likes, not to mention CAIR’s background, a very different picture emerges.

If Rehab truly believes that jihad is not related to violence as he says, then he should explain his expressed admiration of Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb, who he listed as his “Favorite Modern Personality” next to Malcolm X.  He notes that they were “martyred for what they stood for, same year!”

Qutb was a Muslim Brotherhood leader executed in 1966 who explicitly called for violent jihad against infidels; his books are replete with massive anti-Semitic and anti-Christian dogma and conspiracies such as the Jews’ control of world finance.

Muhammad Qutb’s most infamous follower was Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaida. Bin Laden recommended that his followers read Muhammad Qutb’s work in an Oct. 19, 2003 video.

CAIR officials have staunchly defended the Holy Land Foundation.

CAIR’s Rehab, the emcee of the Chicago CAIR banquet,  charged that the prosecution’s case was not just aimed at HLF but “against the Muslim community” at a July 15, 2007 town hall meeting held by a group called Hungry for Justice. A federal appeals court upheld the HLF defendants’ convictions on all counts in 2011.

CAIR’s activities since its creation in 1994, as documented in the IPT’s dossier on the group, show it is an extremist group that has never missed an opportunity to obfuscate the threat from Islamic extremists in the United States.

Its rationalization of terrorist acts and its defense of convicted Islamic terrorists are not secret and are too numerous to cite. That is why the banquet sponsorship by Chicago’s ABC7, Morgan Stanley and New York Life is so troubling. Their sponsorship of a group that is a front for Hamas only demonstrates the frightening success of CAIR’s meticulous campaign of deception in hiding under the false veneer of being a “civil rights group.” A Google search would have easily pointed to the multiplicity of publicly available evidence of CAIR’s ties to Hamas and its defense of terrorists.

Whether by intimidation or manipulation, these sponsoring organizations have only served to legitimize a true hate group.   It’s not against the law, however, to voice extremist views or to defend terrorists.  But unless pressure is brought to bear on CAIR’s sponsors, they will take the path of least resistance and continue their sponsorship of a Hamas front group.

So if you want to help stop the legitimization of CAIR, then its sponsors need to hear from you.  You can contact Chicago’s WABC7 via the station’s Vice President of Community Affairs Diana Palomar at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
, on Twitter @ABC7Chicago, or by calling 312-750-7777. You can register your complaints with Morgan Stanley on Twitter @MorganStanley or at phone number 212-761-4000.

Corporate support for CAIR gives the group undeserved legitimacy and is akin to supporting fronts for the KKK or other terrorist or criminal enterprises. It is time for the American public to stand up to CAIR’s bullying and infiltration into the halls of power such as the media, American corporations and the government.

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Facebook removes page of preacher using social media to back jihadists

A radical Australian preacher revealed to be using social media to encourage acts of terrorism has had his Facebook page taken down following a Guardian investigation.

The California company confirmed it took action to remove the page following revelations that Musa Cerantonio, an Islamic preacher from west Melbourne, was urging about 12,000 subscribers to “assassinate” US politicians.

A second US radical is believed to have deleted his Twitter account after the Guardian and the BBC reported that he had twice praised the deaths of British Muslim fighters killed in Syria on the microblogging site.

Born into an Italian family as Robert Cerantonio, the Melbourne preacher was found to be the third most “liked” person by western jihadists in Syria. The discovery came from the groundbreaking work of King’s College London academics who analysed the social media habits of 190 western jihadists fighting in Syria against president Bashar al-Assad.

In one post from 16 December, Cerantonio told his followers: “If we see that Muslims are being killed by the tyrant leaders of the USA then we must first stop them with our hands [ie by force]. This means that we should stop them by fighting them, by assassinating their oppressive leaders, by weakening their offensive capabilities etc … This is not something that is beyond us at all.” .

Cerantonio, who attended a Catholic primary school, says he converted to Islam in around 2002 at 17, after a visit to the Vatican left him disillusioned with Catholicism. He was particularly disgusted by Michelangelo’s artwork on the roof of the Sistine Chapel – calling it idol worship.

Sources within the Australian Muslim community say Cerantonio’s faith journey took him to Cairo, where he became involved with a literalist interpretation of Islam. His status as a convert also won him a spot on Islamic satellite TV stations, and a global audience.

When in Australia, Cerantonio frequented classes and events at the Ummah United centre south of Brisbane and at a now-closed bookstore in Bankstown, Sydney.

Cerantonio said he currently lived in the Philippines and Egypt and only rarely returned to his native country.

Asked if he wanted sharia, or Islamic, law to be established in Australia, he told the Guardian: “Sharia law is to be established in the lands of Islam, it is a law for Muslims, not for non-Muslims … My advice to any Muslims in Australia is to migrate to Muslim lands, especially if they wish to establish sharia and live in a land ruled by Allah’s law.”

It is understood Cerantonio’s Facebook posts violated the site’s community standards on violence. The company, which says it works with law enforcement in the event of an urgent threat, added that the networking site was a place where beliefs, however abhorrent, could be shared.

The second preacher identified in the King’s College report, Ahmad Musa Jibril – a Michigan convicted fraudster turned spiritual adviser – was revealed to be the most popular on Facebook with European and North American jihadists. He has more than 190,000 “likes” and on his now-defunct Twitter account Jibril was followed by 60% of foreign jihadists in Syria.

The Palestinian-American preacher spent a portion of his childhood in Saudi Arabia, where his father was a student at the Islamic University. He is understood to have completed high school, going on to get degrees in both Islamic sharia and US law.

In 2004 he was incarcerated on several fraud charges in the US federal government’s Communication Management Unit in Terre Haute, Indiana – a facility sometimes referred to as Guantánamo North .

Before this, Jibril was known to run a website that government prosecutors in his fraud trial described as containing “a library of fanatically anti-American sermons”.

In a document submitted to the court in 2005, US lawyers said Jibril, using his website, “encouraged his students to spread Islam by the sword, to wage a holy war [and] to hate and kill non-Muslims”.

A poem published on the site before 2001 entitled Al-Jihad reads: “Why are you waiting go and thrust, in the lines of enemies and have them crushed. Hit them on the neck and send them to hell, if you’re killed, you’ll be received There well.”

It continued: “Give them a knife and a bulletful [sic] of gun … Fight, fight, and Fight, it must be our aim.”

After his release from prison in 2012, Jibril sent a message of condolence last December via a series of direct messages to a member of the family of a well-known dead British jihadist, Ifthekar Jaman.

Uploaded to the family member’s public timeline, the messages read: “I didn’t know him [Ifthekar] but when I read of him today it made me weep, may Allah be with you and may Allah grant him ferdous [the highest level of paradise]!

“Give my salam, love and respect to all the family. If I was there it would be a great honor to visit you all.”

Twitter was not available for comment.

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US tells jury Egyptian imam pursued global terror

NEW YORK (AP) – The imam of a London mosque used his influential position in the late 1990s to train and aid terrorists and used the cover of his religion to hide in plain sight, a prosecutor told jurors in his opening statement Thursday before a defense attorney promised that the defendant will explain himself during the trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Kim described Mustafa Kamel Mustafa in starkly different terms than did defense attorney Joshua Dratel, even referring to him by a different name, his alias Abu Hamza, as he told how Mustafa led a large London mosque with hundreds of followers and engaged in a “global campaign to spread terror.”

“Abu Hamza was not just a preacher of religion,” Kim said. “He was a trainer of terrorists, and he used the cover of religion so he could hide in plain sight in London.”

The prosecutor said Mustafa arranged satellite communications for kidnappers in Yemen in a 1998 attack that killed four people, directed others to set up an al-Qaida training camp in Bly, Ore., in late 1999 and early 2000 and arranged for fighters to attend an Afghanistan al-Qaida training camp.

Dratel told jurors his client never harmed Americans and didn’t participate in any acts charged in the case.

“Mr. Mustafa has not been hiding in a cave,” he said. “He’s an open book. It’s not a secret conspiracy.”

He promised Mustafa would testify but cautioned jurors they might not agree with some of his opinions.

“He said a lot of harsh things,” Dratel said. “These are views, not acts. This is expression, not crimes. He needed to be outrageous to an extent to reach the entire spectrum of his community and keep them in the conversation. He couldn’t walk a road that left him without access to extremists on one side of the other.”

The lawyer said British intelligence officers repeatedly enlisted Mustafa’s help to keep situations under control and non-violent.

Kim told jurors that witnesses they will hear during a trial expected to last about a month include a former hostage who escaped a terrorist attack in Yemen in 1998 and later interviewed Mustafa at his mosque, getting him to acknowledge that he gave satellite phones to the kidnappers and believed the attack was justified.

He said a tape recording of her interview with Mustafa will be played at the trial.

Before opening statements began, Judge Katherine Forrest told lawyers that Mustafa had written her a letter asking if he could deliver his own opening. She rejected the request, saying it might give jurors the impression that a statement meant to be a trial roadmap was evidence.

The 55-year-old cleric was extradited in 2012 from England, where he turned London’s Finsbury Park Mosque in the 1990s into a training ground for Islamic extremists, attracting men including Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and shoe bomber Richard Reid.

The only witness the first day was Angelica Morris, who lived on the Bly property with her family.

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Allen West Takes To Fox News To Attack Muslim-Americans For Voting …

Allen West joined Fox News hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Steve Doocy today to warn that the Muslim Brotherhood is establishing itself as a US political party as part of its goal to destroy America.

The notoriously Islamophobic former congressman told Fox News that the formation of the US Council of Muslim Organizations, which was recently established to increase Muslim-American political and community engagement, is in fact creating a Muslim Brotherhood-aligned “political party.”

Hasselbeck introduced the segment by speculating that voters will soon have “Muslim Brotherhood” as an option on the ballot, while Doocy feared that the US Council of Muslim Organizations is trying “to wage jihad from within.”

West attacked Muslim-American groups for purported connections to the Holy Land Foundation trial. As we have noted, “in 2010, a federal judge found that prosecutors had violated the Fifth Amendment rights of a number of American Islamic groups by naming them in connection with the trial.”

Hasselbeck: When you head into the voting booth, what do you see on that ballot? Democrat, Republican…Muslim Brotherhood? We are one step closer to that reality, according to our next guest.

Doocy: Our next guest says radical Islamists are busy building a voting bloc to sneak their political agenda into the American system, their goal to wage jihad from within. Retired Army lt. col. Allen West is a Fox News contributor joins us today from Boynton Beach, Florida.

West: Good morning, how are you doing Steve and Elisabeth?

Doocy: We’re doing okay now until we’re going to find out about what you’re suggesting is going on in American politics, tell us about this.

West: Well you have the formulation of the US Council of Muslim Organizations and it’s very disconcerting because back in 1991 there was a document that was written and it was called the explanatory memorandum for the strategic goal of the group or the Brotherhood in North America, and during an FBI raid in 2007 in Northern Virginia this document was uncovered, translated into English and we’ve come to find out it’s the blueprint, the campaign strategy for the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States of America.

The groups that are forming this new Council of Muslim Organizations like CAIR, the Council for [sic] American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim American Society, the Islamic Society of North America, all of them have ties back to the Muslim Brotherhood. As a matter of fact, CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist funding case, the Holy Land Foundation case, in the United States of America. Recently, CAIR has gone out and protested against the documentary ‘The Honor Diaries’ being shown and campaigned heavily against Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Brandeis University to get that honorary degree. But now they are forming some type of political party, a voting bloc—

Doocy: In this country.

West: That’s right, to institutionalize policies that favor them.

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Inclusive spirit reassures Muslims after bombings

Sept. 11, 2001, ruptured 13-year-old Hamza Syed’s world. Being Muslim instantly became the only part of his identity that seemed to matter; kids at his school in Lynn besieged him with questions he could not answer. He had immigrated to the United States from Pakistan at age 3, but he no longer felt allowed to call himself American.

A year ago, after the Boston Marathon bombings, Syed braced himself for another anti-Muslim backlash. It never happened.

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“I grew up being an outsider, feeling like an outsider, and there wasn’t any moment really after the Boston Marathon where I had that feeling of being an outsider again,” he said. “I grieved with everyone. . . . I could understand their feelings, and they could understand mine, without there being an asterisk next to it.”

On Monday, Syed expects to run the Boston Marathon for the first time, an act he sees as an expression of his love for his resilient city and for its embrace of diversity.

“That is what the Boston Marathon this year is really going to be about,” he said. “I want to say that I was there, that I took part in it.”

To be sure, there were isolated displays of Islamophobia in the aftermath of the Marathon bombings. A woman wearing a hijab was assaulted on a street in Malden. Strangers sent hateful e-mails to Boston’s mosques. Some Muslims feared being questioned by law enforcement or seethed over a tabloid’s portrayal of two innocent Massachusetts men as possibly connected to the bombings.

But the broader tableau showed a city that has become more welcoming of Muslims in the years since the 2001 attacks, many local Muslims said. The scale of the two tragedies was very different, but many Muslims said improved interfaith cooperation and increasingly diverse schools and workplaces contributed to a change in tone. It also seemed, they said, that their non-Muslim neighbors had grown more knowledgeable and less fearful in a dozen years of discussing terrorism, war, national security, and religious liberty in the public square.

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“Now, when an act of terror occurs, people can see it for what it is: someone exploiting religion, someone with serious issues,” said Jalon Fowler, a 38-year-old Muslim who ran in last year’s Marathon and will compete again this year.

After the Marathon bombings, many Muslims said they felt reassured by gestures of support and concern from friends and coworkers, from local politicians and clergy of other faiths. Bostonians, they said, seemed to understand that most Muslims were as horrified at the violence on Boylston Street as everyone else was.

“There is never a silver lining to mass murder, or attempted mass murder,” said Imam William Suhaib Webb, spiritual leader of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, the city’s largest mosque. “But what we learned is, this is a really great city with incredibly sincere people.

“It was like, we’re together, we all anguish about what happened, and we are going to try to speak to the problem together.”

Mosque fears eased

Greater Boston’s two most prominent mosques were inundated with press calls and television cameras after the bombings, especially the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge, where suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev occasionally worshipped.

Ismail Fenni, acting imam of the Cambridge mosque, tried to field reporters’ questions and to respond to the stunned congregation, few of whom had known the Tsarnaevs.

“We were worried the name and the reputation of the mosque would be stained,” Fenni said in a recent interview.

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

“What we learned is, this is a really great city with incredibly sincere people,” said Imam William Suhaib Webb, of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.

Those fears eased as neighbors lent support in calls and e-mails. A couple of weeks after the tragedy, the mayor of Cambridge and other officials led a peace walk from City Hall to the mosque.

The Roxbury mosque was also caught up in a media barrage that turned ugly when USA Today and Fox News suggested the mosque was cultivating extremism.

But, here too, the community offered a balm: Neighbors sent notes.
Felix G. Arroyo, then councilor at large, spoke at the mosque’s vigil for bombing victims. Messages of support from Jewish and Christian clergy poured in.

A series of important moments in interfaith relations in Boston followed. The Friday after the manhunt in Watertown, Rabbis Ronne Friedman and Jeremy S. Morrison of Temple Israel and the Rev. Burns Stanfield, president of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, offered prayers and words of solidarity at the Roxbury mosque’s midday prayer service.

In January, Webb made history by preaching at Temple Israel’s annual Shabbat service honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., becoming the first imam to formally address the city’s largest synagogue. Nearly 1,000 Jews, Christians, and Muslims lingered long afterward to eat, chat, and even join in a little traditional Israeli dancing.

Nancy Khalil, a doctoral candidate in social anthropology at Harvard and a former Islamic Cultural Center leader, marveled at the warmth. Years ago, in the same place, she remembered “trying to explain who we really are, in these really anxious, tense meetings” with Jewish leaders, who were then trying to reconcile their desire for better interfaith relations with their communities’ concerns about a mosque founder’s anti-Semitic statements and alleged extremist ties.

“It was an unbelievable moment for me, and it was really indicative of the type of relationships that we now have across institutions and across communities,” Khalil said. “Because it wasn’t just the leaders being welcoming. . . . It was everybody in that temple being welcoming. And that Muslims were comfortable staying there and mingling afterwards, that was telling.”

On the evening of the bombing anniversary, Webb was a featured speaker at a gathering for “Remembrance and Hope” at Old South Church. The Rev. Nancy S. Taylor, Old South’s senior minister, personally invited Webb’s congregation to the service. She spoke at the end of last week’s Friday prayers at the Roxbury mosque, becoming the first woman to ever speak in that forum.

Boston’s clergy have been working to build better interfaith networks since the September 2001 attacks, through formal channels like the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, and informal ones, like a get-to-know-you group of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders that began meeting months before the bombings.

This year’s milestones, Taylor says, are “the fruit of conversations that have been going on a long time.”

Working relations

The mosques and local law enforcement leaders have also nurtured a working relationship. After the bombings, said Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, leaders of the Cambridge mosque contacted the FBI to share information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s two outbursts at Friday services. As the investigation proceeded, Muslim leaders worked with civil rights lawyers to set up a hotline for Muslims seeking legal counsel.

“This institution played a critical role in ensuring that anyone who had any information regarding the suspects set up meetings with law enforcement,” Vali said. “At the same time, we wanted to make sure the rights of all citizens were protected.”

Part of the challenge in fostering cooperation with law enforcement lies in helping Muslims feel safe after years of distrust stoked by no-fly lists, the New York Police Department’s mosque infiltration program, and the FBI’s shooting of Ibragim Todashev, a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Over the last year, the Roxbury mosque has held two forums to help Muslims understand their civil rights.

Vincent B. Lisi, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division, visited the mosque last month to introduce himself and answer questions.

Speaking to about 75 people gathered in the mosque’s café, Lisi exuded friendliness and spoke engagingly about his service for the agency in Yemen. But the questions anonymously submitted to the moderator on slips of paper — about racial profiling, entrapment, and mosque infiltration, among other topics — revealed deep anxieties among those gathered.

Laila Murad, a 23-year-old Muslim student and civil rights activist who grew up in Framingham, said many local Muslims feel targeted, vulnerable.

“Until you prove otherwise, you are under suspicion,” she said. “It creates a lot of mistrust.”

First responders

The first responders to the bombings included many Muslim doctors and other health professionals. Among them was Dr. Firas Naji, a hospitalist at the Cambridge Health Alliance, who was volunteering at Medical Tent B, a couple of blocks from the finish line.

Naji, who sees his vocation as an answer to Islam’s call to alleviate suffering, treated a few shrapnel wounds, but mostly took care of runners with hypothermia, low sodium levels, and foot problems, as well as severe emotional distress.

He was struck by how well the diverse medical team maintained its focus, even as they wondered whether another bomb might explode. “I was working with doctors of various faiths, doctors and nurses from all over the world,” he said. “They all represented Boston, all came together to help.”

Shamaila Khan, a psychologist who is clinical director for the Disaster Behavioral Health Program at the Center for Multicultural Mental Health at Boston Medical Center, helped counsel families of the grievously injured.

One relative of an amputee sobbed as Khan comforted her and said, “These Islamists have to get out of this country.”

Khan felt herself involuntarily loosen her grip on the woman’s hand. Consciously, she tightened it again, quickly setting the comment aside so she could continue taking care of the suffering woman.

That moment stayed with Khan in the days and weeks that followed, as she helped tend to Muslims affected by the tragedy. She is now working with a team of professionals on providing Muslims with better access to mental health care.

“Boston Strong, what does that mean?” Khan said in an interview. “Does it include us?”

She also recalled a neighbor stopping her a few days after the bombings to ask, simply, “Are you OK?” A small gesture, but powerful in its way.

Feeling reassured

Last year, Jalon Fowler was running the race for the third time, on track to finish with her best time ever, when a police officer stopped her just after Heartbreak Hill. The race was over.

A couple of days later, she sent her husband to pick up her medal downtown. She did not want to deal with any sideways looks from strangers as she passed by in her headscarf.

Yet Fowler, who converted to Islam in 1999, felt none of the fear she felt after the 9/11 attacks. Her colleagues and training teammates at John Hancock, a primary sponsor of the Marathon, were as friendly and supportive as ever. She knew, within a couple of days, that she would run again this year.

Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff

Marathoner Jalon Fowler said much has changed in America. “Now, when an act of terror occurs, people can see it for what it is: someone exploiting religion,” she said.

Fowler never really stopped training. She joined the Run to Remember half-marathon last May. Most mornings through the long, cold winter, she left the house before dawn to get to the gym. This year, she is raising money for the Revere Special Education Parent Advisory Council, an organization close to her heart because one of her three children is autistic.

“I definitely feel a passion to represent this year, for the victims, for their families, for the city, for my family, and for the communities that I’m part of,” she said.

The Boston Marathon was always part of Syed’s life growing up. Every year, his parents would take their seven children to spend Patriots Day with another Pakistani family that lived in Brookline, a block from the marathon route.

The youngsters would scramble between the house, where they watched the elite competitors on television, and Beacon Street, where they gave the runners high-fives and cups of water.

But Syed, 26, who works at Oracle, never imagined running until last year, when he spent the weekend before the Marathon with two friends who were running. The night before the race, he signed up to run the Chicago marathon with one of them that next fall.

After the bombings, Syed knew he would somehow run Boston, too. The attacks felt like an assault on his childhood memories.

“It’s a part of the tradition of your city,” he said. “You look forward to it every single year. And you understand how jubilant an event it is. And that was taken away.”

But what wasn’t taken away after the tragedy was his sense of belonging.

It was a hard-won feeling, after years growing up in the shadow of 9/11, and then gaining a new self-confidence as a student at Boston University.

Studying abroad in Beirut and then visiting Pakistan made him realize, at last: He is an American. And Boston is home.

The day after the bombings, Syed put on a hoodie and went for his first training run along the Charles River. Along the path were messages scrawled in chalk: Live with no fear. Stay Strong.

“Not to be corny, but I kind of felt like there was a city behind me,” said Syed, whose run will benefit research for liver cancer, a disease that recently took his uncle’s life.

The bombings, he said, “were the actions of two individuals, and sure, they were part of a denomination, but the response to it was just human, pure and simple.

“We came together beyond any race, religion, creed, and we helped one another out.”

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NYPD Pressured to Eliminate All of Controversial Muslim Spying Program (Video)


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How Modernity ‘Radicalizes’ Western Muslims

shariaA new Danish statistical study finds that “Muslims [are] 218 percent more criminal in second generation than first.”  While some of these crimes are clearly related to Islam—such as attacks on Muslim apostates to Christianity—others, such as rampant theft of non-Muslims, would appear banal, until one realizes that even robbery and plunder is justified by Islamic doctrine—as one UK Muslim cleric once clearly said

The interesting question here is why are second generation Muslims, who are presumably more Westernized than their Muslim parents, also more “radical”?  Lest one dismiss this phenomenon as a product of economics or some other “grievance” against European host nations, the fact is, even in America, where Muslims are much better assimilated than in Europe, they too are turning to “radicalism.” 

For example, some time back, Attorney General Eric Holder said that “the threat [of terrorism] has changed … to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens—raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born.”

Around the same time, Sue Myrick, then a member of Congress, wrote a particularly candid letter on “radicalization” to President Obama:

For many years we lulled ourselves with the idea that radicalization was not happening inside the United Sates. We believed American Muslims were immune to radicalization because, unlike the European counterparts, they are socially and economically well-integrated into society. There had been warnings that these assumptions were false but we paid them no mind. Today there is no doubt that radicalization is taking place inside America. The strikingly accelerated rate of American Muslims arrested for involvement in terrorist activities since May 2009 makes this fact self-evident.

Myrick named several American Muslims as examples of those who, while “embodying the American dream, at least socio-economically,” were still “radicalized,” astutely adding, “The truth is that if grievances were the sole cause of terrorism, we would see daily acts by Americans who have lost their jobs and homes in this economic downturn.”

Quite so. Yet, though Myrick’s observations were limited to the domestic scene, they beg the following, more cosmic, question: If American Muslims, who enjoy Western benefits—including democracy, liberty, prosperity, and freedom of expression—are still being radicalized, why then do we insist that the importation of these same Western benefits to the Muslim world will eliminate its even more indigenous or authentic form of “radicalization”?

After all, the mainstream position evoked by most politicians maintains that all U.S. sacrifices in the Muslim world (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) will pay off once Muslims discover how wonderful Western ways are, and happily slough off their “Islamist” veneer, which, as the theory goes, is a product of—you guessed it—a lack of democracy, liberty, prosperity, and freedom of expression. 

Yet here are American and European Muslims, immersed in the bounties of the West, and still do they turn to violent jihad. Why think their counterparts, who are born and raised in the Muslim world, where Islam permeates every aspect of life, will respond differently?

In fact, far from eliminating “radicalization,” Western values can actually exacerbate Islamic tendencies—hence why second generation, “Westernized” Muslims are also becoming more “radicalized” than their parents.

Some already known that Western concessions to Islam—in the guise of multiculturalism, “cultural sensitivity,” political correctness, and self-censorship—only bring out the worst of Islam’s “schoolyard bully.” Yet even some of the most prized aspects of Western civilization—personal freedom, rule of law, human dignity—when articulated through an Islamic framework, have the capacity to “radicalize” Muslims.

Consider: the West’s commitment to the law as supreme arbitrator, for the Westernized Muslim becomes a commitment to establish and enforce Islamic law, Sharia; the West’s commitment to democracy, for the Westernized Muslim becomes a commitment to theocracy, including an anxious impulse to resurrect the caliphate; Western notions of human dignity and pride, when articulated through an Islamic paradigm (which sees only fellow Muslims as equals) induces rage when Muslims—Palestinians, Afghanis, Iraqis, etc.—are seen under Western, infidel dominion; Western notions of autonomy and personal freedom have even helped “Westernize” the notion of jihad into an individual duty, though it has traditionally been held by Sharia as a communal duty.

In short, a set of noble principles articulated through a foreign paradigm can lead to abominations. In this case, the better principles of Western civilization are being devoured, absorbed, and regurgitated into something equally potent, though from the other end of the spectrum.

Put differently, just as a stress on human freedom, human dignity, and universal justice produces good humans, rearticulating these same concepts through an Islamic framework that qualifies them with the word “Muslim”—Muslim freedom, Muslim dignity, and Muslim justice—leads to what is being called “radicalization.” 

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