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Who are the people in your neighborhood?
Friday, June 26th, I had the opportunity to attend the formal opening of the Islamic Society of Boson Cultural Center (ISBCC) in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Approximately 600 Muslims, a few Christian clergy and a sprinkling of Jews gathered with Tom Menino, mayor of Boston, on Malcolm X Boulevard to celebrate this historic event which was over two decades in the making. Across the street, a very small, peaceful group of demonstrators comprised of Christians, Muslims and Jews of all ages, gathered to exercise their first amendment right to protest.
While most Americans wish the Boston Muslim Community well in their new religious center and recognize the significance of the growing diversity it represents, some in the Boston community are deeply concerned about the identified extremist leadership of this new institution which is part of the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB).
Dr. Charles Jacobs, President of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, and co-founder of organizations such as The David Project and the Boston office of CAMERA, is the leading critic of the Islamic Center, which has been steeped in controversy since its inception. Jacobs asserts that many in the media are reluctant to investigate the radical leadership of the (ISB) for fear that this will result in perceived prejudice against the Muslim community as a whole. Two media outlets in Boston were sued by the Islamic Center -- for "defamation" -- and had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees. (The suits were dropped two weeks before the defendants were scheduled to depose the most vulnerable of the plaintiffs.) Because the suit was dropped, many in Boston assume the controversy has been resolved. This is not the case. Much of the information developed about the ISB was discovered from documents obtained from the suit's discovery process.
Some of the facts are as follows:
The ISB was founded by Abdulrahman Alamoudi. He is currently serving 23 years in prison on terrorism charges.
An original trustee of the ISB, Yusuf Qaradawi, is the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is a global Islamist organization and a key source of worldwide Islamic extremism.
Current ISB President Osama Kandil was a director of Taibeh International- a Muslim Charity designated as a terrorist entity by the US Government in 2004.
Jamal Badawi, a recently appointed Trustee of the ISBCC, was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of a Muslim charity, The Holy Land Foundation.  The Holy Land Foundation trial recently resulted in federal convictions for the illegal distribution of money to Hamas; a designated terrorist organization.
The ISBCC is now controlled by the radical Muslim American Society (MAS). U.S. federal prosecutors have identified the MAS as ‘the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America".
The majority of the funding for the center's construction came from Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf States. Saudi Arabia practices Wahhbisim, an extreme brand of Islam that promotes a return to Islamic orthodoxy as taught by the 7th century prophet Mohammed.
The ISB has attempted to hide the identity of its true leadership by rotating trustees and board members. They falsely state that a new local board assumed control of the center from the prior mostly overseas based trustees. When the ISB became too controversial, the leadership re-branded the ISB into the (MAS)Muslim American Society's Boston Branch.
In addition to these hard facts, a recent speaker invited to give a talk at the ISB's Cambridge Center, is also very troubling. The speaker, Sheikh Yasir Qadhi had previously denied the Holocaust, claimed that Jews want to destroy Muslims, and called all non-Muslims a "spiritually filthy substance" whose lives and property hold no value. This audio of some of his talks can be heard on www.hatefreeamerica.org.
Across the Country
Lest you be tempted to think that Boston is a rare phenomenon, take a look at the stealth-like nature of other developments occurring across the United States:
This June, in Dearborn Michigan, a Christian organization, the Arabic Christian Perspective (ACP), was denied the right to roam the street and hand out religious literature during an Arabic Festival. The ACP was restricted to a nearby corner. The city claimed it was for "crowd control purposes". However, other groups were not given the same restriction. The ACP is suing the city for violating their first amendment rights. 
Last month in Florida, the Florida Security Council, a counter terrorism group, filed suit against the Delray Beach Marriott for a corporate breach of contract. In April, The FSC was the sponsor of a Free Speech Summit honoring the controversial Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders. Four days before the well planned summit, the Marriot sent an email canceling the event. The email claimed "new security concerns" had prompted this cancellation. When the FSC confronted the Marriot to identify the new potential concerns, they could not produce any. Instead, they recanted their claim and gave no further reason for the cancellation. An immediate investigation by the FSC began to reveal the possibility that outside agents persuaded the Marriot to cancel the summit because it was believed the message of the event was critical of Islam.
A similar situation occurred at the Nashville Lowes Hotel where Geert Wilders was also scheduled to participate.
Currently in America, there is some serious confusion regarding the constitutional right to free speech as guaranteed by the first amendment. There is no issue with Muslim's who wish to peacefully exercise there freedom of religion. Just as Muslims have the right to worship freely and pray in a mosque, so too do Christians and Jews have the right to peacefully express their religious beliefs at the location of their choosing. The concern here is the possibility that our freedoms are being used against us.
When Muslims or Muslim groups publicly proclaim controversial messages as exemplified in the ISB case, they are exercising their first amendment right. However, to then claim discrimination when they are challenged on their rhetoric is a direct contradiction to the freedom they are espousing. By remaining silent now, we are in danger of allowing political correctness and fear of offending minorities to jeopardize the freedoms that America holds dear. At this critical time, it is more important than ever to educate ourselves and our children to the challenges that confront Western civilization.
1. List of Unindicted Co-conspirators and/or Joint Venturers." U.S. Government vs. Holy Land Foundation et al. No. 3:04-C12-240-G. North Texas Distric Court. August 2007.
2."Brief for the United States." United States of America Vs. Sabri Benkahla on Appeal.
District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. June 30, 2008.