Monday, November 3, 2003
A reponse has been posted here to the recent Boston Herald series concerning the Islamic Center of Boston and their new Mosque project.
The response was left as a comment to this thread: Solomonia: New Boston Mosque has Wahabi Roots
The other item related to the Herald series is here: Boston Herald continues Hub Mosque Coverage.
Here is the comment re-posted in full and I leave it to the reader to decide further for themselves for the moment:
The articles published in the Boston Herald about the Islamic Society of Boston on the 28th and 29th of October are libelous. The Islamic Society of Boston hopes in this statement to rebut the defamatory and vilifying remarks included throughout these articles.
In the article written on 10/28 it is stated that the Islamic Society of Boston, “…has long-standing ties”… and “…has had a long association with…” Dr. Yousef Al-Qaradawi and Mr. Abdurahman Muhammad Alamoudi.
The Islamic Society of Boston does not maintain any significant or long-standing relationship with either individual.
Any administrative or official connection to either individual that was in existence more than a decade ago has since been dissolved, long before either individual was identified as controversial or as an alleged participant in illegal activities.
The Islamic Society of Boston is not accountable for the personal statements and actions of individuals who are not associated with the Society in any way.
The Islamic Society of Boston does not condone any action or speech that supports or encourages acts of terrorism on American soil or elsewhere in the world.
The article states that the Islamic Society of Boston was “…founded by Abdurahman Muhammad Alamoudi…”, an alleged supporter of terrorist organizations
Mr, Alamoudi was among many students of prestigious colleges and universities in the Boston area who felt the need to create a religious organization for the growing Muslim community in the 1980’s. Mr Alamoudi left Boston in 1984 and has had no contact with the Islamic Society of Boston since that time. In the 1990’s, Mr. Alamoudi was a visitor to the White House, and a good will ambassador for the US State Department, associations that are much more recent and significant than that with the Society during the same period.
Mr. Alamoudi certainly has no control or influence in the administration and policies of the Society.
The article states that “…public records indicate Al-Qaradawi and Alamoudi have both held leadership positions with the Islamic Society of Boston.”
Dr. Al-Qaradawi has never held a position of leadership with the Islamic Society of Boston
Dr. Al-Qaradawi was invited to become an honorary trustee of the Society because of popularity within the Muslim community. This invitation was extended long before he was considered a controversial figure and was refused per Dr. Al-Qaradawi’s apparent policy not to hold such positions.
For more information on Dr. Al-Qaradawi and his role in the Muslim community, please see the the Washington Post of February 14, 2003, entitled “Maverick Cleric is a Hit on Arab TV: Al-Jazeera Star Mixes Tough Talk with Calls for Tolerance” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A5496-2003Feb13)
The article states that, Dr. Al-Qaradawi was, “identified…as one of [the Society’s] four directors on its income tax return…”
The Islamic Society of Boston admits to an administrative oversight in listing Dr. Al-Qaradawi as a member of the Board on its tax returns. This was subsequently corrected after the organization hired more paid staff members and more detailed administration policies could be implemented.
The article states that, “most, if not all of the project’s financing has come from the Middle East.”
The Islamic Society of Boston has fundraised vigorously within the Muslim community in Boston and has received a significant amount of its financial support from the American Muslim community.
The article states that, “The mosque is being paid for with money from the Middle East and it’s connected to a larger agenda.”
The Society has implemented a “Know Your Donor” program that requires background checks to be conducted on all donors whether local or international who give in amounts exceeding $5000. The donors are cross checked against the Federal Government’s Terrorist watch list to ensure that no ties whether alleged or founded are held with terrorist organizations before accepting donations.
The Society has a policy of only accepting donations that come “with no strings attached”
The Islamic Society of Boston approaches donors who are eager to improve the understanding of Islam in the United States and who themselves do not condone an interpretation of Islam that is fundamentalist, oppressive, radical, anti-Western or anti-Semitic. The Society’s donors all see the project as a forum for cooperation and understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States.
The Islamic Society of Boston rejects any interpretation of Islam that is considered fundamentalist, oppressive, radical, anti-Western or anti-Semitic. The Society is well known for its moderate, comprehensive, participative view and practice of Islam.
The Islamic Society of Boston’s agenda is clearly stated in the mission and vision included in its constitution. The Society does not subscribe to any “larger agenda” dictated by any outside entity.
In order to formulate the vision of the new Cultural Center project in Roxbury, the Society has worked closely with the City of Boston and the Roxbury Community College.
The Islamic Society of Boston has forged meaningful relationships with many individuals and institutions including Temple Israel, Temple Beth Shalom, Trinity Church, Cambridge Peace Commission, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, among others.
The Islamic Society of Boston throws open its doors to visitors of all faiths and backgrounds and welcomes all those who wish to learn about Islam and Muslims and to engage in discussion about issues affecting our community as a whole.
With regards to the second article dated 10/29/2003
Dr. Osama Kandil has not now or ever been under investigation for any alleged links made to any suspected terrorists, terrorist supporters or terrorist financiers.
American Products International Inc. which lists Dr. Kandil as its registered agent ceased to function seven years ago.The Muslim Arab Youth Association which lists Dr. Kandil as a member is not considered by the federal government or the general public to be a controversial organization in the least and in any case is now defunct.
Steven Emerson, cited by the article as the source for claims that MAYA was an extremest organization, is not considered a credible expert on Islam and is instead considered a xenophobe, racist, and hatemonger by all mainstream American Muslim organizations, and by many outside the Muslim community as well (see http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2002/03/05/emerson/ and http://www.cair-net.org/html/emerson.htm for some examples)
Persons at Ptech have never been charged with any crime by the government and the Society sees no wrongdoing in emotionally supporting the individuals who were affected by negative media coverage surrounding that company, and who lost their jobs as a result.
The Islamic Society of Boston is indeed concerned about the racist and xenophobic tone of the articles and the implications it spells for the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States. The allegations are for the most part unsubstantiated or exaggerated. The Society strongly feels that the Herald, in its articles is contributing towards a potential increase in hate crimes and a decrease in tolerance.
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Islamic Center of Boston Responds to Herald Series.
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