Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The Silencing ends!
This press release just in from The David Project:
David Project to Continue Public Records Lawsuit To Force Disclosure of Evidence on Boston Redevelopment Authority-Islamic Society Land Deal
The David Project has announced that the Islamic Society of Boston ("ISB") and its officers have withdrawn all of their claims against all of the citizens who raised concerns about the ISB, its funding and its leadership, as well as all of their claims against the Boston Herald, Fox-TV and the various journalists whose investigative pieces about the ISB in 2003 and 2004 disclosed damaging information about the ISB and its controversial land deal with the Boston Redevelopment Authority ("BRA"). The ISB and its officers have abandoned all of their claims against all of the defendants they sued 2 years ago, without payment to the ISB or to them of any money whatsoever.
The ISB's decision to drop all of its claims against all of the 17 defendants it sued back in 2005 alleging "defamation" and accusing them of conspiring to violate its civil rights comes just months after the defendants--who included a Muslim cleric, a Christian political science professor and the Jewish daughter of Holocaust survivors, as well as Boston civic leader William Sapers and national terrorism expert Steven Emerson--had begun through their lawyers to conduct discovery into the ISB's financial records, its receipt of millions of dollars in funding from Saudi Arabian and other Middle Eastern sources, its contributions to certain organizations and the records of certain of its officers and directors. The ISB's abandonment of its lawsuits comes only weeks after two of its original Middle Eastern Trustees, Walid Fitaihi of Saudi Arabia and Ali Tobah of Egypt, suddenly resigned as Trustees just before they were required to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts court hearing the case.
The David Project, whose public records litigation against the BRA forced the public disclosure of evidence regarding the below-fair-market land deal between the BRA and the ISB and the role played in that deal of BRA Deputy Director Muhammed Ali Salaam, will proceed exactly as before with its litigation, seeking the remainder of the documents presently withheld by the BRA. That litigation, The David Project v. Boston Redevelopment Authority, is on file in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston.
"We were determined from the beginning to act the way citizens should, by asking questions about this matter and by refusing to be intimidated into staying silent," said David Project founder and President Charles Jacobs, "and we intend to continue as we have before. Indeed, the evidence that has emerged about the transaction, about the BRA's failure to do due diligence into those whom it chose to subsidize and about the funding and the leadership of the organization that received this public subsidy is of extremely deep concern. That evidence not only vindicates the reporting of the courageous journalists whose investigative work broke the story back in 2003 and 2004, but validates many times over the concerns expressed by the good and decent citizensâ€”Muslims, Christians and Jews- who refused to stay silent."
"Those citizens were vilified by the ISB for having had the courage to speak out", said Jacobs. "The ISB's abandonment of its claims without payment of one dollar to them, coming as it does as the ISB was ordered to turn over evidence, speaks more eloquently than anything else could about the truth of what these citizens said, about the validity of their concerns, and about the lack of merit to the ISBâ€™s allegations that they had been â€˜defamedâ€™ and had been financially â€˜damagedâ€™. Above all, the ISBâ€™s ultimate abandonment of its lawsuits speaks eloquently about the importance of refusing to be bullied and intimidated into silence."
"This has never been about the right of all people to worship, and to construct houses of worship, which is an important right possessed equally by all people, warranting great respect,â€ said Jacobs. â€œWhat it has been about is specific evidence about specific leaders of a specific organization, and about evidence regarding the funding of that organization and those whom it, in turn, was funding. The threat of Islamic extremism in the United States and elsewhere is a real one. Many of the most courageous and forceful individuals speaking out about this threat are themselves Muslims, and they deserve the support of all of us. The victory we have achieved in this case is a victory for many, but perhaps especially for them, as it bolsters and encourages them, and sends a message on their behalf that intimidation will not work."
Congratulations to all the defendants in the case. It seems clear that the growing number of disclosures were amounting a pile of evidence all pointing to the fact that the plaintiffs never had a case.
Expect things to take a turn with the ISB even more self-cast in the role of the victim. More news as we have it...
Update: The Muslim
Brotherhood American Society has issued its "declare victory and depart the field" press release:
M. Bilal Kaleem, Executive Director, MAS Boston (617-429-3237) firstname.lastname@example.org
Imam Mahdi Bray, Executive Director, MAS Freedom Foundation (202-421-3623)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAS Declares Victory in Protecting the Right to Build Major Islamic Center
Legal Settlement Ends Effort to Stop Construction of New Englandâ€™s Largest Islamic Center
BOSTON, MA â€“ May 29, 2007 (MASNET) In what has been described as a major victory for religious freedom and civil rights, the Muslim American Society (MAS) and its Freedom Foundation have provided the primary leadership, support, and strategy on behalf of the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) in achieving a major victory and settling a four-year legal battle, which attempted to stop the building of the largest Islamic center on the east coast.
The Islamic Society of Bostonâ€™s Islamic Center, which is being constructed in the Roxbury section of Boston, had been under a multi-level campaign of negative reporting and disinformation. These efforts resulted in a lawsuit initiated by the David Project, and filed by James Policastro. The law suit sought to stop the completion of the Islamic center. Consequently, a law suit was filed on behalf of the ISB against the David Project, Inc., Citizens for Peace and Tolerance and other related defendants. Today, the Muslim American Society, Americaâ€™s largest grass roots Muslim organization announced that the ISB, the David Project, Inc., and Citizens for Peace and Tolerance, have ended all litigations against each other including James Policastroâ€™s suit against the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Roxbury Community College and the Islamic Society of Boston.
MAS and its Freedom Foundation was instrumental in bringing together various religious communities in the Boston area and developing an outreach strategy that focused on embracing diversity and fostering mutual respect and trust. "As MAS, we were able to overcome a strong and divisive element in the Boston community that had tremendous legal and financial resources. This element, led by the David Project, had extended its vast resources toward stopping the construction of the new ISB Islamic Center. We at MAS were adamant in our defense of the right of Muslims in this country to build mosques and were determined not to let the David Project use dilatory legal tactics in stopping the completion of this magnificent Islamic Center I think that this settlement is indicative of the fact that we achieved our overall goals of protecting religious freedom and Muslim's civil rights by providing factual information about the ISB, and Muslim houses of worship, reducing tensions between various communities, and complying with the express wishes of the Boston's Mayor Thomas M. Menino, for all sides to come to some type of negotiated settlement", stated M. Bilal Kaleem. The settlement prevents any further legal action by the defendants to stopping the building of the mosque and re-affirms MAS' basic principle for the respect and sanctity of all houses of worship. The construction of the mosque is ongoing, and on June 9 there will be a special celebration for the capping of the minaret (top most portion).
MAS outreach efforts on behalf of the ISB settlement was supported by a diverse coalition which included the Jewish Workmanâ€™s Circle, Father Helmick (a specialist in conflict resolution) American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Tekiah, the Boston Tikkun Community, Community Change, Inc., The Diocese of St. Francis of Assisi, the Massachusetts Chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, United for Justice and Peace, Cambridge United for Justice and Peace, Clarendon Church and Dorchester People for Peace, The Muslim Public Affairs Council.
The new ISB Islamic Center will provide a place of worship to the ever expanding Muslim population in the area, and serve as an educational resource to universities and other educational institutions. Additionally, the Mosque will house an inter-religious center that will focus on interfaith dialog, research and positive engagement between diverse faith traditions.
The Muslim American Society will hold a press conference on behalf of the ISB, pertaining to this settlement on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. In front of the ISBCC at 1 Malcolm X Blvd, in the Roxbury community.
Get ready for Boston's own Muslim Brotherhood Mosque.
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