http://pajamasmedia .com/blog/ cleveland% e2%80%99s- new-terror- imam/

Ohio’s largest mosque found an extremist replacement for its deported
terror-linked leader.

July 9, 2008 – by Patrick Poole

When Fawaz Damra was  deported
<http://secured. investigativepro ject.org/ documents/ case_docs/ 329.pdf> in
early January 2007, he left a sizable leadership void at the [2] Islamic
Center of Cleveland <http://www.icclevel and.org/site/ default.aspx> , the
largest mosque in Ohio where he had served as imam since 1991. Damra was [3]
convicted <http://www.ice. gov/pi/news/ newsreleases/ articles/ 061804akron. htm>
in June 2004 for failing to disclose his ties to three terrorist
organizations when he applied for U.S. citizenship and was also named an
unindicted co-conspirator in Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami
al-Arian’s terrorism trial. The pair had been captured on video tape [4]
raising <http://secured. investigativepro ject.org/ article/348> funds for the
terrorist organization and recorded on FBI wiretaps [5] discussing
<http://secured. investigativepro ject.org/ documents/ case_docs/ 469.pdf>
raising funds for the families of suicide bombers. Damra had also been
caught [6] lecturing <http://www.investig ativeproject. org/article/ 671> his
congregation on how Jews were “the sons of pigs and apes.”

Prior to coming to Cleveland, Damra was one of the three founders of the
al-Kifah Refugee Center, the U.S. recruiting office for the Maktab
al-Khidamat, a bin Laden-financed precursor to al-Qaeda. He also served as
the imam of the al-Farouq mosque in Brooklyn that served as the hub of the
1993 World Trade Center bombing plot and the home of now-convicted “blind
sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman.

Since Damra’s forced departure, two potential successors have rapidly come
and gone. The first intended successor, Mohamad Altabaa, who was hired from
another area mosque, was quickly given the heave-ho for being too moderate.
Now, however, the Cleveland mosque has settled on a permanent [7]
replacement
<http://www.clevelan d.com/cuyahoga/ plaindealer/ index.ssf? /base/cuyahoga/ 1210
408421299340. xml&coll= 2&thispage= 2> , Egyptian cleric Sayed Ahmed
Abouabdalla, who seems qualified to pick up where Damra left off.

Just weeks into his new position, Abouabdalla is already being [8] hailed
<http://blog. cleveland. com/lifestyles/ 2008/05/islamic_ centers_new_ imam_calls
.html> as a great interfaith leader by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, even
though by its own admission Abouabdalla barely speaks English (a translator
was needed for his interview with Plain Dealer reporter David Briggs) and
has a short track record as a religious leader in the U.S. (his most recent
position was as part-time imam for the Islamic Cultural Institute in St.
Clair Shores, Michigan).

But considering what happened with Abouabdalla’ s most immediate predecessor,
Ahmad Alzaree, last October (more on that episode below) you might think
that the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the rest of the media would be more
cautious, or at least more diligent in researching the background of its
newfound interfaith paragon, who, it should be noted, is replacing its old
interfaith paragon, Fawaz “Jews are sons of pigs and apes” Damra.

In fact, there is much in Abouabdalla’ s résumé that ought to give his media
cheerleaders considerable pause.

One element in the Plain Dealer’s recent coverage of Abouabdalla’ s
background that passes without the slightest bit of apparent investigation
is the fact that he continues to serve as a faculty member of the [9]
Islamic American <http://www.islamica u.org/index. asp> University (IAU) in
Dearborn, Michigan. Of the [10] 19 courses
<http://www.islamica u.org/courses. asp?by=ara> offered by IAU this summer
term, Abouabdalla teaches 14 of them.

IAU is a project of the [11] Muslim
<http://www.investig ativeproject. org/article/ 472> American Society (MAS), an
organization federal prosecutors just recently [12] identified
<http://www.investig ativeproject. org/article/ 597> in a federal appeals
court brief as being “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in
the United States.” The Muslim Brotherhood has been the breeding ground for
virtually every single Islamic terrorist group in the world, and the vast
majority of al-Qaeda’s leadership has come through its ranks.

The MAS/Muslim Brotherhood association is just the beginning of IAU’s ties
to terror. The honorary chairman of the IAU board of trustees is none other
than Hamas spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi — a fact [13] acknowledged
<http://www.masnet. org/university. asp> on the MAS website — who has been
banned from the U.S. since 1999 for his open support of terrorist
activities.

Not only has Qaradawi repeatedly issued fatwas defending the use of suicide
bombings, but in August 2004 he [14] co-signed
<http://www.abc. net.au/cgi- bin/common/ printfriendly. pl?/news/ newsitems/ 20040
8/s1182542.htm> a letter with the leaders of both Hezbollah and Hamas
calling for al-Qaeda-backed insurgents in Iraq to “purify the land of Islam
from the filth of occupation,” meaning U.S. military forces. He has [15]
said <http://www.islamonl ine.net/english/ news/2003- 01/28/article08. shtml>
that “those who die fighting U.S. occupation forces are martyrs,” and he
also recently [16] defended
<http://www.islamonl ine.net/servlet/ Satellite? pagename= IslamOnline- English-A
sk_Scholar/FatwaE/ FatwaE&cid= 1119503545134> the use of women as suicide
bombers. Rightly so, the Anti-Defamation League has described Qaradawi as
the “[17] theologian of terror
<http://www.adl. org/NR/exeres/ 788C5421- 70E3-4E4D- BFF4-9BE14E4A2E5 8,DB7611A2-
02CD-43AF-8147- 649E26813571, frameless. htm> .”

Abouabdalla has also served on the [18] Fiqh Council of North America
<http://www.fiqhcoun cil.org/> as recently as last summer — an association
that the Plain Dealer makes absolutely no mention of. For good reason, it
seems, as the Fiqh Council is a “[19] Who’s
<http://www.investig ativeproject. org/FCNA- CAIR.html> Who” of convicted
terrorist leaders, terrorist fundraisers, unindicted co-conspirators, and
terrorist associates. One former member, Abdurahman Alamoudi, is serving a
23-year prison sentence on [20] terrorism charges
<http://www.usdoj. gov/opa/pr/ 2004/October/ 04_crm_698. htm> for working with
Libyan intelligence to assassinate the Saudi crown prince.

The Fiqh Council issued a fatwa in 2005 that was much ballyhooed by the
media for allegedly denouncing terrorism, though it never [21] defined
terrorism
<http://counterterro r.typepad. com/the_countert errorism_ blog/2005/ 07/the_amer
ican_is.html> or condemned any terrorist group by name. And as I have [22]
reported
<http://www.frontpag emag.com/ Articles/ Read.aspx? GUID=05C3A84A- 5F6A-4765- AB93
-21970F81F40D> elsewhere, notwithstanding their own terrorism fatwa
forbidding any association with terrorists, three members of the Fiqh
Council appeared at an event in Qatar in July 2007 honoring Yousef
al-Qaradawi and featuring Hamas leader Khaled Mishal — a specially
designated terrorist by the U.S. government. The trio’s appearance at the
event was [23] noted
<http://www.qaradawi .net/site/ topics/article. asp?cu_no= 2&item_no= 5252&versio
n=1&template_ id=116&parent_ id=114> on Qaradawi’s personal website. Video of
the event that originally aired on al-Jazeera [24] shows
<http://ohioagainstt error.blogspot. com/2007/ 10/former- hilliard- hamas-cleric-
pictured.html> Fiqh Council member Salah Sultan sitting on the speaker dais
right beside Qaradawi and Mishal.

Now all of this information concerning IAU and the Fiqh Council would have
been easily accessible for any reporter going through the motions of
journalism. If the two glowing Cleveland Plain Dealer articles welcoming
Abouabdalla to the area in recent weeks are any indication, however, none of
that background investigation was ever done.

This pedestrian method of journalism by the Plain Dealer when it comes to
the Islamic Center of Cleveland was evident last October when Abouabdalla’ s
immediate predecessor, Ahmad Alzaree, who replaced the moderate Mohamad
Altabaa, came under fire from fellow Pajamas Media contributor Tom Blumer
and me after the Plain Dealer [25] announced
<http://blog. cleveland. com/pdworld/ 2007/09/islamic_ center_hires_ new_imam. htm
l> Alzaree’s hiring.

The very next day, Blumer [26] revealed
<http://www.bizzyblo g.com/2007/ 09/26/in- cleveland- meet-the- new-imam- same-as-
the-old-imam> that he had conducted some research and discovered sermons by
Alzaree on his previous mosque’s website in Omaha, Nebraska, making
religiously and racially incendiary remarks. As Tom admitted, he had done
something called a “Google search” (whatever on earth that may be!) on
Alzaree, where he immediately found sermons by the newly hired imam [27]
preaching <http://www.bizzyblo g.com/DayOfJudge ment_Alzaree0307 03.html>
about the Day of Judgment and the anticipated widespread slaughter of Jews
by Muslims:

Dear brothers and sisters, the talk about the Day of Judgment is long and
full of things that will confuse the human mind and put fear in the hearts
of the faithful. Every day that comes is much more worse than the day before
it as we get closer to the hour. Among the signs of the approach of Day of
Judgment is what the messenger of Allah PBUH said: “The hour of judgment
shall not happen until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Muslims shall kill
the Jews to the point that the Jew shall hide behind a big rock or a tree
and the rock or tree shall call on the Muslim saying: hey, O Muslim there is
a Jew behind me, come and kill him, except the Gharqad tree which will not
say, for it is the tree of Jews.” Agreed upon. This is seemed to be very
soon and close now. We ask Allah SWT not to test us so hardly if we live
till this horrible moment insha’allah.

I quickly [28] followed
<http://ohioagainstt error.blogspot. com/2007/ 09/ohios- largest-mosque- hires-eg
yptian.html> up with additional information that Alzaree had hosted
extremist speakers at his previous mosque in Omaha and offered other sermons
where he lamented that Jews and Christians were no longer required to pay
the jizya (payments made to Islamic authorities by non-Muslims to prevent
violence), based on information readily available on its website. No sooner
had these revelations been made than the information was promptly scrubbed
from Alzaree’s Omaha mosque website. At one point the whole website was
taken down.

The Plain Dealer predictably rushed out another story trying to explain away
Alzaree’s incendiary statements. But curiously, the paper failed to mention
that the information had come from Blumer, who at the time was a paid Plain
Dealer blogger, and the information had been [29] published
<http://blog. cleveland. com/wideopen/ 2007/09/meet_ the_new_imam_ same_as_the. ht
ml> on the Plain Dealer’s website — a fact Blumer humorously [30] noted
<http://blog. cleveland. com/wideopen/ 2007/09/toms_ placeholder_ for_email_ and.h
tml> , again, on its own website!

But even in the Plain Dealer’s initial article on Alzaree’s hiring, there
were indications that something wasn’t quite right, as this statement
indicates:

Alzaree would not confirm his hiring, at one point saying he would not come
to Cleveland because a reporter was inquiring about his background. But
Abu-Shaweesh said Alzaree has signed a contract to start work in November,
and confirmed today that he has accepted the position.

Whatever concerns or doubts were raised by Alzaree’s evasion, however, were
quickly dismissed.

Over the next few weeks Tom and I continued to publish damaging information
about Alzaree’s previous statements and activities, and our information was
picked up by several news outlets across the state, including the Associated
Press. Undaunted, the Plain Dealer tried to push its man clear of our
findings by publishing a third extensive [31] article
<http://blog. cleveland. com/metro/ 2007/10/new_ cleveland_ imam_hopes_ to_ea.html
> dismissing our allegations, assuring its readers that Alzaree hoped “to
ease Muslim-Jewish relations” and that he promised to serve as “a voice for
tolerance, harmony, and understanding” in the community.

That same day, I published additional [32] information
<http://ohioagainstt error.blogspot. com/2007/ 10/clevelands- new-imam- interfait
h-moderate.html> with screen shots taken from the website of Alzaree’s
previous mosque showing links to terrorist groups and essays defending armed
jihad, information that had appeared immediately after Alzaree had arrived
at the Omaha mosque. Later that week, just a few days before he was supposed
to assume his new position at the Islamic Center of Cleveland, Alzaree threw
in the towel, submitting his resignation to the mosque’s board and [33]
telling
<http://blog. cleveland. com/metro/ 2007/10/new_ cleveland_ imam_quits_ befor.html
> the Plain Dealer that the scrutiny from “bloggers” was too much to bear.
(See the wrap-up posts by [34] Blumer
<http://www.bizzyblo g.com/2007/ 10/29/imam- alzaree-resigns- from-islamic- cente
r-of-cleveland> and [35] me
<http://ohioagainstt error.blogspot. com/2007/ 10/cleveland- imam-quits- before-h
e-starts.html> .)

Apparently learning nothing from this previous episode with Ahmad Alzaree,
the Cleveland Plain Dealer has yet again let important elements of its own
story escape it regarding Sayed Abouabdalla. At this point, with two glowing
stories on Abouabdalla’ s arrival without any hint of critical inquiry, this
neglect appears more deliberate than neglectful.

Remember that the position he is filling was vacated by an individual with
extensive ties to international Islamic terrorism, and the Plain Dealer
published no fewer than 45 stories on Fawaz Damra’s ordeal.

And now that the Islamic Center of Cleveland has replaced its old terror
imam with a new one with very questionable credentials of his own, it is
apparent that the media establishment has chosen to snooze once again
through any semblance of critical inquiry concerning whom Ohio’s largest
mosque has chosen to lead its congregation.

 

 

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