Here is a longer version of the article that appears in FrontPage today by Joe Kaufman on the Chapel Hill jihad:
Saturday night, the University of North Carolina (UNC) was abuzz with joy, as its Tar Heels men’s basketball team defeated its arch-rival and number one-ranked Duke. But this huge win only temporarily masked the pain of an event that happened just a day earlier. On Friday, Iranian-born Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, a 22 year-old UNC graduate, tore through a lunchtime crowd at one of the university’s popular gathering spots with a Jeep Grand Cherokee, hitting nine people, of whom six were hospitalized with injuries.
Taheri-azar was arrested and charged with nine counts each of attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon. According to Derek Poarch, the chief of the university police department, the attacker told investigators that he wanted to “avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world.” A paperback copy of the Quran was found in Taheri-azar’s room, along with a book calling for the United States to “confront state sponsors of terrorism.” He was shown, on news video footage, handcuffed and being led into a car sporting a giant grin.
At the court hearing on Monday, that same smile was ingrained on his face. Like Zacarias Moussaoui, whose trial coincided with Taheri-azar’s hearing, Taheri-azar stated that he wanted to represent himself. And like Moussaoui, who proudly proclaimed, “I’m Al-Qaeda,” Taheri-azar used the courtroom forum to voice his Islamist ideology. Clad in orange jumpsuit and leg shackles, he stated, “I am thankful you are going to hear this trial to learn more about the will of Allah, the creator.” And in response to a reporter’s question, he confirmed that, “Yes,” it was his intention to murder those he hit with the SUV he had just rented. In the 9-1-1 call he had made after the attack, he told the operator that he did this “to punish the government of the United States.”
Some have raised the question of whether or not he was acting alone. Eyes have focused on the university’s Muslim Students Association (MSA), which was recently involved in a protest of the UNC campus newspaper’s publishing of a Mohammed cartoon. After the incident, the MSA quickly issued a press release distancing itself from Taheri-azar and condemning what it called a “hit and run incident.” Later, MSA’s President, Uzma Khan, declined to comment.
In the release, the MSA admitted that Taheri-azar had made a “few appearances” with its group but said that he was not a member. As such, the MSA likened him to “one disturbed individual from the beliefs of the Muslim community as a whole.” However, present affiliations and recent events held by the MSA lead one to think otherwise: that Taheri-azar may have been influenced by what he learned at the MSA more than they would like to admit. Whatever the case, the group has much to answer for itself!
According to the MSA press release, the appearances Taheri-azar made with the group were done in an on-campus “prayer room,” reserved by the MSA. Yet the group's website contradicts this information. Under the heading ‘Quick Facts [FAQ],’ there is contained a link to the question, “Where is the prayer room located?” The link doesn’t lead one to information about an on-campus entity, but instead, it takes one to the homepage of the Islamic Center of Raleigh, also known as the Islamic Association of Raleigh or IAR.
The IAR was established in 1985 by members of the MSA and the Islamic Association of North Carolina (IANC), with seed money from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. That same year, upon invitation by the MSA of N.C. State (where Sami Al-Arian was at the time), Mohammed Bajanonie, a Syrian-born teacher, became the IAR’s “full time” imam, as he still is today.
Numerous speeches made by Bajanonie can be found on IAR’s website. Included in these are his views about Jews, Christians, and jihad:
• “From the transgression, the oppression, and the corruption of the Jews was hindering many from Allah’s Way and dealing with riba (usury/interest) while it is forbidden.” (from ‘Dealing with Riba is one of the Major Sins’)
• “This meaning is emphasized by the saying of the prophet (S.A.W.) when he said, ‘By whom my soul is in His hand, if one, Jew or Christian, heard of me, then died and he/she did not believe in that which I was sent with, then they are from the dwellers of Hell fire.’” (from ‘Definition of the Word Deen & the Word Islam’)
• “Imam Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said: ‘The first person, whose case will be adjudicated on the Day of Judgment, will be a martyr… He will say: I carried on Jihad (fighting) in the cause till I was martyred…’” (from ‘How the Judgment is Established in the Day of Judgment’)
• “And also as Allah (S.W.T.) says… ‘You who believe, take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya’ (friends), they are but Auliya’ to each other. And he amongst you takes them as Auliya’ then surely he is one of them. Verily Allah guides not a people unjust.’” (from ‘Iman is the Tie in the Muslim Society’)
• “And it is not allowed at all for any Muslim to say to them (the Jews and the Christians) that you have the truthful Deen, and you are like us; both of us belong to Ibrahim (Abrahamic religions), because in doing this, he will be rejecting the words of Allah to them (‘You have nothing’), and he will be rejecting Allah.” (from ‘The Truth Has to Be Conveyed Completely’)
While the North Carolina MSA’s association with IAR is troubling, the problem with the group goes much further.
On October 12, 2005, the MSA brought Radwan Masmoudi, the founder and President of the Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID), to the UNC campus. The event was entitled ‘The Future of Democracy in the Muslim World.’ The CSID was created by leaders from the American Muslim Council (AMC), a group that publicly pledged its support for Hamas and Hezbollah. It was under Masmoudi’s leadership that Kamran Bokhari, the U.S. representative for Al-Muhajaroun, was made a fellow at CSID.
Towards the end of last month, on February 23 and 24, the MSA held its ‘Special Friday Youth Session’ and ‘Saturday Marriage Session.’ These events featured two of the most radical Islamic speakers in the United States.
Featured in the first event was Mohamed Rida Beshir. Beshir is an advisor for Islam Online, a website that showcases live interviews with leaders of Hamas. He has held various positions with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim American Society (MAS), two groups connected to the violent Muslim Brotherhood. He is a member of the editorial board and a contributing writer for MAS’s magazine, The American Muslim, which has, in the past, called suicide bombings against Israelis “justifiable.”
Beshir has also written for ISNA’s bi-monthly publication, Islamic Horizons. In a piece he co-wrote for Horizons entitled ‘Shielding Young Minds,’ he elaborates on “Prophet” Mohammed’s statement about how “children are born pure (Muslim) and that their parents make them Jews, Christians, or Magians (fire worshippers).” Beshir has also authored articles for The Message International, a publication put out by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a group that has ties to Pakistan’s version of the Muslim Brotherhood, Jamaat-e-Islami.
Featured in the second event was Amir Abdul Malik Ali. The following are quotes attributed to him, (compiled by Discover the Network):
• “We must implement Islam as a totality,” in which “Allah controls every place – the home, the classroom, the science lab, the halls of Congress.”
• “The enemies of Islam know that when we come back to power we're gonna check 'em.”
• “Stay conscious and ask Allah to raise the Muslims and give us victory over the disbeliever.”
• “When it's all over, the only one standing is gonna be us.”
• “Neo-cons are all Zionist Jews.”
• “You [Jews] are walking into all the traps we want you to walk into. You hijacked American foreign policy.”
• “Sooner or later, today's Muslim students will be the parents of Muslim children. And they should be militants.”
• Zionism is a mixture of “chosen people-ness and white supremacy.”
• “[T]he Israelis were ‘in-control’ of 9-11,” which “was staged to give an excuse to wage war against Muslims around the world.”
• Israelis ought to return “to Germany, to Poland, to Russia. The Germans should hook y'all up. You [Israelis] should go back to Germany.”
On February 16, the MSA, in coordination with UNC faculty and Campus Y, a left wing group that features anti-Israel speakers, hosted a vigil and educational dialogue event on university grounds. According to the MSA, the affair was held to shed light on Islam’s “Prophet” Mohammed and the controversy surrounding the Danish cartoons depicting him.
Did this event drive Taheri-azar to act as he did? Law enforcement officials should be investigating that possibility. And if so, the MSA deserves to shoulder some of the blame for the outcome. Indeed, a number of the group’s activities could easily put any would-be Jihadi over the top. But instead of acknowledging some wrongdoing, the MSA chose to take the coward’s way out and dissociate itself from the attacker and, in the process, suggest he was a lunatic.
The vigil and dialogue event put on by the MSA was entitled ‘Extinguishing Ignorance with Knowledge.’ How appropriate that the MSA pled “ignorance,” while their fellow Tar Heel, Taheri-azar, intended to “extinguish” the lives of others...all in the name of Islam.