New Citizens Group Challenges Mosque Leaders to Address Honestly the Radical Islamist Roots of Boston Mosque
Concerned about threat to Boston ‘s tolerant communal tradition
October 5th, 2004 -Citizens for Peace and Tolerance ( CPT), a group of concerned citizens, academics, and community activists, today called on the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) to honestly answer concerns about radical Islamist roots of its $22 million Roxbury mosque. CPT, a new group comprised of Christians, Muslims and Jews, is responding to recent media reports which document a troubling connection between the Islamic Society of Boston and radical Islamists and terrorist organizations including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. CPT spokespersons are also very concerned over the reluctance of the Boston political establishment and many in the media to discuss these matters.
CPT spokesperson Dennis Hale, a Boston College professor of history, said that the organization believes in the diversity of the Boston community and in the need to promote a climate of tolerance and civil society. “This is not about a mosque being built in Boston,” he said. “It is about the potential radicalization of the Boston Muslim community.” Hale said CPT takes pride in Boston’s long tradition of welcoming diverse groups of immigrants, and commends Mayor Thomas Menino for his leadership in this area.
CPT is concerned that some of the founders of the Islamic center in Boston may be part of a global and national effort by radicals and extremists to control mosques and radicalize their communities. Hale noted that “Muslims are the main victims of radical Islamists. Radical Islamists using funding from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have taken over many mosques and now control a significant portion of all mosques in North America.” He also noted that there are several documented reports around the country of Mosque leaders with connections to terrorist organizations. “This is a disturbing development for moderate Muslims and for peaceful coexistence in our nation and communities.”
Steve Cohen, a local lawyer and member of the group, said, “We are troubled by certain statements and actions by the leaders of the Islamic Society of Boston. We do not believe that the ISB has been truthful and forthcoming about the center’s founders, their hateful ideology and their relationship to the center.” Cohen added that, “too often radical Muslims use the vocabulary of tolerance and compassion to obfuscate and deny their radical agenda. Radical Islamists have frequently replaced boards of trustees, using well intentioned, highly articulate and educated moderates as spokespersons.”
The ISB has made non-credible excuses in response to media inquires. These excuses include the claims: that words were taken out of their “historic and linguistic” context and that words have multiple and arbitrary meanings. When reporters found a radical cleric on their Board, the ISB called it an “administrative oversight”. Citizens for Peace and Tolerance is asking for an honest recognition by ISB officials of the seriousness of the charges raised by media reports.
CPT announced it is seeking to enlist moderate Muslims in support of its goal of a hate-free Boston. “We are concerned by the ISB’s refusal to clearly and unambiguously disavow any and all Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood hateful and racist ideology as it appears in texts of their library,” noted Hale.
“We are also disturbed by the lack of public discourse and very limited media coverage relating to the role that radical Islam plays in American mosques and in particular the Islamic center being built in Boston,” Dennis Hale noted. “We are in a rhetorical trap of political correctness that does not know how to be ethnically sensitive and honest at the same time. This is very dangerous, given the intentions of radical Islamists. There’s a knee-jerk reaction by most of our civic leaders to refrain from any criticism of a perceived vulnerable minority. They don’t know how to deal with it; they are concerned about being accused of being anti-Muslim, and so they avoid it. Unfortunately, radical Islamists are well aware of this aversion and fully exploit it.”
Citizens for Peace and Tolerance is planning to promote public discourse about the threat of radical Islam and its potential influence on Boston’s tradition of tolerance.