BOSTON, Massachusetts – A mosque is rising in the heart of Boston. Not just any mosque, but the largest mosque in the northeastern United States.
At a cost of $22 million, the 60,000-square-foot Islamic Cultural Center will be a prominent symbol of the growth of Islam in America. But the project is under fire, as some say it will also be a symbol of radical Islam.
The Islamic Society of Boston is under scrutiny for ties to radicalism. But the society says it does not tolerate extremism. And yet, some former and present leaders of the society have been tied to extremism.
The connections go right to the foundation of this mosque and the Islamic Society of Boston, or ISB.
The very founder of the Islamic society, Abdurahman Alamoudi, is sitting in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges related to a bizarre plot by Moammar Ghadafi to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. But the society insists it hasn’t had a relationship with its founder for several years.
Dr. Yusef al-Qaradawi used to be listed as one of the society”s four directors, on IRS forms.
The ISB says Qaradawi is a respected Muslim scholar, but the Egyptian Wahabbi cleric has urged Iraqi Muslims to kill American soldiers, and has praised Palestinian suicide bombers.
He was almost banned from entering Britain this summer. On July 7, 2004, he was publicly condemned by Prime Minister Tony Blair, who said, “Let me make it absolutely clear. We want nothing to do with people who support suicide bombers in Palestine or elsewhere, or support terrorism.”
In 1995, Qaradawi told his followers, “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America!” The society says listing Qaradawi as a director was an “administrative oversight” which, it says, “was subsequently corrected.”
Dennis Hale, a Boston College professor, said, “This is a smokescreen. This is deception.”
Hale heads Citizens for Peace and Tolerance, a group that wants the Islamic Society of Boston to come clean about its ties to radical Islam.
Hale remarked, “This is a mosque that combines Wahabbi theology, Muslim Brotherhood politics and lots of money, and that’s a very dangerous combination. Everywhere in the world where that’s been found, bad things happened.”