An update on the ISB controversy in Boston, and of the use of lawsuits by Islamic advocacy groups to intimidate and silence their opponents. “Treasury Department Tars Alamoudi, Founder of the Islamic Society of Boston,” from the New York Sun, with thanks to Olivia:
WASHINGTON – Concern is mounting over the connections between a Boston Islamic group and a high-profile Muslim activist, Abdurahman Alamoudi, after a recent statement by the federal government that Mr. Alamoudi had a “close relationship” with Al Qaeda and that he raised money for Al Qaeda in America.
Alamoudi – who is serving a 23-year sentence in federal prison after having pleaded guilty in 2004 to participating in a Libyan plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah – is also a founder of the Islamic Society of Boston. The society is now embroiled in a bitter legal dispute over the society’s efforts to build a mosque with the aid of public subsidies.
That lawsuit, according to journalists and terrorism investigators, is part of a larger trend of litigation by Muslim groups that, they say, is having a “chilling effect” on the ability to report domestic ties to terrorism.
In July, Alamoudi was cited in a Treasury Department press release designating the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia, a U.K.-based Saudi oppositionist organization, led by Saad al-Faqih, as providing material support for Al Qaeda. MIRA “received approximately $1 million in funding through Abdulrahman Alamoudi,” the statement said….
Before his arrest, Alamoudi enjoyed extensive connections to Washington lawmakers as the founder and president of the American Muslim Council. During the Clinton administration, according to press accounts, Alamoudi often visited the White House to meet with and advise President Clinton, now-Senator Clinton, and Vice President Gore. In 2001, Alamoudi appeared with President Bush at a prayer vigil for victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks just days after the destruction of the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon.
Alamoudi was also one of the founders of the Islamic Society of Boston, which is engaged in a dispute over its plans to build a $22 million mosque and cultural center on 1.9 acres of land next to Roxbury Community College. Valued at $400,000 by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the lot was sold to the ISB for $175,000 in a deal supported by Boston’s Democratic mayor, Thomas Menino. The city said the sale price had been lowered in exchange for an ISB promise to provide 5,000 books about Islam to Roxbury Community College; to provide the college with a lecture series about Islam; and to raise money for the college.
The land exchange prompted a lawsuit by a Roxbury resident, James Policastro, challenging its constitutionality as a subsidy for the Muslim religion. Last month, a motion by the ISB to have the Policastro suit dismissed was denied.
The land deal also prompted a series of investigative reports by the Boston Herald and Fox TV Channel 25, probing the alleged connections between several ISB leaders, including Alamoudi, and radical Islam. In turn, the ISB has filed a defamation lawsuit claiming that the reports were part of a conspiracy to prevent the mosque’s being built….
A senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Andrew McCarthy, asserted these sorts of defamation and libel lawsuits were part of a “concerted effort” by Muslim groups to intimidate investigators. “If you say anything borderline critical of them they sort of bare their fangs and threaten to sue,” Mr. McCarthy, a former federal attorney who prosecuted the case against the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, said.
A spokeswoman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, Rabiah Ahmed, acknowledged that lawsuits had increasingly become an “instrument” used by the Muslim community. “The Muslim community realizes that it has to respond to these allegations and to these attacks, otherwise, the people who are promoting these defamatory remarks will win in the court of public opinion,” Ms. Ahmed said.
I have cut out a good bit. Read it all.