Today’s Wall Street Journal has a remarkable story by Peter Waldman, “At a U.S. Mosque, Path of Tolerance Leads to Tumult,” about how a Muslim in San Francisco, Souleiman Ghali, lost battle after battle within his mosque and in the courts against more hardline Muslims. It’s behind subscription, so I won’t quote much, but here are a few telling fragments. One concerns Ghali’s firing of an imam from the mosque:
After his firing, the Egyptian-born imam, Safwat Morsy, opened a new mosque in a basement just around the corner from the Islamic Society, in the heart of this city’s gritty Tenderloin district. To swelling crowds, the Sheik Safwat has railed against “the traitor criminal Souleiman Ghali” and called for jihad, or holy war, against Israel and U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Our killed ones are in paradise and their killed ones are in hell,” he told worshipers in 2003, in a sermon that was translated from Arabic for the court case….
Beware of “the new American Islam,” Sheik Safwat warned followers in the 2003 sermon translated for the court case, “a faith that does not talk about the jihad; a faith that does not talk about the confrontation with tyrants; a faith that does not talk.”…
Sheik Safwat, invoking familiar extremist rhetoric for his Sunni listeners, blamed the fall of Iraq on connivance by the “traitor” Shiites and Arab heads of states, whom he branded “agents of treason.” The sheik also said he saw the hand of the “sons of Zion,” the Jews. With the fall of Baghdad, he said, Israel had “realized” its dominion “from the Nile to the Euphrates.”
He praised martyrdom. While the Muslim dead of Jerusalem, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Sudan were in paradise, he said, the infidel dead were burning in hell. “The beacon of the jihad will not be extinguished by the tank and will not be extinguished by the airplanes,” he said. “The clash of civilizations and the combat of cultures and the recapture of the land and honor, this is what believers are waiting for.”
In another sermon, the sheik adopted the slogan used by the Palestinian political party Hamas to reject Israel’s right to exist: “Palestine, from the sea to the river.”