I have walked down streets like this in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles — places where America itself seems to disappear for blocks on end. This one has a particularly ominous cast. “Another Tack: A masjid grows in Brooklyn,” by Sarah Honig in the Jerusalem Post, July 3 (thanks to Michael):
I was Brooklyn bound – or so I thought. I took the subway to see a fellow alumna of New York’s High School of Music and Art (as today’s LaGuardia High School for the Arts was then called). I looked forward to the nostalgic reunion. I hadn’t been in NYC for ages, and catching up with an old classmate seemed an indispensable component of walking down memory lane.
What’s more, Kathy still lives at the same address in the cozy middle-class neighborhood where I sometimes visited her way back then. It was common for the house-proud Irish to keep property in the family, and hence I’d soon reenter the two-story red-brick home in whose wood-paneled rec-room we occasionally whiled away hours.
But when I climbed up the grimy station stairs and surveyed the street, I suspected that some supernatural time-and-space warp had transported me to Islamabad. This couldn’t be Brooklyn.
Women strode attired in hijabs and male passersby sported all manner of Muslim headgear and long flowing tunics. Kathy met me at the train and astounded me by pointing out long kurta shirts as distinguished from a salwar kameez. She couldn’t help becoming an expert.
She’s now a member of a fast-dwindling minority because “people are running away. We’re among the last holdouts of our generation. My kids have fled.”
Pakistani and Bangladeshi groceries lined the main shopping drag, and everywhere stickers boldly beckoned: “Discover Jesus in the Koran.” An unremarkable low-slung building on the corner of Kathy’s block was now dominated by an oversized green sign identifying it as Masjid Nur al-Islam (the Light of Islam Mosque) and announcing that “only Allah is worthy of worship and Muhammad is his LAST prophet.” Here too Christians were urged to “turn to the Koran” if they were “genuinely faithful to Jesus.”
It wasn’t hard to identify the remaining non-Muslim residences. Kathy’s was typical. A huge American flag fluttered demonstratively in the manicured front yard, accompanied by a large cross on the door and an assortment of patriotic/jingoistic banners.
“We’re besieged,” she explained. “Making a statement is about all we can do. They aren’t delighted to see our flag wave. This is enemy territory.”
LEST I judge her paranoid, Kathy began regaling me with what she knew about the mosque a few doors down her street, still as tree-lined as I remember but somehow less pretty and tidy, even vaguely grubby.
Kathy had compiled a bulging dossier of press clippings and computer printouts about the masjid that grew in a once heavily Jewish area. Until the mid-1990s, its imam was the late Egyptian-educated Gulshair el-Shukrijumah, dispatched by the Saudis as a Wahhabi missionary in 1985 and financed by them thereafter. His disciple, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, an explosives specialist, possibly helped assemble the bomb detonated in the ’93 World Trade Center attack. He was convicted of plotting to blow up the UN, FBI headquarters and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. Gulshair acted as interpreter for Omar Abdel-Rahman, the “Blind Sheikh” now serving life for the first WTC bombing, conspiring to use explosives at other NYC landmarks and colluding to assassinate US politicians.
Nabbed operational commander of the 9/11 plot, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, fingered Gulshair’s eldest son Adnan as having been designated by al-Qaida and personally approved by Osama Bin-Laden to lead new terror assaults and serve as successor to Muhammad Atta, with whom Adnan was connected. Adnan received flight training and is dubbed “Jaffar the pilot.” He was likewise linked to “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla, Hamas and al-Qaida fund-raiser Adham Hassoun, and terrorist Imran Mandhai (convicted of conspiring to bomb the National Guard armory, South Florida electrical substations, Jewish-owned businesses and community centers, and Mount Rushmore).
Kathy’s ex-neighbor is now a fugitive and subject of a worldwide FBI manhunt. Adnan’s brother Nabil, incidentally, uploaded to his Web page an image of Jerusalem ablaze with the caption: “Al Kuds, we are coming.”…
Read it all.