In “The Boston Globe vs. Free Speech” in the American Thinker, February 15, Ilya Feoktistov and Charles Jacobs discuss the flagrant bias of Boston Globe reporter Lisa Wangsness, who, I’m told, engineered my being canceled from speaking at a Catholic conference in Worcester, Massachusetts next month. I had planned to be there anyway with an exhibitor’s table at the conference, and would like to be, but because of other commitments this has proved impossible. However, I will keep telling the truth about jihad and Islamic supremacism wherever and whenever I can, and will expose hard-Left, pro-jihad pseudo-journalists like Lisa Wangsness at every opportunity:
A troubled young man plans to go on a shooting rampage at a local mall. A devoted fan of other mass murderers, he gets pleasure watching videos of cruel and graphic violence: actual beheadings, disembowelments, maimings. He hates his neighbors and wishes for their deaths. He’s been taught to hate by religious extremists who dominate his community while intimidating their opponents into silence. The FBI catches him before he can go through with his plan to machine gun shoppers at the mall, though the Bureau ignores the people who indoctrinated him. The extremists, meanwhile, are demanding that the would-be murderer be released. They teach their children that he is a hero, and that those who stopped him from slaughtering innocent people are the true villains. A local newspaper journalist knows all this but for motives unknown, she refuses to report this story.
This is not a fictional account. On November 10, 2010, we met with Boston Globe’s religion reporter Lisa Wangsness and briefed her for over two hours on a troubling story. A year before, the FBI had arrested Tarek Mehanna, an Islamic extremist from Sudbury, Massachusetts whom it accused of providing material support to Al Qaeda and plotting a shooting spree at the Emerald Square Mall in North Attleboro, MA. In intercepted conversations, Mehanna celebrated the 9/11 hijackers as heroes. According to the indictment, “Mehanna and his coconspirators, who shared videos and took real pleasure in the deaths of American servicemen, seemed to delight in the most horrific atrocities.” Watching Iraqi terrorists tearing open a dead U.S. Marine’s rib cage and setting it on fire with gasoline, Mehanna gloated: “heh yeah… nice juicy BBQ… Texas BBQ is the way to go.” Trial documents show that Mehanna and his co-conspirators referred to themselves as the American wing of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Mehanna was convicted on all charges last year and sentenced to 17 years in prison.
We also shared with the Globe’s reporter evidence of an intense campaign by local Islamic extremists to pressure the Justice Department to release Mehanna back into the community that he had planned to attack. The extremists insisted that the twisted mind revealed in FBI-recorded conversations was actually a gentle soul who loved children and playing with his cat. Claiming that Mehanna’s arrest was nothing but a witch hunt by the FBI, which they accused of hating Muslims, they incited their followers against the U.S. government by painting the ghoulish would-be killer as the victim.
We showed Ms. Wangsness that well-known religious leaders with connections to Massachusetts political and civic leadership were involved in this campaign. Among them was Imam Abdullah Faaruuq, then the Muslim Chaplain at Northeastern University and a frequent preacher at the largest mosque in the Northeast, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. (Faaruuq was dismissed from his position at Northeastern after we exposed his actions in support of Mehanna and other convicted terrorists.) Her own newspaper reported that another respected local Muslim leader supporting Tarek Mehanna was a medical doctor named Abdul Cader Asmal, co-chairman of communications for the Islamic Council of New England. In 2011, Dr. Asmal was stripped of his medical license by disciplinary action from the Massachusetts Board of Medicine.
At our meeting with Ms. Wangsness, we traced for her a timeline of Mehanna’s trajectory from a Sudbury, MA teenage son of Egyptian immigrants to a budding Al Qaeda terrorist. Mehanna had been radicalized at the Islamic Center of Worcester and the Islamic Center of New England in Sharon, Massachusetts. We showed her documents revealing that these mosques were led by imams who happened to be the brothers of one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, Hafiz Saeed. Saeed, who had visited the Boston area when Mehanna was 12, is the Pakistani mastermind of one of the world’s deadliest mass mall shootings: the 2008 Mumbai Massacre. According to the Times of India, his Massachusetts-based brothers raised money and recruited members for his terrorist group in the Bay State.
Ms. Wangsness learned how the Islamic Center of Worcester, in particular, actively engages in youth indoctrination. During Mehanna’s trial, the mosque’s elementary schoolchildren were tasked with drawing “Free Tarek Mehanna” posters and then carted off to the Federal Court building in Boston to chant anti-American slogans.
We shared with Ms. Wangsness interviews with moderate Muslims who reached out to us asking for help in fighting the extremists who had hijacked their community and are brainwashing their children. We showed her a vicious and threatening letter that local extremist leader Nabeel Khudairi sent to a moderate Muslim who dared challenge the extremists in his mosque.
She looked at all our evidence, thanked us politely, and reported nothing. Now perhaps we can understand why.
On January 30, 2013, Wangsness spent part of the day with Abdul Cader Asmal — the disgraced medical doctor and supporter of Tarek Mehanna; with officials from the Islamic Center of Worcester — which was the incubator for Mehanna’s hatred and still may be for dozens of young children; and with Nabeel Khudairi — the intimidator of moderate Muslims. Their goal, according to leaked emails, was to pressure the Catholic Diocese of Worcester to cancel a talk by Robert Spencer, a well-known critic of Islamic doctrine, especially its treatment of non-believers, whom they falsely accused of hating Muslims.
They succeeded. The Worcester Diocese cancelled Spencer’s talk without the courtesy of informing him directly. He had to learn about it from Wangsness, who reached out to him for comment in a series of emails whose line of questioning followed the “have you stopped beating your wife?” formula. The article she published in the next day’s Boston Globe (“Catholic event cancels talk by Islam critic”) was a foregone conclusion: Spencer was portrayed as a villain, while Wangsness’s extremist associates were made to look like sympathetic victims. Though the article quoted Abdul Cader Asmal positively as a doctor, it made no mention of his permanent removal from practice through disciplinary action.
Robert Spencer is a controversial author and speaker, yet in some ways, his views on Islam tend to be more scholarly than many of the atheist critics of Christianity, who, without much fuss, populate American universities and cultural institutions. Spencer forcefully makes the point that, as with all religions, adherents range widely — from the absolute literalists to the largely secular “cultural” Muslims. Spencer says he is not against Muslims, but against the political aspect of Islam, which demands that its followers act — violently if necessary — to subjugate infidels and establish a theocracy.
Disagreeing with Spencer is simply not a valid reason to prevent people from hearing his arguments and his warnings. A pluralistic and open society must always favor the free exchange of all ideas to the intolerant suppression of dissent. It is sadly ironic, though no longer surprising, that a member of the press would join Islamist extremists in trying to suppress free speech, and — in Wangsness’ case — go as far asto effectively censor information related to extremist activities.
Why would Ms.Wangsness behave this way? Surely she doesn’t share the radical Islamic ideological hatred toward America espoused by the people she’s protecting. Much more likely, she believes in the political dogma adopted by the ‘social justice’-seeking media and civic elites. It is based on the false narrative that American Muslims constitute a “vulnerable minority,” which deserves protection from criticism — even if such protection involves the suppression of facts and the repression of critics. Sadly, too many journalists and political leaders collaborate with this crusade against the truth, and too many newspapers make it a matter of editorial policy. Journalists like Lisa Wangsness of the Boston Globe have largely become instruments of a truly illiberal orthodoxy. Its fetishes and myths — that Western culture is racist, that Islam is the religion of peace, that Muslims are always victims, and that anyone who says otherwise must be denounced and silenced — can never be questioned. It is through this dogmatism that the radical Islamists have won from the media and political elites a special set of protections.
Commenting on the infamous YouTube video criticizing Islam’s prophet Mohammed, which resulted in Muslim mobs rioting and killing around the world, President Obama expressed a strange view on the concept of dissent in a free society. He said: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” With this statement, Obama attacked the right to criticize Islam, and he was in effect targeting not only YouTube provocateurs, but also people like Robert Spencer….