The Case Against the ISB
At this fraught time in the history of Islamist radicalism, extremism and terrorism, it is important that public authorities, especially including police and security services, not inadvertently confer legitimacy and credibility on organizations and individuals whose histories and associations raise legitimate questions about their ideological background, links and agendas.
These groups have a history of falsely presenting themselves as the only legitimate voice of ordinary Muslims and that fact is enough to ring alarm bells because no one Muslim organization speaks for all of us.
As shown in the case of the Islamic Society of Boston, one way in which authorities can unintentionally assist in building the credibility of undeserving, extremist groups and individuals is by sponsoring and attending their meetings and events. Meanwhile, the silent majority – genuinely moderate Muslims – are left without a voice.
Given the importance of ensuring that official public outreach to Muslim communities involve only reliable representatives of moderate Islam – especially as models for Muslim youth – the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow believes that media and political leaders must not give legitimacy to organizations and groups that have any subversive links to terrorism.
We consider ourselves the front line warriors in the battle against a global jihadist insurgency and we need understanding of the issues by our policy makers and legal systems. Our work is made much more difficult if we have to monitor constantly the subversive agendas of Islamist groups who have learned to charm politicians in front of the cameras while preaching hate and radicalism from behind the pulpit.
President, Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow
The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), one of New England’s most prominent religious institutions, has long benefitted from the support of Massachusetts’s political, cultural, religious and media elite. ISB officials have advised the Massachusetts governor, enjoyed the support of Boston’s mayors, spoken at Boston’s largest synagogue, and been made the subject of admiring pieces in the Boston Globe.
This support is bewildering when one considers the wealth of evidence linking the ISB to the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremist groups, its hosting of hate preachers, and its teaching of a radical curriculum within the American Muslim community. Clear evidence of this and more is based on years of research by counter-extremist groups and the fallout from an abortive high-profile lawsuit against critics of the ISB’s terror links. This dossier serves to document much of what we know about the ISB’s extremist links. It paints a troubling picture, and should remind those in the state and federal government who think the ISB might make a suitable interfaith or intercultural partner that they are sorely and dangerously wrong.
What we do know about the ISB is troubling and incontrovertible. The ISB was established as a key component of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Its founder, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, has been named by the federal government as a key Al Qaeda operative. Other trustees have included senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders who have repeatedly spouted anti-democratic, pro-terror and anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Twelve officials, sponsors and worshippers at the ISB have been either charged with terrorism offenses, killed, deported or are on the run. The surviving Boston marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who attended the ISB, used his last hours hiding from police to scribble extremist rhetoric eerily similar to Islamist tracts found to be part of a Muslim Brotherhood training program, named Tarbiya, which is taught at the ISB.
The ISB has been financed by organizations and individuals based across the Middle East, from Saudi Arabia to Kuwait, some of which are closely connected with Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The ISB itself also gave $14,000 to the Holy Land Foundation, a terror-financing charity that was shut down in 2001, with its leaders convicted in a high-profile trial, during which several ISB trustees were implicated.
If there was once any suspicion that the ISB was simply misguided or merely included a few bad apples, that notion was disproved long ago. The ISB is institutionally and ideologically extreme. Its links to radical Islamism are indisputable, and its imams and preachers continue to peddle hate.
Perhaps one of the greatest injustices in the tale of the ISB has been the effect of the ISB’s extremist agenda on Boston’s historically moderate Muslim community. Today, those Boston Muslims who oppose the extremist ideals of the ISB and its affiliates have been intimidated into silence. Their platform was taken away by the ISB, which sought to impose its own strain of Islamism upon American Islam, facilitated by naively eager politicians keen to latch on to any Muslim voice.
For as long as Massachusetts’ media and political elite continue to empower the ISB, Islamism and its violent ideas will continue to sow hatred for non-Muslims, foment jihadist plots and marginalize those among Boston’s Muslims who oppose such dangerous bigotry.
The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) was established in 1981 and officially incorporated in 1982 by members of Muslim Students Associations based at Harvard University, Boston University, MIT, Northeastern University, Wentworth Institute, Suffolk University, and Tufts University.
Until 2004, the ISB’s constitution declared: “The organization shall be affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Arab Youth Association, the North American Islamic Trust and the Muslim Student Association.” During the 2007 terror financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation, these four organizations would be uncovered as the building blocks of the American Muslim Brotherhood.
Muslim Student Associations (MSAs) across the United States were founded and managed by Muslim Brotherhood activists who came to study in the US in the 1960s. These MSAs functioned as the organizational beachheads of Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] activism in the U.S. and are the predecessors to most of today’s American Islamist bodies.
“The reality of the Movement is that it is a students’ Movement. What the movement should be is to become a Movement for the residents…In the years ’80 and ’81, we started to work on a new kind of plan which is planning at the regions’ level…The first change was moving the Ikhwans from working at the branches of the MSA and the [Muslim Arab Youth] Association as branches whose activities are based on universities…to what is called at that time ‘The Muslim House’…a house near the university with Ikhwans living in a part of it and the rest of it becoming a mosque…We notice that during the past two or three years that many of the students’ gathering started to establish Islamic centers. This was also another healthy move for settling the Dawa’a, as the presence of the Islamic center means the presence of residents…means permanent foundations in these cities.”
As with the MSAs, the Muslim Arab Youth Association was also active in Boston during the 1980s. According to the Muslim Brotherhood’s 1991 internal report on the history and future of the Muslim Brotherhood in America:
“Muslim Arab Youth Association and its work centered around the Muslim Students coming to America from all the Arab countries. It developed significantly during the eighties and the Ikhwan play a fundamental role in leading and directing it at the leadership and the grassroots levels.”
According to the FBI, MAYA’s leaders, “played pivotal roles in building HAMAS’s infrastructure in the United States.” The FBI claims that “MAYA served as a conduit for money to HAMAS . . . and served as a forum where HAMAS could promote its ideology and recruit new members.”
While the MSAs developed these regional Islamic centers, it also established the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a national body to manage its expansion. According to the same 1991 internal report:
“In 1980, the Muslim Students [Association] was developed into the Islamic Society in North America (ISNA) to include all the Muslim congregation from immigrants and citizens, and to be a nucleus for the Islamic Movement in North America.”
Today, the ISB is still closely associated with these parent Muslim Brotherhood organizations. The ISB still maintains its tax exempt status under the umbrella of ISNA. And ISB financial records indicate that the ISB actively funded several local MSAs between 2000 and 2003 – giving the MSA of UMass Lowell $800, the Harvard Islamic Society $1500, the MIT MSA $3000, and the Islamic Society of Northeastern University a total of $9,816. In 2000, the ISB donated $1,500 to the Muslim Arab Youth Association.
In the decades following the establishment of the ISB, a number of new Islamist bodies associated with the ISB came to the fore. In 2004, control of the ISB’s mosque in Roxbury was handed over to the Muslim American Society, which federal prosecutors have labelled the “overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” ISB and Muslim American Society officials assumed positions in each other’s organizations.
One of the most significant terror connections to the ISB, however, is PTech, a small software company in Boston. In 2002, PTech was raided by counter-terrorism agents. PTech had come to the attention of the authorities in the months following the 9/11 attacks, when PTech’s investor, Yassin Al Qadi, was identified by the government as one of Osama bin Laden’s “chief money launderers.”
Further investigation found that a considerable number of PTech’s other staff and directors were affiliated with Hamas and Al Qaeda networks.
A number of prosecutions followed. In 2005, PTech board member Suliman Buheiri was convicted for his dealings with Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook. In 2008, PTech employee Muhamed Mubayyid was convicted for his role in Care International, an Al Qaeda-linked group used as “a front for the collection of donations…used to support violent jihadists.”
Then, in 2009, PTech founder Oussama Ziade was indicted on charges of dealing in the property of a designated terrorist, failing to block the terrorist’s assets and making false statements to federal investigators. He is currently a fugitive.
Ziade was a donor of the ISB. Quite a few staff and directors of PTech, in fact, were closely intertwined with the ISB. Ziade’s co-founder of PTech, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, also originally founded the ISB. Alamoudi is currently serving a jail sentence for his role in the attempted assassination of a Saudi Crown Prince.
Other ISB connections include: Hossam Al Jabri, one of PTech’s software engineers, who is currently a board member of the ISB’s Roxbury mosque; Saladin Ali-Salaam, a PTech network administrator and the son of ISB leader Muhammad Ali-Salaam; and Suheil Laher, PTech’s “chief architect” and, today, a frequent speaker at the ISB.
Other ISB figures who were not directly involved in PTech nevertheless lent their support. Basyouni Nehela, an imam at the ISB, posted a message on the ISB’s website encouraging Muslim to support PTech against their ‘oppressors.’
As an institution, the ISB is evidently closely connected with the Muslim Brotherhood. Who, then, are the key people involved?
Abdulrahman Alamoudi, ISB Founder
Abdulrahman Alamoudi, along with other students from Muslim Student Associations in Massachusetts, founded the ISB in 1982, and incorporated its legal entity in 1982.
Some twenty years later, in 2004, Alamoudi pled guilty in a U.S. court to conspiring with the Libyan regime to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
The following year, the federal government stated that the “arrest of Alamoudi was a severe blow to al Qaida, as Alamoudi had a close relationship with al Qaida and had raised money for al Qaida in the United States.” Alamoudi, the U.S. government revealed, had given $1 million to the Al Qaeda operative Saad Al Faqih and his British-based organization, the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia.
Alamoudi also worked, alongside Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, for the United Association for Studies and Research, which, in 2000, federal prosecutors revealed to be a component of a Hamas fundraising network in the U.S..
In 2001, Alamoudi attended a conference in Beirut along with leaders of the terror groups Al Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. And in 2003, federal court documents alleged Alamoudi funneled tens of thousands more dollars to Hamas through other organizations under his control.
In the years after founding the ISB, Alamoudi was certainly not shy about his terror connections. At a rally in Washington D.C., Alamoudi told the crowd: “We are all supporters of Hamas, Allahu Akbar … I am also a supporter of Hezbollah.”
Alamoudi believed that the Islamist struggle in America, however, should eschew terrorist violence in favor of political infiltration and social engineering – in 1996, he told a crowd of Hamas supporters: “This country will become a Muslim country. And I think if we outside this country we can say ‘oh, Allah destroy America’, but once we are here, our mission in this country is to change it. … There is nowhere for Muslims to be violent in America, nowhere at all. We have other means to do it. You can be violent anywhere else but in America.” The ISB, it seems, is a manifestation of this approach.
Alamoudi was also a founder of PTech, a Massachusetts company funded by Al Qaeda financier Yassin Al Qadi.
Osama Kandil, ISB Trustee
Long-serving ISB trustee Osama Kandil also founded the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA), along with Osama Bin Laden’s nephew, Abdullah Bin Laden. In 1991, a Muslim Brotherhood document identified MAYA as one of its front groups.
During its heyday in the late 1980s and 1990s, MAYA’s organized conferences for young Islamists in America, and brought prominent Middle Eastern terrorists to incite, recruit, and fundraise among them.
The current global leader of Hamas, Khalid Meshaal, was the keynote speaker at MAYA’s 1992 convention. In 1995, MAYA invited the Hamas military leader, Sheikh Muhammad Siyam, to address one of its conferences. Siyam told the crowd: “Finish off the Israelis. Kill them all. Exterminate them. No peace ever.”
By 2004, MAYA had been added to a U.S. government list of Islamic organizations that supported terror.
That same year, the government named Kandil as a member of the SAFA Group, a network of businesses and charities operating out of Virginia, accused of laundering funds for terrorist groups.
In addition, Kandil, along with Abdulrahman Alamoudi and Osama Bin Laden’s nephew Abdullah Bin Laden, was a director of an organization named Tabieh International, which federal prosecutors linked to Al Qaeda.
Osama Kandil was the original chairman of the board of trustees of the ISB. He remained as such for over a decade. In 2004, following a media furor over the ISB’s extremist connections, the Boston Globe reported that Kandil and his colleagues had been replaced by a “new leadership,” which would work as a “moderating influence” and which was “free of extremist influences.”
This new face of the ISB was a facade – land registry records reveal that Kandil remains one of the legal owners of the ISB’s mosques up until the present time.
Walid Fitaihi, ISB Treasurer
Walid Fitaihi is a treasurer of the ISB, but he was also an inaugural trustee of the Islamic Society of Boston Trust, a body established in 1993 to to hold the legal ownership of the land on which the ISB’s mosques were built.
In 2005, the ISB filed a lawsuit against a number of Boston media and human rights activists who had exposed the ISB’s extremist connections. The case dragged on for several years. In 2007, after a Massachusetts judge ruled that Fitaihi and his fellow trustees must be joined as plaintiffs to the suit and submit themselves to the discovery process, Fitaihi quickly resigned as a trustee before he would have to comply. A few months later, the ISB dropped its lawsuit entirely, upon which Fitaihi was suddenly reappointed as a trustee.
According to bank records obtained during the ISB’s failed lawsuit, Fitaihi and his family donated over $2 million to the ISB.
Yusuf Al Qaradawi, Spiritual Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and ISB Trustee
Yusuf Al Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, was one of the original trustees of the ISB, and remained listed as such on IRS filings until 2000. He was also listed as an “additional trustee” of the Islamic Society of Boston Trust.
The ISB later claimed that the inclusion of Qaradawi as a trustee on its IRS forms was a “clerical error.” But in 2002, two years after being banned from entering the United States, Qaradawi was still listed on the ISB website as a trustee. That same year, Qaradawi produced a fundraising appeal on videotape for an ISB event.
Muhammad Attawia, ISB Trustee
Muhammad Attawia is another original trustee of the ISB Trust. For a long time, among all the ISB trustees, he was relatively unknown. In 2007, however, the terror financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation produced a vast cache of Muslim Brotherhood documents detailing the Islamist movement’s strategies, activities and membership in America.
In particular, Government exhibit 003-0034 revealed a 1991 Muslim Brotherhood leadership telephone directory, in which Muhammad Attawia is named as the regional leader of the Muslim Brotherhood’s New England branch.
Attawia was also once the vice-president of the Muslim American Society, which federal prosecutors have labelled the “overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”
In 2002, the ISB established a formal relationship with the Boston branch of the Muslim American Society, which was put in charge of the ISB’s Roxbury mosque.
Attawia is currently a member of the board of Islamic Relief USA, the American branch of a British-based Muslim Brotherhood charity, Islamic Relief Worldwide. From 2008-2010, in fact, Attawia was also listed in British records as a director of Islamic Relief Worldwide. The Islamic Relief franchise was established by leading Muslim Brotherhood officials, and remains so to this day.
One of Islamic Relief’s founding trustees, Essam El-Haddad, became the national security advisor to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President, Muhammad Morsi. Islamic Relief’s branches work closely with extremist preachers and a number of organizations implicated in Al Qaeda terrorism.
In Gaza, Islamic Relief funds the Al Falah Benevolent Society, which is run by Ramadan Tamboura, whom the newspaper Ha’aretz describes as a “well-known Hamas figure.” In 2014, the United Arab Emirates listed Islamic Relief Worldwide as a terrorist organization.
Jamal Badawi, ISB Trustee
Jamal Badawi, a senior Muslim Brotherhood cleric, was appointed as a trustee of the ISB in 2007.
That same year, Badawi was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial over the funneling of money to Hamas.
Documents uncovered in the trial reveal that Badawi appears in an internal Brotherhood members’ directory from 1992.
He has expressed opposition to democracy, and describes suicide bombers and Hamas terrorists as freedom fighters and “martyrs” who ought to be compared to those who fought the Nazis. He also supports the right of men to beat their wives.
Mustafa Abu Sway, ISB President 1990-1992
According to his own curriculum vitae, Mustafa Abu Sway was the President of the ISB from 1990-1992.
Hamas’ own website has cited Abu Sway’s work, such as his study of Hamas’ attitude towards Jews, in which Sway appears to argue that Hamas is not institutionally anti-Semitic but its attitude towards Jews is the unavoidable product of the Palestinians’ circumstances.
The Al Zaytouna Centre, which published Abu Sway’s study, has previously published a book containing writings of senior Hamas leaders, which sought to “present Hamas’ perspective towards political and social reform.”
In 2012, Hamas leader Khalid Meshal thanked the Al Zaytouna Center directly for organizing a conference for Islamist operatives. During his speech the Center, Meshal reaffirmed his commitment to “jihad and armed resistance” as the “correct and authentic means for the liberation of Palestine and the restoration of all rights.”
Abu Sway has also served on the board for two Hamas organizations in Jerusalem, the Heritage Foundation and the Foundation for the Development of Society.
Basyouni Nehela, ISB Imam
Basyouni Nehela is an Imam at the ISB’s Cambridge mosque, as well as a director of the Muslim American Society’s Boston branch.
Nehela manages the Muslim Brotherhood’s national Tarbiya program in the United States, a religious innovation of the Muslim Brotherhood in which students embark on a course of study of Islamist texts written by pro-terror and anti-Western ideologues.
In 2002, Nehela posted a message on the ISB’s website encouraging Muslims to support Ptech, a company funded by Al Qaeda financier Yassin Al Qadi, and which was, a few weeks beforehand, raided by federal agents invesigating its terrorist links. Nehela described the investigation as “oppression” and declared that Muslims are “obligated to stand with the oppressed ones regardless of their religion or origin.”
Three of PTech’s members were accused of terrorism charges, of whom two were eventually convicted.
Hossam Al Jabri, ISB Trustee
In the late 1990s, Hossam Al Jabri was on the ISB steering committee. He is the former President of the Boston branch of the Muslim American Society, a Muslim Brotherhood organization; and he is a current board member of the ISB’s Roxbury mosque.
Further, Jabri was a software engineer at the terror-linked company PTech. While he was employed there, he wrote almost $50,000 of checks to the ISB.
Jabri personally donated money to the Holy Land Foundation, the terror charity shut down by the U.S. government in 2007, during the period it was sending funds to Hamas.
Mahdi Bray, ISB PR officer
The ISB employed Mahdi Bray, the director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, to lead a PR campaign during the ISB’s lawsuits against counter-extremist campaigners.
In 2002, Bray was chairman of a “Support Committee for Imam Jamil Al-Amin,” an Islamic jihadist who murdered a police officer.
In 2003, Bray condemned the conviction of Sami Al Arian, a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
And in 2005, Bray expressed support for Ali Al Tamimi, whom a U.S. court found guilty on charges that he encouraged followers to join the Taliban and fight U.S. troops.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s main English-language website has reported that Bray and other leaders of the Muslim American Society have travelled to Egypt on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Muhammad Ali Salaam, ISB leader and BRA official
Muhammad Ali Salaam was a city official tasked with directly overseeing a real estate deal between the ISB and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), with which the ISB was planning to build its mosque in Roxbury.
Ali Salaam, however, was not an impartial arbiter. While working as the Deputy Director of the BRA, he was also assuming leadership roles in the ISB. In May 1999, in a letter written on BRA stationery, Ali Salaam negotiated with a contractor to provide a lower price for the ISB.
In the winter of 1999, Ali Salaam took part in an ISB fundraising trip to the Middle East to fundraise for the mosque project, at the request of ISB trustees.
During that same period, Ali Salaam co-signed a letter with ISB trustees sent to the President of Roxbury Community College, upon which the new ISB mosque was to be built. The letter included a check for the College of $10,000.
Ali Salaam also donated $11,690 of his own money to the ISB’s mosque project in Roxbury.
There was a flagrant conflict of interest. In February 1999, in a confidential memorandum, Ali Salaam advised the ISB Board on how to obtain favorable terms from the BRA. Although he is a city employee, Ali Salaam refers to the City of Boston as “they” and to the ISB as “we.”
In March 2000, the Roxbury land was valued by the city at $2,010,966. But a few months later, in June 2000, the BRA agreed to sell the land for the Roxbury mosque to the ISB for $401,187.50, of which the ISB was only required to pay a paltry $175,000 in cash and make up the rest in public benefits. These benefits – which included a series of public lectures, books on Islamic law and the history of Islam, and maintenance of a nearby park – were never delivered.
Ali Salaam’s son, Saladin Ali-Salaam, worked as a “network administrator,” along with several other ISB representatives, at PTech, the Massachusetts company linked to Hamas and Al Qaeda.
Suhaib Webb, Imam
Suhaib Webb served as the Imam of the ISB’s Roxbury mosque from 2011 to 2014. Webb has claimed that animosity toward Jews is understandable, believes that eye contact between the sexes is a sin, and has suggested that homosexuals are cursed.
He has described secularism as a “radical, lunatic ideology.”
In addition, according to FBI surveillance documents, Webb spoke at a dinner in 2001 alongside the late Al Qaeda leader, Anwar Al Awlaki, to raise money for the legal defense of Jamil Abdullah Al Amin, who murdered two police officers in Georgia.
Abdullah Faaruuq, ISB Imam
Abdullah Faaruuq is an Imam who frequently preaches at the ISB’s Roxbury mosque. Faaruuq is also the Imam at the Mosque for the Praising of Allah, where he worked closely with Aafia Siddiqui in the 1990s.
Siddiqui later became a prominent Al Qaeda operative, who was convicted for attempted murder in 2010.
Siddiqui worked with Faaruuq to radicalize the local Muslim population at prisons in which Faaruuq served as a chaplain.
In response to Aafia Siddiqui’s arrest, Faaruuq encouraged Boston Muslims to “grab onto the gun and the sword” to defend her.
In addition, at a fundraiser for Siddiqui, Faaruuq said of her arrest in Afghanistan: “They say she took up a machine gun while they held her captive in the other room and was ready to attack her captors. What a brave woman she is. And if my mother was in the same place, she would have taken her West Indian machete and cut her way through those kafirs [infidels].”
Faaruuq is also a supporter of Tarek Mehanna, a terrorist operative convicted on charges including “conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda” and “conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country.”
Over the past decade, thirteen congregants, supporters, staff and donors of the ISB have been imprisoned, deported, killed or are on the run.
Abdulrahman Alamoudi – the founder of the ISB and Al Qaeda operative. He was jailed by an American court in 2004 for conspiring with the Libyan regime to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Yusuf Qaradawi – a former trustee of the ISB and the spiritual leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood. He is a fugitive after being charged by the Egyptian government with “incitement and assistance to commit intentional murder.”
Aafia Siddiqui – formerly, a regular worshipper at the ISB, now a jailed Al Qaeda operative. When arrested, Siddiqui was found to be in possession of plans to carry out large scale attacks on New York.
Tarek Mehanna – a worshipper at the ISB who was convicted of attempting to murder Americans and providing support to Al Qaeda.
Ahmad Abousamra – a key official in the Islamic State terror group who is on the FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ list. In June 2015, the media reported Abousamra may have been killed in an airstrike carried out by Iraq forces. Abousamra is the son of Abdulbadi Abousamra, the vice-president of the Muslim American Society’s Boston branch, which runs the ISB’s Roxbury mosque. In 2014, the New York Post reported that Ahmad Abousamra was a “regular worshipper” at the ISB’s mosques.
Oussama Ziade – one of the ISB’s donors. In 2009, he was indicted by the FBI on charges of dealing in the property of a designated terrorist, failing to block the terrorist’s assets and making false statements to federal investigators. He is currently a fugitive.
Hafiz Masood – a former leader of Muslim American Society’s Boston branch, which runs the ISB’s Roxbury mosque. Hafiz Masood, brother of Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed, who masterminded the 2008 Mumbai Massacre, in which 164 people were murdered. The Times of India reports that Hafiz Masood was raising money and recruiting for his brother’s terrorist group while living in the Boston area. After being deported by the government for filing a fraudulent visa application, Hafiz Masood has since become a spokesperson for Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a branch of his brother’s terrorist group, Lashkar-i-Taiba.
Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – the Boston marathon bombers. Tamerlan died while attempting to flee from Boston police. In May 2015, Dzhokhar was sentenced to death by a federal court for his role in the attacks. Both the Tsarnaev brothers worshipped at the ISB.
Khairullozhon Matanov – a close friend of the Boston marathon bombers. In June 2015, Matanov was imprisoned for obstructing the authorities’ investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings. On the night of the bombings, Matanov invited the Tsarnaev brothers for dinner, and deleted documents and photos from his computer. Matanov had first met Tamerlan Tsarnaev at the ISB’s Cambridge mosque.
Ibragim Todashev – a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was shot by an FBI agent in 2013 after he attacked the officer. According to ABC News, just before the attack, “Todashev was on the verge of signing a statement that implicated himself and Tamerlan Tsarnaev” in a triple murder case of three men found dead in Massachusetts. As with Matanov, Todashev met Tamerlan Tsarnaev at the ISB’s Cambridge mosque.
Usaama Rahim – a Boston Muslim under round-the-clock surveillance by an anti-terrorism task force. In June 2015, Rahim was shot and killed by a Boston police officer and an FBI agent after he lunged at them with a “military knife.” Rahim had worked as a security guard at the ISB. His brother, Ibrahim Rahim, is an imam who frequently spoke at the ISB.
In 2005, the ISB filed lawsuits against a number of media organizations and individuals who had spent several years exposing the ISB’s extremist links. One of ISB’s complaints to the courts concerned “false information that the ‘ISB receives funds from Wahabbis and/or Mustlem [sic)] Brotherhood and/or other Saudi/Middle Eastern sources,’ a libel which the Defendants did subsequently publish.”
The ISB’s legal attacks, however, would eventually backfire spectacularly. As the lawsuit continued, and new defendants were added by the ISB, the discovery process produced the ISB’s bank records, which, contrary to the ISB’s claims, did in fact show total donations to the ISB of over $8.6 million from Wahhabi, Gulf and Muslim Brotherhood sources.
Between 2000 and 2006, the ISB received:
- $1 million loan from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), which, at the time, was funded by governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Libya. The IDB has a long history of supporting Palestinian terrorism. In 2001 alone, the IDB transferred $538 million, raised through Saudi telethons, to support the Palestinian “resistance” and the families of suicide bombers.
- $50,000 through Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank (NCB). In 1999, in response to international pressure, the Saudi government audited the bank. It was chaired at the time by Osama Bin Laden’s brother-in-law. The audit revealed several millions of dollars had been diverted to terrorist organisations. Documents made available after 9/11 revealed that this terror financing continued after the audit.The NCB was founded by the late Saudi financier Khalid Bin Mahfouz, who also established the Muwafaq Foundation, accused by the U.S. government of being an Al Qaeda fundraising body. Mahfouz funded the Muwafaq Foundation with $30 million of his own money. The director of Muwafaq, in fact, was Yassin Al Qadi, an Al Qaeda financier who funded PTech, the terror-linked Boston company at which several ISB officials and associates were involved.
- $50,000 from Ahmed Salem Bin Mahfouz, the brother of Khalid Bin Mahfouz. A French parliamentary report claims that one subsidiary of Sedco, a company owned by the Mahfouz family, is “suspected by the US of having made donations to Osama Bin Laden.” Walid Fitaihi, the ISB’s former trustee, is a regular speaker at Sedco conferences.Ahmed Mahfouz also founded the International Development Foundation, which the same French report also claims had “points of contact” with Al Qaeda.
- $6,450 from Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, whom Zacarias Moussaoui, the 9/11 terrorist, has named, during sworn testimony, as an Al Qaeda donor.
- $1,458.56 from Lajnat al Dawa al Islamia, a charity connected to the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood and which, in 2004, the U.S. Government designated as a terrorist entity.
In addition to this incoming money, the ISB also gave money to terror-linked organizations. The ISB granted:
- $14,907 to the Benevolence International Foundation, which later, in 2002, the US government designated as a “financier of terrorism.”The U.S. Treasury claims that the Foundation’s chief executive, Enaam Arnaout, had a “close relationship” with Bin Laden, and that “Various documents also established that Arnaout worked with others – including members of al Qaida – to purchase rockets, mortars, rifles, and offensive and defensive bombs, and to distribute them to various mujahideen camps, including camps operated by al Qaida.”
- $50,728 to LIFE for Relief and Development. In 2006, LIFE offices were raided by FBI agents. Terrorism investigators have claimed that LIFE’s staff are involved with the Iraqi Islamic Party, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.LIFE’s PR coordinator, Muthanna Al Hanooti, is the son of the late Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammed Al Hanooti. In 2011, Muthanna Al Hanooti was found guilty of working with Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Intelligence Services.
As we have demonstrated, the ISB is a key component of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. But, as with many other Muslim Brotherhood organizations in the West, the ISB works closely with groups belonging to other Islamist movements.
ISB officials, for instance, have frequently spoken at events organized by the Islamic Circle of North America, which has identified itself as the outpost of Jamaat-e-Islami, a South Asian Islamist movement.
A 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document, in fact, describes the ICNA as one of the “organizations of our friends.”
The ISB also collaborates with other Islamic groups to provide da’wah [proselytization; literally: a call to God] – a form of social outreach in Islam.
In the eyes of Islamist movements, da’wah can mean a number of things: for some Muslims, da’wah simply means inviting non-Muslims to embrace Islam; and for missionary organizations such as Tablighi Jamaat, da’wah is the task of encouraging Muslims to become more pious.
But for the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist networks, da’wah also means the creation of grassroots support networks. The ISB gathers volunteers, establishes charities and community groups and provides welfare – all to persuade ordinary Muslims of the virtues of the Muslim Brotherhood cause.
For the Muslim Brotherhood terror group Hamas in Gaza, writes the counter-terrorism expert Matthew Levitt, da’wah efforts are “crucial to terrorist activity: they provide cover for raising, laundering, and transferring funds, facilitate the group’s propaganda and recruitment efforts, provide employment to its operatives, and serve as a logistical support network for its terrorist operations.”
Salafist terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda also subscribe to this very same da’wah model. In 2012, The Times reported, areas in Mali under the control of Al Qaeda terrorists enjoyed “subsidized state utilities, capped food prices and…welfare payments to the needy.”
Thousands of miles away in Boston, the ISB’s da’wah efforts have produced the mosques in Cambridge and Roxbury, as well as outreach work with students, interfaith groups and a close collaboration with a number of Islamic charities. In spite of the ISB’s extremist links, its da’wah efforts have served to sanitize the ISB’s reputation and legitimize its officials as the moral and political voices of American Islam.
Despite these successes, the ISB da’wah has been missing the power of a grassroots volunteer body. Consequently, the ISB has recently entered into a partnership with the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA), a Salafist da’wah group established in Britain in 2008.
But what sort of da’wah partner has the ISB embraced?
The iERA is, in fact, run by some of the West’s most extreme Islamic preachers. The iERA was established by Abdur Raheem Green, a former jihadist in Afghanistan who warns Muslims of a Jewish “stench.”
Other officials include Zakir Naik, who has said that “every Muslim should be a terrorist,” and Abdullah Hakim Quick, who has called upon God to “clean and purify al-Aqsa from the filth of the Yahood [Jews]” and “clean all of the lands from the filth of the Kuffar [non-believers].”
The iERA works closely with Sheikh Mohammad Al Arifi, a Saudi cleric banned from the United Kingdom after he was accused of radicalizing young Western Muslims now fighting for the Islamic State terror movement.
In 2013, in fact, five members of an iERA “da’wah team” left for Syria to join the Islamic State.
In 2013, as he lay wounded, Boston bomber fugitive Dzhokhar Tsarnaev penciled a confession on the walls of the boat in which he had sought refuge. Four days earlier, he and his brother had exploded twin homemade pressure cooker bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, murdering three and injuring 264.
Some of Dzhokhar’s scribblings are mirrored in the writings of prominent Islamist ideologues, whose teachings are today propagated among young Boston Muslims:
“We will pursue this evil force to its own lands, invade its Western heartland, and struggle to overcome it until all the world shouts by the name of the Prophet and the teachings of Islam spread throughout the world. […]
“Regularly make the intention to go on jihad with the ambition to die as a martyr. You should be ready for this right now. […]
“A Muslim has no relatives except those who share the belief in Allah. […]
“To be true Muslims, we must be Mujahideen. We can no more sit back passively; we must try, actively, to change history, that is, wage Jihad.”
Dzhokhar was paraphrasing Muslim Brotherhood luminaries Hassan Al Banna, Sayyid Qutb and Fathi Yakan; as well as Abul A’la Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami – the Muslim Brotherhood’s South Asian cousin.
These teachings can also be found in the library of the ISB. The Tsarnaev brothers, in fact, were attendees of the ISB mosques.
Extremist tracts at the ISB are, in fact, part of an intensive Islamist teaching program aimed at Boston’s historically moderate Muslim community. This program is known as “Tarbiya,” and is another important component of the ISB’s da’wah’ efforts. Tarbiya is not a tenet of historical Islam; it is a religious innovation of the cultic Muslim Brotherhood.
Documents for the program include a reading list of books by Muslim Brotherhood figures such as Hassan Al Banna and Sayyid Qutb; the South Asian jihadist ideologist Abul A’la Maududi; and Yusuf Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, whom the Anti-Defamation League describes as the “Theologian of Terror.”
The Muslim American Society, which runs the ISB’s Cambridge mosque, describes Tarbiya as a “rigorous educational curriculum,” which serves “to groom members who… are equipped with the necessary knowledge, understanding, and skills to make a difference in society.”
The Tabriya course relies on texts that are today considered among the most important Islamist tracts, used by groups across the globe to justify jihad against non-Muslims. Abul A’la Maududi’s Towards Understanding the Quran, for example, advocates jihad against Jews and Christians so that “they should be forced to pay Jizyah [a tax on non-Muslims] in order to put an end to their independence and supremacy.”
As can be seen throughout this report, links to terror and support for extremist ideas are not foreign concepts for the ISB. It appears that many of the attitudes displayed by officials of the ISB towards women, minorities, terrorism and Western society, in fact, reflect the ideals of radical Islamist groups across the globe. What are worshippers at the ISB taught?
In 2004, the ISB posted a treatise on its website titled “40 Recommendations for the Muslim Home.” The text advocated physical abuse of disobedient wives: “As to those women on whose part you fear ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful).” The article also advised parents to “hit” children who fail to pray and encouraged Muslim men to “hang up the whip where the members of the household can see it.”
The ISB’s Tarbiya program encourages students to study the teachings of a text written by Ghulam Sarwar, titled “Islam: Belief and Teachings.” In this pamphlet, Sarwar writes that, “In the West, women have been reduced almost to a plaything of enjoyment and fancy. Women have tended to degrade themselves probably unwittingly in modern times for the sake of real or imaginary equality. They have become objects of exploitation by men and the slogans of liberty and equality have virtually reduced them to playful commodities.”
A number of Bangladeshi groups have accused Ghulam Sarwar of complicity in Jamaat-e-Islami’s mass-murder of Bangladeshi journalists and intellectuals during the 1971 Liberation War.
A number of ISB officials have expressed anti-Semitic ideas. ISB imam, Suhaib Webb, has said that animosity toward Jews is understandable.
Walid Fitaihi, an ISB trustee, called Jews “murderers of prophets.”
The prescribed texts of the ISB’s Tarbiya program also encourage anti-Semitism. Milestones, written by the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, Sayyid Qutb, states that the “purpose” of “world Jewry… is to eliminate all limitations, especially the limitations imposed by faith and religion, so that the Jews may penetrate into body politic of the whole world and then may be free to perpetuate their evil designs. At the top of the list of these activities is usury, the aim of which is that all the wealth of mankind end up in the hands of Jewish financial institutions which run on interest.”
ISB imam Suhaib Webb has condemned homosexuality as an “evil inclination.”
He has also described effeminate men as “cursed.”
Former ISB trustee Yusuf Qaradawi has written, in his treatise The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, that homosexuality is a “perverted act … a reversal of the natural order, a corruption of man’s sexuality. … The jurists of Islam have held differing opinions concerning the punishment for this abominable practice. Should it be the same as the punishment for fornication, or should both the active and passive participants be put to death? While such punishments may seem cruel, they have been suggested to maintain the purity of the Islamic society and to keep it clean of perverted elements.”
Extremists at the Pulpit
Along with the extremist views held by many of its officials, the ISB has a history of inviting extremist preachers to address its worshippers.
“Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews. There are a number of books out on this written by Christians, you should read them. The Hoax of the Holocaust, I advise you to read this book and write this down, the Hoax of the Holocaust, a very good book. All of this is false propaganda and I know it sounds so far-fetched, but read it. The evidences [sic] are very strong. And they’re talking about newspaper articles, clippings, everything and look up yourself what Hitler really wanted to do. We’re not defending Hitler, by the way, but the Jews, the way that they portray him, also is not correct.”
In 2008, Qadhi claimed to have renounced his anti-Semitism. At the same time, however, Qadhi expressed support for the British Holocaust denier David Irving.
Qadhi is also a staff member at the terror-linked Al Maghrib Institute, where his colleagues include Said Rageah, a Canadian Islamist preacher who has preached that God should “destroy” the enemies of Islam and that the Christians and Jews are “damned”; and Abdullah Hakim Quick, a preacher who has called upon God to “clean and purify Al-Aqsa from the ﬁlth of the Yahood [Jews].”
Another Al Maghrib official, Abdulbary Yahya, has also spoken at the ISB.
The Muslim Brotherhood preacher Salah Soltan was a frequent speaker at the ISB during the first half of the ‘00s. Sultan is a member, along with former ISB trustee Jamal Badawi, of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, a body of Muslim Brotherhood clerics led by the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader and former ISB trustee, Yusuf Qaradawi.
In an interview with a Hamas television station, Soltan claimed that Jews use Christian blood to make matzoh bread. He has also praised the Al Qaeda operative Abd Al Majid Al Zindani, called upon Muslims to prepare themselves for Jihad against Israel, and claimed that Jews were deliberately entering Egypt to infect Egyptian girls with the AIDS virus.
In 2015, Soltan was sentenced to death by an Egyptian court, along with other senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders, for inciting murder.
Other recent speakers at the ISB have included Tariq Ramadan, a Muslim Brotherhood writer and public commentator who has said killing Israeli schoolchildren is “contextually explicable”; and Omar Suleiman, who describes homosexuality as a “disease” and a “repugnant shameless sin.”
In October 2015, the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) hosted a two-day conference on behalf of the Qalam Institute. One of the keynote speakers, Mufti Hussain Kamani, has a history of expressing extremist statements.
In a talk titled ‘Sex, Masturbation and Islam,’ Kamani explains that a Muslim man must only fulfil his sexual desires “with his spouse…[or] with a female slave that belongs to him.”
Muslims must not be led astray by Western society, Kamani declares, in which “we are surrounded by filth … our environment is full of this filth, everywhere we turn.” This “filth”, he concludes, has led to a crisis of widespread masturbation and adultery. Muslims who masturbate, Kamani claims, spiritually will be cursed; and physically will suffer from digestive problems, impotency and premature ejaculation.
Those who commit adultery or have sex outside of marriage, Kamani also states, must be “stoned to death.”
During another talk on ‘Rights of a Wife in Islam,’ Kamani explains “how to deal with the women folk” and how Muslim husbands can “train their wives.” Beating women, Kamani advises, should only be a “last measure.”
Another speaker at the conference is the founder of the Qalam Institute, Abdul Nasir Jangda, who frequently presents sermons about the iniquities and treacheries of the Jews during the time of Islam’s Prophet. Jangda describes Jews in this period as a “really bad people” who opposed the peaceful message of Islam and “liked the trouble because they were able to pull the strings and maintain some type of advantage in the community through political maneuvering. … They were very hateful, very spiteful.”
Jangda is also an instructor at the Al Maghrib Institute. His colleagues at Al Maghrib include Abu Eesa Niamatullah, who has said of Jews, “They find it so easy and natural to do what they do….Look at them today, look at the way they massacre. They blow up babies like as if it’s a computer game. They have no humanity, no morality, no ethics.”
The founder of Al Maghrib, Muhammad Al Shareef, has written a paper titled, ‘Why the Jews Were Cursed,’ in which he claims that Jews control the media and murder prophets, and advises Muslims not to “take Jews as our close allies.”
The infamous ‘underwear’ bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, attended seminars run by Al Maghrib in both London and Houston, where one of his instructors was Yasir Qadhi, a notorious hate preacher and a frequent speaker at the ISB.
According to detailed notes published by one of Jangda’s students, during a seminar that Jangda presented at the Al Maghrib Institute, Jangda defended the use of female sex slaves within Islam. Jangda reportedly concluded that, “Slavery in Islam … is vastly different and superior morally and spiritually to the atrocious, obscene, and vile Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.”
Furthermore, Jangda apparently expressed support for the killing of apostates and adulterers; claimed that a wife cannot refuse her husband sex: “The thing to understand is that the husband has his set of divinely given rights one of which is the right to have his physical desires satisfied”; and called for people who drink alcohol to be beaten: “One of the largest causes of death in the United States is drunk driving. Such policies would help curb them immensely and avoid harm to the people at large.”
The other speakers at the ISB’s conference included a mixture of ISB and Qalam Institute officials and students. The link between the two groups is due to AbdelRahman Murphy, a “visiting imam” at the ISB, a speaker at the upcoming conference, and a “instructor” at the Qalam Institute. Murphy has claimed “There is no such thing as an innocent Israeli.” He also accuses Israel of perpetrating a “New Holocaust” against Gaza and that the terror group Hamas only exists because “Israel massacred civilians.”
The ISB has repeatedly claimed to have rejected the extremist beliefs of its founding trustees and former officials. Its continued embrace of some of America’s most radical preachers, however, suggests otherwise.