Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Islam on Capitol Hill: Part Two - Updated

*Updated see below*

Yesterday, SMW took a look at some of the folks planning the Islam on Capitol Hill event. Today we continue. These posts are not meant to promote some of the hyper-reaction I have read on other sites where people are writing silly things. They are meant to provide information, which is readily available online, about the event and those organizing it. This is to help people have informed, reasonable discussions (and to make informed decisions) - not to fuel conspiracy theories and crazy talk. At some point SMW may publish an opinion about the whole thing but for now you just get details.

Who is organizing Islam on Capitol Hill?

The main mosque behind this event is Masjid Dar-ul Islam in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This is the mosque where Hassen Abdellah on the board. Also on the board is Saluhudeen Muhammad.

Is Saluhudeen Muhmmad on the board at Masjid Dar-ul Islam, Salahuddin Muhammed - the imam of Masjid Al Ikhlas (where two suspects in the Bronx terror plot were known) and state prison chaplain who converted to the Nation of Islam while in prison and then left it to follow Sunni Islam?

On 30 January 2009 Masjid Dar-ul Islam hosted a special speaker: Dr. Muhammad Al-Qatanani. Qatanani is an area imam who previously faced deportation after officials discovered his alleged links to Hamas. He was granted residency, but that decision is currently being appealed. Qatanani was the moderator of an imams meeting at an ICNA conference in 2001, since the event several participants have been arrested or deported on terrorism related charges. Qatanani allegedly admitted he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood (if you believe Wikipedia as a reliable source). He also has encouraged supporting the children of suicide bombers, publicly prayed for Hamas linked defendants, spoken at conference hosted by the Islamic Association for Palestine - which for years was a central player in Hamas' U.S. support network. The Investigative Project on Terrorism also has an audio of Qatanani saying the land making up Jordan, Syria, Israel, Palestine and Lebanon should be exclusively for Muslims.
On the website for Masjid Dar-ul Islam, Qatanani is described as an "expert on the Arab world and in particular Palestine and Palestinian affairs."

Also cited as helping to organize the event is the Islamic Society of New Jersey, which appears to also be known as Islamic Society of Central Jersey. ISCJ advertising the event on its website. ISCJ lists Dr. Parvaiz Malik as its chairman. Malik is a well reputed MD and plastic surgeon who appears to be involved in extensive charity work. Malik has been involved in the anti-war movement and has spoken at peace rallies - including the "Peace Train" in the Newark area. He was also a speaker at a 2005 ISNA conference where he contributed to a session called "Doctors, Engineers, and Professionals for the Betterment of the World."

Another member of the board at ISCJ is Dr. Helmi Saud, whose wife Amaney Jamal is a professor at Princeton. Jamal is a respected professor - who has written extensively on democracy in the Middle East. Jamal also presented the Palestinian narrative in a panel discussion about Operation Cast Leat at Brandes University earlier this year. She said that casualties caused by Israel "can't be justified" and expressed her opinion that Hamas believed Barack Obama would force Israel to stop after his inauguration.

Jamal also authored a paper titled "Mainstream America's Silence: The Racialization of Arab Americans" in which she wrote:
A long history of misrepresentation and the promotion of violent
stereotypes mark the popular American media; Arab and Muslim Americans were portrayed as terrorists long before 9-11.5 Muslims and Arabs are consistently absent from
that desirable group of “ordinary people, families with social interactions, or outstanding
members of communities such as scholars or writers or scientists.” This process of
demonization, Akram goes on to say, “has been so complete and so successful that film
critics, most Americans and social commentators have barely noticed” (Akram, 2002). In
fact, since the 1960s the US has unofficially classified Arabs as terrorists and perceived
them as threats to National Security (Hassan, 2003).

In fact, Americans have come to know and learn about Islam and Arabs
through the prisms of terrorism and barbarism. It is no surprise that 42% of Americans in
the Detroit metro area believe that 9-11 was a result of a deeply rooted disrespect for
democracy, freedom, and the rights of women. A good percentage of Americans clearly
believe that there is a fundamental clash of values between “us” and “them.” Simply put,
the US was attacked because it is fundamentally “good,” while the other is fundamentally
” .....
Some Arab and Muslims have accepted racial profiling, claim to
understand lengthy interrogations as their children stand by at airports, and apologize
over and over for 9-11 because they feel this self-subjugation will win tolerance from
their mainstream counterparts. However, tolerance assumes equality and good faith in
interactions. It also assumes that dominant forces—media, religion, government, and so
on—are not operating to espouse intolerance against a certain population.

Another board member at the ISCJ is Magdy Hagog. In 2003, acting as President of the ISCJ, Mr. Hagog expressed his regret when a court ruled that Muslim inmates in New Jersey State Prison did not have to receive halal meat. Like all other religious meals served in the prison - theirs were vegetarian.

Members of the ISCJ, and the school it runs, have repeated gone on the record saying "they are unfairly associated with Middle Eastern terrorism." One parent 'said terrorism comes from uneducated, unemployed youth who can be convinced the U.S. is the source of their misery.
By contrast, the Islamic Society of Central New Jersey comprises well-educated professionals with successful careers.'
According to NJ.com ISCJ has issued statements condemning terrorist attacks, and their current president Aly Aziz says "we do not consider terrorists Muslims because Islam is a religions of peace."

Noor ul Iman, the school run by ISCJ, actively encourages its female students to participate in sports teams, as long as they wear the hijab, long sleeves and no shorts. They have a successful girls basketball team.

The Washington Post cites Shakoor Mustafa of New Jersey as someone who has made a financial donation towards Islam on Capitol Hill. Is this the same Shakoor Mustafa of New Jersey who, with the support of the ACLU, took the Newark Police Department to court over his religious right to grow a beard on the job? This Shakoor Mustafa won his case, and the city was ordered to pay him $5000.00. He is still working for the police - with a full beard - and also works as an imam.

Amaker and Porterfield Transportation is listed as one of the main sponsors of Islam on Capitol Hill. Julia Amaker Porterfield is the company's president, and was previously listed as a Democratic Offical in Ward 3 District 10, along with Rashad Shabazz. Ms. Porterfield's son-in-law Taheem W. Muslim (married to her daughter Twanda), and her daughter Yulanda Sistrunk (who is also listed as secretary at the company) are involved in a lawsuit against three members of the Plainfield Police Deparment. SMW has not been able to locate any details involving this case other than the Docket No. UNN-L-004469-07. Yulanda Sistrunk also runs the Eula Mae Amaker Family Life Center which helps people at risk.

That is it for now.

UPDATE: Atlas Shrugs has posted details about the two men leading the prayers on the 25th: Sheikh Muhammad Jebril and Sheikh Ahmed Dewidar. In an interview Dewidar gave to the Muslim Brotherhood's website he said: "The media - most of which is under Zionist control - has helped to spread this perception." Later in the interview he said that "the Jews" control the press. When asked, "What is the extent of the Muslim community's influence on American society?" He answered, "The Zionist community numbers only 3 million, but they control the government, the politics, the economy, and the media in the U.S."