Marlowe's Shade

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

ISB's Latest PR Campaign

From the Boston Globe

Back in November I posted on the attention the Islamic Society of Boston was receiving due to its construction of a new mosque and its ties to radical jihadists.

In todays article in the Globe, the newly reconstituted board of the ISB is refuting those charges:

In an effort to quell concern that the group has ties to extremist individuals, several board members offered assurances of its moderate views and links. The society is building a mosque and cultural center in Roxbury on land provided by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

''We are trying to create a moderate, middle-of-the-road position," said Salma Kazmi, one of three members of the board of directors of the Islamic Society of Boston who met with Globe editors and reporters.

The board has embarked on an outreach program with media outlets and other religious organizations, particularly leaders in the Jewish community, to convey similar assurances, said Dr.Yousef Abou-Allaban of Walpole, chairman of the Islamic Society's board.

''We have to allay concerns that some people may have unfortunately have gotten about the society," he said.

In March, local leaders of the Anti-Defamation League sought explanations from the society about anti-Semitic articles written by one of its trustees, Walid Ahmad Fitaihi, that included statements that Jews ''perpetrated the worst of evils," ''brought the worst corruption to the earth" and ''killed prophets."

Fitaihi remains a member of the society's board of trustees, but in June that board turned over all of its control and power in running the society to a new, seven-member board of directors, Abou-Allaban said. He said the group wanted more local control over the society. ''Unlike before, all the board members now live here or have business interests here," Abou-Allaban said.

While we certainly want to encourage the ISB to break with its jihadi past, the difficulty is one that those who have been in recovery programs will recognize. In order to address a problem you have to admit that you have one. The ISB is in denial and this is easily seen from the statements on their website that address the charges made by the Globe's rival, the Boston Herald.

In the statement the ISB responds to the following charges:

Of the charges against Fitaihi, the statement says the matter is under investigation and appropriate action will be taken. Todays article states he is still a member of the board of trustees.

It addresses the report concerning Osama Kandil by saying there is no court record of any proceeding against him. This sidesteps the question of an investigation by merely stating no charges have been filed.

What I find most disturbing is that although the Herald caught the ISB in a boldfaced lie when they had earlier claimed that Qaradawi never played a role in the ISB, in the statement they actually defend him as some kind of icon of Muslim moderation:

That Dr. al-Qaradawi endorsed the ISB Cultural Center proiect was never intended to be a secret. We clarified in past statements only that Dr. al-Qaradawi has not served on our board and has had no input in governance of our organization; we stand by that position.
In characterizing Dr. al-Qaradawi as "anti-Western", the Herald has ignored the following:
Dr. al-Qaradawi is recognized world-wide as a leading Muslim scholar and cleric and Chairman of Europe's Muslim Religious Council.
On February 14, 2002, an article in the Washington Post called Dr. al-Qaradaw "one of the most celebrated figures in the Arab world" and said that, in the Middle East, "the Egyptian cleric is seen as a voice of moderation."
Dr. al-Qaradawi was among the major panelists at the second annual US-Islamic Conference opened on January 10, 2004 in Doha, Qatar, and organized by the Washington based Brookings Institution.
Former US ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke, the chief negotiator for the historic 1995 Bosnian peace accord (the "Dayton Peace Accord'), spoke after Dr. Qaradawi on the first day of the conference. Former President Bill Clinton, delivered a speech at the conference on January 13.
According to the logic of the Herald, the reputations of President Clinton and Ambassador Holbrooke are now tarnished because they participated at meetings with al-Qaradawi. If Qaradawi were as the Herald has sought to portray him, why would he be invited to such a high level conference, organized by the prestigious Brookings Institute and attended by the likes of Holbrooke and Clinton?

Why indeed. How the leaders of the ISB must long for those halcyon days of the Clinton administration!

To set the record straight let's review some of the facts about Qaradawi:

It is also worth mentioning that the Jew-baiting, wife beating article is still posted on their site as noted earlier.

Although the Globe seems to be willing to be a kind of PR newswire for the ISB without challenging any of the their statements, the evidence in plain view continues to justify deep concerns of the true nature of the ISB.

papijoe 6:55 AM