Muslims should be the first to understand why a mosque in 2010 Brooklyn, USA would be problematic.
The proposed construction of a four-story “masjid” and community center at Voorhies Avenue and East 29th Street is shrouded in secrecy, without a clear paper trail and looms as a prospective social hemorrhoid because of the intensification of religious extremism in today’s world; a canker solidified by the rapid growth of Europe’s immigrant Muslim population in the last 50 years.
A disturbing public record connects the dots between radical Islam, its spiritual leaders and its mosques, which have become a lightning rod for universal fears about religious fundamentalism and the degeneration of local ideals:
From January 8-16, igneous mosque rallies accompanied the firebombing of 11 churches, a Hindu temple and a masjid in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur over a violent dispute about non-Muslims using the word “Allah.”
An October 27, 2009 federal criminal complaint, filed in Eastern Michigan against local mosque leader Luqman Ameen Abdullah and 10 of his fellow African American followers, states, “The investigation has shown that [Abdullah], Imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq...is a highly placed leader of a nationwide radical fundamentalist Sunni group consisting of primarily African Americans, some of whom converted to Islam while they were serving sentences in various prisons across the US.” A day later, Abdullah was fatally shot by the feds for allegedly resisting arrest and firing a gun.
While not applicable to all mosques, the accounts speak to the traumatic conflict of integrating Muslim communities into pluralistic societies against the landscape of political correctness.
A September 9 2009 Times Online report states that the Queens Road Mosque in northeast London, “has been a recruiting ground for extremists for more than 20 years.”
In June 2009, Idonesia shuttered the Al Ikhsan Sabilillah mosque in East Java for hosting “terrorist activities.”
A March 16 2009 report by the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center reveals that during the December 2008-2009 Gaza War, evidence was “extensively documented” about the “storage of weapons in mosques...and about using the mosques for military training and as bases from which to launch rockets into Israel.”
And, according to a January 2002 BBC report, “...the [North London] Finsbury Park mosque has come under the spotlight several times for alleged links to Muslim terror suspects”; among them, 9/11 co-conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and “shoebomber” Richard Reid who tried to ply their terror on American shores.
Even advocates of the Sheepshead Bay mosque plan cannot deny the importance of knowing where its funding is coming from, which religious groups are its sponsors and in which language its sermons will be preached.
In January, 1999, Islamic Supreme Council of America Chair Muhammad Hisham Kabbani testified before the US State Department that his own investigation of 114 Muslim masjids revealed that extremists had taken over “more than 80 percent of the mosques in the United States.”
The US Defense Department, which requires its officers to read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and absorb its message of knowing one’s adversary, illustrates society’s struggle with addressing Islamo-fueled terrorism by omitting the word “Islam,” and only once mentioning alleged terrorist Nidal Hasan, in its milquetoast report on the Fort Hood shooting.
Muslims are welcome to be an institutional part of Brooklyn’s community, but first they need to be seen and heard at local civic meetings where the sausage-making occurs. So far, they have been a nonchalent no-show.