Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post provides a near-worshipful account of President Obama’s Wednesday visit to a Baltimore mosque. Jaffe’s third paragraph is representative:
The president often sounded like a concerned parent, worried for the country he leads as it prepares to replace him in a presidential election marked by inflammatory and anti-Islamic rhetoric.
Jaffe describes the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque as “a simple house of worship.” Post readers are never informed that things at the mosque aren’t quite that simple.
As Scott has pointed out, just a few years ago the FBI was monitoring this mosque as a breeding ground for terrorists, after arresting a member for plotting to blow up a federal building. Agents secretly recorded a number of conversations with a 25-year-old Muslim convert — Antonio Martinez, aka Muhammad Hussain — and other Muslims who worshiped there. According to the criminal complaint, Martinez said he knew “brothers” who could supply him weapons and propane tanks.
Does Martinez’s militancy represent the mosque’s official outlook? Not necessarily. However, the Islamic Society of Baltimore is affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America, which federal prosecutors in 2007 named a radical Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas front and an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator in a scheme to funnel more than $12 million to Hamas suicide bombers.
Moreover, according to Investor’s Business Daily, the mosque was led for 15 years by a radical cleric — Imam Mohamad Adam el-Sheikh — who once represented a federally designated al-Qaida front group. El-Sheikh also has argued for the legitimacy of suicide bombings. And ISB board member and vice president Muhammad Jameel has blamed American foreign policy — namely, U.S. support for Israel — for terrorism and the rise of Osama bin Laden.
I appreciate the sentiment that made President Obama want to visit a mosque. But by failing properly to vet the venue, and indeed reportedly letting the Council on American-Islamic Relations choose the site even though the FBI has banned this outfit from outreach because of known ties to the Hamas terrorist group, it’s questionable that Obama did the the cause of interfaith understanding any good.
Sure, the mainstream media will attempt to cover up the real story of the mosque Obama selected. But as word leaks out, many Americans will realize (or see confirmation) that Obama is peddling a dangerous fantasy.
Jaffe says that Obama’s remarks were addressed in part to “a growing number of Americans who seemed unnerved by the Islamic faith.” How much more unnerved will Americans be if they learn that the very mosque selected by Team Obama for the president’s visit has ties to terrorists and their supporters?
The cause of interfaith understanding would be better served by acknowledging the extent to which the battle for control of the message of Islam is being waged in the U.S. Then, Obama could weigh in on behalf of anti-jihadist, pro-western voices, rather than on behalf of CAIR and its militant-supporting, blame-America-first allies.