An up-close look at the Islamic Society of Boston, where the Chechen terrorists who bombed the Marathon on April 15 occasionally attended worship services.
The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) was established in 1981 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to help local Muslims “preserve their Islamic identity” and “observe their obligations as Muslims.” Promoting “a comprehensive and balanced view” of Islam’s “universal and timeless” teachings, ISB “strive[s] to embody the ‘middle path’ to which the Qur’an calls—a path of moderation that is free of extremism.”
ISB was founded by Abdurahman Alamoudi, a supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah who is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence on terrorism charges. One of ISB’s original trustees (for at least 19 years) was Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. At ISB’s Cambridge library in 2003, an official of the interfaith group Americans for Peace and Tolerance found a number of jihadi texts as well as writings by the late Muslim Brotherhood leader Sayyid Qutb, who pioneered the ideology that Islamic terror groups like al-Qaeda embrace today.
ISB’s Cambridge mosque is operated by the Muslim American Society (MAS), which federal prosecutors have identified as an American front for the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2009, ISB members founded a sister mosque, known as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC), in Boston’s Roxbury section. Saudi funding sources supplied more than half of the $15.5 million that was used to create the new facility. Also key to ISBCC’s successful launch was Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s decision to make available, at a small fraction of market value, the land on which the Cultural Center was to be built.
ISB’s Cambridge and Boston mosques are both owned by the Islamic Society of Boston Trust. Sheik Basyouny Nehela, who serves as Imam of the Cambridge mosque, is a board-of-directors member of the Boston mosque.
Over the years, a significant number of ISB officials and attendees (in addition to the aforementioned Abdurahman Alamoudi) have been implicated in terrorist activities and affiliations. For example:
FBI surveillance documents show that two days before the 9/11 attacks, Suhaib Webb, Imam of ISB’s Boston mosque, joined al-Qaeda operative Anwar Awlaki in headlining a fundraiser on behalf of the Atlanta-based Muslim extremist Jamil al-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown), who had recently murdered two police officers in Georgia.
Aafia Siddiqui, who occasionally prayed at ISB’s Cambridge mosque, was arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 while in possession of cyanide canisters and plans to carry out a chemical attack in New York City. While in detention, Siddiqui tried to gun down some military officers and FBI agents; she is now serving an 86-year prison sentence for that offense.
Tarek Mehanna, who worshipped at the Cambridge mosque, received terrorist training in Yemen and plotted to use automatic weapons to inflict mass casualties in a suburban shopping mall just outside of Boston. In 2012 he was sentenced to 17 years in prison for conspiring to aid al-Qaeda. The FBI identified Ahmad Abousamra, the son of a former vice president of MAS’s Boston chapter, as Mehanna’s co-conspirator.
Anwar Kazmi, a member of the Cambridge mosque’s board of trustees, publicly called for leniency toward Siddiqui and Mehanna at a Boston rally in February 2012.
Jamal Badawi, a former trustee of the Islamic Society of Boston Trust (which owns both ISB mosques), was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial that investigated illegal fundraising efforts which had been made in behalf of Hamas.
Yasir Qadhi, who lectured at the Boston mosque in 2009 and again in 2012, advocates replacing American democracy with Sharia Law; characterizes Christians as “filthy” polytheists whose “life and prosperity … holds no value in the state of Jihad”; asserts that most modern Jews are descended from the Khazars and thus have no legal or historical claim to Israel; and accuses Jews of plotting to destroy Muslim peoples and societies. Further, Qadhi is an acolyte of Ali al-Timimi, a Virginia-based Imam who is currently serving life in prison for inciting jihad against U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Imam Abdullah Faaruuq, who has occasionally served as a spokesman for the Boston mosque, alleges that the USA Patriot Act permits American authorities to round up and arrest Muslims at will, even without evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Walid Fitaihi, a current ISB trustee, says that Jews are the “rapers of the worshippers of Allah” and should be scourged.
Oussama Ziade, a leading financial supporter of the Boston mosque, was indicted in July 2009 for taking cash from al Qaeda fundraiser Yassin Kadi.
ISB made headlines in the spring of 2013, when it was reported that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Muslim Chechen brothers who detonated a pair of deadly bombs at the Boston Marathon on April 15, had occasionally attended worship services at ISB’s Cambridge mosque. In the aftermath of the bombing, ISB advised its members: “If you get contacted by the FBI, please know your rights. You have the right to legal representation. Please contact the ACLU—they have lawyers in the legal department who are present and ready to talk to you.”