Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, currently on trial for terrorism charges from his role in the Boston Marathon bombings, prayed at the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) mosque in Cambridge, MA, which was founded by an Al Qaeda operative and funded with money from Saudi Arabia. According to Newsweek, the Tsarnaev brothers became radicalized after they started to attend this mosque.
Across the Charles River in Boston, the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) also operates the largest mosque on the Eastern Seaboard, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. It, too, was in large part established with money from Saudi Arabian elites. Indeed, former Saudi Minister of Petroleum Zaki Yamani gave the keynote speech at the celebration marking the transfer of public City of Boston land to the ISB to build its mega-mosque. Boston gave the ISB the land for less than 10% of its market value.
Now, for the first time, our organization, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) is making publicly available the names of wealthy Saudi and Gulf sources who together paid for over $8.6 million of the ISBCC mega-mosque’s $15.6 million price tag.
The Saudi donation records were recovered from the Islamic Society of Boston’s direct bank records, which were turned over to APT under court order during the ISB’s lawsuit against its critics for libel. The ISB was forced to drop the lawsuit after the lawsuit discovery process started revealing more and more of its connections to Islamic extremism and terrorism. A listing of donor names, donation dates, and dollar amounts, as well as the raw financial records in pdf form are included in this release. The records span the years 2000-2007, during which the ISBCC mosque was being built. There are multiple questionable Saudi and Gulf sources among these documents.
Among the donors to the ISB and its directors is Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan. Earlier this month, in a lawsuit launched by 9/11 victims’ families against the Saudi government, Zacaraias Moussaoui, the would-be twelfth hijacker in the 9/11 attacks, gave sworn testimony in which he alleged that Prince Bandar was also a donor to Al Qaeda.
Another donation to the ISB came from a Kuwaiti charity called Lajnat al Daawa al Islamiyya, a US Government designated terrorist entity whose Peshawar offices in Pakistan were once run by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
The largest source of Saudi funding for the ISB comes from the family fortune of Walid Fitaihi. A member of one of the wealthiest Saudi families, Walid Fitaihi also sits on the ISB’s Board of Trustees and is therefore one of the legal owners of both the ISBCC and the ISB Cambridge mosques. Fitaihi has written articles in Arabic-language newspapers expressing anti-Semitic sentiment. Writing in the London-based “Al-Sharq al Awsat” on October 18, 2000, Fitaihi prophesized that Jews will be:
[S]courged [because of their] oppression, murder, and rape of the worshippers of Allah…They have perpetrated the worst of evils and they have brought the worst corruption to the earth, and what we see of them these days is glad tidings for the Muslim heralding the fulfillment of Allah’s promise of victory after the second transgression.
Fitaihi and his father gave $2,387,025 to the ISB.
The Islamic Society of Boston received $1,000,000 from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). At the time of the donation to the Islamic Society of Boston, the majority of the IDB’s funds were contributed by the governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Libya – all countries with long-standing links to international terrorism. At the beginning of the Second Intifada, the IDB was involved in financing Hamas and PLO terrorism, including sending payments to families of Palestinian suicide bombers, through its management of the Al Quds and Al Aqsa Funds. In August 2001, the Arab daily Al Sharq Al Awsat reported that the IBD, led by its President Ahmad Muhammad Ali, supervises the Funds, which it characterized as supporting the Intifada. The paper also reported that the “IDB chief said there was no delay in paying financial assistance to the families of Palestinian martyrs.”
The National Commercial Bank (NCB) of Saudi Arabia sent $50,000 to the ISB. The NCB was founded by Khalid Bin Mahfouz, also the founder and prime benefactor of the specially-designated terrorist entity, Muaffaq Foundation. According to the U.S. Government, a 1998 audit found that the NCB funneled $3 million to Osama Bin Laden through the Muaffaq Foundation.
The Arab Bank gave the ISB $1,500. In a landmark judgment in September 2014, a New York jury found the Arab Bank liable for knowingly supporting and being complicit in at least two dozen Hamas terrorist attacks around Israel.
Since the early days of Al Qaeda, the majority of funding for radical Islamist causes around the globe have originated from Saudi Arabia — not primarily from the government itself, but rather from wealthy private individuals, financial institutions, and charities based in the Kingdom and in nearby Gulf countries. This continues to be the case today, even though the Saudi government itself has, over the last few years, pulled back on its support for radical Islamist groups across the militancy spectrum from the Muslim Brotherhood to the Islamic State. Riyadh is simply alarmed by potential blowback the Islamists pose to Saudi security.
There are many other members of the Saudi “one percenter” elite on the list of the Islamic Society of Boston donors. Research into their backgrounds is ongoing and crowdsourced research is more than welcome.
The Saudi society that these elites control is a deeply repressive and backward one. It is a society that publicly beheads people in the streets and has made a blogger who was critical of Saudi society face the death penalty for apostasy.
Saudi elites don’t practice moderate Islam and they don’t fund moderate mosques. It is therefore not surprising that the Islamic Society of Boston has been a source of extremism in the Cradle of Liberty, with 12 of its leaders or worshippers in jail, killed, or fugitives from the law due to their involvement in terrorism. Given the extremist Wahhabi form of Islam that the Saudi ruling elite have imposed on their people, it is about time we start asking what kind of Islam is being taught in a mosque built with their money.