The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) has become the center of attention since it was discovered that now deceased suspected marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a member of the mosque. ISB is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.
The Islamic Society of Boston was founded in part by Abdurahman Alamoudi in 1981, according to the New York Sun, and was the first president of the mosque. Alamoudi is currently serving a 23 year sentence in federal prison as he was convicted in 2004 of participating in a Libyan plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.
Additionally, according to the Sun, Alamoudi raised funds for Al Qaeda:
In July, Alamoudi was cited in a Treasury Department press release designating the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia, a U.K.-based Saudi oppositionist organization, led by Saad al-Faqih, as providing material support for Al Qaeda. MIRA “received approximately $1 million in funding through Abdulrahman Alamoudi,” the statement said.
“According to information available to the U.S.Government,” the statement continues, “the September 2003 arrest of Alamoudi was a severe blow to Al Qaeda, as Alamoudi had a close relationship with Al Qaeda and had raised money for Al Qaeda in the United States.” The Treasury Department has declined to provide further information, saying the material is classified.
In addition, according to an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post co-authored by local pro-Israel activist Charles Jacobs, a man named Jamal Badawi is allegedly a trustee of the ISB Cultural Center. Badawi was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, and apparently holds beliefs and has made statements that have raised additional concerns.
Before Badawi became director of the Halifax-based Islamic Information Foundation, he was allegedly a Board of Directors member of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States and founding incorporator of the Muslim American Society, according to Steve Emerson.
In 2004 Badawi issued a fatwa at the website Islamonline citing six conditions for physically assaulting one’s wife.
According to the Sun, Badawi considered the September 11, 2001 attacks “un-Islamic,” telling an interviewer, “I strongly condemn the September 11 attacks … whoever did it,” adding, “It is not confirmed yet who is actually behind the attacks.” He went on to say:
This has to be investigated as to who is actually behind this … There have been allegations that I cannot confirm that people going to the market to buy vegetables are stopped in the name of inspecting their cars by [American] forces, their hands are tied and they are blindfolded. There have been cases and I want a clarification from American officials to these allegations. After inspecting their cars they are allowed to go and when the car reaches [the] checkpoint it explodes and they call them suicide bombers, perhaps the occupants of the car were not even aware that they are carrying a bomb in their car. Such incidents should be thoroughly probed.
Badawi’s friend and mentor Yousef Al-Qaradawi, according to Patrick Poole of FrontPageMag.com, has been listed as a “‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’ by the U.S. government since 1999.”
ISB sent out a press release late Saturday night responding to the bombings at the Boston marathon on Monday as well as the kill and capture of the two suspects responsible for the attack:
The Islamic Society of Boston Cambridge Masjid and community is proud and thankful to our law enforcement officials in apprehending the second Boston bombing suspect. We are also proud of our Boston community for responding immediately to the requests of the authorities for information. While we are all relieved that our weeklong nightmare has ended, it has come with the price of the life of one of our police officers who was brutally killed and another injured. We cannot help but feel deeply troubled and saddened.
Both these suspects, we have discovered, were known to our Boston Community–to our public schools, to their local boxing club, and even to the FBI. Both suspects were occasional visitors to our Faith Community in Cambridge. Our community, and people in the institutions above, are in shock to have learned the crimes of these individuals. In their visits they never exhibited any violent sentiments or behaviour. Otherwise, they would have been immediately reported to the FBI. After we learned of their identities, we encouraged anyone who knew them in our congregation to immediately report to law enforcement, which has taken place.
Reporters visited the ISB on Saturday and walked around the building. All visitors and members are required to remove their shoes before entering either of the prayer rooms. As per the Islamic religion, the genders are separated during prayers. On the upper floor, men pray to Mecca in the building’s largest room on a red illustrious carpeted floor. A foot washing area is also available on the upper floor. In the complex’s basement, near the building’s office, women pray in a considerably smaller less impressive room on a white padded floor.
Massachusetts politicians are scrambling over their own connections to the mosque and its sister organization in Roxbury. According to reports, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick rescinded an invitation for the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center to speak at last Thursday’s interfaith service in Boston to honor the Boston Marathon attack victims.