In what may be the first time a Muslim religious figure was removed from a campus position by a university administration, Boston’s Northeastern University told Imam Abdullah Faaruuq that his services as chaplain for Muslim students were “no longer needed.” This happened just days after we published an expose documenting that Faaruuq is a supporter of convicted Islamist terrorists who is inciting Boston Muslims against the U.S government.
Our findings about Imam Faaruuq are summarized in our video: www.nuextremism.com. It shows that there is a culture of extremism at the Islamic Society of Northeastern University (ISNU) – the Muslim student group on campus that Faaruuq led as its “spiritual adviser.”
Among other extremist activity he brings to campus, Faaruuq has been active in a movement seeking to free convicted Al Qaeda terrorist Aafia Siddiqui and Tarek Mehanna. The video shows FBI Director Robert Mueller describing Siddiqui in 2004 as one of the seven most wanted Al Qaeda terrorists. Aafia Siddiqui, a young Pakistani-born MIT student, got involved with an Al Qaeda cell while in Boston. In 2008, she was arrested in Afghanistan and charged with attempted murder of FBI agents. In her possession were plans for a chemical attack on New York City and a large amount of cyanide. In 2010, she was convicted and sentenced to 86 years in jail.
Since Siddiqui’s arrest, Northeastern Chaplain Faaruuq has been speaking out on her behalf and inciting Boston Muslims against the U.S. government. Viewers learn that in the early 1990s, Faaruuq developed an association with Aafia Siddiqui, who attended Faaruuq’s Boston mosque and worked with Faaruuq to distribute Jihadist literature to Massachusetts prisons, where he had also served as a Muslim chaplain.
In lectures around Boston, Faaruuq has called on Boston Muslims to defend Siddiqui because “after they’re finished with Aafia, they’re gonna come to your door.” He told worshipers not to be afraid to “grab onto the gun and the sword, go out into this world and do your job.”
In 2009, he began supporting another local extremist, Tarek Mehanna, who was arrested and convicted in April 2012 on terror charges. Faaruuq participated with Northeastern students in demonstrations in support of Mehanna.
Until we began exposing Faaruuq in 2010, the website of the Northeastern Muslim student group, which he served as a spiritual adviser, openly promoted radical books and extremist leaders who call for jihad, the genocide of Jews, and death for homosexuals.
Extremist influence on Muslim students at Northeastern might indeed be a factor in inciting terrorism. Recently, Northeastern graduate Rezwan Ferdaus pleaded guilty to plotting an attack on the Pentagon and Capitol buildings in Washington.
Northeastern has gone practically radio silent on the matter, speaking only of a “reorganization” of its Spiritual Life Center and denying that Faaruuq’s Islamic extremism was an issue for them. While surely repulsed by the Imam’s rhetoric, the university’s administration understands that if it admitted the true reason for Faaruuq’s dismissal, it would be attacked on campus by the left and by radical Muslims as Islamophobic and racist. We certainly were, with our video’s Facebook page quickly being vandalized with shrill vitriol. Some radical Muslims even threatened violence, with one writing, “Islam means peace… Don’t piss an arab off with this nasty low life words or you will be the blame to put america on her knees.”
One Muslim student from Northeastern, however, gave us hope and vindication. She wrote:
I am a Muslim student at Northeastern University, and am extremely happy to see this guy go. While I believe Northeastern has done well in removing this man, I feel that there needs to be a closer monitoring of who is and isn’t allowed to influence students on campus. I am a religiously moderate individual who, upon attending a couple of NU’s Islamic groups meetings, felt extremely uncomfortable in the environment. I believe that this group should have been more accessible for Muslims liberal, moderate, and conservative.
Unfortunately, this moderate Muslim woman was immediately pounced upon by extremist Muslim Northeastern students – accused of being a traitor, a hypocrite, and an apostate. She deleted her message within two hours.
Northeastern made a commendable decision, even if it continues to be shrouded in silence. Leaving Faaruuq in place would have meant a continual betrayal of Muslim students that reject extremism and Muslim parents, who may not be aware that their children are being radicalized on Northeastern’s campus.
While ridding the campus of Faaruuq was clearly a good thing, it is obvious that Northeastern University needs to take additional steps in dealing with Islamist extremism on campus. Northeastern’s President Aoun needs to investigate the Islamic Society of Northeastern’s activities, funding sources and radical influences, as well as – and perhaps especially — any radical faculty members who promote hate on campus. Stay tuned.
By Charles Jacobs and Ilya Feoktistov, President and Research Director of Americans for Peace and Tolerance