As the White House Countering Violent Extremism Summit is entering its second day, the names of some of the participants are leaking out and raising concerns. This is especially true of the Boston delegation – one among those from three cities that the Obama Administration has labelled a pilot for how religious leaders can work with law enforcement to counter violent threats.
One Boston Muslim leader taking part in the summit, Nicole Mossalam, has been dishonest about her controversial mosque blocking congregants from giving police information during their investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing. Another Muslim leader from Boston invited to the White House summit designed a lawsuit to stop the Boston media from reporting what it knows about the radical nature of the largest Islamic center in New England. In addition, this man, Nabeel Khudairi, persecuted moderate Muslim members of his own mosque after they tried to warn New Englanders about Islamic extremists in their midst.
As we expected and warned, the Islamic Society of Boston’s (ISB) Cambridge mosque – the radical Muslim Brotherhood front group attended by the Boston Marathon bombers – was invited to join the summit and is represented there by its executive director, Nichole Mossalam. A few days ago, in Breitbart News and the Washington Times, we reported how over the past decade, 12 of the ISB’s worshippers have either been killed, imprisoned, or declared fugitives due to their involvement in terrorist activity. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, Ms. Mossalam told media outlets that the ISB urged members to contact law enforcement “immediately after the bombings in case they knew of anyone who might have been involved.”
In reality, the ISB sent out the first email about the bombings to its members a full seven days after the Marathon was blown up, urging them not to talk to the FBI without first contacting the ACLU and the ISB. The ISB wrote: “We have been informed that the FBI may be starting to question some of the community members about the two suspects. Insha’Allah we want to help as much as we can, but of course not put ourselves at risk either. Seeking representation does not imply any guilt on your part but is simply a way of protecting your own rights.”
Nabeel Khudairi is the other deeply problematic individual taking part in the White House CVE Summit. Khudairi is a Boston ophthalmologist and leader of two other extremist groups – the Islamic Council of New England and the Islamic Center of New England. In 2007, our organization, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), successfully subpoenaed a variety of documents from Nabeel Khudairi during the Islamic Society of Boston’s failed defamation suit against Boston’s Fox 25, the Boston Herald, and us. In its complaint, the ISB alleged that it had been defamed by our reporting on its extensive ties to Islamic extremism. The ISB was ultimately forced to drop the lawsuit after subpoenas like the one pursued against Khudairi not only supported our original claims, but also began exposing even more of the mosque’s extremist links.
The documents we obtained from Khudairi showed that he himself an extremist. It turned out that it was Khudairi who had largely engineered the lawsuit as a means of silencing media and non-profit organizations working to expose and counter Islamic extremism in Boston. Writing to the ISB’s then-executive director, Khudairi urged the ISB to file a lawsuit, suggesting that “If FOX is being sued for this story, it stands to reason that they will be prevented from reporting on the story further while the case is in court.” In a follow-up email, Khudairi wrote that, “If the ISB launches a lawsuit against the FOX-25 organization, they will be forbidden from continuing their propaganda while it is being reviewed in court.”
Khudairi’s strategy worked even better than expected; legal defense is extremely expensive. Although the lawsuit failed, Boston media to this day tell us they are afraid to cover manifestations of Islamic extremism in Boston for fear of being predatorily sued again. Far from helping to counter violent extremism in Boston, Khudairi silenced the reporters trying to expose it.
BULLYING MODERATE MUSLIMS
When Khudairi was engineering his predatory lawsuit idea, media organizations were not the only ones airing their concerns about violent Islamic extremism in Boston. Moderate Muslims were coming forward as well, and Khudairi’s intimidation tactics were put to use against them.
In 2005, the Islamic Center of New England, where Nabeel Khudairi had worshipped since he was a child, was in the middle of a struggle resembling many in the Muslim world – that between the moderates and the extremists. Starting in 1999, with the hiring of a new imam, Hafiz Masood, the ICNE’s sermons and teachings had turned increasingly extremist. In an email obtained by APT, one moderate Muslim complained about Imam Masood’s teachings, writing that “in my view, this type of talks to young generations is creating hate toward the U.S. and its peoples, which includes us too.” Then, the moderate leadership of the mosque found out that Masood was the brother of Pakistani arch-terrorist Hafiz Saeed, who masterminded the 2008 Mumbai Massacre. After the attacks on Mumbai, in which 164 people were gunned down, the Times of India reported that Masood was raising money and recruiting for his brother’s terrorist group in the Boston area.
But Khudairi, who was an acolyte of Masood according to a member of the mosque who knew him since he was a young man, quickly put a stop to any attempts by moderate Muslims to counter violent extremism at the mosque. After a moderate ICNE board member went to the media with his concerns, Khudairi attacked him in an email:
How is it you consider yourself a member or the Board or Directors, or a member or the Islamic Center, or even a decent Muslim for that matter? I have never witnessed anywhere in all my years a “brother” as blatantly enthusiastic to cause trouble for the entire Umma [Arabic for “Muslim nation”] as yourself. … Only a totally Irresponsible Munaffiq [in this context, Arabic for “fake Muslim”] would go on the record about there being fundamentalists in the masjid [Arabic for “mosque].
Khudairi criticized his fellow Muslim’s support for America, accusing him of worshipping the American flag and attacking him for “hold[ing] your patriotism in higher regard than your Deen [Arabic for “religion”]. He finished the email by insulting the ICNE board member’s recently deceased mother and issuing a warning:
[Y]ou better not get too used to the idea of being a member of the BOD or even the ICNE general membership for that matter. There is no way you will be allowed to set foot again in the same place that other decent Muslims go to for worship.
Sure enough, the moderate board member was hounded out of the mosque – as was its moderate imam, Talal Eid, and roughly half the congregation stopped attending due to the hostile environment for moderates created by Khudairi and his fellow extremists, according to former members. Imam Masood went on to be arrested for filing a fraudulent religious worker visa and was deported to Pakistan. He is now the director of communications for his brother’s terrorist group. A young ICNE member, Ahmad Abousamra, who was part of Masood’s tightly-knit study circles, went on to become a social media guru for the Islamic State, driving the group’s slick Twitter and Facebook propaganda recruitment machine. Nabeel Khudairi went on to being invited to the White House.
In Boston, the Obama Administration has picked the absolute worst partners in its stated mission to “counter violent extremism.” Time and time again, Nichole Mossalam and Nabeel Khudairi, as well as the organizations they represent, have shown that they will thwart any real efforts toward that goal. Unfortunately, no amount of data proving this point is likely to dissuade Obama from his quixotic crusade.