A report put out, last week, by the New York Police Department (NYPD) discussed, in detail, the threat of homegrown terrorists on the United States [PDF]. In it, the analysts described some of the telltale signs attributed to newly indoctrinated radical Muslims. One of the signs mentioned was the discarding of western style clothing in favor of traditional Islamic clothing and the growing of beards. But what if these clothes were, instead, Boy Scout uniforms being traded for boots, camouflage pants and the most violent of ideologies? This is a question that one mosque located in New York City needs to answer, because it appears that the radicals the NYPD was describing are congregating right under the law enforcement agency’s very nose.
The Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), a publicly funded Arab language children’s school, is set to open its doors next month, on September 4, 2007. It’s a fact that has many in the community uneasy and upset, as the school has been found to have had numerous ties to Islamic extremism -- most notably through its Principal-designate, Debbie Almontaser, who recently resigned from her position after she defended t-shirts calling for a violent uprising (intifada) in New York City. Unfortunately, the radical behavior of KGIA extends much further than that of Miss Almontaser.
The KGIA Advisory Council is made up of a group of area leaders. One of the advisors is Talib Abdul-Rashid, the imam of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood (MIB), located in Harlem. From his infectious smile to his work with interfaith groups, one could easily get the false impression that this man is harmless, but viewing the institution he presides over, one sees an entirely different picture.
Allah is our goal
The Prophet Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah is our leader
The Qu’ran is our constitution
Jihad is our way
And death in the way of Allah is our promised end.
Reading the above passage, apart from its English translation, one would think that they were in Cairo, Egypt or Lahore, Pakistan, as it is straight out of the text of the Muslim Brotherhood founder’s, Hasan Al-Banna’s, treatise, ‘The Message of the Teachings.’ It is these exact words that have been the impetus for violence in the Muslim world for generations and the inspiration for scores of terrorists from Hamas, Al-Qaeda and the like. However, this author’s source for this is not Middle-Eastern or South Asian. No, it was written in the “About” section of the website for Abdul-Rashid’s mosque.
According to the site, the mosque, MIB, was founded in 1964, after Malcolm X departed from the Nation of Islam (NOI), the anti-Semitic hate group that is today run by Louis Farrakhan and his disciples. Abdul-Rashid became the imam of the center in 1989. Prior to that, he was receiving accolades for his leadership skills as a Cub Scout Master, and by the time he took over as imam, MIB’s Boy Scout program – Unit 357 – was well established. But what would seem to be a wholesome American pastime, when combined with Radical Islam, could be a recipe for disaster.
Unlike most Boy Scouts, MIB’s troop wore patches containing the Sword of Islam, a symbol of armed might. In time, the children got older, and MIB Boy Scout Troop 357 became Sea Explorer Ship 357, utilizing the SUNY Maritime Campus at Fort Schyler for meeting and training. This history is chronicled on the mosque’s website. Along with this are shown a series of pictures. Some are obviously old, photographed in black and white. However, some are in color and more recent. It’s the latter pictures that are disturbing, as a few of them portray older youths and adults in combat fatigues.
Was this just honest recreation or was/is it something more?
The MIB website was created in October of 2006. It was last worked on in December. This means that the material on it has been up for at least eight months, which encompasses more than the entire time that intentions of the new KGIA were announced to the public. When the founders of the school were picking an Advisory Council, one would think that they would have thoroughly researched the backgrounds of those they would soon entrust with their children’s well being. That is, unless those involved with the school had other intentions.
Even before Debbie Almontaser resigned, concerns about Khalil Gibran International Academy were understandable. Now that it has been revealed that one of its advisors heads a Muslim Brotherhood-oriented mosque with possible combat training, how can KGIA move forward? Unless they’re considering converting the school to an Islamist military academy, common sense would say it can’t.
And furthermore, until this mosque can prove that the content on its site is not what it seems to be, then the NYPD needs to investigate the matter. The agency may very well have found a new page for its next report.
Beila Rabinowitz, the Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.