Sami Al-Arian has been in prison, away from his digs in the Tampa, Florida
suburb of Temple Terrace, for over five years, yet one of
the structures that he left behind continues to propagate the same fanatical
ideology that led to his punishment. Al-Arian’s mosque, the Islamic Community
of Tampa (ICT), has been proudly advertising hatred and violence meant for the
eyes of children. The mosque’s connection to an area youth academy should have
all Americans concerned.
When Al-Arian arrived at the University of South Florida
(USF) in 1986, his goals were a lot broader than just to provide a decent
education to aspiring college students. From then till the time of his
imprisonment, Al-Arian worked tirelessly to build a vast network of terror,
whose goal was the destruction of Israel.
Prior to his arrival, Al-Arian had helped to set up the
Association for Palestine (IAP), what soon would become known as the
American propaganda wing of Hamas. When he came to Florida, it was as an operative for Palestinian
Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a group he helped to found in Egypt in 1979. His Tampa cell consisted of a think tank, a
charity, a mosque and a children’s school. The former two no longer exist; the
latter two this author wishes to expose.
One of the first things that
Al-Arian did, when he arrived in Tampa,
was to establish a local mosque. He incorporated the Islamic
Community of Tampa Bay, Inc. in August of 1986, using the address of a
brick housing unit, 11129 Normandy
Circle #1. He soon moved the location of the
center and reincorporated under the name Islamic Community of Tampa, Inc., with
the address 5910 E 130th Ave.,
which is where it is today. The property is owned by the North American Islamic
Trust (NAIT), a group recently labeled by the U.S. government as a co-conspirator
in the financing of Hamas.
The name “Islamic Community of
Tampa” was used to put a public face on the structure. Privately, the mosque
was/is Al-Qassam, the identical title of the main PIJ religious center in Gaza. Indeed, one of the past
directors of the Tampa
mosque, Ramadan Abdullah (a.k.a. Ramadan Shallah), would later emerge in Damascus, Syria
as the global head (Secretary General) of PIJ.
Neighboring ICT is the American
Youth Academy (AYA), the Muslim children’s school founded by Al-Arian. It used
to go by the name Islamic
Academy of Florida (IAF), until the state pulled its taxpayer funded
student vouchers away from it, following the U.S. government’s designation of
IAF as a PIJ front.
Regardless of Al-Arian’s continued
separation from ICT and AYA, the school and mosque are still very much
connected to one another beyond their physical vicinity. Considering the ICT’s current
propagation of hatred and violence, this cannot be seen as a good thing.
On different internet forums, AYA
uses the address of ICT in place of its own. The AYA contact on these forums is
Ibrahim Khader, a former director of ICT. According to courtroom
documents, in December of 1999, Khader gave $1900 to PIJ operative Sameeh
Hammoudeh, who told Khader the money was going to “orphans” (i.e. families of
In February of 2000, Khader, along with Al-Arian,
incorporated Baraka Group, L.L.C. It has been alleged that money from this
organization went towards flight training for 9/11 hijackers. The organization
was dissolved in September of 2001, 17 days after the attacks.
One of the directors of AYA is
Ayman Nazie Barakat, a used car dealer (Vulcan Auto Imports), whose vehicle
inventory has suspiciously made its way to far away places such as the Port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Showing that support
for the PIJ leader is still strong in the community, Barakat recently signed a petition asking for
Barakat, like Khader, is a former
director of ICT. Presently, he is the Registered Agent for ICT’s website, a
forum that exists in large part to spread radical Islam to children.
When visiting the homepage of the ICT site, one finds
a number of important points of interest. This includes a Flash presentation
towards the bottom of the page, entitled ‘BRIEF LOOK
AT FAITH: Christians vs. Muslims.’ upon viewing it, one might be shocked to
read that the Jewish and Christian Bibles “were tampered with by mankind.” However,
the anti-Semitic and anti-Christian matter that this website seeks to promote
makes this statement seem almost insignificant.
Besides the presentation, one
cannot help but notice the giant colorful graphic found in the center of ICT’s homepage.
After clicking on it, the site’s visitor is treated to an elaborate video in
praise of the Quran and Islam’s fundamentalist followers. The video was created
by and contains the logo of Islam Web, a website that promotes Muslim
extremists and degrades Jews, Christians and women.
In fact, there are a number of
links to Islam Web on the ICT homepage, suggesting that the two are
inseparable. The reason for this, aside from the case that the mosque goers
might actually buy into the extremism, may very well be that lectures from the
mosque’s former imam, Jamal Shaker Abdullah (who now
resides in Amman, Jordan), are made prominent on Islam Web’s site. Other individuals
whose lectures Islam Web currently promotes are:
Al-Timimi. Al-Timimi received a life jail sentence, in July of 2005, for
soliciting treason and for inducing Muslim youth to join the Taliban and
attack American troops overseas.
Al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki has been associated with a number of 9/11 hijackers
and is suspected of having been involved in
various Al-Qaeda attack plots against the United States and others.
Philips. Philips has been banned from entry into Australia
and is listed by the U.S.
government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
Dhafir. Dhafir, formerly Vice Chairman of the terror-related Islamic
Assembly of North America (IANA), was sentenced, in October of 2005, to 22
years in prison for tax evasion, money laundering and violating sanctions
Apart from its multimedia sections, Islam Web also features
articles written about various religious subjects. Some of these pieces include
content which is demeaning towards both women and non-Muslims.
According to Islam Web, in its
piece ‘Advice to women regarding marriage – II,’ the “wife’s role in her home”
consists of the following: “This is to serve her husband, bear, nurse, and
nurture his children, and be a housewife.” In ‘A
husband’s responsibilities towards his family,’ Islam Web discusses the
husband’s duty to reprimand his wife. It states, “Do not give little importance
to implementing the punishment required for any acts in opposition to the
Islam, which your wife has committed, whether it is in the home or outside
it... If you are forced to place punishment upon your wife after having adviced
her and she didn’t respond, then let it be by staying away from her at
Regarding Jews and Christians, Islam Web has much worse to
say. In ‘The
obligation of differing from the non-Muslims,’ it states, “This Sharee’ah
is the straight and correct way... Anything other than this is the way of those
who have earned the wrath of Allaah such as the Jews, the Christians and the polytheists.” It continues, “[S]ome
Muslims will deviate to the doctrines of the religion of the Jews or that of
the Christians. Such deviation is made alluring by Satan.”
In Islam Web’s ‘Valentine
Day, birthdays, and other daze,’ the issue of Islamic supremacy arises. It
states, “Islam is very sensitive about maintaining its purity and the unique
identity of its followers... To the voluntary recommended fast on the tenth of
Muharram, Muslims are required to add another day (9th or 11th) to differentiate
it from the then prevalent Jewish practice. Muslims are forbidden to emulate
the appearance of non-Muslims.”
Islam Web also features extensive
children’s sections. Two of the links on ICT are routed to these, one which is in
Arabic and one which is in English. ICT refers to this as its “Kids Corner.”
What is found in the Kids Corner is way more disturbing than anything else
sections contain a variety of animated cartoons. One of them, entitled
‘Mice Eating Diamonds,’ portrays a man who receives a diamond from the Caliph
(Islamic king). He tells his subservient, sad-faced, shabbily dressed wife, who
appears to be an underage girl, that it is too good for her to wear and that he,
instead, is leaving it in the care of a merchant. He later, with the help of
his wife and their unsuspecting children, kidnaps the merchant’s son, because
he believes the man stole his diamond. Nowhere in the cartoon are misogyny and/or
kidnapping shown as being immoral.
Many of the cartoons depict Jews
as being sinister and corrupt and having exaggerated facial features most commonly
seen in anti-Semitic imagery of the past. This is demonstrated in Islam Web’s ‘The
Life of Prophet Muhammad,’ where Jews who have wronged Muhammad are led away by
their Muslim captors. This cartoon also contains violent scenes, where
individuals who have been tied to trees and chained to rocks are whipped and
stabbed bloody with spears, where persons have been buried up to their chins in
the ground, and where a naked man in a barrel has scorching liquid poured over
In ‘The Forbidden Fishing,’ Jews have been likened to apes.
The cartoon, which portrays bearded Jews wearing yarmulkes (skullcaps), states,
“Allaah inflicted His punishment on all the People of the Sabbath [Jews].
Because of what they did, they were changed into apes, despised and rejected.”
As well, Islam Web features written children’s stories. In ‘Examples
of Jews’ Conspiracies,’ Jews are described as “hostile enemies” and “snakes”
who “spit out their poison in every place.” The final paragraph reads: “Since
the era of the Prophet... until today, the Jews have been conspiring against
the Muslims and spreading dissension and despair among them so that they may
not be able to defend their religion and restore their usurped lands. For these
reasons, the Muslims must come to their senses and stand united in the face of
this Jewish danger and its endless evil goals.”
Of course, none of the above can
ever be conducive to a child’s well being. Yet this is exactly what the Islamic
Community of Tampa is advertising as its Kids Corner. And who are the kids most
likely to view this material? Answer: The ones that attend the American Youth Academy.
There are a number of photographs found on ICT’s
site, many of which appear to be taken on school grounds. One, which is
12, 2007, is of an information booth set up by the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR),
a radical Muslim group that was created as an adjunct to Hamas. Standing in
front of the booth, smiling, is the former Executive Director of CAIR-Tampa and Al-Arian’s unofficial spokesman, Ahmed
Other photos are of an AYA event
reenacting a Hajj trip to Mecca,
(‘Eid Al-Adha 2007 Hajj Simulation’). An imitation Kabah (cube) is shown in the
pictures, placed prominently in an adorned hall. The students are dressed for
the occasion, as their parents proudly look on, either unaware of the hatred
and violence that their children have been subjected to or unconcerned.
Will the children grow up to be
productive and respectful members of American society or will they become the
next generation’s Al-Arians? Only time will tell, but given the present
circumstances – given their close connection to ICT – the latter seems a