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Islamist Center of South Florida By: Joe Kaufman
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Radical mosques are being built across the United States at an alarming rate, all tethered to a fanatical strain of Islam emanating from Saudi Arabia. And while so many have gone up, not one has come down. Not even Brooklyn, New York’s Al-Farooq Mosque, which housed al-Qaeda’s American hub in the early 90’s, the Alkifah Refugee Center, has met its demise. Recently, a new mosque of this kind was given the green light, a 29,000 square foot goliath, smack in the middle of South Florida. Tonight, a group of community leaders will be voicing their concern in protest.

The mosque in question is the brainchild of the Islamic Center of South Florida (ICOSF), also known as the Pompano Masjid. According to ICOSF, the center’s mosque goers need more space. But besides the new basketball court, soccer field, preschool and daycare facility that the new center provides them, there are also troubling facts that cannot be overlooked and that are forever adjoined to those involved in its creation – beginning with the mosque’s past and present websites.


On every page of the ICOSF website is a link to the site, Islamic Finder, a good source for anti-Semitic and misogynistic propaganda. In the Islamic Finder article, entitled “50 Signs of the Day of Judgment,” an impending war is discussed between Muslims and “the Jews plus other non-Muslims led by the Antichrist.” According to the article, the Antichrist “will be followed by 70,000 Jews.” Another Islamic Finder article describes in which instances and to what degree a husband is allowed to beat his wife. It states, “It is important that a wife recognizes the authority of her husband in the house. He is the head of the household, and she is supposed to listen to him… If there arises any disagreement or dispute among them, then it should be resolved in a peaceful manner… However, in some cases a husband may use some light disciplinary action in order to correct the moral infraction of his wife…”


On the previous ICOSF website, www.icsfl.org, there were troubling links, as well, including links to such Islamist organizations as the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), both of which were founded by members of the violent Muslim Brotherhood. There was also a link to the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA), an organization that was shut down after an 11-count indictment, issued by the U.S. Justice Department, alleged that the group operated websites that “promoted terrorism through suicide bombings and using airplanes as weapons.”


The Imam of ICOSF is Hassan Sabri. Sabri grew up in Qalqilya of the “Palestinian Territories” and came to the United States via a “special travel document” issued by Israel that expired 19 years ago. Sabri is not grateful to Israel, though, as he has referred to it as a “brutal country,” and in April of 2002, he attended an anti-Israel rally at Miami’s Holocaust Memorial, where his group made light of Nazi atrocities.


Another disturbing event that Sabri participated in took place in September of 2002, entitled ‘A United and Secure Florida For All.’ At the function, Sabri was featured along with a large group of Islamic extremists. They included: Zulfiqar Ali Shah, the former South Asian head of the Hamas charity, KindHearts; Khalid Hamza, a professor that used a Texas A & M University internet forum to defend Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, Sami Al-Arian; Ahmed Bedier, Al-Arian’s unofficial spokesman; Parvez Ahmed, the National Chairman of the Hamas-related Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Altaf Ali, the Florida Executive Director of CAIR; and Rafiq Mehdi, the Imam of the mosque where ‘Dirty Bomber’ Jose Padilla is said to have converted to Islam.


In the beginning of 2003, shortly before the commencement of the War in Iraq, this author found himself on a radio show (taped for television), The Steve Kane Show, with Sabri. We were brought there to debate the creation of another mosque, one in Boca Raton, Florida: the Islamic Center of Boca Raton (ICBR). It was my contention that, due to the numerous ties to terrorism ICBR had, the project was nothing less than a threat to the community. After hearing what Sabri said (and reading everything above), one should feel no different about his mosque.


On the show, Sabri agreed with the statement that Jews have no right to Jerusalem and that Allah should rid the Jews of the land.


Host: In your volumes of material there, can you give me a quote that refers to taking actions that could be interpreted as terrorist, violence, anything like that?


Kaufman: Yes. And again, the articles that they have on their website, many of them were written by this same individual who wrote this anti-Jewish material. “Hence it is clear that the Jews have no right to the land, whether according to religious law or in terms of who lived there first and possessed the land. They are aggressors, who are seizing the land by force. We ask Allah to rid Beit Al-Maqdis,” which is Jerusalem according to Muslims, “of them sooner rather than later.”


Sabri: Amen. I say amen.


Host: Oh, you agree?


Sabri: Yes, of course. I am a Palestinian, and I think the Israelis came from Poland and Russia and kicked us out and are still treating us according to the worst kind of treatment, and I pray to Allah to uplift the suffering of the Palestinians, day and night.


Sabri then rationalized an Islamic quote about a future extermination of the Jews.


Kaufman: Now, the same individual that wrote that – wrote the anti-Semitic material – put on his website, ‘The Jews will fight you, and you will prevail over them, until a rock will say “Oh Muslim, here is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”


Sabri: Okay, wait a minute. Now, I need to comment on that. This happens to be a prophesy by the Prophet. It is not a statement of a Sheikh. It is not a statement of Bin Laden. This is a prophecy. Our Prophet, peace be upon him, told us about the latter days, exactly like the Christians believe in Armageddon. In the latter days, Muslims believe in the same thing, the final battle between right and wrong.


Host: And what’s supposed to happen with Iraq in this battle?


Sabri: It doesn’t mention Iraq, actually. But it mentions Palestine, and it mentions the Jews and says – there’s actually another statement by the Prophet. This was said and documented, by the way. Hundreds of years ago, before Israel was established, it says that the Jews will be on the west of the river, and the Muslims on the east. You know that – talking about the River Jordan. It also says that ‘You will fight them,’ that the Messiah will return again, that the Jews will have a false Messiah.


Later, Sabri defended then-ICBR Imam Ibrahim Dremali’s appearance as a character witness for Adham Hassoun, during Hassoun’s hearing for his involvement as a leader in an Al-Qaeda and Hamas related charity, the Global Relief Foundation.


Kaufman: The Global Relief Foundation, which the mosque, itself, gave $17,000 to – the Global Relief Foundation, as I said, was found by the United States and the United Nations to be a terrorist charity. Who showed up to the hearing for the gentleman that was arrested from the Global Relief Foundation, in this country, in South Florida, in Sunrise, Florida, but the Imam, himself. He was there at the hearing to defend this individual. The Imam is Ibrahim Dremali… He’s going to be the Imam of the new mosque. He went to the hearing to defend…


Host: “Alright. I would like to get the Imam to respond.”


Sabri: Regarding the Global Relief Foundation, it was a foundation that was licensed under the United States government as a charity, and Muslims are required to give part of their earnings every year, two-point-five percent, as charity to people who are in need, not unlike most religions who have these charities. Those who gave money to this organization, before it was declared an organization with ties to Hamas or to illegal groups outlawed by the U.S., were giving money to an organization that is official and that is recognized as a charitable organization. The challenge is, after that, if anybody gave it money or anybody funneled money through it, to these organizations, then they should be…


Host: That’s a fair point, but Joe seemed to indicate, if I understood him correctly, that after this charity was exposed as a terrorist organization, this particular Imam, who would head this mosque up here, spoke in defense after they were accused.


Sabri: Well, when somebody’s accused, you have people – any case – you have people who are with and against him. You have lawyers who are defending him. It doesn’t mean….


Host: Does it give you pause that, even after this organization was identified as a terrorist organization, this Imam defended them? Doesn’t that give you pause?


Sabri: Well, like I told you, if he’s defending a particular person, that he knows, himself, that this person is good or this person does not do anything illegal, and he went there as a witness, there is nothing wrong with going… But if he’s defending something that is doing something illegal or something wrong, I think he is wrong and he should not be doing it. It depends what exactly he was doing. Did he go there to say that I know this person, I know Steve Kane for a long time, I don’t think that he’s doing these things, okay, as a character witness or these things, there’s nothing wrong with that.


Sabri, shortly after, admitted that he knew of a $600,000 loan that ICBR received from the Global Relief Foundation for the creation of its new Boca mosque. But on the show, while he said that he knew some of the people at ICBR, Sabri never disclosed his own association with the center, specifically as an ICBR teacher.


In March 2000, the following was found on the ICBR website: “Upcoming activities: New weekly tafseer [Quran interpretation] class on Wednesday by Sheikh Hassan Sabri, Imam of Pompano Masjid.” This information was located in the same section that a link to the website “Jihad in Chechnya” was found. That site, http://www.qoqaz.net, was created in the name of Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden’s mentor. Its purpose was to raise funds and recruit fighters for al-Qaeda and the Taliban. It also acted as a portal to the official site of Hamas.


None of the above was considered, when the Pompano Beach City Council took up the issue of whether or not to grant a “special exemption” for a brand new center to ICOSF. (The land for the center was located in a residential district.) On June 13, 2006, City Council gave the go-ahead to begin construction, by voting 3-2 to change the zoning of the proposed site from residential to commercial, thus allowing for a religious facility, in the form of a 29,000 square foot Mediterranean-style mosque, to be built in Northwest Pompano, which consists of heavily Christian, black neighborhoods.


This vote left many in the community questioning the wisdom (or lack thereof) of this decision. Some reasons given included: distasteful Muslim business practices, the Muslim occupation of an all-Christian area, and the purpose of making Muslim converts out of easily influenced young black males. While those may or may not be valid concerns for the community, the one concern which there was little discussion about (from what was reported in the media) was that of terrorism. Yet, with regard to the history of the Islamic Center of South Florida, the subject of terrorism has been all too important. That being the case, this possible threat should not be a footnote, but should instead be the focus.


Tonight, a protest will be taking place in front of the Commission Chambers of Pompano Beach City Hall, at 100 West Atlantic Boulevard, in an effort to convince those that govern the city that this decision was wrong and it should be rescinded immediately.


“Islam will be re-established and the world will see how just Islam is and how false all other ideologies are. It is just a matter of time.” – Ayman Sokkarie, Secretary of ICOSF from March of 1996 till March of 2001.


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Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the founder of CAIR Watch.

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