From Western Journalism
Barack Obama is slated to make the first visit of his presidency to a U.S. mosque on Wednesday, but the one he has chosen is stirring controversy, due to its former leader’s links to Muslim extremism, including the belief that suicide bombings can be justified.
The once imam of the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Mohamad Adam El-Sheikh, not only has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, but to a northern Virginia mosque where radical Anwar al-Awlaki used to preach.
Al-Awlaki was an American who joined al Qaeda and released several propaganda recruiting videos for the terrorist organization. He also became a top al Qaeda operative, who was reportedly killed by an American drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
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“As a Muslim American I’m just insulted, this is disgraceful that this is one of the mosques — or the mosque — that he’s chosen to visit,” Zuhdi Jasser, of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told Fox News on Sunday. “This mosque is very concerning.”
El-Sheikh was head over the Baltimore mosque from 1983-1989 and 1994-2003, Fox News reported. “A member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan, he had moved to the U.S. in 1978 and went on to receive several advanced law degrees as he became involved in the religious community,” according to the news outlet.
While in Baltimore, El-Sheikh also served as regional director of the Islamic American Relief Agency, whose parent organization has been cited by the Treasury Department for connections to al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The imam later became head of the Dar Al Hijrah Center in Falls Church in Northern Virginia. Al-Awaki gave fiery messages in that same mosque only months before El-Sheikh’s arrival in 2003.
The Washington Post reported that El-Sheikh stated that same year that Islamic law allows for suicide bombings in some instances, “if certain Muslims are to be cornered where they cannot defend themselves, except through these kinds of means, and their local religious leaders issued fatwas to permit that, then it becomes acceptable as an exceptional rule, but should not be taken as a principle.”
“Dar Al-Hijrah, which is located right outside Washington, D.C., is connected to several high-profile Islamic terrorists who prayed there, including Major Nidal Hassan – the Ft. Hood massacre jihadi, two September 11 hijackers, and an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing,” Breitbart reported.
El-Sheikh “went on to work with the Fiqh Council of North America, which has issued several condemnations of terrorist ideology and attacks. He is also the founder and director of an Islamic law consultancy in Falls Church,” according to Fox News.
White House spokesman Keith Maley confirmed reports of the president’s visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore. “The president believes that one of our nation’s greatest strengths is our rich diversity,” he stated. “As the president has said, Muslim Americans are our friends, and neighbors; our co-workers, and sports heroes — and our men and women in uniform defending our country.”
Less than a week after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, President George W. Bush visited the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. to make the point that the United States’ fight is not against Islam, but against radicalized terrorists, who profess the faith.
“The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam,” Bush said. “That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace; they represent evil and war.” The president exhorted Americans not to take any form of retribution against Muslim Americans.