Connecticut church sold for benefit of local Muslim community

via Former Connecticut church sold for benefit of local Muslim community. h/t pdollard

The Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) has sold its property at 35 Harris Road, Avon, former home to Christ Episcopal Church, to the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center, Inc. (FVAMC).

The sale, for $1.1 million, was completed on Oct. 21.

Trustees of the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center, Inc. with the Rev. Audrey Scanlan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut at the real estate closing for the property in Avon, Oct. 21. Center: Khamis Abu-Hasaballah, Ph.D., President of the FVAMC Board of Trustees, with his wife, Noora Brown, M.A., chair of the FVAMC Interfaith Committee. Right of Khamis Abu-Hasaballah, Canon Audrey Scanlan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

Trustees of the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center, Inc. with the Rev. Audrey Scanlan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut at the real estate closing for the property in Avon, Oct. 21. Center: Khamis Abu-Hasaballah, Ph.D., President of the FVAMC Board of Trustees, with his wife, Noora Brown, M.A., chair of the FVAMC Interfaith Committee. Right of Khamis Abu-Hasaballah, Canon Audrey Scanlan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

The building was vacated after the congregation voted in 2012 to dissolve as a parish and close by the end of that year.

The following spring, Bishop Ian T. Douglas and other ECCT staff hosted a meeting of community leaders and interested residents to discern how the property could best be used “as an asset to God’s mission of restoration and reconciliation” in greater Avon and beyond.

At the meeting they learned that the local Muslim community needed a place to gather for prayers, teaching, youth programs and interfaith work. In September 2013, the ECCT entered into an interfaith partnership with FVAMC that included leasing the Avon building.

Since then the FVAMC has reached out to its neighbors with open houses and other interfaith efforts, expanded its worship and service work, and grown its programs, particularly for youth.

The several committees of the ECCT needed to approve the sale gave it their solid endorsement and support.

Both ECCT and the FVAMC share the understanding that the sale isn’t the end of their relationship but the beginning of a new phase in this interfaith collaboration.

Douglas said of the growing relationship between the Episcopal Church in Connecticut and the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center: “I thank God that through the stewardship of our property in Avon we have come into relationship with our Muslim neighbors in the Farmington valley. Together we are learning about what it means to be people of faith working together for peace and understanding. It is a blessing to cooperate with the FVAMC in the development of their new home.”

“We are grateful to our brothers and sisters in the Diocese for their partnership,” said Khamis Abu-Hasaballah, president of the Board of Trustees of the FVAMC. “This house of worship will serve as a foundation for our efforts to continue building bridges with our neighbors, the local community, and other faith traditions. Our relationship with the ECCT serves as a shining example in our region, and as a beacon of hope for inter-religious understanding and cooperation the world over.

 


Check back in a year or so…our bet is the interfaith lovefest is just about over.

Yale, Colombia, DC host Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood Leader

How is a Muslim Brotherhood leader who espouses jihad permitted to travel and speak in the U.S.? via The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch.

The Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood has issued a press release reporting that Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of the Tunisian Ennahda Party, visited the US in late September. According to the release, Mr. Ghannouchi was invited to speak at Yale and Columbia Universities as well as at the US Institute of Peace (USIP):

Rachid GhannouchiWASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s Ennahdha (Renaissance) Party, visited the U.S. this week to urge lawmakers to publicly support democracy as Tunisia heads for Parliamentary elections on October 26. As the first, post-revolution Arab Spring country to conduct what are expected to be free and fair elections, Tunisia offers a sharp contrast to the region’s extremes.

‘Tunisia’s democratic journey is still nascent – and a visible support for the electoral process and its outcome will be crucial not just for Tunisia, but for the whole region and the U.S.,’ said Ghannouchi. ‘A lot is riding on Tunisia’s elections – it will be one of the most consequential electoral contests the world community will witness.’

Ghannouchi was invited to speak at Yale University in Connecticut and Columbia University in New York, and also addressed the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, DC this week. He reiterated that Tunisia’s consensus-based model will showcase that Islam and democracy can co-exist in the Arab world.

Read the rest here.

Despite his claim that Ennahda rejects any form of terrorism, in  May 2013, the GMBDW reported that Mr. Ghannouchi had  called for young people to realize that “Jihad belongs in Palestine.” In 2011, Mr. Ghannouchi gave an Arabic-language interview in which he predicted the end of Israel, a viewpoint which is not surprising given that he has had a long history of ties to Palestinian extremism and calls for terrorism. In February 2009, Mr. Ghannouchi was a signatory to the so-called Istanbul declaration that called for the opening of a “third jihadist front” against Israel. The statement was the result of a conference held under the auspices of the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign (GAAC), an international Islamist umbrella group comprised of Islamist scholars tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood as well as Salafi-Jihadi scholars including individuals designated as terrorists by the US government.

For a profile on Rachid Ghannouchi, go here.

For a profile on the Ennahda Party and its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, go here.


The question above is particularly relevant in light of this New Revelation: ISIS Leader Originally from Muslim Brotherhood.

 

 

Connecticut: Council will pay $2M to mosque group to find new location

Blood money. An update on this story via Council approves $2 million package to halt mosque proposal on Fillow Street – Thehour.com: Norwalk. h/t JMS

UPDATE (9:37 p.m.): Common Council approves unanimously settlement agreement between city and Al Madany Islamic Center of Norwalk.

———–

NORWALK — Common Council members will consider Tuesday evening a nearly $2 million plan to find Al Madany Islamic Center of Norwalk a location other than Fillow Street to build its proposed mosque and multipurpose hall.

Under the terms of the new settlement agreement, as released by the city’s law department late Tuesday afternoon, the city would purchase Al Madany’s property at 127 Fillow St. for $585,000 — deemed the fair-market value — and pay Al Madany $925,000 in settlement of the center’s claims for damages in the litigation.

Meanwhile, The Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency, the city’s insurance carrier would Al Madany pay $307,500 for out-of-pocket costs incurred by Al Madany, according to Corporation Counsel Mario F. Coppola.

The Common Council is scheduled to consider the agreement at its meeting this evening. The meeting is scheduled to begin at Norwalk Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.

Per the agreement, the city would “work in good faith with Al Madany for no less than two years” to find an acceptable alternative property.

The city’s director of economic development, Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, director of planning and zoning, corporation counsel and mayor would assist in that effort.

“If and when Al Madany identifies an acceptable alternative property,” the City will reimburse Al Madany up to $215,000 for the reasonable out-of-pocket development costs incurred by Al Madany.

Those costs may include legal, engineering and architectural fees, and costs associated with landscaping services and traffic calming measures, but shall not include any costs of interior design relating to the exercise of Al Madany’s religious faith, according to Coppola.


Negotiating with terrorists. A lose lose proposition. Expect more litigation jihad in the future.

Connecticut: Norwalk zoning commission approves mega mosque, bows to Muslims & Fed threats (updated)

As usual, against the wishes of an overwhelming majority of residents. Muslims don’t care about making friends or co-existing with neighbors. Despite what the city’s attorney claims, there is no compromise. This is a lose-lose for city residents and another zoning jihad litigation victory for Muslims backed by Obama. via Mosque settlement gets a thumbs up from Zoning | Nancy on Norwalk. h/t jms Follow jms’ updates in the comments section.

NORWALK, Conn. – Amidst waves of anger and resentment from local residents, the Norwalk Zoning Commission voted 4-3 Thursday night to approve the Al Madany Islamic Center mosque suit settlement and clear the way for the settlement to advance to the Common Council.

The vote came at the end of a public hearing that drew hundreds of people to a not-quite-full Concert Hall.

Zoning Chairman Joe Santo and Vice Chairwoman Emily Wilson, who helped hammer out the settlement, split on the vote, with Wilson voting against it. Also voting in favor were Nora King, Adam Blank and Nate Sumpter. Linda Kruk and Michael O’Reilly joined Wilson in voting no.

With the exception of Santo, a Republican, the vote broke along party lines, with three Democrats in favor and three Republicans against.

The settlement now goes to the Common Council for a vote on the financial aspects. The deal calls for $145,000 to be paid by the city and $162,500 by the city’s insurance company to the Al Madany legal team for expenses related to the suit. The city will also pay the Stonegate Condominium Association about $45,000 to install a gate across the parking lot entrance to keep non-residents from parking there.

The Council is expected to take up the item on Tuesday’s agenda (Sept. 9). Mayor Harry Rilling has called for an executive session at 6:30 p.m. Monday to discuss the settlement.

“We listened to all the comments and I think they all had valid points. I think we have a lot to digest and we’ll see where we go from here,” Rilling said.

Residents took turns bashing the idea of a mosque at 127 Fillow St. and claiming the city was being “bullied” into accepting it. Some said the issue had already caused property values to plunge as residents begin to move out.

At issue is Al Madany’s desire to build a 42,442-square-foot mosque and accessory building on 1.559 acres at 127 Fillow St. in West Norwalk. The Zoning Commission denied the application in 2012, citing the size of the project along with parking and traffic concerns. Al Madany then sued in June 2012, claiming that the project was within zoning parameters and that the city was causing an undue burden on the practice of its religion. After the judge in the case and the U.S. Attorney’s Office urged thee parties to find common ground, Al Madany and Norwalk entered settlement talks in January (see atttached settlement documents for changes in project).

Failing to settle and going to trial would be costly, the lawyers have said., reportedly anywhere from $ million if the city were to win and $10 million if it were to lose and be forced to pay Al Madany’s legal team. Thursday night, the ante went up: One lawyer said it cost Norwalk taxpayers $15 million to go to trial and lose.

Nationally recognized attorney Marci Hamilton, an expert on and ardent foe of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), told the crowd, “Your anger should be directed at the United States Congress” for passing the controversial RLUIPA law under which Al Madany filed suit.

“At issue is what is required under federal law. This attorney fee payout is the lowest I have ever seen.”

She said “You are dealing with a combination of land use and future tax burden,” and recommended settling the case.

Planning Commissioner Victor Cavallo made a point of order and said the Zoning Commission has no authority to vote on the issue because there is no application before it.

Former Corporation Council Peter Nolin said, “Shame, shame, shame on the lawyers,” calling their words bad advice and saying Norwalk should find the mosque a different location.”

Continue reading

Connecticut: Pakistani immigrant robs taxpayers in another food stamp bust

Robbing taxpayers seems to be an area Muslim immigrants excel and have no fear of being deported. via Food stamps used to buy Red Bull – Connecticut Post. h/t Diversity’s Dark Side

BRIDGEPORT — The owner of a Fairfield Avenue grocery store was charged with illegally using government food stamp money to buy 1,200 cases of Red Bull.

Aslam Khawaja, 48, of Iranistan Avenue, the owner of the SK Grocery at 856 Fairfield Ave., was charged Wednesday with first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

From March through December 2013 Khawaja paid cash to 128 of his customers who are on the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for their SNAP benefits at 50 cents to a dollar of benefit, the arrest affidavit states.

He then used the benefits at the Fairfield and Stratford BJ’s Warehouse Stores to purchase $45,000 in bulk merchandise, including the cases of Red Bull, which he offered for sale at his store, the affidavit states.

“I was just trying to help poor people in the community,” Khawaja said. “The poor people come in here and they need money so I help them. Yes, I bought the Red Bull, but I sell it here, people really like it.”

Undercover officers were sent into the store on several occasions with SNAP benefit cards, and were offered cash for their benefits by Khawaja. In one instance, Khawaja gave the undercover officer $30 in cash in exchange for the officer’s benefit card and PIN number and offered him another $100 in cash if Khawaja could deduct $200 from the card.

Khawaja then drove to the BJ’s store where he used the officer’s card, according to the affidavit.

Khawaja is a Pakistani national. In December he was shot during a robbery at his store and at that time asked detectives to file federal documents allowing him to obtain a temporary visa to remain here as a crime victim, police said.

The arrest was a result of a joint investigation conducted by the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, Office of the Attorney General, state Department of Social Services, United States Department of Agriculture — Office of Inspector General, and the United States Department of Agriculture FNS — Retailer Investigation Bureau.

Khawaja was released after posting $100,000 bond pending arraignment in Superior Court on April 22.

 

Connecticut: Muslim visa scofflaw plotted to bomb school, fed building with drone

via FBI: Drone-like toy planes in bomb plot – Connecticut Post.

BRIDGEPORT — A Moroccan national who allegedly plotted to turn a radio-controlled model airplane into a drone-like flying bomb and crash it into a school and a Connecticut federal building was arrested Monday by FBI agents.

Wires and tools were found in the High Ridge Drive apartment where El Mehdi Semlali Fahti, 27, had been living since January with an individual he met while incarcerated in Virginia, according to the FBI. It was not known if any explosives were found.

Fahti told an undercover agent in five recorded conversations that he studied the bomb attack operation for months, and had made a chemical bomb while in high school in Morocco, court documents charge. The recordings additionally claim he could obtain whatever else he needed for his plans in “Southern California on the border.”

He said funding would come from “secret accounts” comprised of money-laundered cash and drug dealing profits, the FBI said.

An affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Anabela Sharp does not specifically identify either building that Fahti allegedly targeted, except to say one was an out-of-state school and the other a federal building in Connecticut.

Fahti does not face federal terrorism charges at this time; those could come later when Assistant U.S. Attorney Krishna Patel takes the evidence to a federal grand jury while seeking an indictment.

Fahti is accused of making a false statement, falsely swearing under oath and falsifying declarations to a federal Immigration judge. Those actions allowed him to stay in the U.S. for seven years after his student visa expired and he flunked out of Virginia International University.

Since then, Fahti has traveled across the U.S. He was briefly arrested on a trespassing charge in Virginia, which was later dropped and he was incarcerated in California on a theft charge. He only moved to Bridgeport recently.

On Monday, he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel, who granted Patel’s request to detain Fahti without bond as a danger to the community and a risk to flee. He was taken to the Wyatt Detention Center in Rhode Island.

Fahti, who is represented by Assistant U.S. Public Defender Paul Thomas, made the false statements seeking political asylum while facing deportation to his native Morocco.

He told the undercover agent he went to the library, researched issues in Morocco and learned about abuses allegedly committed by the Moroccan government on individuals involved with the Jamaat Ansar El-Mehdi and the Western Sahara freedom movement.

He falsely claimed in Immigration Court that he was the victim of arrests, imprisonment and beatings by Moroccan police.

“Everything he wrote in his refugee application coincided with the actual events,” Sharp wrote in her affidavit.

In one recording, Fahti says “the more he thinks about the case, he laughs because he cannot believe the judge believed him” in allowing him to seek refuge in the U.S. for political reasons.

Connecticut: New London School Calendar to Recognize Sharia Holidays

Creeping along in Connecticut. via New London School Calendar to Recognize Muslim Holidays | NBC Connecticut.

An advocacy group is welcoming New London’s recognition of Muslim school holidays in its calendar for the next school year.

The calendar lists certain Muslim and Jewish holidays as days when observing students can be excused for absences. It also asks teachers not to schedule tests on those dates.

The Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday that including the Islamic holidays will serve to enhance the learning environment for Muslim students.

“We welcome the inclusion of Islamic holidays in the school calendar because it will serve to enhance the learning environment for Muslim students,” said CAIR-CT Executive Director Mongi Dhaouadi, in a statement.

Council spokesman Ibrahim Cooper says there is a growing movement toward recognizing Muslim holidays in school districts nationwide. He says it reflects the growth and maturity of the Muslim community as more parents don’t want to see students marked absent when observing holidays.

CAIR is the country’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, according to a release.

CAIR is a lot of things and unfortunately NBC Connecticut simply reprints Associated Press scrubbed information.

CAIR is a U.S. government named Hamas front group and unindicuted co-conspirator to the largest terror financing conviction in U.S. history, among other Islamic terror-related things.

See the HAMAS-CAIR section on lower left side bar for links to relevant background.

School executives with phone & email addresses here.

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