Amazing piece of propaganda from taxpayer funded Arizona Public Media (a member of PBS and NPR), titled Meet Tucson’s Muslim Diaspora. Video that wouldn’t embed available at the link. Not the first time AZPM’s Luis Carrion shilled for Islam in Tucson.
No mention that numerous former members of this very mosque have links to Hamas, Osama bin Laden, and helped create al Qaeda (links and detail below). No, it’s all about Islamophobia and ignorant American Islamophobes who are portraying Islam as a religion of terror – despite nearly 20,000 acts of Islamic terrorism since 9/11. Often killing or attempting to kill Americans.
Tucson, like many cities around the U.S., is home to a growing community of Muslims. The Islamic Center of Tucson is the main mosque in the city, and regularly attracts up to 700 people. Space during Friday Prayer is often at a premium, and people spill out of the main room into the entryway.
Maqsood Ahmad is chairman of the board of trustees for ICT. He points out that this mosque, built in 1990, is unique because it serves a very diverse community of Muslims. He says historically the Tucson Muslim community has been comprised mainly of students and professors at the University of Arizona, but recently there has been a large influx of refugees from North Africa and Afghanistan.
Imam Watheq Al-Obaidi is the leader of this diverse congregation, and he says he left his role as Imam of the Abu Hanifa Mosque, one of the largest in Baghdad, when he and his family became the victims of terrorism.
“Because I was openly condemning terrorism and al-Qaeda,” he says, “my house was bombed, leaving seven of my family members dead. I lost several of my dearly beloved siblings, nephews, and nieces.”
Imam Watheq says his experience with terrorism has helped shape him as a spiritual leader, and he points out that although people here have many different backgrounds, he strives to treat all members of this diverse Muslim community equally regardless of origin or race.
“Everybody here is equal, and I represent them,” he says. “I guide them to the path of truth, rectitude, friendliness, love, and solidarity.”
Muslim-Americans say misconceptions exist about Islam, and erroneous depictions in the media can exacerbate tension within communities.
Maha Nassar is a professor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona, as well as a member of the Islamic Center of Tucson.
She teaches a history course on Islamic thought, and she says the number of students enrolled has increased steadily in recent years. She says students recognize they are not getting accurate depictions of Muslims in the media, and seek out opportunities to learn about Islam.
Southern Arizona became the home to numerous radical Islamists in the early 1980s when they moved here and began raising money for Afghan freedom fighters, some experts say.
Their anger and fund-raising efforts were redirected against the United States after America ended its financial and political efforts in Afghanistan as the Cold War with the Soviet Union began to thaw.
People such as Wadi el-Hage, a personal assistant to Osama bin Laden who raised money in Tucson for the Afghan effort, did not cease raising cash because the United States withdrew its support of the Afghan mujahedeen, or holy warriors, said Harry Ellen, a Phoenix businessman and an FBI informant in the 1990s.
“That helped radicalize them not only for their cause but against us, too,” said Ellen, who met el-Hage several times. “We became a host that slapped their guest.”
El-Hage is now in federal prison for life after his conviction for conspiring to bomb two U.S. embassies in Africa.
With the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. government took notice of the radical leanings held by some Arizona Muslims.
A joint FBI-CIA analysis titled, “Arizona: Long Range Nexus for Islamic Extremists,” likely explores the history of Tucson’s rise to prominence among Muslim radicals but remains classified. Its existence was revealed in the bipartisan 9/11 commission’s final report released Thursday.
That leaves others to explore the reasons why Tucson and Arizona became a destination for Islamic fundamentalists.
…Tucson and the Phoenix area have been home to numerous al-Qaida operatives, including:
● Hani Hanjour, who attended the UA and a flight school in the Phoenix area before piloting American Airlines 77 into the Pentagon on Sept. 11.
● Mubarak al Duri, who lived in Tucson and, according to the 9/11 commission’s report, served as bin Laden’s principal procurement agent for weapons of mass destruction.
● Wa’el Jelaidan, who was president of the Tucson Islamic Center in 1984-’85 and helped found al-Qaida later that decade.
Most known or suspected terrorists seem to have been drawn to Tucson and Arizona by two lures – the availability of flight schools and student visas, said David D. Van Fleet, a professor and terrorism expert in the School of Management at Arizona State University.
He said that may also explain why fund-raising organizations linked to bin Laden branched into certain U.S. cities with “little clusters” of Muslim extremists. The 9/11 commission reported that the al Khifa organization, which had branches in Tucson, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh and New York City, recruited American Muslims to fight in Afghanistan – including some who later took part in terrorist actions in the United States and against U.S. embassies in East Africa.
More from Discover the Networks, Flying imam linked to Hamas, bin Laden:
One of six Muslim imams pulled from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis last night by federal authorities is affiliated with a Hamas-linked organization and acknowledged a connection to Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.
Omar Shahin, who served as a spokesman for the clerics, is a representative of the Kind Hearts Organization, which had its assets frozen by the U.S. Treasury pending an investigation, notes Islam scholar Robert Spencer on his weblog JihadWatch
Treasury spokesman Stuart Levey in February said KindHearts “is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving.”
Shahin, identifed as being with the Tucson Islamic Center, said members of his mosque may have helped bin Laden in the early 1990s when the al-Qaida leader was fighting against the Russians.
Like many mosques in the U.S., the Tucson Islamic Center was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Muslim Students Association (MSA) – and we know that is an organization that pledges to die for Islam (video).
Your taxpayer funds don’t cover investigative reporting, just promotion of Islam.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism: Islamic Center of Tucson
Between 1985 and 1993 the Islamic Center of Tucson (ICT) is alleged to have served as the de-facto Al-Qaeda headquarters in the United States.
Logan’s Warning – ICT linked to unindicted co-conspirators CAIR and ISNA