Gov. Charlie Baker said there’s more that unites people of different faiths than divides them as he paid a visit to a Boston mosque on Friday.
Baker said that as governor it’s important he makes clear to those of various faiths — Christians, Jews and Muslims — that they all have a place in Massachusetts.
He prefaced his comments with the traditional greeting “salaam.”
“The vast majority of the people that I talk to in communities of faith … the languages are different, the stories are different, but the meaning is the same,” Baker said during brief comments to those gathered at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the largest mosque in New England. “Everybody is trying to get to the same place. The paths are different, but the goal — the desire to be better than you were yesterday, to be a better person, to serve, to grow — I hear it everywhere I go.”
Organizers said Baker’s visit was the first by a sitting Republican Massachusetts governor.
Baker, who attended the Friday service and listened to a sermon before speaking, told those gathered at the mosque that he’s visited “two or three dozen houses of worship” since he was first elected governor in 2014.
“Everyone wants to be part of a thriving community. Everyone wants to be part of a family. Everybody knows they have flaws that they need to work on. People accept the fact that they need to persevere to be better,” he said
Baker was well-received.
Yusufi Vali, the center’s public affairs director, said the state’s Muslim community has had a relationship with the administration even before the visit.
“We hope that this visit continues to deepen this relationship and we as a community continue to work with the governor around a whole host of issue facing our community and the whole commonwealth,” Vali said.
Approximately 1,500 congregants come to the center for each weekly prayer service.
Speaking to reporters after the service, Baker said it’s important for a governor to get out of the Statehouse bubble and visit as many different communities in the state as possible.
“I’ve said many times I’m the governor of all the people of Massachusetts and whether you’re a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim I think important for me to make clear to you that you have a place here,” he said. “I think it’s important for people in public life to spread their wings a bit and get outside their traditional circle of what they know and who they know.”
Baker wasn’t the first governor to visit the center. Former Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, spoke at the same mosque in 2010.
About that Islamic Society of Boston. via The Boston Globe’s Paean To Boston’s Jihad Enablers
The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), however, has a long history of extremism. It was founded by the Al Qaeda operative Abdulrahman Alamoudi, who was jailed in 2004 for participating in a Libyan plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. The ISB’s listed trustees have included prominent Islamist operatives, including Yusuf Al Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood. And in 2008, the Muslim American Society, which runs the ISB’s Cultural Center, was labelled by federal prosecutors “as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”
On October 30, the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) hosted a two-day conference on behalf of an extremist Islamic organization called the Qalam Institute. Two of the keynote speakers are notorious fundamentalist preachers.
One such speaker, Mufti Hussain Kamani, has called upon God to “reward the martyrs of Palestine.” And in a pamphlet titled, ‘The Prophetic Code,’ published by the Qalam Institute, Kamani cites Quranic verse and commentary, in which he tells Muslims: “do not resemble the Jews.” Parents are also advised to “beat” their children “if they do not [pray].”
Those who commit adultery or have sex outside of marriage, Kamani also states, must be “stoned to death.”
And the The ISB’s political arm, the Muslim American Society (MAS), has been designated a terrorist organization in the United Arab Emirates.
The mosque hosts jihad speakers including a Syrian Imam Who Endorsed Suicide Bombing Visits the ISBCC Mosque.
Faaruuq has delivered sermons at a Cambridge mosque operated by the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) and at the ISBCC itself. Several convicted terrorists reportedly worshipped at the Cambridge mosque – among them Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as well as Aafia Siddiqui, who plotted a chemical attack on New York City, and Tarek Mehanna, sentenced in 2012 to 17 years in prison for conspiring to aid Al-Qaeda. Faaruuq publicly defended Siddiqui and Tarek Mehanna; he was active in a movement seeking to free them, and called on Boston Muslims to defend Siddiqui because “after they’re finished with Aafia, they’re gonna come to your door.” As a result, he was dismissed from his position as Northeastern University chaplain. An ISBCC founder, Abduraham Alamoudi, was sentenced in 2004 to 23 years in prison for his role in a plot to kill Saudi royal officials; he too allegedly worshipped at the Cambridge mosque. A 2010 video of Faaruuq preaching at the ISBCC showed him exhorting worshipers to “grab onto the rope, grab onto the typewriter, grab onto the shovel, grab onto the gun and the sword.”
On September 24, 2011, the ISBCC hosted an event, titled, “Reclaiming Power and Protecting Our Communities,” which featured families of several convicted terrorists and Islamist hate preachers, who accused the Obama administration of a broad conspiracy to falsely convict and imprison American Muslims as part of a general war against Islam. Among the examples given at the at the ISBCC event were no fewer than twenty-two U.S.-based individuals convicted of material support for Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and several other designated terrorist groups.
Among these were Tarek Mehanna, whose brother spoke at the ISBCC event, Aafia Siddiqui, Tarik Shah, whose mother spoke at the event, Ehsanul “Shifa” Sadequee, whose sister spoke at the event, Yassin Aref, four leaders of the Holy Land Foundation, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, Syed Fahad Hashmi, whose brother spoke at the event, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, Sami Al Arian, Ziyad Yaghi, the North Carolina Seven, of whom Ziyad Yaghi was a part, and Mohammed Warsame.