Iowa: Muslims break ground on another mosque, this time in Dubuque

Source: Islamic Center leaders break ground at site of Dubuque mosque – THonline.com: Dubuque News

Leaders of the Tri-State Islamic Center broke ground this afternoon at the site of Dubuque’s first dedicated mosque building, marking a “great moment” for the organization.

About 30 area residents congregated at the end of Radford Court to celebrate start of the building’s construction.

“We needed our own place and our own building,” said Rami Eltibi, the center’s president. “This is a great moment for us.”

The project likely will cost roughly $600,000, and fundraising efforts are ongoing. About $370,000 has been raised so far for the project, according to the center’s website.

Gary Miller, the mosque’s designer, said he plans to begin construction Tuesday. The building will be completed in four to five months, he said.

Adib Kassas, the center’s Imam, said the mosque’s construction has been long awaited.

“I think it’s time to move to a place of our own,” Kassas said. “There’s something about being able to own the land.”

Kassas said the center previously rented out space in various buildings in order to have a location to worship. But as the local Muslim community grew — largely due to an influx of students coming to study at area colleges — more space was needed, he said.

The center currently is located at 805 Century Drive. But that location is reaching its max capacity for worshippers, Kassas said.

The new mosque will accommodate up to 130 people at a time, according to Miller.

Kassas said he believes the mosque will be a gateway for others to connect with the local Muslim community.

“We want to be able to share with people our culture and show them what we are about, instead of a few crazy individuals who have psychological problems,” Kassas said, noting what he feels is a negative perception of Islam after terrorist attacks by radicals. “I can understand people’s fears, but the only way to counteract that is to show people who we really are. We can’t just hide and expect the world to change.”

Several area residents who don’t practice Islam showed up to offer support.

“This is an important event for the Muslims, but it’s also a great event for Dubuque as a whole,” said John Eby, a history professor at Loras College. “I think everyone in Dubuque will benefit from this.”

Eltibi said he believes the Mosque will attract more Muslims to Dubuque, since they’ll know there is a place for them to worship.

“Many Muslim families looking to work here will see that there is a mosque, and that they are welcome,” Eltibi said. “It will bring many great people to this city.”


Ah, build the mosque and the Muslims will come. That should make all residents feel much better.

Secular group challenges Muslim prayer rooms at Univ of Iowa

An update on the Univ of Iowa converting offices into gender-segregated mosques for Muslim Brotherhood students.

via: Secular group challenges prayer spaces at UI  h/t Islamist Watch

A Wisconsin-based secular foundation is calling on the University of Iowa to reconsider a recent decision to set aside full-time prayer spaces on campus.

“This goes beyond any claimed accommodation provided to students,” wrote Patrick Elliott, staff attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, in a letter Friday to UI President Bruce Harreld. “The University may not establish worship and prayer spaces targeted to certain religious persons and practices.”

Earlier this academic year, UI officials agreed to reconfigure two former offices in the Iowa Memorial Union to serve as full-time prayer and meditative spaces to serve the university’s Muslim faculty, staff and students.

“These rooms are certainly going to be used primarily by Muslim students, but they’re not limited to be used by Muslim students,” Tom Rocklin, UI vice president for student life, told the Press-Citizen in February.

The decision came in response to a long-standing request from the university’s Muslim Student Association to offer a centrally located space where the growing number of Muslims on campus can complete their daily religious obligations. Many Muslim students, faculty and staff report feeling tension on campus as they seek discrete places to offer their five daily prayers, at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and night.

Each room provides space for 15 to 20 people assembling for joint prayer, said Mohammed Ismail, a biochemistry major and event coordinator for the UI Muslim Student Association. When the association uses the rooms for prayer, they separate the male and female participants into different rooms.

“When a government entity like the University of Iowa creates prayer areas for specific religions and imposes religious rules upon students (removing shoes, segregating men and women), it has unconstitutionally entangled itself with religion,” Elliott’s letter states.

Muslim staff and students said they tried years ago to use Danforth Chapel, the other nondenominational meditative space on UI’s campus. But with its benches, altar and cross, the chapel simply didn’t work for a group whose members spread out rugs and blankets to sit, kneel and stand on during daily prayers.

The foundation also called on UI officials to remove all Christian symbols, statements and iconography from Danforth Chapel, which is located outside the Iowa Memorial Union.

“It will not be long before other groups start seeking prayer rooms of their own, and the university will either have to provide those rooms or risk treating certain religious views unequally and violating the First Amendment,” Elliott’s letter states.


Will this tactic and possible legal challenge put an end to student and taxpayer-funded mini-mosques on campuses across the U.S.? Not likely. We predict the Muslim supremacists will prevail while all others are forced to take their religious cultures and identities further underground.

Iowa: Prominent Muslim Jailed in Halal Fraud Case

The self-proclaimed First Muslim to join Peace Corps is setting a fine example.

Source: USA: Midamar Founder Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison in Halal Meat Case

Bill Aossey, 74, founder of Midamar, was sentenced in federal court Thursday morning on federal fraud charges. The sentence also calls for three years of supervision after release and a $60,000 fine.

During the hearing the judge repeatedly scolded Aossey for committing perjury during his trial in court last year.

Aossey’s conviction originally called for a 9-11 year sentence. The judge cut the sentence due to Aossey’s age of 74 and the unlikeliness that he would commit another offense.

Aossey was convicted by a jury on 15 of 19 federal charges last July involving the sale of misbranded “halal” beef products and falsifying export documents and certificates. Halal meat is specially slaughtered to meat Islamic religious standards.

Judge Linda Reade delayed sentencing at an earlier hearing to read over arguments.

The Aossey family has a rich legacy in Cedar Rapids. Aossey, Sr. father helped establish the Mother Mosque in the early 1900s, which is one of the oldest standing Mosques in North America.


In a separate case involving Aossey’s Midamar, 4 Muslims arrested for smuggling guns to Syria in halal food container.

Univ of Iowa converting offices into gender-segregated mosques for Muslim Brotherhood students (UPDATED)

As we noted previously, the Islamic call to prayer can already be heard in Arabic on the University of Iowa campus.

Source: UI creating prayer rooms primarily for Muslim students h/t Bare Naked Islam

The University of Iowa is re-configuring two former offices in the Iowa Memorial Union to serve as full-time prayer spaces that primarily will serve the university’s Muslim faculty, staff and students.

The decision, made late last year, comes in response to a long-standing request from the university’s Muslim Student Association to offer a centrally located space in which the growing number of Muslims on campus can complete their daily religious obligations.

“The necessity had been well established for a while,” said Tom Rocklin, UI’s vice president for student life. “It was more a question of when the opportunity to do something came up.”

Motier Haskins, faculty adviser for UI’s Muslim Student Association, described the two new prayer rooms — located in Rooms 206 and 208 of the IMU — as a “step in the right direction.”

“(They are) two small but newly carpeted and painted rooms, one for men and one for women located, centrally in the IMU with 24/7 access,” he said.

Each of the rooms provides space for between 15 and 20 people assembling for joint prayer, said Mohammed Ismail, a biochemistry major and event coordinator for the UI Muslim Student Association.

“We’ve very happy what they gave us,” Ismail said. “It’s a big place for the moment, but we may see a need for a bigger room in the future.”

Haskins, a UI clinical associate professor of social work, has tried to find a more permanent prayer site for UI’s Muslim population since he came to the university in 2007. Around that time, UI administrators made Danforth Chapel available for daily prayers, which Haskins said initially seemed an ideal solution.

But after a handful of gatherings, it became obvious the chapel, with benches, an altar and a cross, was anything but a “neutral” religious space. It simply wasn’t going to work for a group whose members spread out rugs and blankets to sit, kneel and stand on during prayers.

A chapel with crosses and other non-Muslim symbols simply wasn’t sharia compliant.

Many Muslim students, faculty and staff report feeling tension on campus as they seek discrete places in which to offer their five daily prayers, at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and night.

Rocklin said that Danforth Chapel continues to be used by a number of other religiously-focused student organizations, and the new prayer rooms will be available to all students as well.

“These rooms are certainly going to be used primarily by Muslim students, but they’re not limited to be used by Muslim students,” Rocklin said.

Haskins said the next challenge will be to locate a larger space for the weekly congregational prayers on Fridays.

The national Muslim Student Association has been working for years with campus organizations to seek various accommodations at public universities across the country.


Islamic Supremacy 1o1 as executed to perfection by the Muslim Brotherhood. The MSA was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada, or MSA (also known as MSA National), was established mainly by members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in January 1963 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Nyack College theologian Larry A. Poston writes that “many of the founding members of this agency [MSA] were members of, or had connections to,” the Muslim Brotherhood or Jamaat-i-Islami. The three most significant founders of MSA were Hisham al Talib, Jamal Barzinji, and Ahmed Totanji, and all of whom were MB leaders of Iraqi descent. Other noteworthy individuals who served as early co-founders of MSA were Mahboob Khan and Malika Khan.

The creation of MSA resulted from Saudi-backed efforts to establish Islamic organizations internationally in the 1960s, for the purpose of spreading its Wahhabist ideology across the globe.


The MSA is a breeding ground for Islamic terrorists (and legal jihadists):  The growing list of Muslim Student Association (MSA) terrorists.

See sharia creeping in your area, say something by dropping us a note!

Update:

Secular group challenges prayer spaces at UI

A Wisconsin-based secular foundation is calling on the University of Iowa to reconsider a recent decision to set aside full-time prayer spaces on campus.

“This goes beyond any claimed accommodation provided to students,” wrote Patrick Elliott, staff attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, in a letter Friday to UI President Bruce Harreld. “The University may not establish worship and prayer spaces targeted to certain religious persons and practices.”

These rooms are certainly going to be used primarily by Muslim students, but they’re not limited to be used by Muslim students,” Tom Rocklin, UI vice president for student life, told the Press-Citizen in February.

Each room provides space for 15 to 20 people assembling for joint prayer, said Mohammed Ismail, a biochemistry major and event coordinator for the UI Muslim Student Association. When the association uses the rooms for prayer, they separate the male and female participants into different rooms.

“When a government entity like the University of Iowa creates prayer areas for specific religions and imposes religious rules upon students (removing shoes, segregating men and women), it has unconstitutionally entangled itself with religion,” Elliott’s letter states.

“It will not be long before other groups start seeking prayer rooms of their own, and the university will either have to provide those rooms or risk treating certain religious views unequally and violating the First Amendment,” Elliott’s letter states.

What will the end result of this be? The rooms will be labeled non-denominational with no distinguishing features and like in the real world, Muslim supremacists will control it and do as they please. At taxpayer expense.

Iowa: 2 Islamic companies guilty in halal conspiracy

Muslims robbing Muslims. Will the media stammer on about Islamophobia? US companies plead guilty to conspiracy over halal exports – Yahoo News

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Two related companies that distribute and certify halal food products pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to export misbranded beef products for sale in Malaysia, Indonesia and elsewhere.

 Midamar Corp. and Islamic Services of America each entered guilty pleas in federal court in Cedar Rapids to one count of conspiracy to make false statements on export certificates, sell misbranded meat and commit wire fraud, among other offenses.

Under the plea agreement, each company must forfeit $600,000 in proceeds derived from the scheme. They could also face a term of probation and an additional fine at sentencing.

U.S. District Judge Linda Reade has rejected the companies’ claims that the charges were regulatory violations that should have been handled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ruling that federal prosecutors didn’t overstep their jurisdiction in bringing the case. However, despite the guilty pleas, the companies can appeal Reade’s decision.

Midamar is a food distributor, while ISA certifies Midamar and other companies’ food products as halal and is one of the few organizations approved to certify beef for import into Malaysia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Both were founded and operated by the Aossey family in Cedar Rapids.

Midamar, a 40-year-old company that’s considered a pioneer in halal foods, issued a statement last week saying that the plea agreements resolve all charges against the companies and executives. Midamar said it has now “taken full responsibility for wrongful conduct” that occurred from 2007 through 2012 and apologized for errors in judgment.

Midamar’s founder, Bill Aossey Jr., was convicted in July of falsifying documents as part of a scheme to export beef to Malaysia and Indonesia that didn’t meet those countries’ strict standards of religious-based slaughter. He’s in federal custody awaiting sentencing and could face several years in prison; he has asked for a new trial.

Aossey’s sons, Midamar directors Jalel and Yahya “Bill” Aossey, are expected to plead guilty Friday under their own deals, court records show. Yahya Aossey entered the guilty plea Wednesday on behalf of Midamar, while Jalel Aossey pleaded guilty on behalf of Islamic Services of America.

Iowa: First Muslim to join Peace Corps found guilty in halal export scheme

via Midamar founder Aossey found guilty of conspiracy, false statement, wire fraud charges | TheGazette.

CEDAR RAPIDS — Convicted Monday of most charges in a halal beef exporting scheme, Midamar Corp. founder William Aossey Jr. was put in jail while a federal judge considers what to do with the 73-year-old until his sentencing.

Aossey was convicted by a jury on 15 of 19 federal charges involving the sale of misbranded “halal” beef products and falsifying export documents and certificates.

The founder of the Cedar Rapids company, at 1105 60th Ave. S.W., was accused in October 2014 of falsely representing that the beef he was exporting to Malaysia and Indonesia met strict slaughtering standards.

After a trial last week, the jury acquitted him Monday of four charges of money laundering but convicted him on other charges including conspiracy and wire fraud. He could face years in prison when sentenced.

Aossey, who was free during his trial, was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals after the government asked for him to remain in jail pending his sentencing. He appeared in leg chains for the detention hearing.

During that hearing, U.S. District Chief Judge Linda Reade heard testimony about Aossey’s relationships with others charged with crimes — including Ali Al Herz and three of his family members, accused of trying to smuggle guns to Lebanon — and his international ties that pose a flight risk.

Haytham Faraj, Aossey’s attorney, argued his client isn’t charged in the gun smuggling case. Aossey didn’t know that weapons were in a shipping container so it’s “guilt by association” to try to link him to that case, Faraj said.

Months ago, Midamar initiated a clothing drive to collect items for refugees in Lebanon.

Midamar employees testified Monday they boxed up some items for the shipment but didn’t know about the guns and said the container belonged to Ali Al Herz, not Midamar or Aossey.

Cedar Rapids Police Det. John Matias, who is working the gun smuggling investigation, testified Aossey and Ali Al Herz were good friends and that Al Herz had worked at Midamar for several years in the past.

He said Aossey called the freight company, upset, when he learned the container was being searched by authorities. Matias said Aossey called it “my” container.

Matias then identified a photo from a surveillance video that showed Aossey looking in the container that was at Midamar in May. He also walked inside of it.

However, the guns were found hidden within Bobcat skid loaders in the shipment and couldn’t easily be seen.

Michael Hare, an IRS special agent, testified that Aossey showed up after authorities arrived with a search warrant at Midamar in May and was “disrespectful” and “belligerent,” demanding to have agents’ names.

Reade said it was odd Aossey would be so agitated if he didn’t think anything was wrong.

Faraj said it was understandable from Aossey’s perspective because he was trying to do something good by sending relief items to refugees, and being stopped by authorities for an unknown reason.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy admitted there wasn’t direct information tying Aossey to buying or smuggling guns. But he argued it was difficult to believe Aossey didn’t know about it.

Murphy said Aossey couldn’t be “trusted to abide” by the law. He said Aossey had worldwide connections and could leave the country.

Murphy added that Aossey admitted during the beef export trial to breaking the law by telling employees to remove required USDA labels and directing others to falsify export documents.

Faraj argued Aossey’s entire life is in Cedar Rapids — his work and family — and he wouldn’t risk it by leaving the country.

Reade, however, said Aossey will remain in jail until she makes a ruling on whether to release him pending sentencing, which could be, at least, a few months away.

Aossey was found guilty of 15 counts — one count of conspiracy to make false statements, sell misbranded meat and commit mail and wire fraud; seven counts of making or causing false statements to be made on export applications; and seven counts of wire fraud.

Each count of the wire fraud alone calls for up to 20 years.


Aossey’s bio claims he was the “first Muslim-American to join the Peace Corps”. More on the halal fraud, via Understanding Halal Certification Schemes.

 

Iowa: Gun-smuggling Muslim had ties to Hezbollah; threatened to honor kill daughter

…for marrying a non-Muslim. An update on this post from last week, Iowa: 4 Muslims arrested for smuggling guns to Syria in halal food container.

amal

via Gun smuggling suspect had ties to Hezbollah, agent says.

The eldest of four Cedar Rapids family members accused of smuggling firearms into Lebanon is a Hezbollah sympathizer who met with reported members of the terrorist group during a trip abroad, federal agents testified Friday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy called six witnesses to paint Ali Afif Al Herz as loyal to the Lebanese-based Shi’ite militant and political organization. The United States is one of several nations that have classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Murphy intended the testimony from agents with the Department of Homeland Security and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to persuade Chief Magistrate Judge Jon Scoles to keep Herz, 50, in county jail while awaiting trial on charges that he and three other family members tried to smuggle hundreds of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition into Lebanon, hiding it in storage containers.

Defense lawyer Anne Laverty quickly accused Murphy of using “distraction and fear tactics” with no supporting evidence that ties Herz to any terrorist group. Herz came to the United States in 1984 for college and gave up on religion after watching decades of strife in Lebanon and the Middle East, she said.

“He has specifically rejected religion,” she said. “He has no ties to religious extremists here or in Lebanon.”

Authorities on Tuesday jailed Herz; his son, Adam Ben Ali Al Herz, 22; his brother, Bassem Afif Herz, 30; and his brother’s wife, Sarah Majid Zeaiter, 24, on charges of attempting to illegally smuggle firearms into Beirut, Lebanon. An investigation led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security found the four purchased at least 113 rifles and handguns from Iowa gun stores over a 17-month period.

Staying in jail

In a ruling Friday afternoon, Scoles decided to leave Ali Herz behind bars, along with Herz’s son and sister-in-law, who were also charged. All three have lived for significant periods in Lebanon and could have enough money to flee, he said. There’s “strong evidence” against the family members, and a conviction on the charges could result in a five-year prison sentence, Scoles said.

Bassem Herz, 29, waived a detention hearing and will remain in custody. The men are all U.S. citizens, and Zeaiter is a lawful permanent resident, according to criminal complaints.

The magistrate noted that no evidence produced Friday linked the guns to Hezbollah fighters or other terrorist groups.

Scoles said it is just as possible that the guns were being sent for Lebanese citizens seeking to protect themselves in a country increasingly destabilized by the civil war in neighboring Syria and the threat of the Islamic State group.

“It’s possible that they were intended for terrorist organizations for bad purposes,” Scoles said. “I’m not going to speculate … there’s no evidence to any of that.”

Wearing handcuffs and an orange jail uniform, Ali Herz smiled and waved at family members as he left the courtroom.

Guns hidden in (halal food) containers

On March 26 and May 8 authorities searched shipping containers connected to a company called Herz Enterprises, finding 152 guns and thousands of rounds of ammo hidden inside shipments of Bobcat skid loaders.

The hearing shed new light on the Department of Homeland Security’s investigation into the family, revealing that Ali Herz reportedly confessed after his arrest Tuesday to organizing two shipments of guns to Lebanon in 2014 and another in 2015.

Special agent Daniel Tigges testified that Herz said in an interview that he expected after the third shipment that the group would have netted $380,000 from the smuggling operation.

Tigges said Herz claimed he took half the profits and split the rest with his son, Adam, and brother, Bassem.

“He admitted that he knew it was wrong to ship guns out of the country,” he said.

In front of the packed courtroom, Murphy, the prosecutor, displayed a photo found on Ali Herz’s Facebook page of Hezbollah founding member Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. At another point, he showed a picture of a pristine multi-story house in Lebanon with a neatly manicured lawn that Herz’s defense attorney said he built “brick by brick.”

It’s suspicious that Herz owned a pristine house in a violent country, Murphy said.

“It makes one wonder what the connections are that allows that to go on,” he said. “At a minimum, what is going on here is these people are selling firearms for huge, huge profits.”

Cedar Rapids Police detective John Matias testified about years-old reports authorities took detailing suspicious behavior by Ali and Bassem Herz.

In March 2010, an informant reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that Bassem Herz asked through Facebook whether the informant could obtain rifles with attached grenade launchers, Matias said. The informant reported that Herz said he wanted the guns to turn a profit.

Conflicting portraits

Dueling portraits of Ali emerged from witnesses and his attorney; one as potentially deadly and another as a hardworking father who spent time volunteering to help displaced Iraqi families resettle in Cedar Rapids.

In 2003, Herz’s now ex-wife, Roberta, was interviewed by federal agents and a Cedar Rapids detective, telling them that in 1992 she saw her husband meet with approximately 10 men at a Lebanese apartment complex owned by Herz’s father while the two visited the country.

She reported that at least two of the men carried “assault-style” rifles during the meeting, Matias said.

“She said afterwards she was told by Ali that they were Hezbollah,” the detective said.

Tigges also testified that Roberta Herz told authorities that Ali threatened to kill their adult daughter after she married a non-Muslim. But on cross-examination from Laverty, Tigges said “to his knowledge” the daughter, who lives in Cedar Rapids, was never questioned about the reported death threat as part of the investigation.

Zeaiter, who listened through headphones to a translator, handled finances for the operation, Murphy said.

When the apartment she and Bassem Herz share was raided Tuesday, authorities found a ledger with firearms, quantities and resale prices written in Zeaiter’s hand. The prosecutor also alleged that Bassem Herz and Zeaiter took their baby along on gun buys as a strategic mask and showed surveillance video of the three together buying firearms at a Scheels All Sports.

“What’s more innocent than a young person with their baby, just coming out to buy guns,” Murphy said.

 

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