LA Times (July 2007): Salah Sultan a “controversial Sunni figure”, “glorifying holy war”, “sharing the outlook of Al-Qaeda”.Remember that peaceful, moderate Muslim preacher living in Hilliard that the Columbus Dispatch cleared of my outlandish and scurrilous charges of associating with terrorist leaders last year? Well, according to an article in the LA Times, our Hilliard homeboy, Salah Sultan (Soltan), is now causing trouble in Bahrain.
Columbus Dispatch (May 2006): Salah Sultan a moderate, peaceful Muslim preacher falsely accused of extremism and terrorist ties.
The article by Borzou Daragahi, “Strategic rift in Bahrain’s royal court”, published on July 7th, is opened with this set-up:
MANAMA, BAHRAIN — Leading members of Bahrain’s royal family have thrown their weight behind hard-line Sunni Muslim groups, some of whom share the outlook of Al Qaeda, in an attempt to counter a perceived Shiite threat, government officials and critics say.And just who represents these “hard-line Sunni Muslim groups” who are glorifying holy war and share the outlook of Al-Qaeda?
Critics worry that in a country long a bastion of relative moderation, clerics are glorifying holy war. Islamic newspapers have grown more strident and anti-American. One, Akhbar Khaleej, refers to Bin Laden as a “sheik,” a title of honor.Fear of retribution? Why ever would a Bahraini journalist fear retribution from naming Salah Sultan? Didn’t he read Felix Hoover’s article in the Columbus Dispatch “clearing” Salah Sultan of my baseless charges? Doesn’t he know that Sultan signed a fatwa against terrorism? Hasn’t he read the dossier Ahmad Al-Akhras is currently circulating to government officials and establishment media personalities that cites Hoover’s article “clearing” Sultan as proof that I’m a discredited Islamophobic hack? Isn’t the LA Times and its reporter aware that Salah Sultan has been defended by a number of Central Ohio Muslims, including Al-Akhras, Abukar Arman, Norma Tarazi, and most recently, Mahmoud El-Yousseph, who called Sultan “one of America’s most noted Muslim scholars”?
Two controversial Sunni figures who left the United States have found refuge and employment in Bahrain: Wagdy Mohammed Ghoneim, the head of an Orange County mosque who was suspected of giving speeches in support of terrorist organizations and arrested in November 2004 on suspicion of overstaying his U.S. visa; and Salah Soltan, a scholar.
“Every week they appear on television, telling people how to be clean and religious and pious,” said one journalist who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
Or maybe — just maybe — the Columbus Dispatch got it wrong, and Salah Sultan really is a terrorist associated radical. I know it is a possibility difficult to entertain, but just go with me here for a minute.
In the past month, we have not only seen that Salah Sultan was speaking at a conference in Doha, Qatar honoring Yousef Al-Qaradawi in July, listed by the US government as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, where he said that he considered himself a “friend and pupil” of Qaradawi; that Sultan’s remarks and a paper he delivered at the conference were posted on Qaradawi’s personal website; but just days ago we noted that Sultan had his picture taken with the terrorist leader at the event.
In addition, I have reported about Sultan’s speech at a pro-HAMAS rally in Istanbul with HAMAS terrorist-in-chief Ismail Haniyeh last year, just a few weeks after the Dispatch article was published. But just days after Hoover’s article appeared, Sultan was recorded on Al-Risala TV saying the US government was behind 9/11, and praising Al-Qaeda cleric and Specially Designated Global Terrorist Abd-al-Magid Al-Zindani [video clip and transcript of Sultan’s Al-Risala interview].
And it seems that not everyone is Bahrain is pleased with Sultan’s presence there. An article in Al-Wasat (in Arabic) dated May 8th, many people were upset that Sultan and his buddy Ghoneim were granted Bahraini citizenship almost immediately upon their arrival in violation of the country’s constitution. This is particularly curious since according to my sources, Sultan still has a US citizenship application pending. I’m also told that his family is still living in Hilliard while he cavorts with terrorists all over the Gulf region and preaches jihad in Bahrain.
Surely the Columbus Dispatch and Felix Hoover couldn’t have got it wrong on Salah Sultan, could they? And Ahmad Al-Akhras, Abukar Arman, Norma Tarazi and Mahmoud El-Yousseph couldn’t be covering up for their jihad-loving buddy? Say it isn’t so, Joe!