Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cleveland’s new imam: an “interfaith” moderate or two-faced jihadist?

UPDATE #1: Be sure to read Tom Blumer’s update on BizzyBlog, “Imam Ahmed Alzaree and the Islamic Center of Cleveland Follow-Up, Part 2” with more information that not all the radicals left Ohio’s largest mosque with the deportation of Fawaz Damra. He also has a good overview in Part 1 of his post concering the Plain Dealer‘s non-coverage of this story even after two separate reporters wrote two consecutive stories.

Last month, Tom Blumer of BizzyBlog and the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Wide Open Blog followed up on a PD story by David Briggs on the replacement imam at the Islamic Center of Cleveland following the deportation earlier this year of Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Fawaz Damra. After some research, Blumer discovered that the replacement imam, Ahmed Alzaree, had made some rather disturbing remarks, specifically a sermon in which he makes the following statement:

Dear brothers and sisters, the talk about the Day of Judgment is long and full of things that will confuse the human mind and put fear in the hearts of the faithful. Every day that comes is much more Worse than the day before it as we get closer to the hour. Among the signs of the approach of Day of Judgment is what the messenger of Allah PBUH said: “The hour of judgment shall not happen until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Muslims shall kill the Jews to the point that the Jew shall hide behind a big rock or a tree and the rock or tree shall call on the Muslim saying: hey, O Muslim there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him, except the Gharqad tree which will not say, for it is the tree of Jews.” Agreed upon. This is seemed to be very soon and close now. We ask Allah SWT not to test us so hardly if we live till this horrible moment insha’allah.
This is taken from a Friday khutbah dated March 7, 2003 (the original article has since been removed, but it is still available through the Internet Archive). Building on Blumer’s discovery, I also found additional statements by Alzaree in that same khutbah expressing his lament that the compulsory Quranic jizya payments for dhimmi Christians and Jews had gone by the wayside. COAT contributor Sun Tzu also revealed that deported extremist cleric Wagdi Ghoneim had paid a visit to Alzaree’s Islamic Center of Omaha in August 2004, just before Ghoneim was taken into custody by immigration officials.

Embarrassed from getting scooped by one of their own bloggers, the PD quickly rushed out another story in response by reporter Robert Smith covering their tracks. As I noted at the time, Smith couldn’t even bring himself to admit that it had been one of their own bloggers (Blumer) that had scooped them (Blumer also noted that fact). But in the end, Smith put up a mediocre defense of Alzaree, allowing the Islamic Center of Cleveland’s president Jalal Abu-Shaweesh to explain away Alzaree’s anti-Jewish rant about how rocks will cry out for Muslims to kill hiding Jews by saying that Alzaree “was just being thorough”. What can you expect from the establishment media?

But since the PD has been mum on the matter for almost an entire month and Alzaree’s tenure at the Islamic Center of Cleveland about to begin, it bears worth mentioning some additional information I’ve uncovered concerning Alzaree’s previous tenure in Omaha.

Alzaree came to Omaha in mid-2002 after an apparent mosque coup in which an extremist element had taken control and began looking for an imam that more met their tastes (at one point, there were two competing “amirs” for the center). Around the time that Alzaree assumed his new position as imam, some very curious information began to appear on the Omaha center’s website.

In particular, a page dedicated to the “Palestinian issue” appeared, including links to such articles as “The New Nazis” (i.e. the Israelis), “Intifada (Uprising)”, and “The Israeli Myths about Palestine and Palestinians Exposed”.

And then there is a link to “Pictures of the Holocaust”, which bears the following comment:

We always hear about the Jewish Holocaust 60 years ago. These are picture of the Arab (Muslims and Christians) Palestinian Holocaust this year by the hands of the victims of the the first Holocaust. They learned well from their Nazi masters and executioners.

Nice. A real interfaith leader.

Then on the Omaha center’s “World Links” section we see links to Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV and the Islamic American Relief Association, a terror financing front closed by the Feds. Another section dated as recently as May 2006 entitled “Palestinian Live Reports” features information supporting the “Jenin massacre” hoax.

And then there is the section dedicated to “Hot Spots”, where it lists Iraq, Afghanistan, and India. Notwithstanding the link at the bottom of the page, “What is Jihad”, it’s highly unlikely that they were identifying these countries as spots of "internal self-struggle".

In fact, on this page by Alzaree (he lists his email for suggestions on additional links) he states:

Remember that in Islam, the struggle of a nation to free itself from tyranny and oppression is also considered Jihad. Unfortunately, the world now considers such movements as terrorism and the people who try to free themselves as terrorists. Islam believes that people have the right to defend themselves even from oppressors like Israel, Russia and India.
Additionally, a page on Iraq features articles taken mostly from the Revolutionary Worker.

Again, virtually all of this material began to appear around the time that Alzaree took his position with the Islamic Center of Omaha, and these sources continued up until recently. Since Blumer first broke the story of Alzaree’s anti-Jewish rants, the Omaha website has undergone a thorough scrubbing, but there’s no avoiding the archive bots!

The challenge to the Plain Dealer is this: you’ve had two shots at covering this story. Thus far, you have been completely waxed by a couple of bloggers sitting at home in their pajamas (and yes, I’m literally sitting here in my pajamas). Are you guys actually going to get off your lazy media establishment asses and actually do some research, or must the new media do it all for you, thus confirming your irrelevancy? And when you use our research, are you willing to cite us as sources, since we’re the ones who have actually done the footwork on this story?

We’ll see, PD.