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Boston Mosque Declares Victory: David Project Drops Lawsuit

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    MA: BOTH SIDES DROP LEGAL CHALLENGES IN MOSQUE SUIT Associated Press 5/30/07 http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070530/NEWS/705300342
    Message 1 of 1 , May 31, 2007
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      MA: BOTH SIDES DROP LEGAL CHALLENGES IN MOSQUE SUIT
      Associated Press
      5/30/07
      http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070530/NEWS/705300342


      BOSTON — Two sides in a legal dispute about the construction of a
      Boston mosque agreed to drop legal actions against each other, a move
      that supporters of the mosque say will allow construction to move forward.

      The decision comes three months after a Suffolk Superior Court judge
      dismissed a lawsuit by Boston resident James Policastro claiming it
      was unconstitutional for the city of Boston to sell land at a discount
      price to developers of an Islamic center. The judge ruled Policastro
      had no standing to bring the suit.

      Policastro agreed to drop future appeals after the Islamic Society of
      Boston agreed to drop a defamation lawsuit against opponents and
      journalists including the Boston Herald and FOX-TV, which reported on
      the sale. The defendants in the Islamic Society lawsuit also agreed
      not to pursue legal fees from the society.

      Bilal Kaleem, executive director of the Boston chapter of the Muslim
      American Society, said the settlement will allow the Islamic Society
      to finish the mosque, which he said is 70 percent complete. He said
      the settlement will also help repair relations with other religious
      groups.

      "This was never about obtaining monetary damages, but defending the
      basic constitutional and civic right of building a place of worship,"
      he said.

      Critics of the mosque also claimed victory, and said they will
      continue to seek information about the project.

      The David Project, a nonprofit group, said it will pursue a lawsuit
      against the Boston Redevelopment Authority seeking documents about the
      sale.

      "We were determined from the beginning to act the way citizens should,
      by asking questions about this matter and by refusing to be
      intimidated into staying silent," said Charles Jacobs, president and
      founder of the David Project. "We intend to continue as we have before."

      The Islamic Society of Boston is building the 70,000-square-foot
      mosque — the largest in New England — on a Roxbury parcel it bought
      from the city in May 2003.

      The Islamic Society paid $175,000 for the 45,000-square-foot parcel
      that was assessed at $401,000. The group agreed to easily achievable
      public benefits — including maintaining a park, and giving lectures at
      Roxbury Community College — as part of the sale.

      The city took the parcel by eminent domain in the 1970s. The BRA
      selected the Muslim Council of Boston as the developer in 1992, and
      switched the developer to the Islamic Society of Boston in 1998.

      ===

      The David Project's press release says they will
      continue a public records lawsuit against the BRA...
      Hopefully the City will do their job and squash the David Project.

      http://www.davidproject.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=234&Itemid=102

      ===

      To: The Boston Globe letter@...

      Dear Editor,

      Not only is Charles Jacobs a liar but he is a cowardly liar. While the
      Islamic Society of Boston is trying to focus on God they really should
      have made the David Project pay at least $5 million for damages. The
      American people were counting on the Muslim community to stop
      anti-American, anti-Constitution activists like Charles Jacobs. We
      need to get our country and our Constitution back. If the ISB won't
      help us against the liars, who will step up and proclaim their loyalty
      to the United States of America and put Traitor Jacobs behind bars?

      Karin Friedemann

      ===

      Press Conference on the ISB and David Project Settlement

      The Muslim American Society (MAS) is pleased to announce that the
      Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), the David Project and Citizens for
      Peace and Tolerance have ended all litigation against each other.
      This includes the lawsuit initiated by the David Project and filed by
      James Policastro against the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Roxbury
      Community College and the Islamic Society of Boston to stop the
      building of the ISB's new mosque and cultural center in Roxbury, MA.
      The settlement prohibits the David Project and other related
      defendants from any further litigation that would impede the
      completion of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.


      Copies of the settlement can be obtained at
      http://www.masboston.org/index.php?section=111

      ===

      MAS Declares Victory in Protecting the Right to Build Major Islamic
      Center (Legal Settlement Ends Effort to Stop Construction of New
      England's Largest Islamic Center)


      In what has been described as a major victory for religious freedom
      and civil rights, the Muslim American Society and its Freedom
      Foundation has assisted the Islamic Society of Boston in achieving a
      major victory and settling a four-year legal battle which attempted
      to stop the building of the largest Islamic center on the east coast.
      The Islamic Society of Boston's Cultural Center, which is being
      constructed in the Roxbury section of Boston, had been under a
      multi-level campaign of negative reporting and disinformation. These
      efforts resulted in a lawsuit initiated by the David Project, and
      filed by James Policastro. The law suit sought to stop the completion
      of the Islamic center. Consequently, a law suit was filed on behalf
      of the ISB against the David Project, Inc., Citizens for Peace and
      Tolerance and other related defendants. Today, the Muslim Anerican
      Society, America's largest grass roots Muslim organization announced
      that the ISB, the David Project, Inc., and Citizens for Peace and
      Tolerance, have ended all litigations against each other including
      James Policastro's suit against the Boston Redevelopment Authority,
      Roxbury Community College and the Islamic Society of Boston.

      MAS and its Freedom Foundation was instrumental in bringing together
      various religious communities in the Boston area and developing an
      outreach strategy that focused on embracing diversity and fostering
      mutual respect and trust.

      "As MAS, we were able to overcome tremendous efforts and resources
      that had been expended towards stopping the construction of the
      Mosque. I think that this settlement is indicative of the fact that
      we achieved our overall goals of protecting religious freedom and
      Muslim's civil rights by providing factual information about the ISB,
      and Muslim houses of worship, reducing tensions between various
      communities, and complying with the express wishes of the Boston's
      Mayor Thomas M. Menino, for all sides to come to some type of
      negotiated settlement", stated M. Bilal Kaleem.

      The settlement prevents any further legal action by the defendants to
      stopping the building of the mosque and re-affirms MAS' basic
      principle for the respect and sanctity of all houses of worship. The
      construction of the mosque is ongoing, and on June 9 there will be a
      special celebration for the capping of the minaret (top most portion).
      MAS outreach efforts on behalf of the ISB settlement was supported by
      a diverse coalition which included the Jewish Workman's Circle,
      Father Helmick (a specialist in conflict resolution) American Arab
      Anti-Discrimination Committee, Tekiah, the Boston Tikkun Community,
      Community Change, Inc., The Diocese of St. Francis of Assisi, the
      Massachusetts Chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American
      Advancement, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Lawyers
      Guild, United for Justice and Peace, Cambridge United for Justice and
      Peace, Clarendon Church and Dorchester People for Peace, The Muslim
      Public Affairs Council.

      The new ISB Cultural Center will provide a place of worship to the
      ever expanding Muslim population in the area, and serve as an
      educational resource to universities and other educational
      institutions. Additionally, the Mosque will house an inter-religious
      center that will focus on interfaith dialog, research and positive
      engagement between diverse faith traditions.

      The Muslim American Society held a press conference on behalf of the
      ISB, pertaining to this settlement on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at
      10:00 a.m. In front of the ISBCC at 1 Malcolm X Blvd, in the Roxbury
      community.

      ===

      From: Jessica Masse, Islamic Society of Boston

      Hello all,

      First, I apologize for sending an email - news like this is always
      better in person, but things are moving so fast that at the very
      least, I wanted to make sure to that you heard this news from me by
      email.

      As you may have heard, we have decided to settle with the David
      Project, and drop all lawsuits including Policastro (the suit launched
      by the DP to attempt to get our mosque torn down.) We have also agreed
      that no future litigation will be brought against the mosque. The ISB
      has made its point, which was never about monetary gain, and always
      about standing up for the right of its community to worship freely.
      We will now focus on strengthening our ties with the broader
      community, and in particular, the interfaith community.

      We are holding a press conference today (Wed, May 30) at 10am at the
      ISB Cultural Center Mosque site in Roxbury and would be honored to
      have you join us.

      This is really a victory for all of us. Seriously, the ISB could
      never have done this without all of the help we have received. It was
      really the support of the interfaith community that gave us the
      necessary support to bring this case to conclusion. And I want to
      personally thank all of you for your courage to the stand with the ISB
      when no one else would. Our basic civil rights had been compromised
      and the ISB was forced to defend nothing less than the right of the
      Muslim community to gather and build a place of worship free from fear
      and intimidation. It is difficult to think of a more important
      principle to stand up for in this day and age. We stood not only for
      our own community, but for all communities who have felt the sting of
      intolerance and bigotry. Thank you for standing with us and giving us
      your time, effort, and in the case of the generous and amazing
      "unidentified young jewish activists," your money to support the new
      mosque.

      God bless, and salaam,
      Jessica

      ===

      Analysis by Joachim Martillo


      > Salaam,

      > Since you seem to have been personally involved in this, what is
      really going on ..?

      AA,

      I really am not personally involved except that I saw an injustice,
      against which I could make some possibly useful efforts.

      As I understand the timeline, Policastro started a lawsuit to demolish
      the ISBCC. Abou Allaban and Kandil sued the DP and friends in
      response to defamatory news reports that caused personal harm.
      Because discovery materials showed that DP and friends were behind the
      Policastro lawsuit, the ISB sued the DP and friends, but the ISB
      always made clear that the ISB would drop its lawsuit if the DP and
      friends stopped challenging the right of the ISB to build the ISBCC.

      I have the impression that the DP and friends have signed some sort of
      agreement that they would no longer challenge the construction of the
      ISBCC, and the ISB, as promised, dropped its lawsuit.

      As far as I can tell the Abou Allaban and Kandil lawsuits are
      proceeding, but no one has told me anything, and the court database
      will probably not be updated for a week or so, at which time I will be
      able to check the status of the other lawsuits.

      The discovery materials make it very clear that the DP goal was to
      prevent the completion of the ISBCC. Because the ISBCC will now be
      finished without problems from the DP and friends, the ISB has clearly
      thwarted the David Project and can legitimately declare victory
      whatever noise the DP and friends make.

      The discovery materials show that the DP and friends are craven liars.
      In fact, they have to misrepresent the outcome of the conflict because
      otherwise their backers will put their money elsewhere, but every time
      Jacobs, Klarman, Goldwasser, Abrams, Kraft, Shrage, Kaufman, Cohen,
      Adelson at al. look out of the top floor window of the CJP building at
      126 High St., they will see the ISBCC despite their money and worst
      efforts.

      Of course, now that we know who our friends are, the Boston Muslim
      community has an obligation to itself and to its allies not to waste
      this victory.

      Wa-s-salam,
      Joachim Martillo

      *********************************************************************

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