Canopy Signals End of Mosque's Plight
- A crane lowered the 5,000-pound copper cap onto the 140-foot minaret
of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.
(JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF)
Canopy's rise signals end of mosque's plight
By Brian R. Ballou, Globe Staff
June 10, 2007
As a crane hoisted a 5,000-pound, copper canopy toward the top of a
red brick tower in Roxbury yesterday afternoon, thousands of area
Muslims looked upward, some with tears running down their cheeks.
"This is the moment we have been waiting for for two decades," yelled
Yousef Abou-Allaban , chairman of the Islamic Society of Boston .
In the crowd of several thousand, many people held up cellphones and
cameras to snap pictures of the topping-off.
Traffic on nearby Malcolm X Boule vard came to a stop. The top,
adorned with an American flag waving in the cool breeze, was finally
set in place at 1 p.m.
The capping of a mosque's minaret has special significance in Islam,
signaling that the building is completed, said Abou-Allaban. But the
capping of the 140-foot tower at the Islamic Society of Boston
Cultural Center had even more significance for local Muslims because
of the controversies that had dogged the project.
"Allah . . . was probably testing us to see how much perseverance we
had," Abou-Allaban said. "There were all kinds of tests, and who
knows, we may have tests coming in the future," he said.
A lawsuit dismissed earlier this year questioned the sale of the land
to the Islamic Society in 2003, contending that the Society had bought
the land from the city at an unfairly low price. The Society dropped
its own lawsuit last month, alleging that media outlets and others had
defamed it in an attempt to derail the mosque project.
The daylong ceremony yesterday started with a 1-mile march beginning
at Washington Park and ending at the mosque, a red-brick structure
with a large dome near the intersection of Tremont Street and Malcolm
The march, slated to start at 10:30 a.m., got off to a late start. At
the beginning, there were only about 20 people holding white placards,
huddled under trees to avoid a constant drizzle. About an hour later,
the crowd had grown to about 300, and the parade began.
As boys passed out green and yellow fliers with information on the
day's events to onlookers, men in flowing robes were followed by women
pushing strollers or hand-in-hand with children. All chanted, "Allahu
akbar" [God is great].
About a half-hour after it started, the parade reached the
70,000-square-foot mosque, where organizers estimated about 2,500
people were waiting.
The crowd included local Muslims who hail from countries in Africa and
the Middle East, as well as American-born black Muslims. Most people
took off their shoes and sat cross-legged on a large blue tarp
covering an expanse of gravel that is soon to be paved over to become
the mosque's parking lot.
Bilal Kaleem, associate director of the Boston chapter of the Muslim
American Society, was enthusiastic about the diversity of the crowd.
"This shows the blessing and mercy of Allah, and this is that beauty
of universal brotherhood and unity."
After forgiveness, celebration in Roxbury
The Muslim Observer
Boston--June 9--The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) decided to settle
with the David Project, with both parties agreeing to drop all
lawsuits including the suit filed by James Policastro to attempt to
get the Roxbury mosque torn down. No future litigation can be brought
against the mosque.
Interfaith director Jessica Masse said, "The ISB has made its point,
which was never about monetary gain, and was 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."
Masse thanked the interfaith community for having the courage to the
stand with the ISB when no one else would.
ISB Director, Dr. Yousef Abou-Allaban stated, "We have achieved
multiple victories in court The decisions of the Massachusetts judges
who issued rulings in these cases affirming our rights should be read
by all citizens. But now we want to move forward."
The ISB held a press conference on Wednesday, May 30 at the mosque
site in Roxbury and on June 9 held a "Faith and unity march" and
"Minaret Capping festival" attended by over 2000 visitors, including
Policastro said it was a beautiful ceremony, reported the Boston Globe.
A copper cap, affixed with an American flag, was lifted by crane and
attached by workmen to the top of the minaret in front of the crowd as
a symbol for the Muslim community's addition to the American melting pot.
Imam Basyouny Nehala called the adhan from the minaret for the first
The 70,000-square-foot mosque, which has taken two decades to
complete, plans to open this Ramadan.
Muslim American Society Boston's executive director Bilal Kaleem
expressed his joy.
"The settlement was achieved a couple weeks ago," Kaleem said, "but it
didn't hit home until I saw the 5,000-pound cap of the minaret coming
down slowly with thousands of people praying and crying. It was
beautiful, emotional, and a time of great thankfulness."
Sufia Hassan, whose husband heads Masjid Alhamdulillah in Roxbury,
said their mosque was not originally built as a house of worship.
"This is the first built from the ground up," Hassan said
enthusiastically. "What's nice is that it will bring Muslims from this
country and other countries together."
The New England community has achieved a great milestone in their
dream to build the largest Islamic Center in Greater Boston.
Muslims were involved in mosque plot
Boston--May 12, 2007--New evidence has surfaced, which indicates
efforts to enlist professional critics of Islam, including Muslim
collaborators, in the conspiracy against the Islamic Society of Boston
(ISB). Attorney Jack Fainberg, who previously helped construct a legal
case against their mosque, volunteered discovery materials to the ISB.
The ISB shared with TMO a June 1, 2004 opposition email, which refers
to an unnamed "pro-Jewish Muslim ally in Boston," who used Roxbury
Community College connections to help conspirators investigate parking
infractions the mosque might have committed inadvertently, that could
be used in a legal attack.
Khaleel Mohammed, an academic who advocates "Islamic reform" to right
wing audiences was also mentioned in the anti-mosque correspondence.
An October 1993 Boston Herald article linked a quotation from Mohammed
about mosque financing with two succeeding anonymous quotations so
that he would appear to accuse the ISB of connections to
"fundamentalist Islamist politics."
ISB director Jessica Masse claims to be in possession of emails in
which Mohammed discusses with professional Israel advocates the
allegedly "Wahhabi" content of library materials at the ISB. TMO asked
Mohammed to comment about his involvement with the anti-mosque group.
"I am sad to find out that organizations are now using government
funds to combat the building of mosques." Mohammed began.
"I have imparted no `secret' information to anyone I don't know any of
the people in the Boston Mosque. I would at most say that if they are
into radical Islam, I would be against their building a mosque."
Mohammed informed TMO that he verified "some translations [of
statements by] someone on the mosque board" for a good friend at the ADL.
According to the ISB, Islamic scholar Dr. Jamal Badawi claimed under
oath that the pro-Israel Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
misrepresented a political comment made in Arabic by ISB Board of
Trustee member Dr. Walid Fitaihi.
In April 2007, Dr. Walid Fitaihi returned from Saudi Arabia to offer
"an apology without condition" to Jewish leaders in Brookline,
Massachusetts for his words, which "he recognized were offensive to
Fitaihi was on a list of twenty Muslims compiled by the David Project,
the ADL and Steve Emerson.
On February 3, 2005 at a synagogue in Newton, Massachusetts, Jihad
Watch director Robert Spencer summarized their broad and
unsubstantiated allegations in a PowerPoint presentation entitled
"The Boston Mosque: Do Tolerance and Diversity go both ways?"
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