Home      |      Weblog      |      Articles      |      Satire      |      Links      |      About      |      Contact

Militant Islam Monitor > Satire > Soliman Fadel: Ex director of raided WAMY group resurfaces as Bridges director to spread Wahhabism at the Pentagon

Soliman Fadel: Ex director of raided WAMY group resurfaces as Bridges director to spread Wahhabism at the Pentagon

January 2, 2006


Muslim Activist Builds "Bridges" With World

"Our mission is to present Islam as it is without any sort of cosmetic improvements," Soliman said.

By Ahmad Maher, IOL Staff

CAIRO, June 12, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – Dedicated to educating non-Muslims about the true values of Islam and Muslims how to reach out to the other, acclaimed Muslim activist Fadel Soliman is championing a new organization which aims at bridging the gap between the two sides.

"Our mission is to present Islam as it is without any sort of cosmetic improvements," Soliman told IslamOnline.net in an interview about the nascent Cairo-based Bridges Foundation.

"To that end, we use all possible means, including media, PowerPoint presentations, CDs, etc. with a focus on training Muslim activists and imams on how to present Islam to the other," added the Egyptian-born activist.

Soliman, Muslim Chaplain at the American University in Washington D.C. from 2001-2004, said prevailing misconceptions about Islam in the West make more pressing the need for revealing the true essence of a much-stereotyped Islam.

"The word jihad, for instance, conjures up images of wars though under Islam there are many sorts of jihad, including fighting evil desires. Even jihad when it comes to the battlefield is by no means a loose term but governed by rules set up by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who instructed Muslim fighters not to kill the innocent, the elderly, children and women," he explained.

Soliman said there are until now three confirmed members of the organization's Board of Trustees: German Muslim intellectual Murad Hofmann, Canadian Egypt-born Gamal Badawi and award-wining British journalist Yvonne Ridley.

The organization consists of two main divisions: Public Presenters for Peace (PPP), which has to do with presentation materials and skills, and International Institute for Training Presenters (IITP), which trains willing imams and preachers in presenting the Muslim faith to non-Muslims.

The Bridges Foundation will launch its Web site in ten days' time.

PowerPoint Presentations

The work of Soliman, the former national chaplain of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in North and Central Americas office, is mostly done through PowerPoint presentations.

A graduate from Catholic St. George Language Schools in Cairo in 1983, he is the author of several presentations on Islam.

"In ‘Islam: a Religion of Peace or a Religion of War,' we provide hard evidence that Islam is undoubtedly a religion of peace and that war exists only as an exception," said Soliman, who studied communication and electronics at the Faculty of Engineering in Ain Shams University, Egypt.

In "Qur'an: the Discovery of Freedom," he draws a comparison between the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the human values enshrined in the Noble Qur'an, which preceded the man-made charter by 1400 years.

"The Qur'an guaranteed, to mention but a few examples, the freedom of thought and freedom of religious belief years and years before the UN charter saw the light," Soliman said.

The activist said the uniqueness of the PowerPoint presentations and trainings is that they help create generations of well-qualified preachers and activists, who can reach out to the other.

"In the USA, I made my presentation to a group of Muslims and afterwards some Muslims from Hispanic background translated it in Spanish and went out presenting Islam to the Hispanic minority in the US," he recalled.

Sensitivity Courses

A group of US army officers with Soliman in the national war college at the Pentagon.

Soliman also organizes "sensitivity courses," which educate non-Muslims on how to deal with Muslims in sensitive issues.

"We provide sensitivity training to police, like the FBI in America, on how to deal with Muslim detainees and to teachers on how to address issues like reproductive health when they talk to Muslim girls," he added.

Soliman said the presentations have become even sought-after by travel agencies, which have put them on their tourist programs.

"In Egypt, we were approached by a travel agency at a request from the tourists themselves," he elaborated.

The activist also cooperates with Islamic centers in the US and across the world in organizing open days to introduce the Muslim faith to non-Muslims.

"All we need is that Islamic centers advertise for an open day in newspapers and then we step forward with our presentations," he said.

Soliman has presented Islam to more than 15,000 people in American churches, universities and governmental departments, including the Pentagon, as well as in international events such as the Frankfurt International Book Fair, 2004.

He was, for four years, the host of a weekly television show on channel 30 in the USA entitled "The Islamic Show" and a weekly radio show entitled "Let the Qur'an Speak



Daily Press - June 2 2004

Muslim charity says volunteer wrongly charged


ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The U.S. branch of a controversial Saudi-based charity said Wednesday that the arrest of one of its volunteers last week on immigration charges is unfounded.

Federal agents on Friday raided the offices of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth in Alexandria as part of its investigation into immigration charges against Ibrahim Abdullah, an Alexandria resident and Saudi citizen who last month earned his doctorate from George Mason University.

Abdullah allegedly violated his student visa by accepting "wages or other compensation" from WAMY since 1999.

Fadel Soliman, executive manager of WAMY's U.S. branch, said Abdullah was a volunteer board member for WAMY and was never paid. He also said Abdullah had been prepared to return this week to Saudi Arabia and would have been a goodwill ambassador there for the United States.

"This is so bad. ... I am sad because we are harming ourselves," Soliman said of the treatment by the U.S. government of Abdullah and other Muslims living in America.

Asim Ghafoor, a spokesman for WAMY, said the federal agents who conducted the raid were not targeting WAMY, but were looking for information related to Abdullah.

"To WAMY's knowledge there is no terrorism investigation," Ghafoor said. "If this raid and arrest was in fact part of a terrorism investigation, then the government has made false statements and the arrest is purely pretext."

Ghafoor also said authorities searched Abdullah's home without a warrant.

Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Wednesday that the department still had Abdullah in custody and that no hearing had yet been scheduled in immigration court. He declined to comment on the specifics of the case.

WAMY's U.S. branch, which was once run by a nephew of Osama bin Laden, has been criticized at times along with other Saudi charities for allegedly promoting an intolerant brand of Islam and for alleged links to financing of designated terrorist groups like Hamas.

Ghafoor said it's wrong to assume that Abdullah bin Laden's connection to WAMY should cause any suspicions, noting that Osama bin Laden's family has disowned him.

WAMY has denied any support for terrorism, and Soliman said the group seeks to promote understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. …


Printer-friendly version   Email this item to a friend