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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Muslim Town Hall meeting held at terror tied Islamic Society of Bay Ridge -killer of Jewish student was incited by mosque sermon

Muslim Town Hall meeting held at terror tied Islamic Society of Bay Ridge -killer of Jewish student was incited by mosque sermon

August 12, 2007

MIM: How fitting that the discussions dealing with the Khalil Gibran jihad school take place at the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge where the murder of a 16 year old Jewish student was incited by a sermon.

[The meeting was reported on www.arabisto.com to have been organized by the Arab American Yemeni Association [on whose board sits Dhabah Almontaser and whose VP is Almontaser's husband, Naji], the Arab Women in Arts [AWAAM, the group which sold the "Intifada NYC" t-shirts] and the Arab American Association.] (see below)

The Islamic Center of Bay Ridge spawned a killer of a young yeshiva student in Ari Halberstam in 1994.Hamas praised his murderer Rashid Baz as a martyr. Nearly a decade later the Bay Ridge Muslim community spawned another jihadist called Matin Shalawar Siraj who was jailed for 30 years after plotting to blow up the Herald Square subway station dressed as an orthodox Jew.

His plot was thwarted by use of informers. At a meeting at the center with the police Dhabah Almontaser the now resigned KGIA principal designate decried the use of informers as "FBI tactics" and said it "divided the community". At his trial Siraj's defense lawyers claimed that his view that 9/11 was the work of the U.S. and the Mossad was one that "was shared by the majority of Muslims in the Bay Ridge community".

"At the trial of subway bomber Matin Siraj his defense lawyers said their client's belief that 9/11 was staged by the United States was the common view held by the majority of Muslims in . April 2007 Siraj's defense maintained that his views that the United States government was involved in the 9-11 attacks were "community-based notions" held among many muslims."

"In fact, in that entire Muslim community...the thought that the American government was responsible for bringing down the towers on 9-11 was common," said one of Siraj's attorneys, Martin Stolar. [source http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/29/21/29_21guilty.html]

The sucessor to the Imam who inspired Baz also an Islamist was forced to resign his post after he gave a series of interviews to the NY Times (which made no mention of the Halberstam murder). Imam Reha Shata was dismissed for being "too liberal" even though he supported suicide bombings and martyrdom.

The second installment of the Times series related that "Imams like Mr. Shata - men who embrace American freedom and condemn the radicals they feel have tainted their faith - rarely make the news." Yet the Times also reported: "When Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, was killed by Israelis in March 2004, Mr. Shata told hundreds who gathered at a memorial service in Brooklyn that the 'lion of Palestine has been martyred.'" Further, the Times notes, "in another sermon, the imam exalted a young Palestinian mother, Reem Al-Reyashi, who blew herself up in 2004 at a crossing point between Gaza and Israel, killing four Israelis. Mr. Shata described the woman as a martyr."

"...On March 1, in 1994, Baz opened fire on a white van carrying rabbinical students, including Halberstam, onto the Brooklyn Bridge and that on March 5 Halberstam died from the shots. It was an act of terrorism that shocked the city as few events have."... on February 25, Baz went with a friend to the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge mosque, After the sermon, ..., Baz "took two of the guns that he usually kept in the trunk of his car and moved them to the front seat of his car.The two guns were the weapons that he used in the shooting."

In "testimony presented at Baz's trial in November 1994,"...during the cross-examination of Baz's psychiatrist, Dr. Douglas Anderson, when asked "And then he [Baz] went to the mosque and according to Moufaq he heard the Imam say that 'this takes the mask off of the Jews. It shows them to be racist and fascist as bad as the Nazis. Palestinians are suffering from the occupation and it's time to end it.' Isn't that what Moufaq told you the Imam said while he and the defendant were in the audience in that mosque?" Mr. Anderson replied "yes." Ten days after the shooting,... "the Hamas movement in Gaza released a communique praising Rashid Baz's attack on the van," declaring him a martyr. http://www.nysun.com/article/28767?access=695821


MIM: The meeting was reported on www.arabisto.com to have been organized by the Arab American Yemeni Association [on whose board sits Dhabah Almontaser and whose VP is Almontaser's husband, Naji], the Arab Women in Arts [AWAAM, the group which sold the "Intifada NYC" t-shirts] and the Arab American Association.

Almontaser has a close working relationship with Linda Sarsour, a radical Islamist activist and head of the Arab American Association with a power base in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge district. Sarsour is the director of the Arab American Association of New York, a provider of social services including immigration assistance and legal aid to Arab community. She along with Almontaser are board member of the AAA's Dialogue Project and Sarsour is the Co-Chair of the Dialogue Project's Interfaith Events program.

Sarsour's association with Almontaser provides an alarming insight into the forces that will drive KGIA if the school becomes a reality in September.

This relationship poses a serious challenge to those who blindly maintain that KGIA is just another New York City charter school, because Linda Sarsour is tied to the terrorist organization Hamas as well as other radical causes. Deepening the concern, the community from which Sarsour operates shares her views as well as her support for Islamism.

In a 2004 piece by Sarmad S. Ali, "Kerry Drew Disenchanted Arabs in Bay Ridge" published in the Columbia Journalism Review, Linda Sarsour matter-of-factly documents her family's ties to Hamas as depicted in the Arab language terrorist newspaper that she is reading while being interviewed:

"As the presidential election grew near, Linda Sarsour sat in her small office at the Arab-American Association in , Brooklyn, looking at the photos of two thickly bearded young Arabs on the front page of an Arabic-language newspaper.

The paper carried fervent slogans calling on young people to become martyrs in the conflict with Israel.

Sarsour, a 24-year-old Palestinian-American, sighed. One of the men, she said, was a cousin who has been in Israeli jails for 25 years. The other man, she said, was a family friend serving a 99-year prison sentence in Israel. Her brother-in-law, she said, is also serving a 12-year sentence, accused of being an activist in the Hamas, the religious militant group, though, she said, he was secular in his beliefs."[source http://www.jrn.columbia.edu/studentwork/election/2004/minority_ali01.asp]http:0//www.americansagainsthate.org/Kerry_Drew_Disenchanted_Arabs.htm (original article - text is below]

Arab Community to Hold Town Hall Meeting at Islamic Center of Bayridge

NEW YORK, 12 August 2007, (Arabisto.com):

In response to the resignation of Debbie Almontaser as principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the Arab-American community in New York will be holding an impromptu town hall meeting to be scheduled tomorrow at the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge at 6:30pm.

Ms. Almontaser will be returning to her previous position on Monday, August 13 and KGIA will continue to be in service, according to a reliable source I spoke to earlier today. I was also told that Lena Alhusseini, head of the AAFSC, will decide on who will replace Ms. Almontaser.

Discussions will include a city-wide boycott of the New York Post as well as on how the situation has been handled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Department of Education.

Rima Abdelkader is a NY-based journalist and a graduate of Pace University in NY.




Arab-American Community to Hold Town Hall Meeting on Khalil Gibran International Academy Controversy Tomorrow – Corrections Added

August 12, 2007 03:08 PM
(Special thanks to Ms. Almontaser and Ms. Alhusseini for their transparency in providing us with the correct information so as to leave no room for speculation.) In response to the resignation of Debbie Almontaser as principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the Arab-American community in New York will be holding an impromptu town hall meeting to be scheduled tomorrow at the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge at 6:30pm. Ms. Almontaser told me later today, "For the record, I have not had any discussion about continuing with the Department of Education with anyone. As for my replacement, the Arab-American Family Support Center can make a recommendation to Chancellor Klein who then decides who to hire." Lena Alhusseini, head of the Arab-American Family Support Center, also told me later today, "The DOE decides on hiring a new principal not AAFSC. I also wanted to assure you that Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the NYC Department of Education, New Visions, and AAFSC remain fully committed to the school's mission and success. We are all dedicated to ensuring that KGIA is an institution of high academic standards. The school is going to open on Sept 4th to welcome its first students, and I am certain it will be an institution our community will be very proud of."
Discussions will include a city-wide boycott of the New York Post as well as on how the situation has been handled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Department of Education.


MIM:This from The Bay Ridge Conservative Blogger:


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Islamic Fundementalism in Bay Ridge?

Islamic Thinker's Society, a group allegedly affiliated with the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, in their own words.
"Just to show you where our loyalty belongs to—you see this flag here? It's going to be on the floor. And to us, our loyalty does not belong to this flag, our loyalty belongs to Allah…"
Excerpt from the flag desecration video found at the Islamic Thinker's Society website www.islamicthinkers.com.
"We reject the UN, reject America, reject all law and order. Don't lobby congress or protest because we don't recognize congress! The only relationship you should have with America is to topple it."
The Queens branch youth leader Abu Yousuf, at a Queensborough Community College event sponsored by the Muslim Student Association.
"We the Muslims formally believe that the disasters of Katrina are the wrath of Allah on America for crimes committed against innocent Afghan and Iraqi Muslims…"
"In the name of fighting terrorism they are killing innocent Muslims and imposing evil imperialistic ideology of Capitalism and Democracy"
Excerpt from Islamic Thinker's Society Press Release 9/3/05.
"The only alternative to save the American people and the whole of Humanity from the oppression of the Capitalist systems is Islam."
Excerpt from Islamic Thinker's Society press release 7/4/05.
"Independence Day in the United States for many people, is a time of fireworks, barbecues, and celebrations. However, the masses of Americans are ignorant of what they are really observing. They lack the true history behind America's diabolical establishment and their barbaric means into existence."
Excerpt from Islamic Thinker's Society Press Release 7/4/05.
"Oh Muslims! Do you know your enemy? Isn't it obvious?"
Excerpt from flag desecration video promoted at the Islamic Thinker's Society website www.islamicthinkers.com.
"Islam to dominate over all other religions, to dominate the world, even thought the Non-Muslims may hate it."
Excerpt from the flag desecration video promoted
"It seems that whenever a Muslim disagrees with policy he or she is labeled as an extremist militant or Al Qaeda sympathizer"


The AAFSC's latest newsletter

in this issue
:: Our Newest Funders!
:: SAT Prep Classes
:: Volunteer Opportunities
:: and much more!
lena headshotMESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Dear Friends and Supporters, Welcome to another edition of the AAFSC newsletter! It's been a very busy summer for all of us here at AAFSC. As you'll read below, there were many exciting events the past few months and more to come soon. I hope you were able to join us at this year's Arab-American Heritage Park Festival. It was a wonderful day of music, dancing, art and great food! Thanks to all of you who worked so hard to make this event so special. In other big news, the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) will be opening in September. It's been a very long process, but we're so excited that the school's opening is finally here. AAFSC is proud to be a part of this special school which will bring together children of all backgrounds and beliefs in a spirit of understanding and peace. I want to thank all of our partners in this venture for their hard work and dedication to making this school a reality. All of our programs are going strong, and as always I want to thank the entire AAFSC staff for their commitment to serving the Arab-American community of New York City. Every single one of them is dedicated to their work and their hard work makes my job easier! Finally, thanks to all of you for your support of AAFSC. Without friends and contributors like you, we wouldn't be able to maintain our high level of quality social services. We greatly appreciate all contributions made to help the Center maintain our high standards and commitment to our clients. If you have any questions about AAFSC and the services we provide, please feel free to contact me at (718) 643-8000 x20 or lena@aafscny.org. Sincerely, Lena Alhusseini
heritage festival booth A WONDERFUL DAY ENJOYED BY ALL! The third annual Arab-American Heritage Park Festival was held on Sunday July 9 in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. The weather was perfect and thousands of people came and enjoyed the event! The festival featured many live performances--including dance, music and magic. Delicious food was available for all to enjoy. A special thanks goes out to AAFSC's own Nisrine Shehadeh and Maha Attieh for all their hard work in creating and organizing the fair! Thanks to all of our collaborating partners for their hard work and dedication as well: Yallah Youth for Arts SABA: The Association of Yemeni Americans Alwan for the Arts Wellcare Health Plan We're already looking forward to next year's festival as we hope to make it even better!
BRIGADIER GENERAL ROBERT H. HOLMES General Holmes On Thursday May 26, we had a very special guest visit AAFSC. Brigadier General Robert H. Holmes came to the Center to meet selected staff, Board members and community representatives. Brigadier General Holmes is Deputy Director of Operations, U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. As a senior officer involved in coordinating the U.S. war on terrorism, the Brigadier General recognizes the need to engage the the Arab-American community to encourage understanding and tolerance. We were extremely honored to have Brigadier General Holmes visit and we thank him for the honest and open discussion. We fully support his efforts to bring about peace through dialogue and understanding.

We're always honored when new foundations recognize the importance of the work that AAFSC does every day and decide to support us. We're pleased to announce that three new foundations have become part of the AAFSC family in the past few months. Our deepest thanks and heartfelt appreciation goes out to: The Francis L. & Edwin L. Cummings Memorial Fund The NYSE Foundation The Lily Auchinclos Foundation


AAFSC is proud to have joined The New York Immigration Coalition and dozens of community-based organizations across the city to urge the NY State DMV to stop revoking driver's licenses from immigrants. This policy will have devestating consequenses for hard-working immigrants throughout New York. It will severely restrict their ability to work, take their children to school or even drive to the hospital if necessary. Additionally, it could also severely impact the state's economy. We urge you to join us in the fight to protect the rights of hard working men and women across New York.


Our writer's workshops have been so popular that we've scheduled another one for Saturday, October 27. Once again, we will be partnering with the New York Writer's Coalition and the 9/11 Community for Common Good to sponsor the workshop. These workshops give people from different backgrounds the opportunity come together to understand their differences and embrace peace. For more information, or to sign up for the workshop, call (718) 643-8000.

OUR NEW WEBSITE! After some unforseen delays, our new website should be up and running by the end of August. Be sure to visit the www.aafscny.org in the next few weeks to see the new site! Thanks again to all of the dedicated volunteers from the Taproot Foundation who worked so hard on the website.

This year's summer youth camp has been a tremendous success so far. Twenty-five youths enrolled in the camp and we had more wanting to join! The youths have spent the last several weeks engaging in a wide range of activities, both here at the Center and across the city. Just recently, they all took a trip to the Bronx Zoo. We're happy to have made our summer camp an annual event and we love having the opportunity to expose the youth to new and exciting things. Our deep appreciation goes out to all who made a contribution to the camp, especially the Independence Community Foundation.


None of the services we provide would be possible without the many individuals, foundations and government agencies that support the work we do and share our mission of empowering the Arab-American community of New York City.We are very proud of the relationships we've created with our funders and are grateful for their support. Our major funders include:


AAFSC recently began working with ReServe, Inc., a wonderful non-profit that pairs retired professionals with organizations across the city. We currently have three ReServists working with us and we look forward to bringing on more. Our three ReServists are Jess Espinoza, Janey Salley and Patricia Olsen. Congratulations to ReServe on the recent announcement that the City of New York is going to hire more that 100 ReServists to work at various agencies throughout the city.

Donate to AAFSC

All contributions to AAFSC are completely tax deductible. Every contribution, regardless of the size, helps us maintain the high level of services we provide. If you are interested in making a donation, please send a check payable to "The Arab-American Family Support Center" to the following address: The Arab-American Family Support Center 150 Court Street, 3rd Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 ATTN: Director of Development You can also make credit card donations by visiting our website and clicking on the "Donate Now" button. With Ramadan coming soon, why not consider a gift for one of the children in our Child Welfare Program. To learn more about what gifts are needed, contact our Social Services Program Manager, Yasmeen Hamza, at (718) 643-8000 x23 or yasmeen@aafscny.org If you are unable to contribute financially, why not consider volunteering? We always welcome volunteeers, especially in our ESL classes and youth programs. For volunteer opportunites, please contact our Director of Programs, Kinaja Janardhanan, at (718) 643-8000 x34 or kinaja@aafscny.org.

It's finally here! After more than a year of planning and preparation, the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) will open on September 4th. This is a milestone day for everyone involved in the process! As the lead community partner of the school, AAFSC will provide all of our services and coordinate the involvement of other organizations at the school. Our School Coordinator will be at the school on a full-time basis and actively involved in the operation of the school. We're so proud to be part of this unique school which will bring students of all backgrounds together in a spirit of peace and understanding. Students will graduate from KGIA with the tools they need to become lifelong learners and global citizens.
groupauburn On Monday, May 21, AAFSC Executive Director Lena Alhusseini was one of four women honored by the Auburn Theological Seminary at its annual Lives of Commitment Breakfast. Lena was selected for this prestigeous award for her years of advocacy on issues of domestic abuse and child welfare. Lena was selected for this award along with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, Wellesley College President Dr. Diana Chapman Walsh and Blu Greenberg, who had dedicated her life to multifaith issues and feminism.

All of us here at AAFSC would like to congratulate former Administration for Children's Services Executive Deputy Commissioner Zeinab Chahine on her new position as Managing Director of Strategic Consulting at Casey Family Programs! Zeinab had spent 22 years at ACS and in that time she has demonstrated an unflappable committment to serving the children of New York City. She has been instrumental in improving the lives of countless thousands of children and families across the city. While New York City will feel her loss, we're all proud to see Zeinab bring her tremendous skill and experience to the national forum. Congratulations again Zeinab on being named to this prestigious position!


Beginning this fall, AAFSC will be offering a free SAT Preparation class to 15-20 high school juniors. We haven't worked out all the detalis yet, but the class will be meeting one night per week from 6:30 to 8:30. The class will be conducted by a professionally trained instructor and include materials from Kaplan. Similar classes cost as much as $1,000. For more information, contact AAFSC Director of Programs, Kinaja Janardhanan at (718) 643-800 x34. A special thanks to The Frances L. & Edwin L. Cummings Memorial Fund for making these classes possible.


Have you ever wondered how you could give back to your community? One option to consider is joining AAFSC as an AmeriCorps volunteer. We have several openings available starting in January, including ESL instructors, working with youths, events planning and more. All AmeriCorps volunteers receive training on outreach and mobilizing the community, an annual living allowance, a $4,725 education award for student loans and tuition, and health care and child care benefits. For more information, contact AAFSC's Director of Programs Kinaja Janardhanan at (718) 643-8000 x34 or kinaja@aafscny.org.

Beginning in September, we will once again be offering free Arabic classes for children. The classes meet Mondays and Fridays from 3:00 to 5:00 and are open to any youths who are interested in learning Arabic. We're also considering a Saturday Arabic class for children if there is enough interest. This fee-based program will offer an introduction to the Arabic language for all. If you are interested in the Arabic classes, please contact us at (718) 643-8000 for more information.

St. Ann's Warehouse, a Brooklyn based theater company, is bringing a unique play to America for the first time. Mixing live music, dance and film, hundreds of personal conversations are mixed into a moving production. AAFSC is proud to be a sponsor of Is.Man which unveils the secretive world and complex motivations that underline the tradition of honor killings in some Muslim societies. AAFSC's Executive Director Lena Alhusseini will be participating in a panel disucssion on Sunday, October 7th at 6:30 p.m. The panel, held at St.Ann's, will explore immigrant life, religion and assimilation is both Europe and the U.S.


From now through September 23, the DR2 Theatre in Manhattan (103 East 15th Street) is presenting MASKED, a powerful play about three Palestinian brothers. With the Israeli-Arab struggle as its backdrop, MASKED depicts the tragedy of one family torn between duty, kinship, principles and survival. In addition to showing the plays, the theatre will be presenting panel discussions every week which will feature Arab-Americans, Muslims, Jewish leaders and people of all faiths and religious backgrounds. AAFSC Executive Director Lena Alhusseini will be a participant in the panel discussions. For more information, visit www.maskedtheplay.com.


We'd like to inform you of two educational opportunities which may be of interest: The Paul and Saisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans grants 30 fellowships to immigrants or their children for graduate study in the U.S. For more information, visit www.pdsoros.com. The English for Heritage Language Speakers Program at Georgetown University is offering full scholarships to US Citizens who are native speakers of Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Pashto, Persian (Farsi or Dari), Urdu or Punjabi. Visit http://ehls.georgetown.edu for more information. We encourage anyone who is eligible to apply and take advantage of these wonderful opportunities.

GET TO KNOW US! We're pleased to introduce the newest members of the AAFSC family! Kinaja Janardhanan joined AAFSC in June of 2007 as Director of Programs. Before joining the Center, she worked as Team Coordinator for the Clinical Consultation Program at New York Foundling. A native of India, Ms. Janardhanan brings vast experience, both internationally and in New York, to her position at AAFSC. She has trained and practiced as a Clinical Psychologist and Domestic Violence Consultant and brings a holistic approach to addressing family issues. Danielle Jefferis is AAFSC's School Coordinator at the Khalil Grbran International Academy. She is a 2007 graduate of New York University with a degree in Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies. Additionally, Ms. Jefferis was awarded the Ibn Khaldun Prize for excellence and achievement in the study of the Arabic language. She is fluent in both English and Arabic and conversational in French. Cynthia Seay is AAFSC's new Executive Assistant. A graduate of Iona College, she previously worked for National Medical Fellowships, a national non-profit organization that helps minority men and women obtain the MD or DO degrees. Ms. Seay is excited to be part of the AAFSC team and working closely

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