The ICBR has long been the subject of counter-terror researchers, including Joe Kaufman who detailed in a 2003 article, "Boca Raton City of Terror" the activities of numerous radical Muslims in the community, including those of then ICBR imam Ibrahim Dremali:
In 2005 one of ICBR's congregants, a convert to Islam and emergency room doctor named Rafiq Sabir was arrested for swearing allegiance to al-Qaeda and planning to open a jihad training camp in addition to going abroad to treat mujahideen. Sabir was sentenced to 25 years for his terrorist activities in November 2007 [see, "Mastermind in Terror Plot, Rafiq Sabir, Get's 25 Year Sentence," http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=sabir11.29.07.htm]
Shortly before Sabir's arrest the imam, Ibrahim Dremali fled to Iowa. His activities were extensively documented by these writers. [see, "Deconstructing Ibrahim Dremali, http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=dremali.htm].
Dremali has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. When a local television station asked him his opinion on the Danish cartoon controversy, Dremali draped in a keffiyah responded by saying, "Muhammad & Allah are more valuable to us than our own lives, the lives of our children, mothers & fathers," [see, http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=dremali2806.htm]
The Islamic Center of Boca Raton has remained a hotbed of radical Islamist activity. On the same day as the groundbreaking, Altaf Ali spoke. Ali heads the Council on Islamic American Relations [CAIR] in Florida, a group which is an offshoot of the Islamic Association of Palestine, which was named as an unindicted co conspirator in the ongoing Holy Foundation prosecution.
ICBR's overseeing Imam Radwan Koualti runs a da'wa [Islamic conversion] website called "Love Allah." Koualti's web presence showcases the extreme nature of his beliefs.
The Islamic Center of Boca Raton continues to present a danger to the community. Concerned citizens should contact City Hall and Mayor Steven Abrams office and demand that the construction of a mosque with multiple documented ties to terrorism be halted on the grounds of national security.
BY LOIS K. SOLOMON | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Boca Raton - Muslims, responding to explosive growth of young families moving into south Palm Beach County, are to break ground here today on a $3 million mosque that will house classrooms, apartments, administrative offices and a courtyard for prayer.
- February 16, 2008
The 3:30 p.m. groundbreaking at the Islamic Center of Boca Raton marks the first phase of a $4.5 million expansion project for the existing Sunni mosque and school at 3100 NW Fifth Ave. The pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school, called the Garden of Sahaba Academy, has grown from 17 students four years ago to 175 today.
"We never expected this much growth," said Mohamed Senhaji, a congregant and father of two. "It's what's driving us to build."
ICBR is one of seven mosques in Palm Beach County. Another Sunni mosque, the Assalam Center, is under construction at 1499 NW Fourth Ave. The Muslim Community of Palm Beach County, based in West Palm Beach, opened a satellite mosque, also Sunni, in March in Palm Beach Gardens to accommodate Muslims moving to northern Palm Beach County.
About 90 percent of the world's 1 billion Muslims follow Sunni Islam, which teaches that the successor of Muhammad was Abu Bakr, not Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law, whom Shiite Muslims see as the successor. Boca Raton also has a Shiite mosque, the Florida Islamic Educational Center.
Palm Beach County's Muslim population is growing but still trails Miami-Dade County, which has about 40,000 Muslims, and Broward County, with about 20,000, said Altaf Ali, Florida director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. About 10,000 Muslims live in Palm Beach County.
Senhaji said Boca Raton's Islamic community is growing at the rate of about 15 percent to 20 percent a year. Many, he said, are attracted to Florida Atlantic University, across the street from the mosque. Senhaji moved to Boca Raton 19 years ago from Morocco to attend FAU, where he studied ocean engineering.
The eight apartments planned for the new mosque are expected to house FAU students, Senhaji said.
The new mosque, a 30,000-square-foot white stucco complex, will have two blue-green domes and a minaret as a landmark. Architect Salah Elroweny said he melded Spanish-Islamic traditions, such as building the complex around a courtyard for prayer, with Florida-style features such as a covered walkway around the central area in case of rain. "We wanted to respect Islamic tradition by gathering everything around the courtyard," Elroweny said. "Everything looks inward, not outside."
The mosque is expected to serve as a house of prayer, educational center and community gathering place. Faten Warrad, a Garden of Sahaba science teacher, said some of the 500 people who attend Friday prayers at the existing complex are forced to pray outside the school's main hall because there is not enough room.
Adult-size classrooms also are needed, Warrad said. She said adults taking classes at night have to sit at children's desks.
"We use the masjid [mosque] as a community center," Warrad said. "We are at capacity now. We need a place we can call home."
MIM: ICBR congregant Rafiq Sabir got 25 years for terror plot.
Mastermind In Terror Plot, Rafiq Sabir, Gets 25 Year Sentence
By William Mayer and Beila Rabinowitz
November 29, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Rafiq Sabir, a physician based in Florida who had previously been convicted along with an accomplice of participating in a conspiracy to provide aid to al-Qaeda was sentenced on Wednesday to serve 25 years in prison.
Sabir and a martial arts instructor, Tarik Shah were filmed by an undercover FBI agent in 2005 swearing allegiance, the bayyat to al-Qaeda and "Sheikh Osama," and indicated that it was their intent to deliver medical aid and martial arts training to the world's most infamous terrorist group.
As we wrote on May 31, 2005:
"On Saturday May 28th the FBI arrested a member of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton - Dr. Rafiq Sabir - on charges which included aiding al-Qaeda and plotting to open a terrorist training camp in Long Island.
Dr. Sabir had been under surveillance for years while a member of the Islamic Center and its spokesman - Daniel McBride - stated that he was a friend of the terrorist suspect."
During Sabir's trial U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia proved that he conspired with a friend, Tarik Shah – working with a man whom they believed to be an al-Qaeda recruiter – to provide martial arts training and render medical assistance to members of the terrorist group.
Unbeknownst to the conspirators, the al-Qaeda "recruiter" was an informant. Sabir, a graduate of Columbia University faces a maximum sentence of thirty years.
Sabir was a congregant at the Islamic Center of Boca Raton [ICBR] and is another example of how American mosques have become radicalized.
ICBR has figured prominently in high level terror prosecutions. Several of the ICBR founders and trustees had links to Sami Al Arian, ICBR key player Bassem Al Halabi, was implicated for exporting thermal imaging equipment to Syria, and the mosque spokesman [a convert to Islam] fled to Saudi Arabia in 2003. The current spokesman, Dan McBride was arrested for tax fraud.
Such events serve to explain the hasty retreat from the ICBR by its former imam, Ibrahim Dremali, a controversial figure in his own right."
Of particular note in the Sabir case, both he and his accomplice Shah [previously sentenced to 15 years in the matter] had been at times represented by Khurrum Basir Wahid , the former civil rights director of the Florida branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR] itself designated as an unindicted co-conspirator in the ongoing Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding prosecution. Wahid had for a time also served as an unpaid legal consultant for CAIR New York.
"The Broward County office of attorney Khurrum Basir Wahid, a former civil rights director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) confirmed Friday that he agreed to represent Sabir in a letter to U.S. Magistrate James Hopkins… As recently as two years ago, he served as an unpaid legal consultant to CAIR's New York chapter." [source, Boca Raton News, http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:ibbaJKCVFXUJ:www.bocaratonnews.com/index.php%3Fsrc%3Dnews%26category%3DLocal%2520News%26prid%3D11773+cair+%2B+Khurrum+Basir+Wahid&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us]
Upon sentencing Sabir was unrepentant and stated that, "I had no clue I was being asked to treat al Qaeda members." He also claimed, contrary to the evidence, that he had no idea what the bayyat was or to whom he was pledging loyalty because his Arabic was bad.
Sabir's failure to show any contrition combined with what trial judge Loretta A. Preska described as his" deeply held views regarding militant fundamentalist Islam," resulted in his 25 year, near maximum sentence.
1. Criminal Court Docket Report for Sabir/Shah case, http://www.milnet.com/terr-cases/Bronx/Docket%20Report%20-%20Bronx%20Conspiracy.html
MIM: The former Imam of the ICBR Ibrahim Dremali visited convicted terrorist supporter Adnan Hassoun after his arrest and testified on his behalf. Hassoun has been jailed for 15 years and 8 months for recruiting dirty bomber wannabe Jose Padilla. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/22/terror/main3737332.shtml
"Sunrise man who befriended 'dirty bomber' is denied bail"
By Jeff Shields and Tanya Weinberg
(YellowTimes.org) – Supporters of Adham Hassoun, a computer programmer from Sunrise who befriended alleged "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla in the 1990s, blasted the justice system Thursday after an immigration judge refused to release Hassoun on bail.
After two days of testimony and evidence, Immigration Judge Neale Foster declared Hassoun, 40, a Palestinian from Lebanon, a potential danger to the community based on evidence presented in a sealed courtroom.
Agents from the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Hassoun on June 12 because of his connection to Padilla, who converted to Islam in South Florida and was a friend of Hassoun's. Padilla is being held in South Carolina as an "enemy combatant," accused of plotting to detonate a bomb on U.S. soil that would spread radioactive material around its target area.
Federal investigators say that they want to know more about the relationship between Hassoun and Padilla. The Immigration and Naturalization Service will not comment on the case.
Hassoun has contributed to several Islamic charities that the government now accuses of supporting terrorism, and he worked briefly for one in 1993. He was a circulation contact in the United States for an Australian-based militant Islamic magazine, The Call of Islam.
Hassoun has denied that he supports terrorism and dismissed media accounts that he had recent contact with Padilla.
His attorney, Akhtar Hussain, said he was shocked at the nature of the proceedings in Immigration Court at Krome detention center, which he said were closed to the public over his objection.
Hussain is barred from discussing the details of the hearing by court order, but he said Padilla was never mentioned and that the best evidence the government presented involved "somebody overhearing something in 1997."
"I have never seen anything like this in my 22 years in practice - there is no evidence, no witnesses, nothing," said Hussain, who said he was prevented from subpoenaing witnesses to rebut government evidence.
"They did not rebut my client's denials. They have no one there to back up what they're saying," Hussain said. "I would be satisfied if they brought something; then I could counter that. How can I counter a ghost?"
Friends of Hassoun, who has three small children, were crestfallen.
"We were so optimistic today, and we feel the system betrayed us," said Sofian Abdelaziz, director of the American Muslim Association of North America.
He was one of about 15 Muslim community leaders, friends and colleagues at Krome for the hearing.
"They don't have anything against him. It's just because he is Muslim. This is how we feel," Abdelaziz said. "The guy is clean. If there's anything wrong, we would have known, and we wouldn't go there for him. But they have no respect for him, no respect for his religion, no respect for us - as if we don't exist at all. This is not good."
Seeing two of Hassoun's young sons sitting outside the courtroom with sad faces and unable to speak, Ibrahim Dremali said they looked like orphans.
"That broke my heart, believe me," said Dremali, the religious leader of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton.
During more than an hour of questioning, Dremali - one of four witnesses called in Hassoun's defense - said he never had the sense the government had anything solid against Hassoun.
"I feel they want to show the American people they are doing something," he said.
Dremali said that prosecutors didn't appear to have a good understanding of Islam, and that he felt their questions became accusatory.
"Am I a witness here, or am I on trial?" he asked. "Is Islam on trial?" http://www.asianoutlook.com/sunrisee.htm