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Bad Faith Exchange in Lodi - Imam arrested in Al Qaeda sweep signed Declaration of Peace at interfaith lovefest

June 30, 2005

Bad Faith Exchange in Lodi

By William A. Mayer & Beila Rabinowitz

June 27, 2005 – San Francisco, CA – PipeLineNews - On March 24, 2002 six religious leaders signed a Declaration of Peace in Lodi, California.

That declaration read in part:

"We are six people gathered for a common purpose. Among us are a Jewish Rabbi, a Christian Minister, a Muslim Imam, and a believer from each faith. We acknowledge that fanatics and extremists have, throughout history, committed acts of terror and inhumanity against us all. Together, we repudiate these acts, and declare then to be contrary to our Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths."

Although the full import of the Lodi, California terror related prosecutions is yet to be determined, at least two of the signatories on that document - who seem to have been exploited by members of the tainted Lodi Mosque and Farooqia Islamic Center - are in full and total denial.

To the contrary, they are seeking more of the same, as their correspondence with PipeLineNews indicates:

Rabbi Jason Gwasdoff, of Temple Israel, Stockton.

"I do not feel that I was taken advantage of in any way. I think the sentiments expressed in the declaration of peace were sincerely held by everyone who signed it. I do not assume the Imams are guilty of anything, and have yet to hear anything that would convince me otherwise. They are being held on immigration charges, and truthfully, if it weren't for the investigation of the Hayats I doubt they would be in jail today.

I think it is very important that we continue the interfaith dialogue with the Muslim community. We have much to learn about each other, and I have found that by talking and establishing relationships we dispel a lot of ignorance, and build important bridges."

Pastor Norm Mowrey, formerly of First United Methodist Church, Lodi.

"I feel very positive about the Muslim Community in Lodi. It was wonderful journey with Jewish, Muslim and Christian friends that bought about the Declaration of Peace. That journey continues. We reject violence and terrorism now even more than before. If ever we needed to support each other it is now. I pray for my Muslim brothers and sisters in Lodi. I absolutely do not feel like I was taken advantage of in any way. Interfaith dialogue must continue. I am working here on the Monterey Peninsula to bring together Muslims, Christians (both Protestants and Catholics) and Jews. The journey will continue. We need to walk with each other during this most difficult time. This experience only points up the need for continuing understanding, trust, and friendship."

We have little doubt that Pastor Mowrey and Rabbi Gwasdoff are sincere (albeit naive),in seeking some sort of common ground with representatives of Islam. We have written extensively on the dangers of multiculturalism, of which Christian-Muslim interfaith dialogue is a component, and see no reason to revisit the broad outlines of that subject here.

How Multiculturalism Kills And Why You Should CAIR - Part I

How Multiculturalism Kills And Why You Should CAIR, Part II - Patterns Of Deception

But this case once again proves that dialogue is not a two way street when it comes to Islam and that - good intentions aside - most Christian and Jewish clerics are poorly equipped and of an entirely too trusting nature to knowledgeably navigate that path.

These trusting souls do not seem to be aware of expansionist nature that Islam has demonstrated from its inception and the discriminatory manner in which religious minorities are dealt with in Muslim societies - there is an entire branch of Sharia or Islamic law which details how the Majority Islamic culture deals with non-Muslim conquered populations and their status as second class citizens [Dhimmitude].

And then there are the unique Islamic practices such as "takiyya", which is religiously-sanctioned deception to protect or promote Islam, which has its roots in the Koran and experiences of Mohammad himself.

Imam Abu Hammid Ghazali says: "Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible." - Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, The Reliance of the Traveler, translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Amana publications, 1997, page 745, Al-Ghazali is a famous and well-respected Muslim theologian.

To put it indelicately, these Rabbis and Christian leaders simply have no understanding of - or possibly stomach for - who they may very well be dealing with and that, from our vantage point at least, the notable push by Muslims for interfaith exchange is really a self-centered quest for undeserved legitimacy and a media friendly image of moderation, which is exactly what widely publicized signings of peace declarations are.

In visiting the Farooqia Center's website a skeptical party would have noticed that one of their 2002 fundraisers featured Imam Siraj Wahaj as a speaker.

Farooqia Islamic Center

Any internet search for Siraj Wahaj would reveal that he was listed by US Attorney Mary Jo White in 1995 as a potential co-conspirator in United States versus Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Rahman, aka the Blind Sheikh who masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Pastor Mowrey should have been especially aware of the presence of Wahaj, because he attended the event.

This same fundraiser featured Imam Abdul Malik from Oakland, who has offered public support for Palestinian suicide bombers. Size, vitriol of anti-Zionist rally surprises SFSU Jews

"Jewish students at San Francisco State University were quietly commemorating Yom HaShoah on Tuesday when they were blindsided by a loud and well-attended pro-Palestinian rally on Malcolm X Plaza in which speakers justified suicide bombings, downplayed the Holocaust and claimed Americans "worship Zionists." Hillel students reported that speaker Imam Abdul Malik Ali, a spiritual leader at Oakland's Masjid Al-Islam mosque, urged the crowd of roughly 500 to 800 to "stop calling them suicide bombers. When a person commits suicide, they are oppressed, without hope, depressed. Palestinian mothers are supporting their children who are suicide bombers, saying, 'Go honey, go!'" The Muslim religious leader and SFSU graduate also was quoted by both the school newspaper and Hillel students as calling for a right of return for Palestinians, saying that Israelis ought to return "to Germany, to Poland to Russia. The Germans should hook y'all up. You should go back to Germany."

The Farooqia website contains various links to immoderate Islamist pressure groups [ICNA & ISNA] as well as a link to the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs the world's leading force behind Wahhabism [radical Islam] - the following from the Saudi Site: Al-Jihad - The superiority of Jihad and Moslem warriors (Mujahideen), Judgment concerning Jihad ...

All of the above could have been revealed with a small amount of due diligence, unfortunately those signing this ridiculous declaration chose to simply believe, because it's the politic thing to do.

Now that five members of the Lodi Muslim community have been arrested, the links back to Pakistani radicalism become even clearer.

According to Husain Haqqani a noted expert on radical Islam and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Imam Adil Khan's father - Salimullah Khan - runs a radical Islamic school - Jamia Farooqia University - in Karachi, Pakistan.

Haqqani also states that the elder Khan is a close associate of Fazlur Rehman Khalil.

Khalil, as noted in our first piece Why Pakistan? heads a Pakistani Islamist group [HUM] that signed on to bin-Laden's 1998 "Declaration of War" against the United States.

Despite attempts to brush aside [by people such as Sacramento CAIR spokesman Basim Elkarra who claimed - and who has so far failed to substantiate - that the FBI was on a "witch hunt" in Lodi] the charges against those so far arrested as "technical", a cursory look at the people, their statements, associations and public record points in another direction, one far more sinister.

We list the charges against the Imams and the applicable laws for you below:

Mohammad Adil Khan:
237(a)(1)(A) -- Inadmissible Alien
237(a)(1)(C)(i) -- Nonimmigant Violator of Status or Condition of Entry
212(a)(6)(C)(i) -- Fraud/Misrepresentation to procure a visa, documentation, or admission to the U.S.

Shabbir Ahmed:
237(a)(1)(B) -- In U.S. in Violation of INA

Mohammad Hassan Adil:
237(a)(1)(B) -- In U.S. in Violation of INA

Applicable codes:

237(a)(1)(A) -- Inadmissible Alien


Classes of Deportable Aliens.-Any alien (including an alien crewman) in and admitted to the United States shall, upon the order of the Attorney General, be removed if the alien is within one or more of the following classes of deportable aliens:

(1) Inadmissible at time of entry or of adjustment of status or violates status.-

(A) Inadmissible aliens.-Any alien who at the time of entry or adjustment of status was within one or more of the classes of aliens inadmissible by the law existing at such time is deportable.

237(a)(1)(B) -- In U.S. in Violation of INA

(1) Inadmissible at time of entry or of adjustment of status or violates status.-

B) 2/ Present in violation of law.-Any alien who is present in the United States in violation of this Act or any other law of the 2b/ United States, or whose nonimmigrant visa (or other documentation authorizing admission into the United States as a nonimmigrant) has been revoked under section 221(i), is deportable.

237(a)(1)(C)(i) -- Nonimmigant Violator of Status or Condition of Entry

(C) Violated nonimmigrant status or condition of entry.-

(i) Nonimmigrant status violators.-Any alien who was admitted as a nonimmigrant and who has failed to maintain the nonimmigrant status in which the alien was admitted or to which it was changed under section 248, or to comply with the conditions of any such status, is deportable.

212(a)(6)(C)(i) -- Fraud/Misrepresentation to procure a visa, documentation, or admission to the U.S.


(a) Classes of Aliens Ineligible for Visas or Admission.-Except as otherwise provided in this Act, aliens who are inadmissible under the following paragraphs are ineligible to receive visas and ineligible to be admitted to the United States:


(i) In general.-Any alien who, by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact, seeks to procure (or has sought to procure or has procured) a visa, other documentation, or admission into the United States or other benefit provided under this Act is inadmissible.

When you add to the charges already lodged against the Imams, the allegations of participation in Pakistani jihad schools by the Hayats who are, after all members of Imam Khan's and Ahmed's "flock," the serious nature of this affair should become clear, even to those who are of a trusting nature.

What does this say about interfaith sharing and dialogue with the Muslim community?

In our opinion it counsels extreme caution.

Society's multicultural blinders dictate that all religions are morally equal, yet this not so.

"Interfaith" has no validity within Islam, it is totally a construct of the Western mind. This activity that Jews and Christians look at as faith sharing - exploration, giving and taking - is seen by Muslims in an entirely different light.

They see it as Da'wa [i.e. activity leading to conversion to Islam] which is part of a Muslim's religious duty. The process is not an exchange, it works only one way. Muslims who convert to other religions face very harsh sentences for apostasy.

Muslims even refer to interfaith as "jihad of the tongue."

Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, a leading cleric has stated that - "...eventually Islam will prevail over all other religions and a single Islamic state will rule the world." He goes on to say that some countries will fall to the armed Islamic jihad, but in others, such as the United States, victory will come through Da'wa - "We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through [the] sword, but through Da'wa."

In the United States it is often the foreign funded Islamist pressure groups [which push interfaith dialogue while at the same time accusing Americans of religious bigotry against Muslims] who find themselves in the unenviable position of having their leaders outed as terrorists.

Such is the case with the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR], who has had three leaders convicted on terror related charges.

CAIR's terrorist connections:

Ghassan Elashi, founding board member of CAIR's Texas chapter and businessman convicted of terrorism-related charges on April 14, 2005. According to AP "Ghassan and Bayan Elashi and their company were found guilty of all 21 federal counts they faced: conspiracy, money laundering and dealing in property of a terrorist...The brothers, all born in the Middle East, were convicted the same day jurors began deliberating, after nearly two weeks of testimony, and are to be sentenced Aug. 1. Prosecutors said each count carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence."

Randall Todd "Ismail" Royer, a former communications & civil rights specialist for CAIR, according to AP "Royer...admitted helping members of the conspiracy join the militant Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks. He pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting use of a firearm in a crime of violence and aiding and abetting the carrying of an explosive during commission of a felony. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison."

Bassem Khafagi former director of Community Relation for CAIR, plead guilty to bank and visa and has been deported to Egypt. According to Fox News, "The FBI said Khafagi is a founding member of the Islamic Assembly of North America, a charity that purports to promote Islam...Federal investigators said Islamic Assembly has funneled money to activities supporting terrorism and has published material advocating suicide attacks on the United States."

Given the above, it may or may not strike some as an extreme position, but we are at this point unconvinced that any widespread faith sharing between the two true Abrahamic faiths - Judaism and Christianity - with Islam, is either warranted or desirable absent any degree of certitude that it is not being sought for ulterior motives.

In the final analysis we feel that erring on the side of caution is by far the wisest course of action.

It is not prejudicial in the pejorative sense to observe the nearly unanimous religious affiliation of the terrorists and that Mosques seeking outreach to Jews and Christians are at the same time harboring extremists. In the real world that certainly has to count for something and the actions that we have observed so far by those feigning moderation have not convinced us otherwise.

This does not countenance violence or religious bigotry, it is merely common sense.

Lodi Series, Part I - Why Pakistan?

©1999-2005 PipeLineNews, all rights reserved.


MIM: Background on Muslim immigration to Lodi and details of terrorism investigation

Terrorism Probe Shakes Lodi and Its Pakistani Community

Date Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2005

About 2,000 Muslims have put down roots in the farming town. Even after 9/11, ethnic tensions were minimal--until this week.

By Lee Romney

Los Angeles Times

June 11, 2005

LODI, Calif. - Syed C. Shah arrived in this San Joaquin Valley wine hub from Peshawar, Pakistan nearly five decades ago, a farmworker following the immigrant trail. He picked apples, grapes, cherries - "everything that grew."

"It was all German people here," Shah, now 70, recalled. But Lodi, he soon decided, would be his permanent home.

In the years since, Shah has obtained visas for enough family members to fill 20 households. He co-founded Lodi's only mosque, a pale yellow former Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall of clapboard and stucco near a city park on the southeast side of town.

Shah also saw relations with Lodi's "white Americans" mature over the years like the zinfandel this town is known for. It has been a largely harmonious coexistence, he and others said, punctuated by occasional low-grade hostility. But the community peace was shattered by this week's widening FBI terrorism probe.

Two residents have been arrested and three detained on allegations ranging from lying to federal officials to immigration violations. One of the five allegedly admitted attending Al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan that taught participants "how to kill Americans," authorities said.

Whether the investigation leads to convictions remains to be seen. But the Lodi arrests have prompted radio talk show rants and other unsubstantiated reports that paint the town as an Al Qaeda "stronghold." They have brought an onslaught of media attention, riled ethnic relations and prompted fears of hate crimes.

Mostly, the probe has drawn attention to a community of Pakistani Muslims that local leaders estimate at 2,000, among the largest in California. It happens to be lodged in the heart of a conservative town of 62,000 that calls itself the "Grape American Dream" and once boasted of having a church on every corner.

"The Muslims of Lodi have been living here for the past nearly 100 years," community leader Taj Khan, 62, said. "We are not going away…. We are going to learn from this."

Like Shah, early arrivals came in search of farm work or other labor, settling as well in nearby Sacramento and Stockton. Malik Ahmad, 40, arrived from Lahore, Pakistan, at age 9, but his grandfather had already opened the door, arriving in 1922 to work on the railroad.

Early immigrants found a niche in a segregated world. As more arrived without work papers, they had difficulty finding jobs. Shah stepped in to help, became a farm labor contractor — a middleman providing labor to the region's growers — and purchased several motels.

By 1978, he and several others bought the squat Jehovah's Witness hall and transformed it. No longer would Lodi's Muslim's have to travel to Sacramento for Friday prayers or fulfill their daily religious obligations from homes and fields.

As immigration law softened, new arrivals streamed in, family members sponsoring family members. Some found work as truck drivers, welders, packers in the local canneries. They purchased gas stations and fast-food franchises. Many hail from the Attock district in northeast Pakistan's Punjab state.

"The Muslim community brought food to the table and took care of their families," said Khan, an engineer who immigrated on a professional visa.

But their chosen home presented an image of itself that was homogenous and didn't seem to include them or its growing Latino population.

"Lodi is historically a strong conservative God-fearing church-attending community," said Larry Hanson, a city councilman and former police chief who arrived in Lodi in 1970.

Hanson's first awareness of the growing Pakistani Muslim community came in 1995, when three high school kids vandalized the mosque, breaking windows, tossing lighted flares inside and defacing the building with swastikas.

"All of a sudden I had 10 members of the Muslim community in my office, very concerned," Hanson recalled. "They were trying to show the [broader] community they were peace-loving, law-abiding citizens. They were hoping they weren't going to be targeted."

What developed was a respectful relationship with Lodi's small police force that remains to this day. Then, in 1998, there was a cross burning, and the ritual was repeated. This time, Hanson and others created the Breakthrough Project to foster mutual understanding.

The greatest test, however, came on Sept. 11, 2001.

Merchants in downtown Lodi hauled out American flags, and they remain to this day. Dinner mints at the Lodi Brewing Co. come wrapped in flags. They adorn the windows of the House of Clocks on School Street and cover the rear wall in Ollie's Bar.

The atmosphere after the attacks?

"Look at the flag," bartender George Gladius said. "That tells it all. That's how it was."

Tensions flared. After a few Muslim high school boys drove through town waving the flag of an Arab nation, Hanson said, a false rumor spread that many had poured into the street, "clapping and cheering." Someone tossed eggs at Pak India Spices.

Still, taunts never turned to violence, said the store's owner, Mohammad Shoaib, a 54-year-old immigrant from Attock who arrived in Lodi three decades ago. In time, they dissipated.

Among those working to mend relations was Muhammad Adil Khan, then the imam of the Lodi Muslim Mosque and among the men now held on immigration violations as part of the probe. "He spent a lot of time trying to bring the community to the mosque and get the people together with the Jewish community and Christian community," said Gary Nelson, a Stockton attorney representing Muhammad Adil Khan in a civil matter that stemmed from a community rift.

Joining Muhammad Adil Khan in the effort was Taj Khan. Along with a Lodi Methodist minister, a Stockton rabbi and others, they drafted a "declaration of peace."

"We acknowledge that fanatics and extremists have, throughout history, committed acts of terror and inhumanity against us all," said their statement, signed in June 2002. "Together, we repudiate these acts and declare them to be contrary to our Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths."

The conflict would not come from outside the faith, however, but from within.

At the urging of Muhammad Adil Khan, mosque members lent money and raised more to purchase land on the outskirts of Lodi for a community center and school. Muhammad Adil Khan and others eventually placed the name Farooqia Islamic Center on the deed, court records show. Leadership at the Lodi Muslim Mosque opposed the move, alleging in a lawsuit that they were owed $187,000.

The dispute became so heated, shopkeeper Mohammad Shoaib and others said, that the mosque president threatened to turn Muhammad Adil Khan in to federal officials. The president, also named Mohammad Shoaib, denies that he involved the FBI. However, the lawsuit filed by the mosque against the Farooqia Islamic Center in March states that Muhammad Adil Khan's temporary visa "is believed to be expired."

Against this backdrop came this week's arrests and detainments. Muhammad Adil Khan; his son, Muhammad Hassan Adil, 19; and Muslim leader Shabbir Ahmed are being held for alleged immigration violations. Hamid Hayat, 22, is charged with lying to federal officials about his participation in a Pakistani camp where he allegedly was trained to kill Americans. His father, 47-year-old Umer Hayat, has also been charged with lying to federal officials about his knowledge of his son's participation.

Attorney Brian Chavez-Ochoa, hired as a spokesman for Lodi's Muslims, said, "The father attended the mosque occasionally, but nobody really knows him or the son well. They were more on the fringe."

As FBI investigators have swept Lodi in recent days to question Muslims, finger-pointing between community factions has intensified.

Taj Khan says the dispute was ideological: New mosque leadership has been closed-minded and more orthodox, while Farooqia proponents have advocated more interfaith dialogue and a community center where women, forbidden to enter the mosque, could gather.

Others say it is about money and control. Shah called Muhammad Adil Khan a selfish man who was more interested in business than religion. The FBI, meanwhile, is investigating the broader Farooqia movement for militant ties to Pakistan.

Most Muslims here, however, deny that ties to terrorist training camps exist. "Nobody believes in this community that there's any connection," said Safdar Afzal, 31, a welder and forklift driver who came to Lodi at age 11 from Attock and began picking cherries for Shah.

Regardless, the probe has brought two Lodis face to face. Although police officials report no hate crimes, there has been plenty of name-calling. As shopkeeper Mohammad Shoaib stood near his store talking to a reporter this week, a woman walked by and loudly sniffed: "Must be Al Qaeda."

Afzal took several days off work to avoid being approached there by FBI agents. Even after Sept. 11, he said, he and others felt comfortable walking the streets in their religious dress. Now, they worry they will be ostracized.

As patrons at Ollie's played dice Thursday and sang along with Credence Clearwater Revival's "Lodi," Taj Khan and Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, fielded calls from worried parents. As young men were taken in for questioning, they scrambled to find lawyers.

Long-timers like Shah, however, are not worried.

"This will pass," he said. "We've seen it before."


Times staff writer Rone Tempest contributed to this report from Sacramento.


'Grape American Dream'

Lodi's estimated 2,000 Pakistani Muslims are a small minority in this agricultural products trucking center. The city of 62,000, named for a town in Italy, once cultivated mainly watermelons and, later, table grapes. It now is known for producing zinfandel.

Lodi educational attainment

Less than 12 years: 28%

High school diploma or GED: 25%

Some college:24%

College degree or better: 23%

2005 estimates for population 25 and older


Workforce 16 years and older

Business and professional: 28%

Industrial and transportation*: 28%

Sales and office: 26%

Service: 15%

Farming, fishing and forestry: 4%

*Includes construction, extraction and maintenance, production and material moving.

Note: 2005 estimates. May not add up to 100% due to rounding.


County political affiliation

San Joaquin County voter registration in November 2004:

Republicans: 44%

Democrats: 42%

Declining to state: 10.5%

Other: 3.5%


Sources: Claritas, San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters,, Times research. Compiled by Cheryl Brownstein-Santiago,1,6308910.story registration req'd

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at