By Joe Kaufman
|Boca Raton, City of Terror
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, May 22, 2003
Across our great nation, there are hotspots of Islamist hatred. Beautiful Boca Raton happens to be one of them.
The starting point is at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). It was there that the Muslim Student Organization (MSO) decided to establish two Islamic centers, each appropriately within arms length of the school.
Three FAU professors would take key roles in the creation process. Imad Mahgoub would become president of the Assalam Center, and Khalid Hamza and Bassem Alhalabi would be co-founders of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton (ICBR).
Today, both Islamic centers are looking to expand and have purchased large tracts of land to this effect. If they get what they want, they will have two multi-faceted mosques, in the heart of Boca Raton, within blocks of each other… and of course, the university. One will be a huge 27 thousand square foot facility; the other will be built to resemble the Al-Aqsa mosque which sits on top of Judaism's holiest site in Jerusalem, a city that the ICBR says on its website Jews have no right to and prays Allah will cleanse it of its Jewish inhabitants immediately.
Local residents have questioned why there is a need for two mosques of near identical backgrounds in such close vicinity to one another. That's certainly a good question, but when you look at several of the people involved in the undertaking of these centers, and when you look at some of the individuals that they have associated with, this question becomes one of many.
Khalid Hamza, who was an advisor to the Muslim Student Organization at FAU, not too long ago used a Texas A & M University internet forum to defend Sami Al Arian, a Tampa professor that was recently taken into custody for his involvement as a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). I used the term "was an advisor to the MSO," because FAU has told him that they don't want him to return to his teaching duties, and because the Islamic Center of Boca Raton sent out an e-mail announcing that he was leaving the South Florida community.
Aside from his involvement with the Islamic Center of Boca Raton and the Muslim Student Organization, Khalid Hamza is also an author. He recently wrote a novel entitled ‘The Veil,' which is being promoted on the MSO's website, www.msofau.org. The book is about a Muslim family living in Boca Raton. The first member of the family, as listed in the forward, is fittingly named Jihad.
While Hamza was with the MSO, the student group brought a couple of key radicals to speak at the university. On April 21, 2001, the MSO's second annual Scholars' Night featured Rafil Dhafir, a man that now sits behind bars for raising millions of dollars for terrorist organizations in the guise of an Iraqi children's charity called ‘Help the Needy.' Dhafir has also given lectures on why Muslims must not befriend Jews or Christians and how The United States and England have had a "vicious" war on Iraq. The contact for this event was MSO president, David Johnson, who now holds a position in the FAU student government. [On November 16, 2002, the ICBR also hosted Rafil Dhafir, in a fundraiser for the new mosque.]
The MSO's fourth annual Scholars' Night, on the date of April 21, 2003, featured Siraj Wahhaj, a man who was named as one of the potential unindicted co-conspirators of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and someone that sits on the Advisory Board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization that is a spin-off of a front for the terrorist group Hamas. The contact for this event was Khalid Hamza.
Bassem Alhalabi, the other co-founder (and treasurer) of the ICBR, was a colleague of Sami Al Arian's at the University of South Florida, and according to his resume, wrote various publications with Al Arian around the time that Al Arian was beginning to set the groundwork for the PIJ in America. One of the publications was even featured at a conference in Damascus, the headquarters of the PIJ and the home of Alhalabi Industries, where Alhalabi was employed prior to becoming a research assistant to Al Arian. Alhalabi gave Al Arian as a reference, when he sought employment at FAU.
Another person that Bassem Alhalabi wrote publications with is Hussam Jubara. Along with Al Arian, Jubara co-founded the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP), a think tank that solicited funds for the express purpose of assisting families of suicide bombers. Alhalabi admits to having worked for Jubara and states that he is a "close friend." Jubara was indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of lying on immigration forms.
In addition, Alhalabi recently got into hot water for his negotiated shipment of a $13,000 thermal imaging device to Syria. The Commerce Department restricts the export of the device to foreign countries. In a recent news report concerning Alhalabi's transaction, it was stated that this machine is "normally used by fire departments, military units, law enforcement and government agencies, including NASA, to produce heat-sensitive images of buildings, landscapes and ground areas." Alhalabi claims that his brother wanted it, so that he could search for gold.
Imad Mahgoub, who was an advisor to the MSO prior to Hamza, was featured on a panel discussion with Alhalabi and Raed Awad, the former fundraiser for the Holy Land Foundation, a terrorist charity that was closed down by the United States government. Awad is also said to be the imam responsible for dirty bomber Jose Padilla's conversion to Islam. The video of this panel event is found at – where else – FAU!
At a fundraiser for the Assalam Center, to which Mahgoub is associated, on October 25, 2002, there was featured an individual by the name of Abdalla Idris Ali. Ali sits on the board of the American Muslim Council, an organization whose leaders have openly supported terrorist groups, such as Hamas. And from the years 1992 through 1997, Ali was president of the Islamic Society of North America, an umbrella group for hundreds of Islamic organizations, which conducts conferences and publishes a magazine featuring a number of Islamist militants spewing hateful and sometimes violent rhetoric.
Ibrahim Dremali is the imam of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton. Questions have been raised as to a possible association of his to a militant Islamic group. On July 1, 1996, Dremali was detained by the Israeli Defense Force and told that he was not to leave Gaza indefinitely. On July 5, 1996, at 10 pm, he would set off for Cairo and was to arrive there within two hours. How do I know this? Because the information was posted to the internet by someone that signed it "LM Hashim." Keep that in mind, as you read on.
In October of 2000, Dremali spoke at a rally where Israeli flags were burned and slogans, such as "With jihad we'll claim our land, Zionist blood will wet the sand," were shouted. Dremali told the crowd "not to be sad for those who were martyred and to not be afraid to die for what they believe in"… obvious allusions to suicide bombers. Dremali now claims that he did not make the statement, and the 50 word paragraph that contains this information (and the picture accompanying the paragraph) has now mysteriously disappeared from the article on the website that it was written for (www.islam-online.net), though it can still be accessed via archives. The author of the article is "Um Ahmad."
Lamyaa Hashim, or Um Ahmad as she often goes by, is a well known Islamic poet. Her poetry, including one poem which seems to be about a suicide bomber (‘My Beloved Left for Palestine'), can be seen on such radical sights as palestine4ever.net. The site belongs to the medical director for the Palestine Children's Welfare Fund, Rosemary Davis (Shadya Hantouli), and features a picture gallery of past suicide bombers. Hashim gave permission to put her poetry on the site.
You can also access more of Hashim's poetry on her personal website, ‘Struggle in Palestine,' which contains on its homepage a picture of someone burning an effigy that says on his (the effigy's) chest, "WAR IS HELL, BUSH IS SATAN." In addition, there is a link on her site to an organization associated with the terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and a link to a site praising Abdullah Azzam, the founder of the organization that became Al Qaida.
Lamyaa Hashim is also important, because she ran a Deerfield Beach, Florida charity called the Health Resourch Center for Palestine (HRCP), which as of late has closed down. Deerfield Beach is located just south of Boca Raton. Ibrahim Dremali's brother, Ishaq, was the Gaza operations coordinator for it.
While the HRCP may be "closed for business," as the site has stated, the website for the charity is still up, though (www.hrcp.org). The webmaster of the site is Syed Ahmad. On his personal site, he states he is an FAU student. On his personal site, he also has a homepage to the Islamic Association for Palestine, a front group for Hamas. In addition, his site sports the homepage for the Sanabel Charitable Society, what seems to be the Gaza affiliate to the HRCP; it lists Lamyaa Hashim as its United States representative.
The HRCP is interesting, because on its website, it openly claims to raise money for "shuhada" or martyrs. One can also take this term to mean suicide bombers. With this in mind, the HRCP – from June 25 through July 25, 2000 – put on a summer camp for children in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, featuring two lectures by the Grand Imam Sheikh of Al-Azhar University (Ibrahim Dremali's alma matter), Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, someone that has announced his support (issued a fatwa) for intensified suicide bombing efforts against civilians. He has also labeled Jews "the descendants of apes and pigs," he has said (issued a fatwa) that any Palestinian who sells land to Israelis should get the death penalty, and he has called (issued a fatwa) for an Islamic Jihad against American targets in Iraq. At FAU, there is a video of Tantawi called ‘What is a Fatwa?'
Also interesting is that the HRCP's vice president's name was the only name missing from the website's list of those involved in the charity. It just said the words "Vice President" and left a blank. [Actually, now none of the names exist on the site, as much of the site has been deleted, including the page that featured the Woodcrest Bruderhof, located in Upstate New York, as a "partner." Many claim the Bruderhof, which has met with the likes of Louis Farrakhan, is a fringe religious cult.] When you go back into the website's archives, you find that the vice president was none other than Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout, the director of the Miami-based American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA) and an appointee to the Florida Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
One would think that a group affiliated with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an organization whose main goal is to fight against discrimination, would be free from hate, but in this case, that's just not the case. On the AMANA website, there are a number of inflammatory articles, including one telling Muslims to reject interfaith events. It states, "The Christians and Jews want the Muslims to be like them. That is why they support this deceptive call for ‘unity.'" There is also another article entitled ‘Homosexuality is Not O.K.' that calls homosexuality an "abnormal human act."
Rounding out the people involved in the Islamic Center of Boca Raton are the two spokesmen for the center, Hassan Shareef and Dan McBride. Actually, it's only McBride now, because Shareef, who has called the United States government illegitimate, has now relocated to Saudi Arabia.
McBride converted to Islam not too long ago. When an antisemitic article entitled "Why can't the Jews and Muslims live together in peace?" was taken off of the ICBR website (www.icbr.org) due to outside pressure, McBride said they took it off their site because they received some complaints, but he also said he agreed with everything written in the article. The article called Jews "usurpers and aggressors" and "people of treachery and betrayal." The article also contained this oft used Islamic quote: "You will fight the Jews and will prevail over them, so that a rock will say, ‘O Muslim! There is Jew behind me, kill him!'"
Ibrahim Dremali claimed that the article was caused by hackers. Yet the article was taken from the same place that the majority of the other ICBR website articles are found, www.islam-qa.com. In fact, they're all written by the same person, Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, including the one about how the Jews have no claim to Jerusalem.
Sheikh Al-Munajjid lives in Saudi Arabia, but up until recently the technical contact for his website for some reason was located in Boca Raton. In addition, the service provider for his site was Infocom, a company that has been raided by the United States for allegedly providing "material support" for Hamas. Al-Munajjid's name and a link to his website (which includes a link to the Hamas web site) are currently found on the ICBR site. In addition, a link to an organization that raised millions of dollars for the terrorist group Al Qaida, Al Haramain, is also found on the Islamic Center of Boca Raton website.
Dremali has also appeared in court as an expert/character witness for Adham Hassoun, an individual that was arrested in part for raising thousands of dollars for the Benevolence Foundation and the Global Relief Foundation, two terrorist charities shut down by the United States on the same day. You can judge a person by the company they keep.
The Islamic Center of Boca Raton has admitted to giving nearly 17 thousand dollars to the Global Relief Foundation. What they haven't admitted, however, is that they received 600 thousand dollars from that same Global Relief Foundation for a Boca Raton masjid (mosque), which as of yet does not exist. In fact, according to the Global Relief Foundation website, which has since been shut down, significantly more money is listed as having been given towards a mosque in Boca than any other American city.
This was confirmed, when I went on a radio show to debate Hassan Sabri, the imam of the Islamic Center of South Florida located in Pompano Beach, concerning the building of this new mosque. Sabri stated that he heard from someone that the ICBR received 600 thousand dollars from a group to go towards the building of the new mosque. Furthermore, one of the featured speakers at an ICBR mosque fundraiser held on May 10, 2003, was Khaled Smaili, a past representative for the Global Relief Foundation.
All of this put together says to me, and I believe to you as well, that there is a problem here. Not a small problem, but a big one… and one that is happening not just in Boca Raton, but in major cities all over our country. Will our government sit back and let things happen, or will it begin to take action, so that the next 9/11 never becomes reality?
According to the Palm Beach Post, Ibrahim Dremali's eldest son pled guilty to stabbing a fellow student repeatedly – in the back, neck and arm – with a scissors. He is now attending an Islamic school in Broward County. With regard to this, Dremali stated, "People say ‘Go back to where you came from,' but we have no place to go back to. We are Americans." Yet, our good imam is building a dream home in Gaza… a five-story house, complete with an elevator and polished wood trim. Of it, he states, "It's where my heart is, where I spent my childhood, where I want to return some day, G-d willing. It's why I don't live so well here. I'm putting all my money there." One quote was from December 9, 2002, and one quote was from February 27, 2003. What a difference less than two months makes!