Va. Legislator: Dar al-Hijrah Critics Spread Fear and Hate
by John Rossomando
April 3, 2014http://www.investigativeproject.org/4340/va-legislator-dar-al-hijrah-critics-spread-fear
Criticism of extremist rhetoric and the numerous terror plots that have emanated
from Falls Church, Va.'s Dar al-Hijrah Islamic center equals "ignorantly painting
all Muslims with the same brush" and "dividing the country using fear and hate," a
Virginia state legislator said.
Alfonso Lopez, a Democratic candidate for Congress, slammed Fox News host Eric
Bolling for denouncing Lopez's resolution honoring the 30th anniversary of the
controversial Virginia mosque.
Bolling criticized the resolution because of Dar al-Hijrah's ties to American-born
al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and convicted Fort. Hood shooter Nidal Hassan during
a March 19 broadcast.
"For Fox News to smear an important community institution by ignorantly painting all
Muslims with the same brush is reprehensible," Lopez wrote on his Facebook page and
in a post on the Daily Kos. "At its core, this is a rightwing media attack on the
faith and religious freedom of hard-working patriotic Americans."
Lopez created a petition attacking the "right-wing smears of the Dar al-Hijrah
Islamic Center" in response to the criticisms from Fox and others. He did not
respond to a request for comment from the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
The resolution, which passed the Virginia General Assembly March 3, praised the
mosque for "promot[ing] cooperation, tolerance and mutual understanding among
Dar al-Hijrah may engage in inter-faith outreach. But it also has a checkered
history in its preaching, in addition to the radical people it has attracted and the
terrorists who prayed there.
Lopez also downplayed the mosque's established connections with terrorism and
extremist rhetoric by playing up the charitable activities and interfaith activities
it engages in under the rubric of dawah (Muslim evangelism).
"In 2013, the members of the center provided more than $80,000 in assistance to
community members struggling to pay their rent, and served 200 families from all
faith backgrounds each week through their weekly food bank," Lopez wrote on his
That's lovely, but it doesn't erase the mosque's history and law enforcement
assessments of it. U.S. Department of Homeland Security reports obtained by the IPT
have noted that the mosque "has been under numerous investigations for financing and
[providing] aid and comfort to bad orgs and members" and have called it a "front for
Hamas operatives in U.S."
Among those bad members, Awlaki served as an imam at Dar al-Hijrah before leaving
the United States. Two 9/11 hijackers attended services there, as did Fort Hood
shooter Nidal Hasan and terrorist financier Abdurrahman Alamoudi.
The Washington Post noted in 2011 that "almost no other mosque in the country has
been linked to so many cases of alleged terrorism."
Meanwhile, radical material continues to be peddled by the mosque.
Books the Investigative Project on Terrorism bought during a Dar al-Hijrah's book
sale last fall included texts sanctioning hatred and violent jihad against
non-Muslims. These books raise questions about the mosque's commitment to tolerance
· Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi's book The Desired Muslim Generation, opines that
"Palestine will ultimately be freed and the Jews conquered. The whole universe will
be on their side; even trees and rocks will somehow support them by saying: 'O
Muslim O Abdullah [slave of Allâh (I)] Here is a Jew hidden behind me come and kill
Qaradawi writes that Muslims who wage violent jihad believe "their religion is so
precious to them that their worldly life has become despicable."
"They fight in Allah's cause, so they kill [others] and are killed," Qaradawi
writes, citing Surah 9:111 of the Quran.
· The Last Apocalypse, An Islamic Perspective, written by A.R. Kelani, speculates
that the dajjal -- Islam's Antichrist -- will be a Jew and that "Allah will destroy
all religions except Islam."
· In Pursuit of Allah's Pleasure , another book purchased at Dar al-Hijrah's sale,
slams imams who teach that all religions are equal and says that following "iman" --
essentially the Golden Rule -- is the only thing that is required.
"We need to wage Jihad, for without it the flag of Islam will never he raised and
the forces of disbelief will continue to dominate our lives. Jihad is the [m]eans by
which we can establish the Caliphate after having removed the disbelieving rulers
who have replaced the law of Allah by man-made laws," In Pursuit of Allah's Pleasure
· The Ideal Muslim Society, by Dr. Muhammad Ali Hashimi, talks about diverting zakat
funds, ordinarily used as charity to help the poor, to fund jihad.
"The most important of these (other uses for zakat) is jihad for the sake of Allah
because the Muslim ummah should focus on conveying its message to the world,"
Radical ideas also come from mosque leadership.
The mosque's chief imam, Shaker Elsayed, has repeatedly endorsed violent jihad. Just
last year, he spoke at a Northern Virginia high school where he preached that Muslim
men would be last in line except if it was for "arms for jihad."
"Are we afraid because they may call us terrorists?" Elsayed asked. "You are a
terrorist because you are a Muslim," Elsayed said. "Well give them a run for their
money. Make it worth it. Make this title worth it, and be good a Muslim.
"Be a good Muslim who fights back when there is an attack on yourself, on your
community, your society, your nation, your religion, your dignity, your honor, your
women, your children or your neighbors."
This was not the first time Elsayed has endorsed terrorism. In a December 2002
speech, he took issue with the labels "suicide bombers, homicide bombers, or
murderers, or killers."
"To decide that this man is a martyr or not a martyr, it is a pure religious
matter," Elsayed said. "Nobody who is not Muslim has any right to decide for us, we
the Muslims, whose is a martyr or another. We as Muslims will decide that. It is
Esam Omeish, a former Dar al-Hijrah board member who remains an occasional preacher
at the mosque, similarly endorsed violent jihad in an October 2000 speech. In it, he
congratulated Palestinian terrorists for "giving up their lives for the sake of
Allah and al-Aqsa." In another speech two months later, he praised Palestinians for
knowing "that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land."
He was the president of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Muslim American Society (MAS).
Dar al-Hijrah belongs to MAS, and MAS has operations on the mosque's property.
Omeish reportedly hired al-Awlaki to be the mosque's imam.
Dar al-Hijrah's rogue's gallery also includes Abdelhaleem Ashqar, a Hamas operative
who is serving an 11-year sentence for obstructing a federal terrorism investigation
into the terrorist group's activities. Ashqar, a former mosque board member, helped
organize a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia with other Hamas operatives.
In November, the mosque hosted Hassan Hachimi, the head of the Syrian Muslim
Brotherhood's political bureau. While there, Hachimi condemned the United States for
classifying al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist group.
Preaching hatred and intolerance of non-Muslims has been a longstanding problem at
For example, a Nov. 12, 2004 sermon by Imam Johari Abdul Malik promised that Islam
would become the "first religion in America" and that it would be better to "be a
Muslim under these conditions than a kaffir (unbeliever) under any conditions."
Sheik Mohammed al-Hanooti, another Dar al-Hijrah imam, also showcased the mosque's
commitment to tolerance in a December 18, 1998 where he said, "Just like Allah
promises us, he will stand in his promise and the curse of Allah will become true on
the Jews. The curse of Allah will become true on the Americans and the tyrannies."
There are plenty of mosques in Virginia that engage in interfaith dialogue without
sermons and literature promoting jihad and which have not served as magnets for
terrorists and their supporters. Pointing out Dar al-Hijrah's full history is
neither bigoted nor ignorant.
Demanding that people not point out that documented history, on the other hand,
appears to be a naked play for political support by a legislator with bigger
ambitions than the General Assembly in Richmond.
Related Topics: John Rossomando