On February 9, 2010, the Pompano Beach, Florida city commission granted the imam of the Islamic Center of South Florida (ICOSB), Hasan Sabri, the honor of giving the invocation at one of its bi-weekly commission meetings. Given the extremist history of the imam and his mosque, one can only look upon this as a tremendous embarrassment for the city and an ominous sign for the future of its citizens.
“I ask you now to stand for the invocation, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Invocation tonight is given by Imam Hassan Sabri from our Islamic center.”
These were the words of Pompano Mayor Lamar Fisher, just prior to him rising out of his seat, clasping his hands, and bowing his head in prayer, as Sabri stood directly in front of him and commenced in the honor that was bestowed upon him. All but one of the city’s commissioners mimicked the Mayor with their clasped hands and bowed heads, as did much of the audience. If many of the onlookers knew of this imam and the institution he was representing, they might have walked out instead.
Sabri began his prayer, otherwise known as Salaat, with the words, “A’uudhu billaahi minash shaitaan ar-Rajeem,” which means “I seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the accursed.” After he completed the Arabic, he attempted to translate for the audience his recitation. However, nothing close to the first statement would be found in the translation. Was this deliberate or merely an oversight?
Sabri, the imam of ICOSB, was previously affiliated with the Islamic Center of Boca Raton (ICBR), a radical mosque with a number of ties to terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda. In March 2000, Sabri’s name was found on the homepage of the ICBR website as the teacher for ICBR’s new Wednesday tafseer (Quran interpretation) class.
Under Sabri’s name was an announcement that ICBR had added a new link to its site. That link was qoqaz.net or “Jihad in Chechnya,” a website that existed to raise funds and recruit fighters for al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The site was produced by Azzam Publications, named for the former mentor of Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam.
Later that year, ICOSB posted on its website a Friday sermon given by Sabri, where he denounced America as an enemy and threatened Muslims who assist the U.S.
Sabri stated, “Allah tells us, in the Quran, that the kuffar will continue to fight Muslims – will continue to put a plan after a plan and implement a plan after a plan – until Islam will cease to be and until Muslims are either liquidated or they have joined the Christian or the Jewish faith… And it is imperative upon us as Muslims belonging to the Ummah of Islam to understand exactly what’s happening to our brothers, not only for the sake of understanding alone, but so that we will know what the enemies of Islam are planning, and so that we will plan ourselves… [The United States] is calling its people and its army and its nation to rush to the help of Muslims, but in reality this is not what’s going on. In reality what’s going on is that they want to mobilize Muslims and to use the vigor and the vim that Muslims can generate – to use their money and to use their souls and to use their lives – so that they will further [the United States’] plans in that part of the world… [D]o not rely on the kuffar, because if you do so, you will suffer.”
This same type of animosity was present, when this author appeared on a South Florida radio show to debate Sabri in the beginning of 2003. During the show, Sabri said that Jews have no right to Jerusalem and that “Allah” should “rid Beit Al-Maqdis” (Jerusalem) of all of its Jewish inhabitants.
As well, during the show, Sabri said that it was “prophesy” that, in the future, Jews would go to war with Muslims and that inanimate objects, such as large rocks, will inform Muslims that Jews are hiding behind them and will tell the Muslims to kill the Jews. Sabri described this as “the final battle between right and wrong.”
With all of this in mind, it is very possible that, when Sabri mentioned in his Pompano commission invocation that he “seeks refuge” from “Satan, the accursed,” he actually was directing the statement at the audience and commission to which he was speaking in front of. This is disturbing in itself, but how much more so is it, given the fact that Mayor Fisher, in his introduction of Sabri, referred to ICOSB as “our Islamic center.”
It was an interesting choice of words for the Mayor to use. Indeed, he was one of the commissioners, in 2006, who voted in favor of giving ICOSB a permit to build, in the heart of Pompano, a brand new 29,000 square foot mosque – a structure whose construction is well underway – so in a sense, he is tied to the center’s prolonged existence. And being that this is the case, Mayor Fisher, on some level, needs to accept responsibility for the problems that go along with his Islamic center, specifically its terrorist connections.
According to the Broward County Property Appraiser’s office, ICOSB is owned by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), a group that was recently named by the United States Justice Department as being a party to a criminal conspiracy to provide millions of dollars to Hamas. Aside from its ownership of various radical American mosques and children’s schools, NAIT also controls the finances of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), two of the largest Muslim Brotherhood entities in the U.S.
Of course, all of the above information had to be ignored, in order for Sabri to receive the honor of performing the commission meeting invocation. It had to be ignored, as well, for ICOSB to receive the permit for its radical mosque to be built.
The expense for these ignored threats to the community goes way beyond the millions of dollars in construction costs for the mosque. The expense is the security of the residents of Pompano and beyond.
Beila Rabinowitz, the Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.