A “moderate” Muslim assumes a new position.
Imam Suhaib Webb is the new Resident Scholar for MakeSpace, a Washington, DC, area mosque meeting in Alexandria, Virginia’s Dunya Restaurant, MakeSpace announced October 29. Both Webb and MakeSpace have radical backgrounds belying their “moderate” Muslim pretensions.
An Oklahoma convert to Islam, Webb came to America’s capital from a Resident Scholar position at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC). Previously he served as the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City’s (ISGOC) imam. Praised by MakeSpace as a “world-class visionary,” Webb’s reputation as a modern Muslim thinker has placed him in “The Muslim 500: The World’s Most Influential Muslims.”
Yet examination of Webb reveals a radicalism suggesting more than coincidence in the fact that Oklahoma City beheader Alton Nolen and Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev attended ISGOC and ISBCC’s sister mosque, respectively. Webb had been an associate of Anwar Al-Awlaki, a senior Al Qaeda propagandist killed by a September 30, 2011, American drone strike in Yemen. Webb appeared with Al-Awlaki two days before September 11, 2001, at a fundraiser for the legal defense of H. Rap Brown, an Atlanta Muslim later convicted of shooting two Georgia police officers. The Muslim American Society, a Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group, meanwhile, runs ISBCC.
Webb himself has denounced “secularism…a radical, lunatic ideology” in contrast to the “dynamic, empowering, pluralistic Islam of the prophet’s era.” “I love CAIR,” Webb says of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a radical faux civil rights group and an unindicted terrorism financing coconspirator. Webb also critiqued his “demonization of others,” having “compared ISIS to Ebola. While I don’t agree with ISIS, al-Qāida, certain progressives and others, I…apologize to anyone that I have spoken ill towards or demonized.” Denunciations of America and Israel (e.g. “America’s Frankenstein monster”) along with anti-Semitism also appear in Webb’s views.
Webb “is hailed as a moderate,” anonymously wrote a former Muslim convert who attended ISGOC. Webb, though, “explicitly told me that according to Islam, three choices are to be given to non-Muslims: convert, pay the jizyah tax and live under Islamic rule, or jihad.” ISGOC members like Webb “try very hard to whitewash Islam when the media is around, but they believe in their religion and the ultimate goal of an Islamic caliphate.”
MakeSpace similarly proclaims itself a “non-judgmental community” with a “strong focus on youth and young professionals,” emphasizing “universal as well as Islamic values of compassion, cooperation and service.” From an Afghan background, MakeSpace founder Imam Zia Makhdoom studied Islam in Pakistan and computer science at George Mason University before serving in Washington, DC’s Muslim community for a decade. MakeSpace also runs “Torchbearers, formerly known as Virginia High School MSA Council,” in order “to connect the Muslim Student Associations of every High School in Virginia.” The 1963-founded MSA, though, is a Saudi-supported organization aligned with MB.
This reporter’s introduction to MakeSpace occurred at a Dunya Iftar dinner at congregant Saba Ahmed’s invitation. This Pakistani-American Muslim achieved brief national notoriety in confrontations with ACT! for America’s Brigitte Gabriel at the Heritage Foundation and on Fox News. Interviewed at Dunya, Ahmed revealed herself as a 9/11 Truther, who believes that the federal government, not Al Qaeda, staged the September 11, 2001, attacks. MakeSpace, meanwhile, distributed literature for Guidance Residential, a “Leader in Islamic home financing” in the interest-free “Sharia Way,” whose chief sharia adviser is radical Pakistani Supreme Court Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani.
Ahmed is apparently not the only 9/11 Truther to appear at MakeSpace, as precisely a week following my Ahmed interview, radical Imam Zaid Shakir addressed MakeSpace at Dunya on July 24. Shakir has entertained conspiracy theories involving America and Israel concerning not just 9/11, but also the first 1993 World Trade Center (WTC) bombing and condemned the “U.S. war machine” as the “single greatest threat to world peace.” Brooklyn mosque imam Siraj Wahhaj, who spoke at the October 24 MakeSpace banquet officially welcoming Webb, is also still seeking “correct information” about 9/11 while being a first WTC attack unindicted coconspirator.
Wahhaj joined at the banquet South African ambassador to the United States Ebrahim Rasool, who gave a keynote address to CAIR’s 2013 annual banquet where MakeSpace received CAIR’s Community Organization of the Year Award. Rasool specializes in equivalency, suggesting at Georgetown University, for example, that Jews founding Israel after escaping genocidal Nazism and Arab refugees from Israel’s 1948 independence war “all carry the burdens of victimhood.” A supposedly brutal America in its fight against Muslim terrorists also presented for Rasool “competing extremisms” at a New America Foundation event.
Muslim-American comedian Aman Ali, an advocate for “mainstream American Islamic groups” like CAIR and another terrorism financing unindicted coconspirator, the Islamic Society of North America, also welcomed Webb at his inaugural banquet. “Islam unequivocally condemns terrorism….Grab a copy of the Quran…and find out for yourself,” Ali has previously asserted Islam’s supposedly self-evident peaceful nature. “Don’t rely on some cherry-picked crackpot interpretation…on some Islamophobic hack’s poorly designed website,” Ali caveats.
Mahkdoom himself was more equivocal while discussing the Islamic obligation of tithing or zakat for Islamic Relief USA, an American branch of the London-headquartered global Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW). IRW has numerous MB connections, and Israel banned IRW for supporting Hamas terrorism. In a video (beginning at minute 16) he discusses sequentially the eight categories of Muslim individuals (only Muslims or possible converts receive zakat under traditional Muslim teaching) allowed to receive alms.
Yet Mahkdoom actually only discusses seven categories, omitting the category of fisibillah or “In the Cause of Allah,” namely the “defense of Islam.” Jihadists around the world derive support from this category, as well as possibly from the fifth category for ransoming those “unjustly imprisoned.” Mahkdoom, though, slyly mentions in passing the Arabic fisibillah without English explanation as merely one category supporting orphans (whose parents have fallen in jihad).
MakeSpace and Webb thus disturbingly present more than meets the eye, veneers of Muslim moderation notwithstanding. Given the views Webb and his associates hold, Islamic violence in their surroundings in Oklahoma City and Boston is not surprising. Worrisome is whether Webb’s bloody track record will continue to Washington, DC.
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