In the wake of the California Islamist terrorist attack, a group of congresspeople visited the extremist Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Virginia in an ‘show of solidarity’ with ordinary, non-extremist Muslims in America.
The idea for the visit was conceived before the California Islamist terror shooting but after the Paris attack. “We just thought it was really important to continue to reiterate to the many, many peace-loving Muslim Americans that they were still a welcome part of our community,” Representative Don Beyer (D-Virgina), one of the organizers of the visit, told The New York Times.
Speaking the day after the California attack and just one day before the visit, Beyer said, “Yesterday does make it a little harder. It’s just another unfortunate data point. So, I think it’s more necessary than ever to go talk to the people who have nothing to do with that [editor’s emphasis].”
Either Beyer and his group of lawmakers failed to research the history of the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, or they are incredibly naïve. Both are enormous problems and speak volumes about the inadequate strategy currently in place in the United States government for weeding out radical Islamists before they wreak more havoc on an already traumatized country.
Dar al-Hijrah is one of the most radical Islamic centers in America. Its history of extremism dates back decades to one of its founders, Ismail Elbarasse, who was an assistant to a senior Hamas official. In 2002, a government document written by the Customs and Border Protection stated Dar al-Hijrah was “operating as a front for Hamas operatives in U.S.” A December 2007 document says it “has been linked to numerous individuals linked to terrorism financing.”
Other salient points about Dar al-Hijrah include:
- Dar al-Hijrah’s imam from 2001 to 2002 was Anwar al-Awlaki, who later became a senior al-Qaeda operative. His sermons were attended by two of the 9/11 hijackers and Nidal Hassan, who carried out a terror shooting at Fort Hood in 2009.
- It’s imam from 2003 to 2005, Mohammed Adam El-Sheikh justified Palestinian suicide bombings and was a member of the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood. He was previously the regional director of the Islamic American Relief Agency, which was labeled by the U.S. Treasury Department as a Specially Designated Terrorist organization because of its links to Osama Bin Laden and Hamas.
- The current imam of Dar al Hijrah, Shaker Elsayed, said the teachings of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, are the “closest reflection of how Islam should be in this life.” He has also called for Muslims to arm themsleves for jihad (see video below).
- In 2010 and 2013, radical texts teaching that Muslims are to wage violent jihad in order to resurrect the caliphate, destroy Israel and implement sharia governance were found at the mosque.
Watch Dar al-Hijrah Imam Shaker Elsayed call for armed jihad:
All congresspersons are equipped with numerous staff members who are specifically hired to do research for their employer. A simple Google search by one of them would have yielded the above information.
Perhaps for Rep. Beyer and his fellow Dar al-Hijrah visitors, these facts were just more “unfortunate data points.”
But for the majority of the population, including “peace-loving Muslim Americans,” who are concerned about the radicalized Islamists in our midst, these are data points that are too deadly to ignore.
ABOUT MEIRA SVIRSKY
Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org