The Texas Senate will open today with its first Islamic prayer, offered by a Dallas imam who has been criticized for participating in a “tribute to the great Islamic visionary,” Ayatollah Khomeini.

Imam Yusuf Kavakci of the Dallas Central Mosque is scheduled to be welcomed by Texas’ Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sen. Florence Shapiro, the Senate’s senior Jewish member and sponsor of Kavakci’s invocation.

According to an announcement by the Dallas-Forth Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the occasion will be broadcast live on the Texas Senate website and attended by a number of faith-based groups, including Texas Impact, Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission, Texas Conference of Churches and Texas Islamic Council.

“Don’t miss the next milestone event for the Texas Muslim community!’ DFW-CAIR’s announcement read. “On April 4, 2007, the first Muslim imam will open the Texas Senate with an Islamic prayer.”

Kavacki, who has served in Dallas area for nearly 20 years, has been seen as a moderate voice among U.S. Muslims, but he has not gone uncriticized for some of his activities.

WND reported in 2005 on the nonpartisan Freedom House report documenting Saudi-sponsored hate literature, originating with the government and Saudi-financed sources that reflected “extremist Wahhabi ideology,” being disseminated through mosques in the U.S.

One of those mosques, according to a critical editorial in the Dallas Morning News, was Kavacki’s:

“Unfortunately, this kind of thing is not altogether alien to this mosque,” it read. “Last spring, it hosted a youth quiz competition, sponsored by two national organizations closely tied to the worldwide Islamist movement. Kids were tested on the work of premier jihad ideologist Sayyid Qutb.

“The mosque’s imam, Dr. Yusuf Kavakci, has publicly praised two of the world’s foremost radical Islamists, Yusuf Qaradawi and Hasan al-Turabi, as exemplary leaders. Dr. Kavakci also sits on the board of the Saudi-backed Islamic Society of North America, described in congressional testimony as a major conduit of Wahhabist teaching. Yet Dr. Kavakci tells The Dallas Morning News he rejects Wahhabist teaching. Something doesn’t add up.

“Sayyid Qutb is the author of “Milestones,” the Mein Kampf of the global jihad movement – and it’s highly disturbing to learn that Muslim children are being indoctrinated with this foul work of fascist xenophobia, in the United States.

In 2004, Kavakci was a guest speaker at a seminar sponsored by Irving, Tex., Muslims paying “tribute to the great Islamic visionary,” Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader if Iran’s 1979 revolution.

Kavakci and others shared the roster with Mohammed Asi, a radical Washington imam whom, according to The Washington Post, U.S. officials suspect of being an Iranian agent.

Seminar organizer Imam Shamshad Haider told the Dallas Morning News Khomeini has been unjustly portrayed in the Western media. Earlier Haider had complained on television that Khomeini had been unfairly judged on only one aspect of his personality.

Kavakci declined two invitations from the Morning News to explain why he would attended such a conference.

WND reported in February that Democrat leaders attending their party’s annual winter meeting had Husham Al-Husainy, imam of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center, a shiite mosque in Dearborn, Mich., deliver the invocation. According Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and author of “The Truth about Muhammad,” the assembled Democrats were led in a prayer asking Allah to convert party members to Islam.


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