A Christian minister suing to halt the planned construction of a huge Florida mosque says he hopes to gain access to previously undisclosed financial information of the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations, which though nonprofit has not disclosed complete directories of its staff or advisory boards and has refused to make its federal tax filings readily available to the public.
CAIR describes itself as “a Muslim civil liberties and advocacy group,” whose vision is “to promote justice and mutual understanding” based on three goals – “enhancing understanding of Islam, promoting justice and empowering American Muslims.”
But U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., co-founder of the House Anti-Terrorism/Jihad Caucus, says: “Groups like CAIR have a proven record of senior officials being indicted and either imprisoned or deported from the United States.” And as WND recently reported, one FBI veteran familiar with cases involving CAIR describes the organization’s offices as “a turnstile for terrorists and their supporters.”
Most recently, CAIR has been sued by radio talk show host Michael Savage, whose complaint describes the group as a “vehicle of international terrorism.”
Now a Christian pastor in Pompano Beach, Fla., has filed a lawsuit to halt construction of a new mosque in a predominantly black neighborhood, a project planned by a local Islamic Center whose work is being supported by CAIR. The lawsuit may be used to access CAIR’s financial records.
Rev. O’Neal Dozier
Rev. O’Neal Dozier, a former NFL player who now is minister at the Worldwide Christian Center, a church attended by about 600, told WND his lawsuit is over the plans for a nearly 30,000-square foot mosque in his church’s neighborhood.
“What we’re looking at now is that we have a hearing coming up in January of 2008,” he said. “Of course, this hearing is on a motion by the Islamic Center and CAIR to dismiss our case. That’s what they’re trying to do.
“What we’re trying to do right now, is we need to come up with the funds to do an adequate discovery,” he said. “We need to do a very good one, depose all of the various persons on the other side, get all of the pertinent information, get their financial affidavits. We want to get copies of their books. We want to be able to get into their bank accounts.”
He said the mosque in question, with a membership he estimated in the dozens, already has a facility in Pompano Beach, but the CAIR leaders say it is too small. They say they need the nearly 30,000-square foot facility on land near the Worldwide Christian Center, in the heart of a financially struggling neighborhood of mostly black residents.
Dozier charges that the only reason CAIR needs such a facility is for recruitment of membership into a cadre of citizens who share a hatred of whites and the U.S. government.
“In this area it would be a bad area to have a mosque, because they would have the potential of breeding terrorists,” Dozier told WND. “I know them (the community members) well. Many of them are angry. They feel like they’ve been left out. They’re angry at the government. Angry at the white man. It’s just a terrible situation if they were to come in here …”
The lawsuit names as defendants the local Islamic Center, CAIR and CAIR Florida Inc.
The city has approved a zoning change to allow the behemoth to be constructed in the neighborhood already served by the Worldwide Christian Center as well as Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.
Islamic leaders have told reporters the issue is nothing more than a difference over religion, a charge that Dozier denies.
“The press wants to make this story something else other than what it is,” he said. “This is a homeland security issue.”
He told WND the continuation of the case depends on the success of the depositions that need to be done. “We’re alleging that the Islamic Center of South Florida and CAIR national and CAIR-Florida all have ties to terrorist groups around the world.”
He said he is convinced the documentation he plans to uncover as part of the lawsuit’s discovery process will support that.
Dozier, who served on advisory committees for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, resigned another state position because of publicity over the lawsuit and his concerns over the mosque.
“The only reason I could think of [for building such a large mosque] is for recruitment purposes. They want to fill the mosque with angry black people,” Dozier told WND.
That idea was more or less confirmed by Altaf Ali of CAIR, who told local reporters, “They picked that spot because they were sympathetic to the black struggle and believed the feelings were mutual, especially since the persecution after 9/11.”
The Islamic center’s imam, Hassan Sabri, “has a history of ties to terrorism, and anti-Semitic statements,” Dozier said in a statement. “The plaintiff and many others in the community believe that the mosque will be a nuisance and will pose a threat to the neighborhood and its surrounding areas. As well, the plaintiff believes that this is part of a greater scheme to radicalize America.”
The lawsuit says associates of Sabri are tied to terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
CAIR brands itself as a mainstream advocacy group, but it is a spinoff of the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, launched by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook and a former university professor in Florida, Sami al-Arian, who pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to provide services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Several CAIR staffers have been convicted on terrorism-related charges, and CAIR founder Omar Ahmad allegedly told a group of Muslims they are in America not to assimilate but to help assert Islam’s rule over the country.
The plans also have generated legal opposition from Rodney L. Wright, who sued, explaining to the Broward Times that the center’s representatives told him the city would condemn and take the land he owns near the proposed mosque if he didn’t sell it to them.
“They threatened that the city would use eminent domain to take it from us if we didn’t accept their offers,” he told the newspaper.
Property owners had been told via certified mail that the land was being sought for affordable housing.
“This letter is being delivered, pursuant to Florida Statutes, to notify you that the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) intends to acquire through negotiated conveyance or its power of eminent domain, property that is owned by you,” the notice said.
A city commissioner, E. Pat Larkins, then told the newspaper that the lots then “could be sold to anyone, including the developers of the mosque.”
The Militant Islam Monitor website also noted that CAIR’s responses to Dozier’s concerns have been evident.