Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is catching political heat for embracing an imam who is alleged to have preached the need to take up arms to defend the rights of Muslims.
After vowing to eliminate racial profiling and guaranteeing Muslims their civil rights, Patrick, a Democrat, hugged Imam Abdullah Faaruuq at the meeting with more than 1,000 Muslims at the Muslim American Society-affiliated mosque at Boston’s Roxbury Crossing.
The newest Boston-area mosque was dedicated last year and is affiliated with the MAS, an Islamic advocacy organization that public policy group Americans for Peace and Tolerance says has known ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
In a controversial video on YouTube, Patrick is embracing the native Bostonian Faaruuq, who preaches at the Mosque for the Praising of Allah:
What’s raising eyebrows is that the YouTube video seems to show Faaruuq urging his followers to take up arms to protest the arrest of terrorism suspect Tariq Mehanna and Faaruuq’s congregation member Aisha Siddiqi.
Mehanna was arrested last October for allegedly planning an attack at a shopping mall and Siddiqi was arrested for allegedly plotting to kill FBI agents.
When asked about his association with Mehanna, Faaruuq said he didn’t know much about the case, but knows the man.
“He went to school here in Boston, I know that he as a degree in pharmacy. I know he was an active Muslim young man. I’ve known him since he was very young. So what else can I know about him?” Faaruuq observed.
“I don’t know much about his personal life. I’ve never slept over at his house or eaten with him. I’ve eaten with him here. I’ve seen how he behaves and he’s very respectful,” the imam continued.
“That’s what I know about him so it’s hard for me to believe some of the things they’ve said about him. I would say that I don’t think he would be involved in those types of things,” Faaruuq said.
Listen to an interview with Faaruuq:
“They have a full government. They can be involved in investigating a person’s life. They might know more about him than I do,” Faaruuq said.
“They let him out of jail for a year, but then some other Muslims gave some evidence against him, so I don’t really know. I don’t know the case well enough to speak about the case. I’m talking about the person,” Faaruuq added.
The statements in question are featured in the YouTube video and were the subject of discussion on a Boston talk radio station this week. Faaruuq says his critics have singled out the references to the swords and knives.
“That’s not what I said at all. I urged the Muslims to be friends and protecters of one another. I urged them to be American citizens and to take full part in what goes on in this government and this world as American citizens,” Faaruuq said.
“I said, ‘Take up the pen; the typewriter, the sword, the gun. You can take up a plowshare. You can become a surgeon and do everything you can to contribute to this society in a full way,” the imam said.
He continued by playing down the remarks about learning how to use guns.
“The National Rifle Association is a legitimate association and no one says anything about them advocating people use guns. People who go into the United States Army are taught how to use a gun and how to use a typewriter,” Faaruuq said.
“You have to be a full citizen. I advocate for people to be full Americans. Become surgeons; become firemen. Join the Navy. Learn how to defend this country and to partake in this country as a full citizen,” Faaruuq added.
Faaruuq also claimed that Muslims have served in the military fighting for the United States in every major conflict since the American Civil War.
However, there are few references to Muslims in American history. Writing on the Now Public website, Chantilly, Va., writer Morris Sadek says that contrary to many recent claims, Muslims have made few if any contributions to American history.
Most of the claims about Muslims in American history are on Muslim-hosted web sites. Islam 101 says that Muslims arrived in North America over 100 years before Columbus and about 300 years before the Pilgrims.
In analyzing Faaruuq’s comments, Islam expert and Jihad Watch publisher Robert Spencer says Faaruuq is using a smooth technique that masks his real meaning.
“What he’s doing is using Quranic concepts that deal with jihad without explaining to you that that’s what he’s talking about,” Spencer explained.
“For example, he said early on, that all he wanted to do was teach Muslims to be friends and protecters of one another. That is something that is in the Quran twice,” Spencer continued.
“In chapter three, verse 28 and chapter five, verse 51. In 3.28 it says, ‘Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers. If any do that, in nothing will there be help from God,’” Spencer quoted.
“In 5.51 it says, ‘O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protecters; they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you who that turns to them is of them,’” Spencer continued.
“In other words, Muslims can pretend to be friends and protecters of unbelievers to deceive them in order to advance Islam,” Spencer explained.
Listen to an interview with Spencer:
“Five, verse 51 specifically says that Muslims aren’t to take Jews and Christians as their friends and protecters. So when he said to you that was teaching Muslims to be friends and protecters of one another, he’s actually telling you that he’s telling them to cut off from the larger society, to have contempt for it and to work to replace the laws and customs of the society they are in with Islamic law,” Spencer explained.
Spencer says the Imam’s comments about Tariq Mehanna are an admission that he was Mehanna’s spiritual leader.
“I would certainly think that to speak with such obvious affection and regard for this man in such detail, I think it’s clear that they had some kind of a close relationship, certainly,” Spencer stated.
Spencer adds that Faaruuq’s words encouraging Muslims to be active in society have another meaning.
“When he was saying that all he was saying is that Muslims should be active in society, and there were certain ways to do that, by the pen, by the sword and by the gun, and that’s the statement that got him in trouble with 96-9 (one of Boston’s three talk radio stations), that those are different forms of jihad,” Spencer observed.
“There is no doubt that in Islamic theology there is jihad of the pen and jihad of the sword and those are distinct from one another. Yes, they all have the same goal, the goal is to impose Islamic law over the society in question,” Spencer added.
However, there is more.
“What the guy is telling you is that he is preaching jihad. And he just knows that his non-Muslim hearers are not going to understand what he’s saying when he’s just putting it in terms of just being active in society and just working for justice by the pen and by the sword,” Spencer explained further.
“Since he’s hearkening back to these concepts, then the context of what he’s saying becomes clear,” Spencer stated.
“His followers will hear what he’s saying and they will understand it in terms of what they’ve been taught and what they know about Islamic theology. They will understand it as meaning that he’s telling them to strive hard in the way of Allah. In other words, he’s telling them to wage jihad,” Spencer said.
Spencer added that he believes that Patrick’s endorsement of Islam at the recent mosque gathering is likely the product of political naivete.
Patrick’s office refused comment saying, “We’re not going to make any statement on this issue.”