The Christian minister in Ohio is being profiled by the Columbus Dispatch for her efforts to “blend” Christianity and Islam.
But Jihad Watch, which monitors Islamic jihad worldwide, noted that a leader of the mosque with which Rev. Deborah Lindsay is working “previously was an imam for another area mosque which at the time was the base of operations for the largest known al-Qaida cell in the U.S. since 9/11.”
The base was led by Hany Sazr, and the mosque included convicted jihadists Iyman Faris, Nuradin Abdi and Christopher Paul, according to Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer.
“Saqr is one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America,” Spencer wrote. “Dr. Salah Sultan was the Noor Islamic Center’s unofficial scholar in residence. A protege of Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Usuf al-Qaradawai, Sultan is now in the Middle East and has appeared on Egyptian television approvingly quoting the genocidal hadith about how the end times will not come until Muslims kill Jews.”
The mosque also played a role in the controversy over teen Christian convert Rifqa Bary, who fled from her parents because of their strict Islamic community in Columbus.
The Dispatch report Lindsay’s “Muslim-Christian bridge-building” pairs members of her congregation, First Community Church in Marble Cliff, Ohio, with members of the Noor Islamic Cultural Center.
Along with crosses on the wall, the Dispatch said, bookshelves hold Christian texts alongside Muslim scriptures.
“A dish on a table holds Muslim prayer beads. Behind her door hang clergy stoles, including one patterned with a colorful design adapted from a Muslim prayer rug,” the paper said.
Lindsay told the Dispatch that people in her congregation were “surprised that we share common values with Muslims – the important of loving your neighbor, compassion, taking care of people who need to be taken care of.”
The article said Lindsay has preached on a Lenton topic “that might not have been so warmly welcomed at a less-progressive congregation.”
The pre-Easter season of sacrifice and repentance, she said, has a great deal in common with the Muslim concept of jihad.
“When we think jihad, we think holy war,” Lindsay told the paper. “And that may be what it means to fanatics and terrorists, but what the vast majority of Muslims understand jihad to be is ‘struggling in the way of God.”
Spencer explained the danger for those working with the Noor Center.
“The Noor Center has been directly linked to the Somali Muslims who have gone from the U.S. back to Somali[s] for jihad terror training. Siraj Wahhaj, a friend of the Blind Shiekh, and a potential unidicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, has spoken at the Noor Mosque. Mosque members threatened the life of Rifqa Bary, a teenage girl who left Islam for Christianity,” he wrote.
He criticized the description of jihad as “struggling in God’s way.”
“Lent is for Christians traditionally a season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. There is no sect of Christianity that now or ever has defined Lent as involving waging war against and subjugating non-Christians. Yet a Shafii manual of Islamic law that was certified in 1991 by the clerics at Al-Azhar University, one of the leading authorities in the Islamic world, as ‘conforming to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community,’ says that ‘jihad means to war against non-Muslims.'”
Spencer said that to point out, as Lindsay does, that “other Muslims think of jihad in other ways does nothing to stop that violent jihad for even one second.”
He also cited Islamic opposition to bridge-building.
“Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb once said, ‘The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah (the society of unbelievers) is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.'”
AFDI Executive Director Pamela Geller said in a statement: “In accord with those calls for responsible law enforcement regarding subversive activities in U.S. mosques, we are asking that government and law enforcement officials launch immediate investigations into the Islamic Society of Boston, the Dar al-Hijrah Mosque of Fairfax County, Va., and the Noor Center of Columbus, Ohio.”
The organization said the Noor Mosque:
- Is led by Dr. Hany Saqr, previously an imam for another mosque, which at that time was the base of operations for al-Qaida, including convicted jihadists Iyman Faris, Nuradin Abdi and Christopher Paul;
- Has been directly linked to the Somali Muslims who have gone from the U.S. back to Somali for jihad terror training;
- Has had members who threatened the life of Rifqa Bary.
The Bary case eventually was resolved when she obtained her independence from her parents and became a permanent U.S. resident on track to become a citizen.
Bary fled to the shelter of a Christian family in Florida whom she met through the Internet, but the courts there ordered her return to Ohio. However, the Florida courts did not order her back into her parents’ custody. Instead, they kept her in protective foster care until she reached her 18th birthday and became a legal adult.