The revelation that the top propagandist for the jihadist group ISIS was a member of the mosque attended by the brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings is a telling indictment of the U.S. government’s approach to terrorism, according to analysts of Islamic jihad and counter-terrorism.
“This is just another indication of the massive failure of the FBI’s politically correct refusal to confront the ideological underpinnings of Islamic jihad terror,” Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer told WND.
In keeping with that approach, Spencer said, the government has shown a “reluctance to monitor or investigate mosques, or do much of anything with them beyond conducting ‘outreach’ programs,” to improve its relationship with the Muslim community.
Spencer was responding to a New York Post report that Ahmad Abousamra – who is now the top propagandist for ISIS, also known as the Islamic State – was a regular worshipper at the Cambridge mosque. The Post reported Abousamra’s father even sat on the board of directors of the Muslim organization that runs the mosque.
Abousamra, the FBI suspects, now operates the jihadist group’s sophisticated English-language propaganda campaign, which features videos of beheadings and other atrocities. The campaign has helped attract at least 300 American jihadists and thousands from other Western nations. ISIS has beheaded American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and has threatened to kill a British hostage, David Haines.
Spencer noted it was only for “outreach” programs that the FBI ever visited the Islamic Society of Boston before the Boston Marathon attack. That was despite the warnings from the Russian government about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston bomber killed in a shootout with police, and the presence of other jihadists. His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, awaits trial for the April 15, 2013, attack, which killed three people and injured an estimated 264.
“The feds assumed that all those terrorists misunderstood the peaceful teachings they figured that they heard at the Islamic Society of Boston and wouldn’t have dreamed of considering whether or not they learned their Islam from the ISB,” Spencer said.
“How many people have to die before this nonsensical approach is discarded?” he asked.
The Post noted the Cambridge mosque’s leaders were quick to disavow the actions of the Boston bombers when the relationship was revealed, insisting they didn’t share Tsarnaev’s ideology.
But the paper reported Abousamara and the Tsarnaev brothers were just three of eight members tied to terrorism.
The mosque’s founder and president, in fact, was Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was sentenced in 2004 to 23 years in prison for plotting terrorism. In 2005, the Treasury Department said Alamoudi raised money for al-Qaida in the U.S.
Other members of the Boston mosque were Aafia Siddiqui, an al-Qaida agent sentenced in 2010 to 86 years in prison for planning a New York chemical attack; Tarek Mehanna, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison in 2012 for conspiring to use automatic weapons to murder shoppers in a suburban Boston mall; Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a mosque trustee and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader who issued a fatwa calling for the killing of U.S. soldiers; and Jamal Badawi, also a trustee, who was named an unindicted co-conspirator in 2007 in a plan to funnel more than $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
Known since 1990s for terror ties
Steven Emerson, director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, told WND his group has probed the Islamic Society of Boston since the late 1990s “for its ties to radical Islam and to known Islamic militants and Islamic terrorists.”
“Although it pretends to be moderate, the ISB is anything but,” Emerson said. “Frankly I am not surprised at the latest ‘discovery’ of an ISB congregant who has ‘graduated’ to become an ISIS propagandist.”
Emerson said ISB has long served “either as an allure or breeding ground for radical Islamists.”
“But the ISB has successfully deceived politicians and the media by creating a false façade of moderation,” he said.
“It’s not simply a coincidence that a series of Islamic terrorists attended the mosque or served as officials. The ISB has historically been one of the most radical mosques in the United States,” said Emerson.
Abousamra traveled to Pakistan and Yemen to train to kill Americans while enrolled at Boston colleges, according to the FBI. The Post reported FBI Agent Andrew Nambu testified Abousamra justified murdering civilians because “they paid taxes to support the government and were kufar [nonbelievers].”
Abousamra’s Islamic State has declared itself to be a caliphate, ruled by Islamic law, after taking over portions of Syria and Iraq in a bloody campaign that has included mass slaughter along with the beheadings.
Another FBI agent, Heidi Williams, said Abousamra, 32, was inspired by the 9/11 attacks and “celebrated” them, according to the New York paper.
Abousamra moved to Syria with a plan to enter Iraq and kill U.S. soldiers after he abandoned a plot to randomly gun down shoppers and then emergency responders at a Boston mall, according to a federal indictment. He gave up the shopping mall plot after he was unable to obtain automatic weapons.
While the Islamic Society of Boston has insisted the figures who engaged in terrorism were “radicalized” by online forums, researchers have documented that the mosque hosted speakers who support violent jihad. It also has had classic jihadi texts in its library, including the writings of Osama bin Laden mentor Syed Qutb.