Arizona Mosque behind Garland Shooting Rejects Free Speech Message

June 8, 2015

Submitted by:  Veronica Coffin

Written by Pamela Geller

PBS Arizona gave me a fair hearing in this article despite their obvious bias. Their headline, “A week later, mosque officials say protesters’ message is being rejected” is true in ways I am sure they never considered. I have repeatedly said  that the Arizona mosque (ICCP)  behind the Garland jihad should be investigated for its terror ties, so of course the mosque rejects that message. lol.

Usama Shami, ICCP mosque president is widely quoted in this article. But the reporter never asks him about his repeated lies. Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, said Simpson and Soofi attended prayers at the mosque but were not regular members. Not so. Simpson started attending Friday prayers at the mosque about 10 years ago, Usama said, but visited the mosque less frequently after he was arrested in 2010. But Shami claimed several times that it was only within the past few months that the pair stopped attending.

But in fact, a video posted on the ICCPA Youtube channel in 2012 features Elton (“Ibrahim”) Simpson and identifies him as a member.

For example, a Dallas Morning News article quotes him as saying the pair were not regular members:

Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, said Simpson and Soofi attended prayers at the mosque but were not regular members. Simpson started attending Friday prayers at the mosque about 10 years ago, he said, but visited the mosque less frequently after he was arrested.

But in fact, a video posted on the ICCPA YouTube channel in 2012 features Elton (“Ibrahim”) Simpson and identifies him as a member:

Ibrahim Simpson ICCP Member

This screencap is taken from the video below, with Simpson appearing ~4:16:

The above quote by Shami asserts that Simpson stopped frequenting the mosque after his 2010 arrest. Another account by a local spokeswoman published in the Arizona Republicclaimed that the mosque had shunned Simpson:

Deedra Abboud, a converted Muslim and a former community activist-turned-lawyer said Wednesday that members of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix were scared and that “everybody’s being pressured by the FBI.”

Abboud also said that while the FBI’s case bothered Simpson, so did a sense that the mosque turned its back on him.

“It was a combination of the two things: harassment by the FBI and the Muslim community avoiding him like the plague,” said Abboud, who helped raise money for Simpson’s bail and knows many of his closest acquaintances.

“It was the isolation,” she said. “My theory is that he was upset with the Muslim community and he became more susceptible to radical ideas.”

However, mosque president Shami stated several times that it was only within the past few monthsthat the pair stopped attending:

Simpson had worshipped at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix for about a decade, buthe quit showing up over the past two or three months, the president of the mosque told The Associated Press.

The center’s president, Usama Shami, said Simpson would play basketball with mosque members and was involved with the community. Soofi owned a nearby pizza business and would stop in to pray occasionally, he said.

That account was repeated by the L.A. Times:

Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, remembers Simpson as “a pleasant kid” who taught his jump shot to younger children at basketball courts near the mosque. Simpson attended the mosque beginning in his high school years, Shami said, and was active until just months ago.

“We didn’t see him too much lately,” said Shami, whose mosque is about two miles from the apartment shared by Simpson and Soofi.

So we see Shami giving two very different versions of Simpson’s attendance at the mosque.

Shami also tried to distance the mosque from Simpson’s 2010 arrest:

Shami disagreed that the mosque shunned Simpson. The mosque did decline to raise money for his legal defense, he said, concerned with not knowing where the FBI case would lead.

“Our first priority is to protect the mosque. It cannot be part of any federal case,” he explained, adding that Simpson was always welcome to attend even after his conviction.

And yet, multiple media reports quote Simpson’s attorney, Kristina Sitton, saying the mosque posted a $100,000 cash bond after his arrest:

The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix posted $100,000 cash bond to release him from custody, Sitton said.

Again, from the L.A. Times:

Simpson was placed on three years’ probation and fined $600. His mosque in Phoenix had posted his $100,000 bail.

That hardly seems to be a way to keep the mosque clear of Simpson’s charges.

Whether it is the membership status of the pair with the mosque, the repeated claims that they had cut ties with the mosque years ago, or that the mosque didn’t want to get involved in Simpson’s 2010 court case, the ICCPA leaders can’t seem to keep their story straight.  (morehere)

But PBS never asked about these inconsistencies.

The imam to the jihadis claimed he was shocked — that they were gentle fellows. Are we just going to take his word for it? Are we supposed to believe that they learned Peaceful Islam at the mosque but were “radicalized on the Internet”?

Garland jihadi Elton Simpson’s friend Courtney Lonergan said Simpson would never waver from the teachings he picked up in the mosque and elsewhere. “He was one of those guys who would sleep at the mosque,” Lonergan said. “The fact that he felt personally insulted by somebody drawing a picture had to come from the ideological rhetoric coming out of the mosque.”

When he sought a Muslim wife, Simpson turned to the men in the mosque to find a suitable woman, and his way of earning their respect was to show his devotion to Islam by quoting teachings verbatim….

Elton “Ibrahim” Simpson had been featured in a mosque fundraising video posted on ICCP’s YouTube channel in 2012 identifying him as a member.

Two other previous ICCP mosque attendees — Hassan Abu-Jihaad and Derrick Shareef — are currently in federal prison on terrorism-related charges.

Again, why aren’t the supposedly peaceful teachings of Islam that are supposedly taught at American mosques not able to withstand the jihadis’ appeal?

Phoenix Mosque

“A week later, mosque officials say protesters’ message is being rejected”, By Nihal Krishan |Cronkite News | PBS, Arizona, Jun 5, 2015

WASHINGTON – Pamela Geller and Usama Shami agree one thing: The Phoenix mosque where anti-Muslim protests occurred last week is not truly understood.

That’s about the only thing they agree on.

Geller, who describes herself as a free-speech advocate, organized a “draw the Prophet Muhammad” contest in Garland, Texas, last month. She notes that the two men who were killed after opening fire at that event had worshipped at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, and that two other former members of that mosque are in prison on what she called “terrorism-related charges.”

Uh, I didn’t call it that, the feds did.

“There is a problem at that mosque,” Geller said this week. “The protest occurred in order to demand an investigation of the mosque. It’s clearly a national security threat.”

But Shami, the president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, said the “problem” is that not enough people understand Islam and his mosque – something he said has been changing in the wave of support that followed the May 29 protests there.

“We’ve gotten close to a thousand emails of support from around the country, from around the world,” Shami said this week. “Our voicemail, which can only record for a certain amount of time, has been full for the past week. We’re getting written mails too, with checks in them.”

The calls and letters have come in the wake of a rally organized at the Phoenix mosque last week by Valley resident Jon Ritzheimer, a veteran who said on social media that he organized the protest in response to the shootings at Geller’s event in Garland.

It was at the event in Garland that Elton Ibrahim Simpson and Nadir Soofi opened fire, according to news reports. They wounded a security guard, but police shot and killed Simpson and Soofi before they could do any further harm.

Simpson and Soofi were Muslims – who consider images of the Prophet Muhammad blasphemous and offensive. The two men had also been members of the Phoenix mosque.

The Garland shooting sparked Ritzheimer’s rally, which drew an estimated 250 supporters – many armed – and about the same number of counterprotesters, according to news reports from the event.

Ritzheimer did not respond to a request for comment sent to his Facebook account, where he said he was trying to get his life back on track after the media scrutiny that resulted from the protest last week.

But Geller continues to speak out in support of the protest. She pointed to the fact that former members of the mosque, Hassan Abu-Jihaad and Derrick Shareef, are in federal prison.

“Elton Simpson, who went to the mosque, said he would never waver from the teachings at the mosque. They have jihadist interests, that’s what are they teaching,” she charged.

Shami called that nonsense. He said anyone who wants to know what is being taught in the mosque can go to its website, where all the lectures and sermons are posted after being recorded in the mosque.

“If the mosque was teaching violence, then the FBI would have picked up on it because they had an informant in our mosque from 2005 to 2010 due to Ibrahim Simpson,” Shami said. “There are over 1,500 hours of taped conversations with him.”

That scrutiny is symptomatic of what other Muslim organizations see as a prejudice against Islam.

“There’s a double standard for Christians, Jews, Hindus, non-Muslims in general,” said Imraan Siddiqi, Arizona director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “If this protest happened outside a church or synagogue it would be global news, everyone would be sympathizing with them.

“There’s a selective acceptance of facts. The only acceptable form of bigotry is anti-Muslim sentiments,” Siddiqi said.

But Geller said she is the one who is a victim of prejudice.

“I have no problem with peaceful Muslims. Mainstream Muslims who support free speech would be standing next to us. These days anyone against jihad, or sharia (Islamic law), is labeled an Islamophobe,” she said.

Geller, the president of “Stop Islamization of America,” said that silence in the face of threats “will only embolden. If we surrender on this point, freedom of speech is a relic of history.”

“I want to make this world safer for everybody, including Muslims,” Geller said.

At the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, meanwhile, the mosque has continued its operations as normal, with daily sermons and prayer sessions since the Ritzheimer protest last week. Shami said the attention that followed that protest has shown that Muslims in Phoenix are law-abiding, peaceful citizens, like most Americans.

Three days after the protest, an interfaith “Love is Stronger than Hate” rally was held outside the mosque, where members of many different faiths were present to show their solidarity with Valley Muslims, according to news reports. Shami said there was an especially large congregation at Monday evening’s prayer, after the interfaith rally.

“The people of Phoenix and the U.S. came to reject bigotry. That message is going to be rejected,” Shami said. “Any time a person is going to divide people along ethnic lines, religion, faith, etc., they will fail in their effort.”

Who is doing the dividing? The jihadists. Those that stand against jihad and sharia are uniting under the flag of freedom.

SOURCE: Pamela Geller


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