By Joe Kaufman
FrontPageMagazine.com | August 30, 2006
On the website, Why Islam (www.whyislam.org), there are found many things that would shock even the least squeamish of individuals. Anti-Semitism, homophobia, terrorism and misogyny abound. At the Muslim Students Association (
MSA) of the University of South Florida (USF), an advertisement for Why Islam has been placed prominently on the groupâ€™s office door. The question must be posed to the MSA and the university â€“ Why?
Walking across the campus of USF, one finds a number of reminders of the schoolâ€™s most storied professor, Sami Al-Arian â€“ the ever-growing Computer Science and Engineering Department, where Al-Arian taught class; The Castor Building, named after the USF President that refused to fire Al-Arian, Betty Castor; and the numerous newspaper boxes bearing the logo of the Oracle, the campus newspaper where Al-Arianâ€™s case was debated and debated again. All of these entities provide memories of a nightmarish USF history where Al-Arian led a terror cell for Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), but each in its own right has moved on, looking to provide a more positive atmosphere for the schoolâ€™s future. However, one Al-Arian remnant refuses to part ways with the past. That group, the Muslim Students Association (MSA), continues, to this day, to publicly defend Al-Arian.
Atop the website of the MSA of USF, sits a color flyer for a February 2006 rally for the release of Al-Arian from prison. At the time, he was in the Hillsborough County Orient Road Jail, which is where the rally was taking place. Today, he is being held at the Federal Corrections Complex in Coleman, Florida. Listed on the flyer as speakers for the rally were, amongst others: former Congressman Paul Findley, who adorned the cover of his book, â€˜Silent No More,â€™ with the name and picture of convicted terrorist Abdulrahman Alamoudi; Eric Vickers, who resigned from his position as the head of the American Muslim Council, after he was exposed for calling the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster â€œan act of divine retribution against Israel;â€ and Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who, in March of 1994 â€“ the same year he co-founded CAIR â€“ declared his support for Hamas.
While the MSA is advertising Al-Arianâ€™s innocence, the group is actively advertising another radical Islamist cause, right from its university office. On the door of what the MSA calls its â€œPrayer Room,â€ one canâ€™t help but notice a purple and white sign under the â€œMSAâ€ letters, stating to its viewers, â€œwww.whyislam.org, Explore it!â€
Why Islam is a project of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), an organization founded in 1971 through the national MSA. ICNA was created specifically to emulate the violent Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan, Jamaat-e-Islami, a group that has reported ties to Al-Qaeda. The â€œRegisteredâ€ and â€œAdministrativeâ€ name and organization for the Why Islam website is farrukh.net, a mirror (replica) site of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Media (JIP Media) dedicated to the works of Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Islahi, a Jamaat leader. In September of 2001, a little over a week after the 9/11 attacks, the Jamaat logo was mysteriously pulled from the farrukh site. What is not mysterious is the amount of hatred that pervades its offspring, Why Islam.
According to its website, the Why Islam project consists of: 1. a toll-free hotline with eight associates standing by to answer questions, 2. the website, 3. a network of volunteers used to establish contact with prison inmates, 4. billboards on public highways, 5. ads in community newspapers, and 6. Why Islam booths in malls. All of these things make Why Islam appear to be a good-natured civic organization, working for the betterment of its community. Nevertheless, when one sees how pervasive its propagation of hatred and violence is, there is an entirely different picture painted of the group.
Within the Why Islam siteâ€™s section â€˜Gender Issues,â€™ there is contained an article entitled â€˜Gender Equity in Islam,â€™ written by an individual named Jamal Badawi. In the piece, Badawi discusses the case for when it is alright for a husband to beat his wife. He states, there are times when â€œa wife persists in deliberate mistreatment of her husband and disregard for her marital obligations. Instead of divorce, the husband may resort to another measure that may save the marriageâ€¦â€ He then quotes from the Quran: â€œAs to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill conduct, admonish them (first), (next) refuse to share their beds (and last) beat them (lightly).â€ Badawi describes this as a â€œpermissible beating.â€
There are numerous links on Why Islam that are more than disturbing. They include:
* Islam Online (www.islamonline.net), a site that features live dialogues with Hamas leaders and a â€˜Fatwa Bankâ€™ (religious ruling) section stating, â€œHence, we are allowed to kill every Israeli until they stop this mass killing and paganism. It is only then that we can stop our attacks on the Israeli civilians but our Jihad against the military will never stop till they leave our land and give us back our holy site, Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa [Jerusalem].â€
* Islam Q & A (www.islam-qa.com), a site run by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, who writes on it, â€œThe Jews distorted the religion of Allaah, killed the Prophets and disbelieved in Allaah. They are plotters, conspirators and traitors. They are partners in the destruction of some nationsâ€™ economy and the spread of corruption among the Muslims, and other evil actionsâ€¦ Allaah will heal the hearts of the believers by killing them all.â€
Why Islam maintains a website forum, where people can express their ideas concerning the religion. Numerous users of the forum have been banned by site administrators for performing such actions as posting â€œOffensive wordsâ€ or for â€œCursing or Mocking the Prophet Muhammad.â€ Regrettably, bans for bigotry or the promotion of terrorist groups and acts seem to be nonexistent.
Hate statements against Jews and gays are prevalent on Why Islam. Deserves2Die writes, â€œâ€¦the Truth is that there cant be Peace, Becoz the Whole World knows Jews taking over a Muslim Land illegally (Following footsteps of their Jewish Forefathers)â€¦â€ Indiangirl writes, â€œYOU CANT BE â€œGAYâ€ AND A MUSLIMâ€¦ thoughts of homo-ness are caused by the shaitaanâ€¦ wanna know why we hate and despise â€˜you guysâ€™?… who are you trying to blame for ur homo-ness? ONLY YOU ARE TO BLAME, AND ITS UR JOB TO GET OVER IT.â€
One frequent poster that goes by the name NEWUSER writes numerous messages lauding Hezbollah and Hamas. Every one of his posts sports a revolving Hezbollah logo, a Hezbollah banner that reads â€œLeader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah / Hezbâ€™Allah is Lebanon,â€ and a Jewish star with a red line through it. Some of his statements include:
* â€œYou are wrong, because I know who is my enemy and who is my friend and Hezbâ€™Allah is not my enemy â€“ Israel is.â€
* â€œHezbâ€™Allah is going to break every Zionist scum that set foot on Lebanese soil, you may continue whining about who shot first and ignore that the Zionist state is a fascist USA made product.â€
* â€œHezbâ€™Allah will never surrender, you are confusing them with Arab leaders aka puppets.â€
* â€œThereâ€™s no such thing as compromise, Kayyam, HAMAS are a resistance fighters; like it or not, approve of it or notâ€¦ People that oppose Hamas are simply Israeli supporters; donâ€™t lie to yourself.â€
* â€œI could careless for PEACE B.S examples and B.S references, PEACE is for the weak people that can be stepped on; PEACE is for fools that want to remain under control. Peace is a fragment of your imagination; PEACE will not bring back [founder of Hamas] Shiekh Yassin.â€
Other Hamas and Hezbollah praise on Why Islam comes from:
* DowBuzz: â€œHamas is the military wing of the Palestinians, will always be. Perhaps one of the superpowers needs to arm them to the teeth the way that the United States has armed Israel with nuclear weapons.â€
* The Seeker: â€œHezbollah soldiers ARE civillians. They are civillians fighting Israelli oppression.â€
* devMan: â€œI suggest to Hizubullah to warn all Isreal they will bomb their house, so they will have the right to bomb all Israel.â€
* deep thought: â€œIf Israel didnt kill innocent people in its attempt to kill Hamas members or freedom fighters then there wouldnt be a need to for HAMAS to do it.â€
* BrJimC: â€œI dont think Hamas has a reason to not want to destroy Israel.â€
The main problem with all of this terrorist talk is if users or readers of the forum start taking the information to heart â€“ possibly wanting to become terrorists themselves. One poster, TrueMuâ€™min, in a thread entitled â€˜Questions on martyrdom,â€™ tells a fellow poster, â€œRhoda, I hope that I die as a martyr.â€
Again, the question is why? Why would the MSA advertise such a site as this? And why would USF allow it?
Just outside of the MARSHALL CENTER, where the MSA of USF is housed, is a memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr. called MLK Plaza. In the middle of the memorial rests a bronze bust of the civil rights leader, with an inscription that reads, â€œINJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE.â€ If the University of South Florida was at all concerned at what is going on within its institution, it would take measures to see that the MSA ceases its promulgation of terror â€“ Sami Al-Arian, Why Islam or otherwise. Without doing this, USF â€“ a school that at one time employed the present leader of PIJ, Ramadan Shallah â€“ a school that once earned the reputation of â€œJihad Uâ€ â€“ might as well tear down the MLK memorial, because its meaning would be rendered nil.