By Tom Tillison
Florida Political Press
The Muslim Student Association at the University of Central Florida is sponsoring 'An Evening With Imam Siraj Wahhaj as part of what is being celebrated as Islam Awareness Month during the month of February.
Imam Wahhaj is scheduled to speak on campus this Friday, February 25th, as one of the scheduled events the MSA has lined up to 'combat the misconceptions of Islam and its practices'.
Upon closer examination, though, it seems the decision to include the imam could not be more contradictory toward that end. It turns out that Wahhaj has a very questionable past and is widely viewed as being a terrorist sympathizer.
Going back to the early 90's, Wahhaj was identified by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Wahhaj also served as a character witness for Omar Abdel-Rahman, better known as the 'Blind Sheikh', during a trial that evolved from the investigation of the World Trade Center bombing.
Abdel-Rahman was eventually sentenced to life in prison for seditious conspiracy, or conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. Government.
Stephen Schwartz, executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, a Washington-based think tank, calls Imam Wahhaj one of the most prominent and strident African-American Islamic preachers in America.
"He's a hatemonger, there's no question about it," Schwartz said. "He's the No. 1 advocate of radical Islamic ideology among African-Americans. His stuff is very appealing to young Muslims who are on a radical path."
In October 2003, the Wall Street Journal did a story on Imam Wahhaj that includes;
In the burgeoning world of Islam in America, Imam Siraj Wahhaj is a star. In 1991, he was the first Muslim ever to lead a prayer before the start of a session of the House of Representatives. Four years ago, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright hosted him and other Muslim notables at a State Department banquet...
But to his followers in Brooklyn's inner-city Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and elsewhere, the imam sometimes shows a different side. He has proclaimed that the "real terrorists" are the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency. In another of his sermons, widely available for purchase on audiotape, he says, "In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing. And the only thing that will remain will be Islam."
He has told his followers that a society governed by strict Islamic law, in which adulterers would be stoned to death and thieves would have their hands cut off, would be superior to American democracy.
"If Allah says 100 strikes, 100 strikes it is. If Allah says cut off their hand, you cut off their hand. If Allah says stone them to death, through the Prophet Muhammad, then you stone them to death, because it's the obedience of Allah and his messenger -- nothing personal."
He says he regrets the tone of some of his harshest comments about democracy. His anticipation of its collapse, he says, "is similar to a Christian saying eventually God's kingdom is going to come." He notes that "obviously, in the American context, we can't cut off the hands of thieves." He says that he hopes Americans one day will be persuaded -- not coerced -- to embrace Islamic law.
And there's much more, including ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Wahhaj served as vice president of the Islamic Society of North America, which was listed as a Muslim Brotherhood entity in federal court admitted documents in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation terrorist funding trial. The Department of Justice also named ISNA on a list of “unindicted co-conspirators” in the federal terrorism prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation.
And, surprisingly, the Muslim Student Association was also listed in the same documents as being linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to a report by CBN.com, the Muslim Brotherhood is committed to jihad, sharia law and establishing Islamic domination in the U.S.
The Investigative Project On Terrorism states that "their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated."
All of which raises some very important questions;
Does the MSA share the same vision as the Muslim Brotherhood and does it identify with the beliefs of Imam Siraj Wahhaj?
Is Imam Siraj Wahhaj being paid for his appearance, and if so, does it include taxpayer dollars?
Are the UCF Trustees and President John Hitt aware of all these facts and do they support Imam Wahhaj speaking on campus?
And, if so, why would they condone an apparent terrorist supporter speaking to the students of UCF?
As for the University of Central Florida and the Muslim Students Association, it seems they've been down this road before. Back in March 2006, radical Imam Ibrahim Dremali, with numerous ties to radical Islamist activity, was schedule to speak until public outcry forced the cancellation of his appearance.
For those who feel that the scheduled appearance of Imam Siraj Wahhaj should end in a similar manner, you may contact UCF President John Hitt at 407-823-1823 , or [email protected]
For further information on this story, you may contact Mr. Tom Trento @ [email protected]