Christian pastors often will speak of the sin in the world, or in their
nation, and call for repentance, but an expert on terrorism says when imam
Siraj Wahhaj, one of the unindicted co-conspirators of the 1993 bombing at
the World Trade Center, preaches in his mosque, he goes one step further.
"Christian pastors will say the [nation] has taken the wrong course,
but they don't say the U.S. is going to be destroyed unless everyone
converts to Christianity right now," Steven
Emerson, one of the nation's leading experts on terrorism, told WND.
But Wahhaj, who is speaking this coming weekend in Hartford, Conn., at
the 32nd annual Islamic Circle of North America conference, an event
shared with the Muslim American Society, blends into his sermons the
"evil" of the United States and the need for an Islamic state.
That, Emerson said, is adding the political to the religious and is
when the sermons "become a problem."
"This is the whole problem of these conferences. They end up inserting
a political message into an innocent message, then they politicize the
situation. They're basically mobilizing the Muslim public," Emerson said.
"He has a message of Islam reigning supreme, and mixed with his message
is the fact of the U.S. being an evil country, and defending terrorism,"
"All together that leads someone to become radicalized," said Emerson,
considered one of the leading authorities in Islamic extremist networks,
financing and operations.
He's also the executive director of The Investigation Project on
Terrorism, one of the world's largest storehouses of archival data and
intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups.
The conference is set up to "address growing Islamophobia," according
to sponsors who have titled their event "Muhammad: Mercy To Humanity and
Wahhaj is on the program as a featured speaker, but it's not the
comments about his faith that concern those who monitor radical groups;
it's sentiments such as:
- "In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be
nothing. And the only thing that will remain will be Islam."
- "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."
Those quotes were documented by several organizations watching the
activities of Islamics they consider radical, such as Wahhaj, who was put
on the U.S. attorney's list of potential co-conspirators to the 1993
bombing of the World Trade Center, and soon after was a witness for Sheikh
Omar Abdel-Rahman, the so-called "Blind Sheikh," who was convicted in the
At a news conference promoting the event, Naeem Baig, the secretary
general of the
ICNA group, condemned the "irresponsible media" and said "Islam
remains the most misunderstood religion in America."
He said the events will include a town hall style symposium called
"Window to Islam," and Baig said it would address "Islamophobia." Other
topics at the convention will be parenting, family issues, civil rights
and media and spiritual development.
An online "invitation" to the conference noted Islam is the religion of
"approximately seven million Americans," and it "promotes peace, prayer,
humility as well as social, communal and family values."
But critics note that Wahhaj also is a board member for the Council on
Islamic-American Relations, which, as
WND reported earlier this month, was named by federal prosecutors,
along with two other prominent U.S. Islamic groups, as an "unindicted
co-conspirator" in a plot with five officials of the defunct Holy Land
Foundation for Relief and Development, who go on trial July 16 in Dallas.
website where Wahhaj's various speeches are available for purchase
advertises his address called "Islam – The Solution to America's Social
Problems," and "Are You Ready to Die?"
It was on Feb. 2, 1995, when U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named Wahhaj
as one of the "unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators"
in the attack in New York.
Pipes, another recognized expert on the issues of Islam, noted that in
1991 Wahhaj was the first Muslim to deliver the daily prayer in the U.S.
House of Representations.
"On that occasion he recited from the Quran and appealed to the
Almighty to guide American leaders," he concluded in a report. "A little
over a year later, addressing an audience of New Jersey Muslims, the same
Wahhaj articulated a rather different vision from his mild and moderate
invocation in the House. If only Muslims were more clever politically, he
told his New Jersey listeners, they could take over the United States and
replace its constitutional government with a caliphate."
"If we were united and strong, we'd elect our own emir [leader] and
give allegiance to him. . . . [T]ake my word, if 6-8 million Muslims unite
in America, the country will come to us," Wahhaj had told the audience.
He later told another audience, "I see the demise of the Soviet Union
as a sign for the American people that what happened in the Soviet Union
will definitely happen in America unless America changes its course from
the new world order and accepts the Islamic agenda."
a religion blog, he's quoted as telling his followers that a society
governed by strict Islamic law, where adulterers would be stoned to death
and thieves would have their hands cut off, would be superior to American
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