So this is weird. The FBI informant, Shahed Hussein, was hanging out at the Masjid Al-Ikhlas mosque when he met James Cromitie, who approaches him and starts talking about wanting to be a martyr. Looking at the trailer, the mosque is probably featured in the film. Of course I’m sure they are upset to have their names dragged into it, which is understandable.
Cromitie and the other defendants converted to Islam in prison. But apparently the original founder of the mosque (not the current Imam), was a guy named Imam Warith Deen Umar, who spent time as a New York Prison Chaplain, and ran an organization for recruiting and training Muslim Chaplains. Apparently Umar was a real extremist, and so was eventually ejected from the Chaplain program, according to the Washington Post.
Over a quiet dinner at an Indian restaurant in upstate New York, Warith Deen Umar offered his views of Islam and the Sept. 11 attacks. The hijackers should be honored as martyrs, he said. The U.S. risks further terrorism attacks because it oppresses Muslims around the world. “Without justice, there will be warfare, and it can come to this country, too,” he said. The natural candidates to help press such an attack, in his view: African-Americans who embraced Islam in prison.
During a long and extraordinary career, he has had an unusual opportunity to spread these ideas. For about 20 years until he retired in 2000, Imam Umar — the title means prayer leader — helped run New York’s growing Islamic prison program, recruiting and training dozens of chaplains, and ministering to thousands of inmates himself. With help from the Saudi government, he traveled to Saudi Arabia and brought that country’s harsh form of Islam to New York’s expanding ranks of Muslim prisoners.
The 58-year-old cleric remains influential with many of the chaplains he helped select as well as the inmates they work with. He continues to visit New York state prisons as a volunteer chaplain. Until Tuesday, he also worked part-time counseling inmates for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
“Even Muslims who say they are against terrorism secretly admire and applaud” the hijackers, he wrote in an unpublished memoir. The Quran, he said, does not condemn terrorism against oppressors of Muslims, even if innocent people die. “This is the sort of teaching they don’t want in prison,” he said. “But this is what I’m doing.”
Maybe that would explain the FBI’s interest in having Hussein hanging around this particular mosque? Oh, and here’s an audio recording of Imam Umar says spreading terror is what they “were supposed to be doing” and apparently called for assaulting FBI agents who infiltrate mosques:
Now we came to that stage very recently, the kuffar, this was the period that was prophecy, the kuffar was not afraid of the Muslims up until a few days ago now they frightened to death. Green alert, red alert, orange alert. The Muslims are praying. They getting on our planes, they may shoot us down. They scared to death. Alhamdulilah. When I see it I say [unclear] Let’s chatter. ‘We heard some chatter, listen man get the army out here, we heard some chatter!’ [Audience: laughter]
We are doing what we are supposed to be doing. If the FBI is here, they usually are.
There’s going to be a time when you can’t come in here, we are going to catch you and we are going to cut (pauses) the label off your lapel. You thought I was gonna say something else [Audience: laughter] we may do that also.
At one of the conference’s 70 sessions, Warith Deen Umar, a New York imam, spoke critically of Jews, saying that the Holocaust happened to the Jews “because they were serially disobedient to Allah.”
The article adds:
Umar’s speech came during a session that was named after a new book he is touting, titled “Jews for Salaam: The Straight Path to Global Peace.” Umar, the former head of the New York State prison chaplain program, is no stranger to controversy. In 2003, The Wall Street Journal published a lengthy report about how Umar spread extremism within the prison system. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, Umar referred to the terrorists as martyrs. He also published a book titled “Judaiology” that spoke about the “inordinacy of Jewish power” and stated that Jews “play mind games” to deceive the non-Jews.
In his July speech, Umar took issue with the fact that Obama’s first choices for White House positions were Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod. Both men are Jewish, though Umar wrongly described them as Israeli. “Why do this small number of people have control of the world?” he asked.
He then moved to speak of the Holocaust, providing his own explanation for its cause: “These people were punished. They were punished for a reason, because they were serially disobedient to Allah.”
The same Mosque history that notes that Imam Umar was the founder, notes that Imam Salahuddin, and several other members of the mosque are all New York State Chaplains. Of course administering to inmates is completely respectable, and to be applauded. But it makes you wonder how successful they can be at distancing themselves by saying Cromitie and the other members converted in, and possibly got wrong ideas in prison:
Rashada is a senior life coach with the program and was working with Payen. He also encouraged him to attend Friday prayers at Masjid al-Ikhlas in Newburgh where Rashada is an assistan imam. Payen had told him he was Muslim, and Rashada figured he must have been introduced to Islam in prison. Misunderstandings of the teachings can occur in places such as prison, Rashada said, because educated teachers may be rarer.
Will HBO mention that FBI Informant Shahed Hussein was staking out a mosque founded by a man known to say radical things to Muslim converts in prisons, who hated Jewish people, and who praised acts of terror? And that Hussein was, coincidentally, approached by a Muslim man who converted in prison and hated Jewish people, and who recruited three other men who also converted in prison?
I doubt it.