Texas-based Islamic Center Delivers Anti-Semitic Narratives in its Newsletters
Posted: February 25, 2011
A Texas-based Islamic center, which held its first interfaith forum in February 2011, has a long record of employing stereotypical anti-Semitic narratives to describe "Zionists" through its newsletter.
The Islamic Education Center (IEC) of Houston, which houses a Shi'i mosque and a full-time private school, reprinted a particularly virulent op-ed series by one of its community members in its monthly newsletter, Wahdat, between September and November 2010.
The series, "The America that Even Most Americans Don't Know (Yet)" authored by Muhammed Mahdi Domitrovich (article byline reads "Muhammed Mahdi" in short) describes the "evil of Zionism" as a snake that "controls vast sums of the world's economy." Domitrovich lists all branches of the U.S. government and numerous international corporations as being controlled by the "organized Zionist machine."
In addition to outlining alleged Zionist financial influence in the U.S. over the Federal Reserve and political influence over historical figures such as Joseph Stalin during the Cold War, Domitrovich focuses on what he calls the "stealthy progression" of the cause. Zionism, according to Domitrovich, "became so intertwined in the American political system that it is now inconceivable to rid the world of this evil without overhauling the American system itself." Domitrovich attempts to substantiate his view that these "Zionist lead elements" are "an enemy even to the American people" by citing and interpreting a verse he translates from the Qur'an:
'Jews eavesdrop with the aim of telling lies against you, and eaves-drop for other people that do not come to you. They pervert words from their meanings…They are the ones whose hearts Allah did not wish to purify.'(Quran 5:41) No one can foresee when the American people will reject this system which forms the foundation of Zionist ambitions that exploit the world, but when they finally do it will be the beginning of this evils end.
Domitrovich, a Christian convert to Shi'i Islam, is active in the IEC community, having led majaalis [lectures on Shi'i historical narratives] at the Center. In the past, he was also employed by the IEC-affiliated Al Hadi School (AHS) as a Discipline and Testing Coordinator, according to a report issued by AHS in 2007.
Wahdat has printed many other conspiratorial articles, including a March 2009 piece by Ahmed Sabour that purports to expose the "real agenda hidden behind" President Barak Obama, characterizing him as a puppet of the "war-mongering" Zionists.
On the front cover of the February 2008 issue, Wahdat editors described Israelis as the "blood thirsty face of the Zionist wolves," and framed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in religious terms, as one that placed the "warring infidel in the heart of the lands of Islamic umma [Muslim community]." Wahdat also referred readers to an anti-Semitic British Web site, Innovative Minds, which identified companies to boycott for to their alleged support for Israel.
The themes found in the pages of Wahdat are consistent with the messages disseminated by IEC leadership. IEC Imams and their invited guest speakers regularly extol the virtues of the Iranian Revolution of 1979, including its penchant for fiery anti-American and anti-Israel language. In the June 2010 issue of Wahdat, its editors wrote, "we decided to refer back to [Ayatollah Khomeini's] teachings" and printed an excerpt his September 20, 1982, speech to raise "awareness among Muslims against atrocities of Israel." In the printed excerpt, Khomeini alleged the existence of an American plan to attack Islam:
…the comprehensive and extensive plan for the attack on Lebanon and those great crimes, are all hatched with the sole intent of effacing Islam and weakening this divine power. They should realize that America's plan, which is being implemented by the malicious Israel, will not end in Beirut and Lebanon, rather Islam everywhere, in the Islamic countries and in particular in the Persian Gulf region and the Hijaz, the centre of divine revelation, is targeted.
In line with its espousal of the views of the Iranian regime, IEC helps organize the local Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day rally every year on the last Friday of Ramadan. First commemorated by Ayatollah Khomeini as "the Day of Islam and the Day of the Oppressed," rallies are now held around the world by those who support the Islamic Revolution and want to express solidarity with the Palestinian cause.
IEC's Al Quds Day event on September 3, 2010, was dedicated to denouncing Israel. Participants held signs that read: "Zionism is Terrorism/Down with Zionism,"; "US generosity/Israeli Atrocity"; "Israeli Soldiers/Born to Kill"; "Real Terrorism is State Terrorism"; and "Children Are Buried Alive, Holocaust is Revived."
IEC is closely affiliated with another organization that provides a platform for anti-Semitic speakers, the Muslim Congress. An American Shi'i organization founded in 2005, the Muslim Congress has regularly featured anti-Semitic speakers such as Abdul Alim Musa of the extremist As-Sabiqun group and Mohammad al-Asi at its annual conventions.
IEC has also hosted al-Asi and Alim Musa. On February 14, 2009, for example, al-Asi spoke at an IEC event commemorating the "30th Anniversary of Islamic Revolution" in Iran. In his speech, which was recorded and posted to the IEC Web site, al-Asi said that "Israel [is] the enemy of Allah," and urged: "We have to get rid of this Zionist presence." He also spoke about Zionist control of the U.S., arguing that President "Obama was placed in the White House [by] the imperialist and Zionist political tricksters" who needed a "black person in the White House [in order] to get away with the policies that they are hatching in their evil henhouse."
The institutional link between the IEC and the MC is readily identifiable by the man at the helm of both institutions. The main Imam and "Resident Alim" at the IEC Houston, Ghulam Hurr Shabbiri, is also the Chairman of the MC Board of Trustees.
Muslim Congress conventions also distribute anti-Semitic literature. At the 2010 convention, the group circulated the organization's magazine, MOMIN, featuring an anti-Semitic article titled, "Grassroots Dirt: The Chosen People," by Shaykh Ali Abu Talib. The article depicted the history of the Jews as a series of "murderous adventures" by a people who "broke their sacred contract with God." A booth was also set up to sell copies of Mohammad al-Asi's anti-Semitic tafseer of the Qur'an, in which he repeatedly portrays Jews as "money-mongers" for whom "Israel, their nation-state god, has become a financial enterprise that is not only meant to sap the Muslims militarily but also to drain the world financially."