Monday, June 09, 2014

A Mosque, a Synagogue, and a Church: What Could Go Wrong?

Joe Herring
The Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha is a project that raises questions.  The planned co-location of a synagogue, a mosque, and a church on the same campus is a novel enough idea to stir curiosity.  Add in connections between the proposed mosque and groups that have been named as unindicted co-conspirators in the largest terror-financing trial in our nation’s history, and it becomes the lack of questions that should make news.
I have written previously about the links between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha, Nebraska.  Recent developments include my source, Dr. Mark Christian, the executive director of the Omaha-based Global Faith Institute, receiving a "shut up or get sued" letter from the project’s leaders.
While the project was originally conceived with the mosque, a Reform Jewish congregation and an Episcopal Church forming the three legs of the Tri-Faith stool, the Episcopal Church has since gotten cold feet and is bailing out of the project.  Its representatives are actively soliciting another church to take their place and buy out their stake, to the tune of $1.5 million.

It is this transaction the Tri-Faith Board is seeking to protect by attempting to intimidate Dr. Christian into silence.  Mind you, the good doctor hasn’t been marching up and down outside the project, waving signs and screaming; he has simply asked some very reasonable questions regarding the relationship between the mosque and two well-known groups – CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and ISNA, the Islamic Society of North America.
Seeking clarification, Dr. Christian has approached the respective leaders of the Tri-Faith Initiative and reports that each conversation followed a similar path.  First, flat denials of any links between the Tri-Faith Initiative and ISNA, CAIR, or the Muslim Brotherhood.  Second, after being presented with the fact that CAIR and ISNA are prominently featured on their website as "Resources," they shift into a denial that ISNA and CAIR are connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. 
Finally, after Dr. Christian provides the evidence from the FBI and the State Department that both groups are known fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood in America, the response settles into a mumbling assertion that maybe the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t such a bad thing in the first place.
Dr. Christian has good reason for concern; he is a former Muslim who has converted to Christianity and lives under a fatwa approved by his own father, calling for his death. 
Dr. Christian is no ordinary Muslim apostate, however.  His father and uncle were top-level leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in his former home of Cairo, Egypt.  Dr. Christian was trained as an imam and groomed for Muslim leadership.
Dr. Christian’s uncle Ahmed spent time in prison for his role in the 1965 raid against Gamal Nasser.  During this time he was a cellmate of the Islamic writer Sayyid Qutb, the ideological father of the radical outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood that we know today as al-Qaeda.  
Clearly, a Muslim Brotherhood foothold in his adopted hometown of Omaha poses a serious security risk for Dr. Christian and his family.  “Trust us,” just isn’t a good enough answer in today’s security climate. 
Radical Islamists are promoting interfaith projects in many places around the U.S., successfully putting a gentle mask on their brutal ideology. 
Extremism is introduced only after the non-Muslim partners have invested sufficient time and capital to ensure their willingness to overlook questionable connections and activities for fear of losing their financial stake. 
Under the protective umbrella of interfaith peace and harmony, suspicious activities may occur with little scrutiny, with the non-Muslim partners frequently running interference for the Islamic component – all in the name of love, unity, and justice. 
While it remains unclear if the Tri-Faith Initiative will fall prey to such machinations, their present refusal to address reasonable questions provides cold comfort to a worried populace.
As occurred in the case of the Holy Land Foundation, Islamists sometimes launder money through charities and aid organizations in order to conceal the transfer of millions of dollars to terrorists around the world.  In the Holy Land Foundation case, these terror-funders were caught red-handed, and the ensuing prosecutions revealed extensive involvement on the parts of CAIR and ISNA.
The Tri-Faith Initiative subsequently hosted Ingrid Mattson, then-president of ISNA, for a citywide interfaith event, highlighting ISNA’s involvement in their project.  She is described in an article on their website as being the "head of the movement" behind the mosque. 
Given their prior record, it hardly seems unreasonable to question CAIR's and ISNA’s continued involvement with the Tri-Faith Initiative. 
Moreover, given the controversy, is it prudent for the Tri-Faith Board to peddle a $1.5-million plot of land to a largely unsuspecting church congregation, while simultaneously threatening Dr. Christian with legal action if he alerts the buyer to the 800-pound gorilla in the room? 
It is Dr. Christian’s contention that this behavior from the Tri-Faith leadership is reckless and unseemly.
The Global Faith Institute has formally called on the Tri-Faith Initiative to simply renounce its association with CAIR, ISNA, and other similarly radicalized groups, and to open its books to an independent auditor going forward, to reassure the concerned citizens of Omaha that such groups will not re-enter the project at a later date. 
Such a simple thing – such a sensible course of action, to disavow radical Islamic supremacists and their poisoned ideology, yet the Tri-Faith Board thus far finds these words too difficult to utter. 
As a lawyer friend of mine said recently regarding this subject, “if peace-loving Muslims won’t differentiate themselves from the radical Islamists, how then are we, their neighbors and co-workers, to tell the difference?”
Indeed.  This is the question Dr. Christian asks every day, at the risk of his life.
The author writes from Omaha, Nebraska and welcomes visitors to his website at

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