Islamophobes exploit Islamist intolerance in Tulsa imbroglio

Around it goes. One Jamal Miftah, a Pakistani immigrant in Tulsa, OK, to his great credit, sent a letter to the Tulsa World Oct. 29 entitled “Message of Islam is not jihad, fatwahs,” taking Ayman al-Zawahri and other al-Qaeda leaders to task for hijacking his religion. For this (as he related to Tulsa’s News 9 in a video interview) he was expelled from his local mosque, the Tulsa Islamic Center, for publicly condemning Islam (which, of course, he didn’t do). The affair was picked up, with predictable glee, by the right-wing Islamophobic blog Western Resistance (yuck!)—which, of course, will only fuel the ultra-defensiveness of folks like the Tulsa Islamic Center. So a plague on all their houses. Except Jamal Miftah.

Oklahoma Mosque Members Support Al Qaeda
News from Oklahoma, in the form of a video from News 9. Jamal Miftah (pictured) is a recent migrant to the United States. He wrote a letter to the Tulsa World newspaper after seeing a video by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command of Al Qaeda.

His letter, entitled “Message of Islam is not jihad, fatwahs” was published in Tulsa World on October 29. In this letter, which we reproduce below, he stated that Zawahri and bin Laden were cowards, getting young and ignorant men to become suicide bombers to kill innocent civilians.

His letter was impassioned, but it was well-intentioned. He said that Muslims throughout the world should stand up to those who advocate jihad, and to decry such behavior as being against Islam. But the letter caused only recriminations at his mosque, the Islamic Center at Tulsa.

He was threatened by several members. He protested, and then was told by the management of the mosque that he cannot return until he has apologized.

Miftah was told by members of the congregation that he should never have criticized Islam in front of non-Muslims. The thing is – he did not criticize Islam, only the radicals who preach jihad. It is a sad testimony to the fact that many Muslims in the West make no distinction between Al Qaeda and Islam. There is a concept in Islam called takfeer, which is the action of condemning a Muslim as a heretic.

Takfeer is a Muslim “crime” if not made by a senior cleric. Islam is a club which welcomes any members into the Ummah, no matter how despotic or murderous they may be…

This is the letter that Jamal Miftah sent to the Tulsa World:

Message of Islam is not jihad, fatwahs

By Jamal Miftah.

I moved to the United States in March 2003, with my four kids and wife from Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. There was a call by a local jihadi organization to fight the coalition forces in Afghanistan. One of my dearest friends, Mirza Kohistani, fell prey to that call and joined the group, despite my advice and that of his wife to him.

All the leaders of that organization returned safely after the fall of the Taliban empire, but they left behind the body of my friend and hundreds of other innocent people like him.

I am obliged to respond to Ayman al-Zawahri’s recent video message, portraying himself as champion of Islam and others as liars.

My message to Ayman al-Zawahri and Muslims of the world: “Islam” means submission and is derived from a word meaning “peace.” Islam, Christianity and Judaism have the same origin, the Prophet Abraham. The prophet of Islam has said that God has no mercy on someone who does not have mercy for others.

I ask that al-Zawahri look at his deeds and those of his master, Osama bin Laden, and other so-called Islamic jihadists.

Because of lack of knowledge of Islam, Muslim youth are misguided into believing by the so-called champions of the cause of Islam that the current spate of killings and barbarism, which has no equal in the recent civilized history, is jihad in the name of Islam. They are incited, in the name of Islam, to commit heinous crimes not pardonable by any religion and strictly forbidden in Islam.

Cowards like al-Zawahri and bin Laden are inciting the ignorant and innocent youths to commit suicide bombings to kill innocent civilians including children, women and the elderly, while they hide in spider holes and caves. They never send their own sons and daughters, born out of half a dozen of their wives, to get killed in the name of Islam. They are themselves hypo crites, cowards, thugs and liars. For 12 years they misappropriated aid received from the U.S. and the West to fight Russia. Now they are ensuring smooth flow of petro dollars from Arab countries in the name of jihad against the West.

Even mosques and Islamic institutions in the U.S. and around the world have become tools in their hands and are used for collecting funds for their criminal acts. Half of the funds collected go into the pockets of their local agents and the rest are sent to these thugs.

They are the reason for branding the peaceful religion of Islam as terrorism. The result, therefore, is in the form of Danish cartoons and remarks/reference by the Pope.

I appeal to the Muslim youth in particular and Muslims of the world in general to rise up and start jihad against the killers of humanity and help the civilized world to bring these culprits to justice and prove that Islam is not a religion of hatred and aggression.

I appeal to the Muslim clerics around the world that, rather than issuing empty fatwas condemning suicide bombing, they should issue a fatwa for the death of such scoundrels and barbarians who have taken more than 4,267 lives of innocent people in the name of Islam and have carried out more than 24 terrorist attacks on civilian installations throughout the world. This does not include the chilling number of deaths because of such activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is well over 250,000.

I appeal to al-Zawahri and his band of thugs to hand themselves over to justice and stop spreading evil and killing innocent humans around the world in the name of Islam. Their time is limited and Muslims of the world will soon rise against them to apprehend them and bring them to justice.

See our last posts on Islamophobia and the struggle within Islam.

  1. Letter backlash
    I am Jamal Miftah and I stand by what I have written.

    America is great country and so its people and I hope and pray that one day justice is done to the victims of 9/11, no matter what Mr. Kabbani, the Imam of Tulsa mosque or Mr. Abu Waleed, the spokesman for Islamic Society of Tulsa feel or say.

    God bless America

    1. Jamal Miftah
      Dear Mr Miftah,

      I have just read your excellent and peaceful letter and then your comment. You are a good man and a brave man. It must be hard for you now but I think in the long run it is people like you who will succeed. Well done for standing-up to be counted, and you will have plenty of other people who agree with what you say and who have noticed and admire your stand.

      Bless you.


  2. An In-Depth look into Mr. Jamal Miftah’s Intentions
    As an American Muslim, born and raised, who has read the actual article that Mr. Jamal Miftah wrote, along with subsequent interviews, it seems that there is extreme ambiguity about why exactly Mr. Jamal Miftah was asked to leave his Islamic center. Mr. Jamal Miftah wrote an entire article denouncing terrorism, which every American Muslim already agrees with, but in the middle of the article Mr. Jamal Miftah accused American mosques of supporting terrorist when he said:
    [“Even mosques and Islamic institutions in the U.S. and around the world have become tools in their hands and are used for collecting funds for their criminal acts. Half of the funds collected go into the pockets of their local agents and the rest are sent to these thugs”].
    I have personally been to many mosques around the U.S. and I have never seen any American Muslim who supports terrorism either financially or ideologically. Therefore, Mr. Jamal Miftah was most likely excused from his Islamic center because he accused all the Islamic institutions in the U.S. of supporting terrorism (financially), not because he was anti-terrorism.
    Lastly Mr. Jamal Miftah has only been in the United States for a relatively short period of time: three years! Who is he to say whether mosques around the U.S. are supporting terrorism or not? Does Mr. Jamal Miftah even have a legal status in the United States, or is he looking for one!?
    It is obvious that Mr. Jamal Miftah has twisted a seemingly harmless issue into one that has neither any credibility nor standing into one wherein he is the wronged one for being anti-terrorism. It is apparent that Mr. Jamal Miftah is either looking for a quick way to kiss up to the immigration officials to give him asylum by accusing innocent, hardworking, American citizens of supporting terrorism or looking to get his 15-minutes of fame; only God knows.
    Can Mr. Jamal Miftah openly come out and reveal how he came to this country after being “dearest friend [with] Mirza Kohistani”, an Al-Qaeda terrorist? Before he goes around accusing others, can he give us more information about his background? I don’t know what’s behind that baby face!

    1. My Dear Fooad Muhammad,
      My Dear Fooad Muhammad,

      It appears to me that you either ignorant about contents of my article, happenings at the mosque, subsequent interviews by myself and the self contradictory statements by mosque leadership or are attempting to confuse the serious situation with Tulsa mosque leadership with base less accusations.

      Mirza Kohistani and many more like him have been the victims of deceits and treachery by AL Qaida and the like into believing that killing innocent people or terrorizing civilized world is Jihad and that was the main theme of my article.

      There are confirmed reports of involvement of managers of mosques at Brooklyn (AlFarooq Mosque) New York, Albany New York, Bridgeview IL, Allentown PA, and a mosque in Texas were found to be involved in such activities, besides part of the funds collected for earth quake victims in Britain were funneled to the terrorist plotting to blow American bound Air Planes and as such was a general statement because Mosques are places for worship and their sanctity needs to be preserved and as such the statement was a reminder to the worshippers to watch for any such activities.

      From day one since the unfortunate incidence, I have the same statement! I was expelled from the mosque by the mosque leadership after accusing me of being anti Muslim and Anti Islamic because of the article.

      Mosque leadership sent me messages through other members of the community to apologize in public for the article, which I refused.

      – On the November 24th, 2006, the mosque leadership shifted their position from the earlier one and stated to the news on six reporter that I was asked to leave from the mosque for being loud, which is a false statement.

      – On November 29th, 2006 Dr. Sandra Rana made the following comment about my expulsion from the mosque:
      Quote, “Then, about the incident. The man was physically removed from the mosque’s prayer center by the Tulsa Police Department after a discussion about the article became an argument which ended with the author cursing, threatening to hit someone and refusing to leave when requested. The building supervisor called the police at that time. A restraining order was filed but was ended after 2-3 days by request of the mosque’s leadership. He can attend prayer services at the mosque without restriction as long as he acts in an appropriate manner during prayers” Unquote.

      What are the names of Police Officers who came to remove me from the mosque?

      No further comment on this one.

      Then on December 01, 2006 following was published in Tulsa World on behalf of the mosque leadership:
      Quote “The governing board of Tulsa’s AI-Salam mosque ruled Wednesday night that a Pakistani native who had been banned from the mosque can return. Houssam Elsoueissi, president of the operating council at the mosque, said he would announce at Friday’s service that Jamal Miftah is free to attend services as long as there is no disturbance, and that no one at the mosque should confront him. Elsoueissi said he talked to police about getting a restraining order against Miftah to prevent further incidents at the mosque. Mosque spokeswoman Sheryl Siddiqui said the matter should have been quietly resolved, but because of the media and the Internet, “It’s had such legs.”
      The story was carried by local television and radio stations and spread nationwide on the Internet.

      “This was not about the article; it was about a disturbance in the mosque,” she said. “We agree with most of his article, except the one statement that American mosques support terrorists.
      “Our mosque does not, and I don’t know of any that do,” she said.
      Tulsan Mujeeb Cheema, executive director of North American Islamic Trust, said Miftah’s views on bin Laden were “mainline views among American Muslims.”

      However, he said, “I was surprised that a person who has been in the U.S. for only three years, and not part of any national Muslim organization, would speak so confidently about Islamic institutions in the U.S.” Unquote.

      My response to the above generousity by Islamic Society of Tulsa leadership was as under, which Tulsa World preferred not to publish:

      Quote “Mr. Joe Worley,
      Executive Editor,
      Tulsa World
      Fax # 918 581 8353

      Sub: Miss-representation of facts by Office Bearers of Islamic Society of Tulsa, Published in your Publication of date.

      Dear Sir,
      I am perturbed and disappointed by the comments made in today’s publication of Tulsa World (copy attached for your ready reference) by Houssam Elsoueissi (Abu Waleed), president operating council of IST mosque and Mr. Mujeeb Cheema Executive Director of North America Islamic Trust. I will first take Mr. Hussam comment.

      While attempting to appear very generous for having agreed to make the following announcement on Friday services (that is today):

      Quote: Mr. Jamal Miftah is free to attend services as long as there is no disturbance and that no one at mosque should confront him” unquote.

      – Is it a conditional permission?

      From the tone of his language it appears that permission is conditional and that they have no remorse or regrets for the incidence.

      – Is he implying that I was responsible for causing disturbance, if any, in the mosque, while confronted by ordinary Muslims in the mosque?

      He is trying to create the impression that I was responsible for causing disturbance. So far as this allegation goes I was only responsible to the extent of writing the article which was published in Tulsa World on October 29, 2006. Any subsequent disturbance or excessive actions were initiated by Mr. Kabbani, Imam (leader) of the mosque and Mr. Houssam Elsoueissi him self. The accused me of being traitor, anti Muslim and threaten me while inciting others to rise against me on the night of November 18, 2006.
      I am also surprised why office bearers of IST are so defensive about channeling funds to illegitimate organizations by them. My article does not say anything to that effect by IST mosque in Tulsa rather it was reference to the mosque in Brooklyn (Al-Farooq Mosque) New York, California, Albany New York, Bridgeview Illinois, Allentown Pennsylvania and one Texas and the result of investigation on the London bombing plot leading its trails to funneling of earth quake donations collected in Britain to the terrorists involved. I have not yet made any allegation about IST on this count yet some of their activities that I am aware of and have evidence certainly create doubts about legality of some of their activities.

      Now to Mr. Mujeeb Cheema’s following assertion:

      Quote “I was surprised that a person who has been in US for only three years and not part of any national Muslim Organization would speak so confidently about Islamic Institutions in US” Unquote.

      – Is he implying that for a Muslim, three years is too short a period to form an opinion and then in order for him to be confident, he has to be a member of national Muslim organizations to have knowledge any illegal activities!

      Mr. Cheema, I was not born three year ago. I have been a reader of Times, Newsweek and World Economist since 1980. There was, off course, a small break during 2003 and 2004, when I was in the process of settling in US. I am very well informed about what’s going on around the world and in US and especially with the internet revolution since 1990’s; events around the world are only a click away. The current state of affairs of the Muslims around the world is a result of the typical psychology of the leaders of so called Muslim organizations where they are barred from expressing their views, as the leaders of such organizations for the fear of being exposed keep those voices suppressed by accusing them of being un Islamic or Anti Islamic, when they speak or protest and that’s what exactly happened during the shame full incidence at IST’s mosque in Tulsa.

      After going through the current ordeal, I feel and believe that majority of the office bearers of IST that I have dealt or experienced are unfortunately liars and I would prefer to boy-cot them and rather say my prayers on my own instead of saying it after a hypocrite like Mr. Ahmad Kabbani, the Imam of Tulsa mosque.

      Thank you very much Mr. Housam and Mr. Cheema!

      I, however, thank Madam Sheryl Sidiqui from the depth of my heart for her honest efforts to diffuse the situation, but her efforts seem to have faded with the comments made by the others. She has also tried to communicate wrong impression by relating my expulsion from the mosque by suggesting that it was as a result of disturbance. If at all any one was to be expelled from mosque for causing disturbance, then it should have been Mr. Ahmad Kabbani and Mr. Houssam and the group of 10 to 15 Arabs incited by them against me on the night of November 18th, 2006 and in all fairness not me.

      I expect from the Tulsa World to publish my clarification in its entirety.

      Thanks and regards,

      Jamal Miftah

      – On December 6th, 2006 Madam Sheryl Siddiqui in an interview with KRMG stated that she did not believe that the trouble was started by me, which is true. She further stated that I along with others was asked to leave, which is a false statement. I was the only one person, humiliated, terrorized and virtually kicked out from the mosque by Imam of the mosque, Ahmad Kabbani and President of the Operating Council of the Mosque Houssam Elsoueissi. They were the ones who started the trouble and they were the ones who were trying to incite others to cause harm to me.

      I fail to understand why the mosque leadership is not accepting the blunders it made and instead of apologizing for the incidence, are continuously lying about the situation and changing keep on changing their statement every time they face a new question or person.
      They are exploiting the wit, wisdom and connections of an influential IST member to cover their misdeeds and at the same time engaged in a propaganda campaign through their well established propaganda machine to tarnish my image with in the community.

      Dear Fooad, I was sponsored by sister in late 80’s and landed USA in March of 2003 and immediately after my arrival here was issued a green card and by the grace of Allah, will soon be a very responsible US citizen.

      I hope that the above clarifies the situation and I request and urge you to use your influence and good writing skills to persuade IST leadership to acknowledge their mistakes in a dignified manner rather then continues lies and false statements, which is aggravating the situation and making them look like a laughing stock all around the world.