But what none of the earlier accounts of this story have told you is exactly what kind of a mosque this is.
First, the story:
FOX NEWS –(H/T Gary) – A Tulsa police captain has filed a federal lawsuit claiming his civil rights were violated after he was reassigned and placed under investigation for refusing to order officers to attend a voluntary social event at a mosque.
Capt. Paul Fields claims he was ordered to assign police officers to attend a law enforcement appreciation day at the Islamic Society of Tulsa. Fields refused that order because he said it violated his religious beliefs.
Fields has been on the police force for 16 years and has at least six commendations. Wood says Fields has had a “stellar career” without any disciplinary actions. In essence, Wood said Fields was retaliated against for not voluntarily attending a mosque. It’s a case of political correctness, he said. “That’s definitely what it is,” Wood said. “But political correctness has nothing to do with the First Amendment.”
The events leading to the lawsuit started last week when members of the Tulsa Police Department were invited to attend a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day” at the Islamic Center of Tulsa. It was advertised as a social gathering featuring food, an opportunity to watch a Muslim prayer service, and an invitation to join lectures on beliefs, human rights and women.
According to Wood, no one responded to the invitations and no one volunteered. The following day, Fields received a directive ordering him to find officers to attend.
“This is a program put on by the mosque for the officers, not the officers for the mosque,” Wood said. “He did not believe it was police-related or related to his duties and he was not going to do something that conflicted with his religious beliefs.” Wood said to their knowledge Tulsa police officers have never been ordered to attend non-police related events at synagogues or Christian houses of worship.
The controversy has sparked national interest among Muslims. Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the Terrorist Front Group CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) said he was following the incident and said it’s an example of “anti-Muslim bigotry.” “When somebody feels empowered to say, ‘I’m not going to take part in a community outreach event at a mosque because I basically don’t like Muslims,’ it’s all part of that rise in Islamophobia in our society,” he said. (According to CAIR, EVERYBODY who isn’t Muslim is Islamophobic. If only)
But Scott emphatically denied CAIR’s accusations.
“Captain Fields would lay down his life for anyone in that mosque if the need arose regardless of their color, creed or their background,” Wood said. “The purported reason for this law enforcement appreciation day was because of the department’s performance in catching someone who had made threats against the mosque. You can’t have it both ways. ‘You did a great job protecting us, but you’re a bigot?’”
Now for the story on what kind of leaders are at this mosque from a former Muslim congregation member.
Urban Tulsa — The incident involved a Muslim and the local mosque. The al-Salam mosque (salam is the Arabic word for “peace”) is operated by the Islamic Society of Tulsa (IST).
At the center of the story is Jamal Miftah, who emigrated from Pakistan in 2003 with his wife and four children. As a devout Muslim,he was incensed by the violent reaction of some Muslims to the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed which appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005. He began to write an article about it after seeing a videotaped speech in late September of this year by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden’s terrorist movement.
Zawahiri’s arrogance, defending terrorism while “portraying himself as a champion of Islam,” incensed Miftah, and he submitted a “reader’s forum” article which appeared in the Oct. 29 edition of the Tulsa World.
Rather than blaming western critics for their negative portrayal of Islam, Miftah blamed Zawahiri and his ilk for causing the West to associate terrorism and Islam. He called on Muslim youth and Muslim clerics to “help the civilized world to bring these culprits to justice and prove that Islam is not a religion of hatred and aggression.”
What seemed to cause the most controversy was this statement: “Even mosques and Islamic institutions in the U.S. and around the world have become tools in [terrorists’] hands and are used for collecting funds for their criminal acts.”
Miftah was not condemning all mosques, but was referring, for example, to Brooklyn’s al-Farooq mosque, which had been an incubator for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, and to a mosque in Bridgeview, Illinois, which had been investigated for funneling money to terrorist organizations.
On Nov. 18, Miftah was attending prayers at the mosque. After prayers, Miftah says he was chatting with friends when he was confronted by the imam (prayer leader) of the mosque, Ahmad Kabbani.
Kabbani told Miftah that he should be ashamed of himself for writing the article, saying bad things about Muslims in front of non-Muslims. After Kabbani called Miftah “anti-Islamic,” Miftah walked away from the confrontation into the corridor.
There Miftah says he was confronted by the president of the mosque’s operating council, Houssam Elsoueissi (also known as Abu Waleed). In a loud voice, Elsoueissi called Miftah “anti-Muslim” and a “traitor” for writing against Muslim organizations.
Miftah defended the accuracy of his article. During the confrontation, 10 to 15 Arab men gathered around in a threatening way, some of them waving shoes and cursing him. A friend of Miftah’s stepped in and rescued him from the confrontation. Miftah says there are witnesses and security cameras that will corroborate his version of events.
In our conversation last week, Miftah explained that there is an implied threat in the label “anti-Muslim.” In some parts of the Muslim world, apostates, those who abandon Islam, are deemed worthy to be put to death. It was from one of those friends’ homes that he called Tulsa police and filed a report.
The next day at the mosque, Elsoueissi told one of Miftah’s friends that he had obtained a restraining order prohibiting Miftah from returning to the mosque unless he were to apologize in front of Friday congregation.
Miftah says he was told that on Nov. 20, after the final prayer service of the day, Elsouessi discussed Miftah’s article, which he said contained “anti-Islamic things.” Elsouessi announced to the assembled faithful that there was a restraining order against Miftah and anyone who saw him in the mosque should call the police.
I don’t know if the officer knew of this story but he should not be penalized for refusing to go to a place where their holy books call for the deaths of Christians and Jews.