Islamic Society of Bay Ridge

Clarion Project
Article Source: Clarion Project

Article Source: Clarion Project

The society has a 20-year history of association with radical Islamists, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The Islamic Society of Bay Ridge (ISBR) has “a long history of association with radical Islamic organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, going back almost 20 years,” said Patrick Dunleavy, former Deputy Inspector General for the New York Department of Corrections and author of The Fertile Soil of Jihad.[1]

In 1994, Lebanese-Palestinian immigrant Rashad Baz fired upon a van full of Hasidic Jews on the Brooklyn Bridge, killing a 16-year old, in retaliation for a events in Hebron, Israel.

According to two witnesses, the attack came shortly after he attended an ISBR service where the speaker said, “This takes the mask off the Jews,” and “It shows them to be racist and fascist, as bad as the Nazis. Palestinians are suffering from the occupation, and it’s time to end it.” A witness said he left the service in a rage. Two of Baz’s family members helped him hide his weapons and were in contact with a Hamas member. Hamas and Hezbollah praised the attack.[2]

In 1998, a speaker at ISBR reportedly said that Jews murdered Mohammed, Islam’s founder, and will forever wage war against Muslims. The speaker vocally supported jihad against Israel and distributed Hamas propaganda.[3]

The ISBR’s imam from 2002 to 2006, Reda Shata, originally came from Egypt. The New York Times reported in 2006 that he views Hamas “as a powerful symbol of resistance.”[4] He was under NYPD surveillance as a “Tier One Person of Interest.” Those that qualify for this designation have a “threat potential based on their position at a particular location, links to an organization, overseas links and/or criminal history.”[5]

In June 2003, four suspected members of Hamas were arrested in front of the mosque. That same year, Mohammed El-Mezain spoke at the mosque. A NYPD intelligence report describes El-Mezain as the “suspected North American leader of Hamas.”[6] He was convicted in 2008 for fundraising for Hamas.

In 2004, Shata described a Palestinian mother who carried out a suicide bombing as a “martyr.” The bombing killed four Israeli security personnel and injured Israeli and Palestinian civilians. He also spoke at a 2004 memorial service for Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a founder and spiritual leader of Hamas that was killed in an Israeli airstrike. He said the “lion of Palestine has been martyred.”[7]

In August 2004, two men were arrested for planning to bomb a New York City subway station. One of the plotters worked at a bookstore adjacent to ISBR, where the two met. During the trial, the defense attorney said that among the “entire Muslim community in Bay Ridge, the thought that the American government was responsible for bringing down the towers on 9/11 was common.”[8]

On Memorial Day in 2006, graffiti praising the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was sprayed on cars, trees and homes. Notably, only houses that displayed the American flag were victimized. A 12-year old boy was arrested.[9] In May 2006, a rally was held in Bay Ridge where demonstrators chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which obviously requires the elimination of the state of Israel.[10] In January 2009, a hacker struck the Bay Ridge Jewish Center’s website and displayed the words, “Death to Israel” and “For Palestine For Gazza [sic] For Hamas.”[11]

[1] Mauro, Ryan. “The NYPD vs. a ‘Moderate’ Hamas Supporter,” RadicalIslam.org, May 14, 2012. https://www.radicalislam.org/category/tags/sheikh-reda-shata

[2] “Brooklyn Bridge Killer Finally Admits He Picked Targets of 1994 Attacks Because They Were Jewish,” Daily Mail, March 26, 2012. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2120479/Rashid-Baz-1994-Brooklyn-Bridge-killer-finally-admits-chose-targets-Jewish.html#axzz2JiBTanuv

[3] Heilman, Uriel. “Murder on the Brooklyn Bridge,” Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2001, p. 29-37, https://www.meforum.org/77/murder-on-the-brooklyn-bridge.

[4] “An Imam in America: To Lead the Faithful in a Faith Under Fire,” New York Times, March 6, 2006.  https://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/06/nyregion/06imam.html?pagewanted=all#

[5] Sullivan, Eileen. “NYPD Spied of City’s Muslim Anti-Terror Partners,” Associated Press, October 6, 2011. https://www.ap.org/Content/AP-In-The-News/2011/NYPD-spied-on-citys-Muslim-anti-terror-partners

[6] NYPD Intelligence Strategy Report,” May 15, 2006, obtained by the Associated Press, hosted at PrivacySOS.org, https://www.privacysos.org/sites/all/files/NYPD_racist.pdf.

[7] “An Imam in America.”

[8] Rubinstein, Dana. “Bay Ridge Man Guilty in Terror Bomb Plot,” Brooklyn Paper, https://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/29/21/29_21guilty.html.

[9] Lysiak, Matthew. “Homes Defaced of Those Who Flew Old Glory,” New York Sun, June 12, 2006. https://www.nysun.com/new-york/homes-defaced-of-those-who-flew-old-glory/34224/

[10] “New York Palestinians Remember Al-Nakba,” Workers World, May 16, 2006. https://www.workers.org/2006/world/al-nakba-0525/

[11] Muessig, Ben. “Hacker Changes Temple Home Page to Pro-Hamas Message,” Brooklyn Paper, January 12, 2009. https://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/32/2/32_2_bm_hacker.html