A Seattle Gay Bar & the Brunei Sultan: What’s the Connection?

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Musab Mohammed Masmari, a Muslim man who grew up in Libya and moved to the U.S. in 2009, has pled guilty to arson for trying to burn down Seattle's iconic gay nightclub "Neighbors."

On New Year's Eve around midnight, Masmari entered the club with a gallon of gasoline inside a shopping bag. He poured it onto a staircase covered by a rug and lit it on fire. The flames were quickly put out, but Masmari escaped.

The Facebook page of Masmari showed he was from Benghazi and wrote a post in November that reads:

“Terrorism is the robbery of my land.

And the torture of my mother.
The imprisonment of my innocent father.
The bullet in my baby brother.

So American, don’t tell me you know about
the things I feel and see.
I’m terrorized in my own land
and I’m the terrorist?”

Masmari was caught after a friend who met him at a café near the Masjid [Mosque] At-Taqwa in Seattle reported him to the FBI shortly after the attempted arson. The FBI source suspected that Masmari was planning a terrorist attack and had said that homosexuals “should be exterminated.”

He was arrested on February 1 on his way to the airport after purchasing a one-way ticket to Turkey.


Masmari’s Extremist Surroundings

Masjid At-Taqwa used to be known as Dar-ul Islam Masjid and the Dar-us-Salaam Masjid. Its former imam and two attendees have been tied to an Al-Qaeda plot to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon.

Its former imam, Abdul Raheem Al Arshad Ali, was arrested in 2002 for buying a pistol for an Al-Qaeda-linked individual named Semi Osman. Ali instructed Osman to erase the gun’s serial number so it couldn’t be traced back.

Osman was also convicted for illegally possessing a firearm and was involved in an Al-Qaeda-linked plot to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon. Osman was also later convicted of molesting a 10-year old relative.

Ali claims he is a victim of anti-Muslim discrimination by the U.S. government. He admits to going to the Oregon site and shooting guns but that “since we were black and Muslims and young, they [the U.S. government] figured we were doing something criminal.”

He also claims that the FBI harassed him by questioning him twice about the trip and another mosque attendee named James Ujaama. James Ujaama was involved in the same terrorist camp operation and pled guilty in 2003 and admitted to traveling to Pakistan and trying to assist the Taliban.


Sharia as a Source of Extremism

Islamist doctrine holds that homosexuality is a capital offense warranting execution. For example, the Sultan of Brunei just began instituting sharia law and its prohibition on homosexuality has sparked a celebrity boycott of hotels owned by the sultan.

The celebrities protesting the sharia-instituting Sultan of Brunei need to understand that it’s about an ideology and not just the anti-gay sentiment of one ruler. Both the Brunei Sultan and Masmari believe that Allah wants them to punish homosexuals for their sin.

If Hollywood wants to really confront the worst persecutors of gays, it must confront Islamist doctrine and not just one of its wealthy adherents.


Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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