Acouple of weeks ago Kathy, my fellow alumna of New York’s High School of Music
and Art (renamed the LaGuardia High School for the Arts), sent me an update on a
column I devoted (some two years back) to our much-belated reunion. The next day
roughly the same information appeared in The Jerusalem Post, datelined Miramar,
Florida. A quick Google showed it was widely reported.
The gist was that
Adnan el-Shukrijumah has apparently become al-Qaida’s new head of global
operations, in charge of plotting new attacks. This promotion puts him in direct
contact with Osama bin Laden. This is the highest any American ever rose in
How does this pertain to Kathy? Shukrijumah was her
neighbor, but no one would heed her warnings in real time.
after Shukrijumah went on the lam, she tried almost desperately to convince me
that something bad was happening next door to the house which generations of
Kathy’s Irish family had occupied since it was built in 1912.
it was passed down to her. She and her husband raised three kids in the same
two-story, redbrick dwelling on a leafy, cozy and quiet Brooklyn residential
street. Both Kathy and her father grew up there and neither knew any other home.
Their story wasn’t unique among the house-proud Irish of that neighborhood,
where property tended to stay in the family and where things never changed too
But no more. Not only are Kathy’s sons and daughter no longer
nearby, but she describes them as having “escaped.”
Kathy’s birthplace is
now a mini-Pakistan/Bangladesh, replete with bearded men sporting all manner of
Muslim headgear and long flowing tunics, as well as heavily swathed women, some
The corner of Kathy’s block is dominated by an oversized
green sign, identifying the low-slung building beneath it as Masjid Nur al-Islam
(the Light of Islam Mosque) and announcing that “only Allah is worthy of worship
and Muhammad is his LAST prophet.”
Christians are urged to “turn to the
Koran” if they are “genuinely faithful to Jesus.”
Like the few remaining
non-Muslim homes on the street, Kathy’s is distinguished by a huge American flag
that flutters demonstratively in the manicured front yard, accompanied by a
large cross on the door and an assortment of patriotic/jingoistic banners.
According to Kathy’s apologetics at the time, “making a statement is about all
we can do. They aren’t delighted to see our flag wave. This is enemy
She felt besieged and, to prove she wasn’t paranoid, Kathy
began amassing a dossier on the masjid, the imam who ran it and his followers.
She insisted they weren’t innocent practitioners of American religious
She smelled something sinister, yet was painfully aware that she
would be branded either unhinged or bigoted.
Her research, however, seems
to indicate otherwise.
UNTIL THE mid-1990s, Masjid Nur al-Islam’s imam
was the late Egyptian-educated Gulshair el-Shukrijumah, who later relocated to
Florida. He was initially dispatched by the Saudis as a Wahhabi missionary in
1985 and financed by them thereafter. His disciple Clement Rodney Hampton- El,
an explosives specialist, possibly helped assemble the bomb detonated in the
1993 World Trade Center attack. He was convicted of plotting to blow up the UN,
FBI headquarters and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels.
Gulshair acted as
interpreter for Omar Abdel-Rahman, the “Blind Sheikh” now serving life for the
first WTC bombing, conspiring to use explosives at other NYC landmarks and
colluding to assassinate US politicians.
Nabbed mastermind of the 9/11
plot, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, fingered Gulshair’s eldest son, Saudi-born Adnan,
as having been designated by al-Qaida and personally vetted by Bin Laden to lead
new terror assaults and serve as successor to 9/11 pilot Mohammed Atta, with
whom Adnan was connected.
The FBI now deduces that Adnan had taken over
Mohammed’s position, designing and approving terror plots and recruits. After
two other top confederates were killed, the terrorist who grew in Brooklyn
became Mohammed’s sole de facto successor.
Adnan received flight training
and is dubbed “Jaffar the pilot.” He was likewise linked to “Dirty Bomber” Jose
Padilla, Hamas and al-Qaida fund-raiser Adham Hassoun and terrorist Imran
Mandhai (convicted of conspiring to bomb the National Guard armory, South
Florida electrical substations, Jewish-owned businesses and community centers
and Mount Rushmore).
Criminal charges were filed against Adnan. He was
named in a federal indictment as conspirator in the plot to bomb New York’s
subways in 2009. In the framework of a worldwide manhunt, the FBI offers $5
million for information leading to the capture of Kathy’s
Adnan’s brother Nabil, incidentally, uploaded to his Web
page an image of Jerusalem ablaze with the caption: “Al Kuds, we are
None of this serves to persuade our uniformly ultra-liberal
chums from yesteryear’s M&A that Kathy’s misgivings were warranted. Former
classmates and friends see her as irremediably politically incorrect, on the
wrong side of the argument, if not altogether a reprehensible Islamophobe enemy
of human rights and the hallowed ACLU way.
THE FACT that she now
vehemently opposes the construction of the Cordoba House mosque/Muslim center, a
hop and a skip from Ground Zero, hasn’t added to her popularity.
very déjà vu, except that the proportions and the gall are enormously more
colossal. In our case there was no outcry. Nobody paid attention to a noaccount
commercial property in a forgotten section of middle-class Brooklyn. The
high-and-mighty didn’t care that it was overtaken by extreme
Our lives were turned upside down. The newcomers weren’t
required to integrate and show sensitivity to the natives. Live-and-let-live
didn’t apply to them.
For years the mosque had been calling the faithful
to prayers via rooftop loudspeakers five times daily – including predawn,” Kathy
recounts. “When we complained, the authorities regarded us, not them, as the
Everything was couched in terms of freedom of
Kathy and her neighbors argued that “this isn’t about rights.
Something was going on there, but no one listened until it was too
For Kathy the projected Muslim complex at 45-51 Park Place is
“another installment in the same sad saga – again fraudulently couched in
Kathy is leery of the imam behind the
Cordoba House plans, Feisal Abdul Rauf, who speaks of a “Shari’a- compliant
After 9/11 Rauf opined that “the United States’ policies were
an accessory to the crime that happened... In the most direct sense, Osama bin
Laden is made in the USA.”
Pointedly, Rauf refused to describe Hamas as a
“What message does using the name Cordoba send?”
asks Kathy. “The first city conquered by Muslims in Spain conjures visions of
Muslim expansionism, triumph and gloating. It’s like turning Constantinople’s
Hagia Sophia into a mosque, like constructing mosques on Jerusalem’s Temple
Mount, like blowing up majestic Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. The issue isn’t
our tolerance but their intolerance.”
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