Nassau County DA Pulls Out of Islamic Center Event After Learning of Invite to Islamist Extremist
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice has pulled out of a November 23 fundraising dinner at the Islamic Center of Long Island after learning that a radical Islamist, Imam Siraj Wahhaj of the Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA,) is also among the speakers at the event.
“When the DA accepted the invitation, this individual was not yet an invited participant,” Shams Tarek, the DA’s Director of Communications, told The Algemeiner in an email. “He was later added to the guest list, and as soon as we became aware of his involvement we immediately pulled out of the event. We condemn this individual’s actions and his words in the strongest possible terms and we are deeply disappointed in the Islamic Center’s decision to add him to the event.”
The Brooklyn-born Wahhaj joined the Nation of Islam sect in the late 1960s. During the late 197os, he studied at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The university’s most famous graduate was the late Al Qaeda chief, Osama Bin Laden, who studied there under Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, a leading Islamist theologian.
In 1993, when a terrorist group led by Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the “Blind Sheikh,” bombed the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, Wahhaj appeared as a character witness for the defense at the subsequent trial. In his testimony, Wahhaj praised the sheikh as a “respected scholar,” and “bold, as a strong, preacher of Islam.”
Wahhaj’s name was included on a list of the 172 unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Soon after, Wahhaj commented during one of sermons, “I’m not frightened by no list, by no government! I thank Allah. I’m honored that they thought enough of me to put me on a list.”
Wahhaj supports the most ruthless practices of shari’ah law regarding capital punishment, including cutting off hands for the crime of theft and stoning for adultery, frequently referring to Islamic scripture for justification:
“If Allah says 100 strikes, 100 strikes it is. If Allah says cut off their hand, you cut off their hand. If Allah says stone them to death, through the Prophet Muhammad, then you stone them to death, because it’s the obedience of Allah and his messenger—nothing personal.”
Earlier this month, Paul Fields, a police captain in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was removed from his command after he refused to appear at a local mosque which he said promoted the teachings of “radical Islam.” Fields’ attorneys said that one reason for his objection was that the mosque had hosted a dinner for Imam Wahhaj.