Islamic Society of Boston Condemns Claims that Alleged ISIS Cohort Attended Mosque
A Cambridge mosque is denying claims made by the New York Post that a man from Massachusetts who allegedly has ties to the Islamic extremist group ISIS, the same organization responsible for the beheading of a New England journalist who went missing in Syria in 2012, ever attended their religious quarters.
The Islamic Society of Boston said in a statement that the Post’s recent story claiming that Ahmad Abousamra, a Boston College graduate from Stoughton, who is reportedly linked to the Islamic State, was a “regular worshipper” at their mosque, along with others tied to terrorist activity, was full of “half-truths,” and the newspaper never reached out to them for comment or verification of the facts.
“We would like to now clarify this issue,” the center said in their statement. “According to our records, Ahmad Abousamra never came to or had any relationship with our mosque.”
The Post also said in their report, titled “Boston Bomber’s Mosque Tied to ISIS,” that at one time Abousamra’s father held a prominent position with the Muslim organization that runs the mosque, another claim the ISB denied. “His father was never appointed to any leadership or board position at the mosque,” the ISB said.
A recent ABC News report shed light on the possibility that Abousamra, who is wanted by the FBI, has been running social media campaigns for ISIS, helping to promote or create videos of the beheadings of American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley as the terrorist cell continues to expand its territory overseas.
In the Post article, the newspaper rattled off seven other names of people with significant connections to terrorist activities that they claimed attended the mosque, including Aafia Siddiqui, a former MIT scientist who’s currently being held in a federal prison for female inmates in Texas. Before beheading Foley last month and sending the video to the U.S., ISIS members said they would spare the Boston-based journalist’s life in exchange for Siddiqui’s release.
The mosque was at one time also reportedly used by alleged Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
But the Islamic Society said they can’t be held accountable for people passing through and stopping to pray at the Cambridge mosque, since Muslims are required to pray five times a day, and the facility is “open to all people.”
They likened the use of the place of worship by these individuals to conducting a number of other ordinary daily tasks.
“As far as we know, these individuals lived in the area for quite some time and did pray at the Cambridge mosque at one time or another. These individuals also most likely shopped at grocery stores in Central Square, bought coffee from the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts, and withdrew and deposited funds at local banks—activities they surely engaged in many more times than they prayed at the mosque,” they argued in their statement to Boston. “Importantly, these individuals, if and when they prayed at the ISB mosque, never exhibited any hint of criminal or violent behavior.”
The Islamic Society of Boston distanced themselves from the report, saying they “unequivocally and strongly condemn” ISIS and their violent tactics, and support the government’s efforts to combat the militant group.
“The barbarism with which they have treated innocent civilians is an outrage against all norms of civilized behavior, and a deep affront to the teachings of our faith,” they said. “We always have and will continue to fight against such extremism.”