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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Should Muslims Monitor Muslims?

Suhaib Webb, (left), the imam for the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center and Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center at Here & Now studios at WBUR in Boston. (Robin Lubbock/Here & Now)

Suhaib Webb, (left), the imam for the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center and Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center at Here & Now studios at WBUR in Boston. (Robin Lubbock/Here & Now)

Investigators are still trying to figure out what radicalized Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Since the bombings, members of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s mosque in Cambridge, Massachusetts have spoken of two angry outbursts. Tsarnaev objected when one speaker compared Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Prophet Mohammed, and when another speaker urged Muslims to celebrate secular American holidays, like Thanksgiving and July 4th.

In both cases, mosque members told him to leave. But should they also have told police? Muslim leaders in Boston have monthly meetings with the FBI, through a program called “Bridges.”

Imam Suhaib Webb of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, a sister mosque to the mosque Tamerlan visited in Cambridge, says he would have sat down and talked with Tamerlan if he attended his mosque, to try to determine if his conservative religious views would lead to violence, and only then would have called police.

Journalist Michael Hirsh says the failure in finding out about the Tsarnaevs before the bombings may not be with the mosques, as much as with the Obama administration, which launched a program a few years back to work with mosques. But Imam Webb says a program in Britain that served as inspiration for the Obama administration has failed because it excludes the most radical imams.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    just a program for muslims? they dont have a program to monitor christian radicals? who is watching the hindus?

  • donniethebrasco

    They kicked him out of his Mosque for his radical thoughts and wanting to kill people.

    A priest would have ratted out one of his flock if they talked about killing people.

    It is acceptable to talk about mass killing in Mosques.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      unless it was another priest and he was molesting boys. then he would have just been transferred

    • PoliticsWatcher

       “They kicked him out of his Mosque for his radical thoughts and wanting to kill people.”

      Where’d you get that idea? Your house of worship?

      • Robin Y

        annnnndddd  just to add a coda, to our knowledge Tamerlan Tsarnaev never talked about killing people in Mosque.  Just about celebrating
        secular holidays, and comparing the Prophet to Martin Luther King.

        Carry on

  • Sharon Hasenjaeger

    Call the cops when a member of the group disagrees with a sermon and stomps out – Are you serious?!?

    • nycXpat

       Robin scares me.

  • PoliticsWatcher

    What a surprise, the Christians (and Jews!) try to shift blame onto Muslims in general.

  • A Muslim American

    Law enforcement must take steps towards building relationships and trust in Muslim communities rather then simply expecting the communities and their members to come to them.  This is because in most cities around the US, law enforcement and the wider American society, have created, since 9/11, an atmosphere of hostility towards Muslims. Islamaphobia is a problem that needs to be addressed, as well as a better understanding of what Islam is and who Muslims are,  in order for better exchange to occur between Muslims communities and the law enforcement and the greater American society.

    • Robin Y

      Just a note, the BRIDGES program was actually started (in Michigan, post 9-11)
      because of concern within the Muslim community and law enforcement about
      attacks ON Muslims, not BY Muslims


      • A Muslim American

         Thank you for that clarification but I still feel that there must be a greater effort made across America in large and smaller communities. I believe this because of my own personal experiences  and those of the Muslim American community that I affiliate with. There is a need for a wider program to be implemented.

  • http://www.fibrowitch.net Jan Dumas

    As was mentioned by your guests many of the people in the Muslim community come from places were the police and community are not to be trusted. Or their own leaders get angry if any suggests other people could be as good as the founder of their religion, or that any area could be as (more) beautiful as their imagined heaven. 

    Is there some thing that can be done before people from these communities move to this country. Can we explain that while no police force or government is free of graft, free of false persecution, law enforcement in this country is at some point less dangerous then the society they currently know.  Is there a way to make newcomers understand that if they do not open themselves to this society they will always be the other, and will always be looked at as against this society.

    To use the examples of the first bomber, if he did not want to live in a place where Martin Luther King Jr. is held up as an icon of a person to emulate, or where Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July are worth celebrating, maybe he is living in the wrong country?   That maybe the Muslims who got angry at the suggesting that any place could be as beautiful as their own image of heaven need to return to their home land as they will never be happy any where else? 

  • Mjondy

    Let’s get our heads out of the sand. The FBI’s involvement in the Muslim community has been overwhelmingly negative. Until they see as as Americans – partners and allies – the wall between us shall remain. Personally I will not contact the FBI. It’s not because the immigrant community is afraid of a lack of due process from their countries of origin; it’s because that lack of due process exists here in the US with the Muslim American community.

    • Mjondy

      NDAA, Patriot Act, Secret Evidence act – allow for indefinite detention ie no right to an attorney, to know the charges against you, to have a speedy trial or a trial at all.  This is our country I’m talking about, not some developing country under the rule of dictatorship.

  • bunchesoffluff

    no one should be monitored or discriminated agianst based on religion. never assume a whole group is bad just because a few members of a group were bad.

  • Sana

    thanks for this post! a quick note of clarification – imam suhaib’s twitter handle is: @ImamSuhaibWebb   - 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002286435769 Zafirah Coleman

    As-Salaamu  Alaikum   Muslims should not spy on each other, however they can give each other advice according to Quran and Hadith.   Insha Allah.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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