July 10, 2006 Philadelphia, PA PipeLineNews.org - Residents of Lower Merion County protesting the expansion of the Foundation for Islamic Education because of zoning violations, recently became aware that the center is planning to hold a Muslim Youth camp with many of the controversial speakers who appeared at a self-described Jihad Camp" in 2001.
The FIE is funded and owned by the ex-Saudi Minister of Energy and Electricity - Abdullah Taiba and is a satellite campus of the American Open University the American division of al-Azhar University in Cairo, a hotbed of Muslim Brotherhood activity.- Article Link
A hearing on the expansion permit is scheduled to take place on August 10. Even prior to the news about the camp, Lower Merion councilman Philip Rosenzweig conceded that it would take time for the FIE to reestablish trust with the neighbors," according to a July 5th article Philadelphia Inquirer.
When the Foundation for Islamic Education took over the 23-acre college campus in Villanova in 1994, Muslim leaders overcame neighborhood opposition by agreeing to a host of restrictions which included limits on traffic, number of permanent residents to be housed there, the frequency and scope of religious retreats and limitations on noise.
As the Foundation seeks zoning permission to expand operations it has had to admit it violated not only the covenants, but also the original 1994 zoning order as well.
Foundation leaders are pledging to be better neighbors" from now on, but it is proving to be a tougher sell this time.
The Lower Merion Zoning Hearing Board took up the expansion proposal in November. After a second hearing in May, James Greenfield representing 26 neighborhood families - asked the board to reject the zoning application, saying The Foundation will not police itself and has no qualms about expanding its use without regard for the governmental regulations. The board must therefore regard this institution as a threat to the community."
The Foundation is headed by Mustafa Ahmed and represented by attorney Fred Fromhold who according to news reports - declined last week to comment on the neighbors complaints.
Among the complaints are that the school foundation began an elementary school in 1999 and was the site of a summer camp in 2004, neither of which are permitted under the zoning order.
Neighbors allege that a registered child abuser resided on the premises and that FIE is being used as a homeless shelter in violation of local codes.
Neighbors testified that they were especially concerned that the foundation would not provide information on the nature of the groups using the grounds for retreats or provide proof that the activities were being supervised.
The residents of Villanova have a right to be concerned for their security.
Unbeknownst to the residents at the time of the last hearing and in keeping with FIEs pattern of deception is the fact that a gender segregated Jihad Camp of the Young Muslims organization had been scheduled to be held on August 2nd to 7th.
The list of speakers at this event include radical Islamists; it includes
New Jersey Imam Mazen Mokhtar, who was under investigation for running a mirror website for al-Qaeda. Siraj Wahhaj an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 WTC bombings and board member of Saudi funded pressure group CAIR. Jamal Badawi who recently justified suicide bombings on the Islamonline forum. Faisal Hamouda, a volunteer for the Islamic Relief charity whose Gaza coordinator was just arrested in Israel on charges of funding Hamas. The FIE premises have been used for CAIR [The Council of American Islamic Relations] an above noted Wahhabist front group for Hamas, and ICNA [The Islamic Circle of North America] which has been linked to al-Qaeda. - Article Link
Beila Rabinowitz - Director of Militant Islam Monitor - is urging the Lower Merion council to refuse an expansion permit to the Foundation for Islamic Education and launch a complete investigation into all their previous and upcoming activities especially the August scheduled Young Muslims Jihad Summer Camp.
Given their extensive record of zoning violations, misreprentations and troubling associations we believe that the onus is on FIE to prove its suitability as a local resident and we join with FIEs neighbors in demanding a thorough review and accounting of the organizations operations and activities.
For further information contact Beila Rabinowitz - 925.689.9492
Concerned residents should contact The Lower Merion Council - 610.649.4000