Friday, July 27, 2012
Given his stance on Chick-fil-A, would Boston Mayor Tom Menino grant permits to a group that has counted among its leaders a man who has repeatedly called homosexuality a “crime that must be punished” by death?
Actually, he has done that and more! Menino effectively gave away city land valued at $1.8 million to the organization, and he gave a speech at its ribbon-cutting ceremony. It’s the Islamic Society of Boston’s mosque, and when it comes to anti-gay sentiment, one of its early supporters makes Chick-fil-A look like the Provincetown Men’s Chorus. During the controversy over the city selling land for a house of worship at a below-market rate a decade ago, reporters discovered that the Islamic Society of Boston counted imam Yusef al-Qaradawi as one of its spiritual guides. The ISB does not dispute the fact that they have repeatedly used al-Qaradawi as a tool to raise funds for the Boston mosque, printing a brochure that highlighted al-Qaradawi’s enthusiastic support of the mosque and playing a videotaped message of support from him at a 2002 gathering. Also in attendance at the gathering, listening to al-Qaradawi’s message: Mayor Tom Menino. Outside Boston, al-Qaradawi is better known as a vocal supporter of terrorism who teaches a hard-core version of Islam. His claim to fame as a “progressive” is that he was the first prominent imam to urge women to become suicide bombers, too. It was only when his terror support became known that the Islamic Society of Boston announced that repeated listings of al-Qaradawi as an ISB trustee had been a mistake. But nobody’s accusing Chick-fil-A of supporting terrorism — just traditional marriage. Menino heard the president of the company call same-sex marriage a “sin,” and he announced it would not be allowed to do business in Boston. When Menino gave all that land to the ISB at a song, here’s what imam al-Qaradawi was teaching: “[A homosexual should be given] the same punishment as any sexual pervert . . . Some say we should throw them from a high place, like God did with the people of Sodom. Some say we should burn them.” According to the Anti-Defamation League, “In 2003 Qaradawi stated on IslamOnline that the punishment of homosexuality is the death penalty.” In the end, al-Qaradawi came down on the side of stoning. Say what you want about Chick-fil-A, but they aren’t trying to kill anyone. Chick-fil-A wants to come to Boston, pay taxes and put people to work. Menino says “no” because the CEO thinks same-sex marriage is wrong. But that same mayor was all but giving away city land to the Islamic Society of Boston, even as they were presenting as one of their spiritual guides an imam who says homosexuals should be killed.