In August of 2008, an Islamist student made his way from London to Houston to attend a two-week program put on by the AlMaghrib Institute. This was his third course with the Institute, including two in London.
On Christmas Day 2009, the very same student, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried to blow up a transatlantic flight with a suicide bomb he had sewn into his underpants.
AlMaghrib's Houston-based director of the 2008 program and national dean of Academic Affairs, Yasir Qadhi, expressed immediate concern for the aspiring terrorist's feelings of alienation and hatred of the West.
The AlMaghrib program offered "mainstream Islamic stuff," Qadhi told CNN, which did not challenge the claim.
"At some level," he added, "we did not convince him of the validity of our views, and that is cause for regret."
The CNN report noted that 30,000 students have attended AlMaghrib courses throughout the English-speaking world.
Qadhi told CNN that he and AlMaghrib are "trying to carve out a Western Muslim identity among conservative Muslims — for Muslims to integrate into Western society but maintain their Islamic identity." Yet such statements don't match the rhetoric heard on audio and video tapes collected by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
The tapes show Qadhi's hatred of non-Muslims, contempt for Western society, and glorification of jihad. Qadhi has also stated that he "owed a lot to" Ali Al-Timimi, who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of soliciting others to wage war against the United States.
Even after Timimi's conviction, to Qadhi, he is someone "who I can say (with pride) that 15 years ago, back in the early ‘90s, he played an instrumental role in shaping and directing me to take the path that has led me to where I am today."
While Qadhi professes to be part of the de-radicalization effort, CNN reports he enjoyed a starring role in the 2008 U.S.-funded Counter-Radicalization Strategy conference by the National Counterterrorism Center, his talks seething with hatred for non-Muslims and the West.
As part of a TV series named the "Fundamentals of Faith," which was broadcast on the popular British Muslim TV 'Islam Channel,' Qadhi showed his contempt for all other systems of thought besides Islam: "Here in these verses, Surat Maida, verses 49-50, Allah categorizes all types of laws into two categories, the law of Allah and the laws from others. And he calls the laws of Allah a fair and just law, and he calls all others Jahiliya, ignorant laws.
"It is not my right to legislate or your right to legislate. No supreme court, no system of government, no democracy where they vote. Can you believe it, a group of people coming together and voting, and the majority vote will then be the law of the land."
Not only does Qadhi see Western society as incompatible with Islam, he casts all non-Muslims as people who inherently hate Muslims.
Discussing the legendary Battle of Uhud, which he stresses is "a battle in which the Muslims would learn many lessons, morals, for themselves and for the generations after them," Qadhi declared: ""And this is the Sunnah of Allah that the Kafir [disbeliever] will always hate the Muslim — the Jews and the Christians and the Hindus and every single non-Muslim.
"He might allow every other religious minority or any other religion inside of his society and culture, but when it comes to Islam, because it is the religion of truth, he will find it inside of him to hate it. You cannot just be neutral when it comes to Islam; you are either a Muslim or you are a Kaffir that hates Islam."
He noted that death while carrying out jihad was the most cherished honor: "Prophet Mohammad said that even jihad, [if] a man dies as martyr in a battle, that is the only thing that is more beloved than a person who is practicing and praying and being a good Muslim . . ."
Qadhi also reserves particular hatred for the Jews. In a 2001 speech, Qadhi portrayed Jews as the enemies of Muslims: "I am not advising any Muslim to waste his time studying Judaism. But I am saying, why are Jews studying Islam? There is a reason. Not that they want to help us, they want to destroy us."
In endorsing the book "The Hoax of the Holocaust," Qadhi denied the Holocaust himself and attempted to spread these beliefs among young people. In the same speech explaining comments on a chapter of the Quran, Qadhi told his audience: "Hitler never intended to mass destroy the Jews. There are a number of books out by Christians, written on this. I advise you to read . . . The Hoax of the Holocaust, a very good book."
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