NY Sun: Arabic School Rivals Clash on Steps of City Hall

BY ELIZABETH GREEN – Staff Reporter of the Sun
January 31, 2008
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/70560

A dispute over the city’s new Arabic-language public school escalated this morning, when a press conference on the steps of City Hall brought supporters and opponents of the school face to face.

The school, the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, has drawn passionate protest and support since its creation last year, all centered on the school’s mission to teach Arabic language and culture alongside a traditional American curriculum.

This morning, opponents of Khalil Gibran said the school is “in chaos” and that it is at risk of becoming a mouthpiece for violent radical Islamic ideology.

The press conference soon turned into a commotion of shouting matches when supporters of the school, who came with cameras and a press release of their own, began firing questions at the opponents and accusing them of bigotry.

“Did we invite you here?” a leader of the group opposing the school, Stuart Kaufman, asked supporters.

Moments later, a cofounder of the Center for Immigrant Families and a supporter of the school, Donna Nevel, ran after a member of the Stop the Madrassa Coalition, Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, as he left the press conference.

“As a Jew to another Jew, you should be ashamed of yourself,” Ms. Nevel said to Mr. Wiesenfeld, a trustee of the City University of New York.

Mr. Wiesenfeld had said minutes earlier that Khalil Gibran represents a disturbing national trend of Arab Americans failing to assimilate into American culture, a trend that he said mirrors what is happening in Europe.

“That means, do you want a situation where a triumphalist ideology conceals itself within a school? You don’t know the curriculum. You don’t know what’s going on. You’re paying for it,” Mr. Wiesenfeld said. “It’s no different from cab drivers in Minnesota who refuse to pick up passengers bearing liquor. It’s no different from the special provision of Islamic footbaths in universities.”

Supporters of Khalil Gibran acknowledged that the school is struggling with facilities that make teaching difficult and a student body that has not met expectations. They had hoped for half of students to be Arab American, but just a very small number are.

But they said the school is an important resource for Arab American students and others who would like to learn about Arabic language and culture.

The older sister of a Khalil Gibran student, Fatin Jarara, said she is glad the school exists for the sake of her sister and other recent immigrants. “They don’t really get the proper support” in other public schools, Ms. Jarara said.

She said she is also disappointed that the school is scaling back its Arabic lessons, to just three 45-minute sessions a week, beginning February 1. She said the only cultural education happens after school, when students listen to Middle Eastern music.

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KGIA “Chaotic” as Special Education Students’ Needs Reportedly Go Unmet

Reprinted from http://www.nypost.com Special needs At “Chaotic” Arab Middle School

By Yoav Gonen, Education Reporter

January 28, 2008 — Special-education students at the new Arab-themed Brooklyn middle school have gone nearly five months without receiving any of their state-mandated services, staff members charge.

In a twist on a frequent criticism that the city’s small schools initially exclude students with special needs, teachers at the Khalil Gibran International Academy said administrators enrolled 10 special-ed students – but then failed to provide needed programs.

They said former principal Danielle Salzberg, who in August took the reins of the controversial school, never hired a special education teacher.

“Every [staff meeting] it would be brought up, ‘Why aren’t we providing services for our students?’ ” said science teacher Sean Grogan. “Since October she said, ‘I’m looking to hire someone.’ ”

The lack of services has only worsened a learning environment that some parents characterized as “chaotic,” seating kids that need extra attention in classes with one teacher and 30 students.

“The school has issues,” said Muhammed Fakir, whose daughter, Serena Muhammed, is among the school’s 60 sixth-graders. “Even she has a hard time learning because of other students causing trouble.”

Department of Education officials said they are working hard to find a special-ed teacher. Candidates do not have to speak Arabic.

Earlier this month, Holly Anne Reichert was named as the academy’s third principal in six months. Reichert has told parents she’s looking to cut class sizes down from 30 to 20 students.

Since they’re trying to bring her back, you should know: KGIA’s Almontaser donated to McKinney

Cynthia McKinney’s Arab and Islamist

Donors

From Daniel Pipes Weblog

July 9, 2004

 

Cynthia McKinney.

   

We all knew that Cynthia McKinney would be drawing on Arab and Muslim supporters in her bid to return to Congress, but a listing of contributors (with information up through June 28) reveals to what an extraordinary extent this is the case, as shown by the names of her backers.Of particular note is the who’s who of radical organizations her donors are associated with:

Hani Y. Awadallah – president, Arab American Civic Organization, New Jersey.

Jesse Aweida – co-founder, American Task Force on Palestine.

Belal Dalati – a vice president of Arab-American Broadcasting Co. (Orange County Register, February 19, 2002) associated with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Hasan Elkhatib –member, board of directors, American Islamic Educational Foundation (MetroWest Jewish News, October 10, 1996)

Yaser Elmenshawy – chairman, Islamic Council of New Jersey.

Rafeeq Jaber – president, Islamic Association for Palestine, a Hamas offshoot.

Oussama Jammal – president, Bridgeview Mosque.

Samer Khalaf – chairman, American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee’s Political Outreach Committee in New Jersey.

Faroque Khan – president, Islamic Center of Long Island, also connected to the American Muslim Alliance and Islamic Society of North America.

Mahmoud A Nimer – member, board of directors, Islamic Academy of Florida, Tampa (an Islamic school established by Sami al-Arian; al-Arian’s indictment indicates the school was used as a base of support for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad).

Ayman Osman – member, board of directors, Islamic Academy of Florida, Tampa; employer of Hatem Fariz, arrested on terrorism charges and charged with being a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Talat Othman – former chairman of the Islamic Free Market Institute; secretary/treasurer of the American Task Force on Palestine.

Khalid Qazi – former president, American Muslim Council of western New York State.

Hareth Raddawi – member, board of directors, American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee, Chicago.

Allam Reheem – former member, board of directors, Islamic Academy of Florida, Tampa.

Talal Sunbulli – former chairman, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.

James Zogby – president, Arab American Institute.

In addition, the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee gave $1,000.

Such an outpouring of extremist support comes as no shock; as Erick Stakelbeck documents in today’s New York Post, “McKinney has long associated with militant Islamic groups whose members have openly supported terrorism,” plus “she has taken to the floor of the House to defend them.”

Oct. 25, 2007 update: McKinney is long out of office, but her Islamist legacy continues to interest me. Indeed, I have just learned from Federal Election Commission records about a political contribution to her made on June 7, 2004:

D.S. Almontaser

Dept of Education 06/07/2004 2000.00
Educator
2000.00

Comment: (1) Another document dating from September 2006, “Volunteers Needed for Humanitarian Day – New York, NY @ 10.14.06,”confirms that this “D.S. Almontaser” is the same person who served as principal-designate of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, for it gives her address as:

Debbie Almontaser
Cultural Diversity Consultant
XXXX,  New York

(2) $2,000 is a sizeable gift for a teacher to give. Note that only one of those listed in the Aug. 23, 2004 update above – the notorious Abdurahman Alamoudi, now serving a 23-year in prison sentence – gave as much as she did. Even Ray Irani, chairman and chief executive officer of Occidental Petroleum, donated only $1,000.

(3) This provides yet another indication of Almontaser’s Islamist leanings, for her donation fits her in with a great number of others of this same description.

http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/

The New Blasphemy? Ignoring Islamic Law

OPINION:

The following is quoted from an article appearing in The Washington Times , January 18, 2008 by Diana West.

“And not just blasphemy laws. Jihad doctrine; Shariah (Islamic law); designs for a global caliphate through jihad (terrorism) and the spread of Shariah (Islamization): We pretend they are not factors in the free world’s experience with Islam”.

     This statement hit home as just this evening my daughter was describing her global history class.  She commented on the fact that Islam was studied for several weeks.  A handout she received states, “We are so accustomed to regard our culture as essentially that of the West that it is difficult for us to realize that there was an age when the most civilized region of Western Europe was Islamic Spain.  Western culture grew up under the shadow of the more advanced civilisation of Islam, and it was from the Muslims that mediaeval Christendom recovered its share in the inheritance of Greek science and philosophy”.  Do you understand the idea behind this statement?  Our western culture has been in a few words destroyed and usurped by the civilized Islamic Spain. 

      I asked her if there was any mention of what Islamic Law was, the violence that surrounded the establishment of Islam, the lack of rights for women, treatment of homosexuals, honor killings.  Her response was astounding.  She said, “of course not, it’s all P.C., Islam was and is glorious and Christianity was discussed in terms of the barbaric Crusades.”  Judaism was covered in one period.  They learned about the Ten Commandments and were given a map of Israel from the year 1000B.C., labeled, “Hebrew Palestine” even though there were no Palestinians before 1967 and the name did not come into being until the Romans renamed Israel in order to humiliate them. 

     In schools these days, this is the history our children are being taught.  In some schools Islam is taught for many more weeks.  We are receiving reports of students coloring in prayer rugs, building mosques, memorizing parts of the Koran, and re-enacting the politics between the Israelis and Palestinians.  There is no balance.  All aspects of the the subject in question are not taught.  Children are taught that Islam is a peaceful religion.  Yes, there are aspects of the Koran that teach peace.  However the Koran also preaches hate, violence, and death.  Is that being taught? No, absolutely not.  Revisionist history is the curriculum for today’s students.  What ever happened to the much vaunted “critical thinking” that educators keep stressing?  What kind of critical thinking can there be if the entire picture isn’t revealed?

      The Khalil Gibran International Academy’s is partnering with the Arab-American Anti-Defamation Committee.  It is the first organization listed on the NYCDOE website for KGIA.  Take a look at their education page.  According to their information much of what we attribute to  Western civilization is a result of Islam.   [http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=203]  History has taken a u-turn and no one is paying attention.

     Oh and by the way,  Christianity was discussed sporadically. They learned about the barbaric Crusades, persecution of the Jews, and the expansion of Christian Europe which included the long struggle against Muslim rule.  No mention of beheadings, Dhimmi status, or the jizya tax for non-Muslims.

     Every parent must ask their children what they are learning in school.  Look at their homework, the textbooks, and class notes.  Please write to us if you find anything going on in your child’s school you feel is inappropriate.  We can help you. Children are suppose to learn about the world religions, not be taught the religions.  However they must be taught all of it, the positive and negative.  As Diana West writes, there is a “P.C. ignorance of Islamic Law.”  I think my daughter understood the real lesson.

Following is the entire article:

Western blindness
http://washingtontimes.com/article/20080118/EDITORIAL04/280469968/1013/EDITORIA
January 18, 2008

By Diana West – Mazir-i-sharif.Ring a bell? In 2001, a 32-year-old Marine captain and CIA officer named John Micheal Spann was killed there in a prison riot, thus becoming the first American combat death in Afghanistan. Not incidentally, Spann, before violence broke out, had interrogated an uncooperative John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban. This all took place before the United States military completely toppled Afghanistan’s Taliban oppressors.Nearly seven years later, American-liberated Mazir-i-sharif has again made headlines — well, one or two — as the site of the prison where a 23-year-old Afghan journalist has been detained for three months (and counting) on blasphemy charges. These charges derive, Reuters reports, from Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh “distributing an article which said Prophet Mohammed had ignored the rights of women.” As President Bush might say… well, what might President Bush say: Let freedom reign?Then there’s Halabja.Remember Halabja? The name is notorious for being the town where in 1988, 15 years before Operation Iraqi Freedom, Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Kurdish civilians to death. This month, American-liberated Halabja made headlines as the site of the court that sentenced a Kurdish author in absentia to six months in prison for blasphemy: namely, for writing in a book that Mohammed had 19 wives, married a nine-year-old when he was 54, and took part in murder and rape. (These points, Robert Spencer notes at jihadwatch.com, “can be readily established from early texts written by pious Muslims.”) The author, Mariwan Halabjaee, who has asylum in Norway, says there’s also a fatwa calling for his death unless he asks forgiveness.Think about it. Where Americans have died, not just to de-fang jihadist threats but to “democratize” Islamic populations, freedom of speech is against the law. And not the law according to “militants,” or “extremists,” but the law as enforced by democratically elected governments that we, as a nation, support with everything we’ve got. What would Mr. Bush say to that?I doubt he’d know what to say. Neither, for that matter, would anyone in his cabinet, starting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Nor, I doubt, would the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen. Nor — to open things up — would the presidential candidates, the Fox News All-Stars or Simon Cowell. The fact is, to discuss blasphemy laws in Afghanistan and Iraq (Kurdistan, even) is to discuss Islam — specifically, its laws and doctrines. And we, as a politically correct people, don’t know how to do that. Instead, we act as though they don’t exist.And not just blasphemy laws. Jihad doctrine; Shariah (Islamic law); designs for a global caliphate through jihad (terrorism) and the spread of Shariah (Islamization): We pretend they are not factors in the free world’s experience with Islam.We certainly don’t discuss their implications for the freeness of the world. Look at what passes for “debate” among our presidential candidates: Republicans argue over who supported “the surge” first; Democrats argue over who will withdraw troops first.Such resolute blindness on Islam probably explains the institutional apathy— including (with few exceptions) conservative apathy — on the termination of Pentagon analyst Maj. Stephen Coughlin, which I wrote about last week. The military’s primary expert on Islamic law, Mr. Coughlin was reportedly fired at the behest of a highly placed Pentagon aide named Hesham Islam whom Steven Emerson has since thumb-nailed as “an Islamist with a pro-Muslim Brotherhood bent.” Thankfully, Rep. Sue Myrick of the bipartisan House Anti-Terrorism Caucus is considering action, but there is little public sense that this outrage of a story is happening to us as a nation.

But it’s something that should deeply concern Americans, particularly as a nation with soldiers under arms. Mr. Coughlin’s meticulously researched legal brief not only links Islamic law to Islamic terrorism, but also demonstrates the professional negligence involved in ignoring Islamic law when devising strategies against Islamic terrorism.

Of course, that right there may explain the silence, particularly among many conservatives. The kind of negligence Mr. Coughlin is talking about, deriving from a PC ignorance of Islamic law, is quite evident in the strategies and tactics of the so-called war on terror that conservatives have widely championed — up to and including “the surge” in Iraq, which, for example, presupposes that American-won security will trigger a set of cultural behaviors and aspirations in Iraqi society best described as non-Islamic.In other words, we seem to have arrived at a strange junction where neither jihadist apologists nor surge enthusiasts want to hear the facts about Islamic law. You might say it’s become the new blasphemy.

Canada update: Terror suspect stopped from teaching

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Terror suspect barred from teaching at his Islamic school

Jaballah Ruling; Authorities seeking to deport man linked to Al-Jihad

Stewart Bell,  National Post  Published: Wednesday, January 09, 2008

TORONTO – A Federal Court judge has refused to allow an Egyptian man linked to the deadly 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania to teach at the Toronto Islamic school he founded.The judge also prohibited Mahmoud Jaballah, believed to be a member of the Egyptian Al-Jihad terrorist group, from holding Arabic and Koranic classes in the Toronto home where he is under house arrest.Immigration authorities are attempting to deport Mr. Jaballah because of his involvement in terrorism. He was released from detention last year under strict conditions but had asked the court to let him return to teaching children at the Um Al Qura School.

The school has 50 students and is approved by the Ontario Ministry of Education. The school’s Internet site says students are taught Arabic, English “Grammer” [sic], “Frinch” [sic], Math, “Sience” [sic], “Histories” [sic], “Geographies” [sic], Religion and Sports.

But Judge Carolyn Layden-Stevenson wrote in her ruling that Mr. Jaballah remained a threat to Canada’s national security and she was not prepared to change his conditions of release to allow him to teach.

“It is my view that stringent monitoring of Mr. Jaballah and his movements is essential to neutralize the threat that he poses to national security. I am not persuaded that the conditions should be altered to accommodate his request to teach because I find that his actions could not be effectively monitored,” she wrote.

Mr. Jaballah arrived in Canada in 1996 after working in Pakistan for a Saudi relief group linked to Osama

bin Laden. A Canadian Security Intelligence Service investigation determined he was active in Al-Jihad, the Egyptian wing of al-Qaeda.

The Federal Court upheld the government’s case against him in 2006, saying there was evidence he was a “communications link” in bombings in East Africa that killed more than 200 people. But the judge also said deporting him to Egypt would violate his rights because he might be tortured.

While she would not allow Mr. Jaballah to teach, Justice Layden-Stevenson did allow him to have five, five-hour outings per week, up from the three, four-hour outings he was previously allowed. And she approved an Internet connection in the home but forbade Mr. Jaballah from using it.

Meanwhile, in a separate ruling, the Federal Court also allowed another suspected Islamist terrorist under house arrest in Toronto, Mohamed Zeki Mahjoub, to have an Internet connection in his home as long as Mr. Mahjoub did not use it and the family consented to disclosure of the Web sites and e-mail addresses accessed from their computers.

The two are among six foreign nationals the government is attempting to deport using national security certificates.

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down parts of the security certificate law last Feb. 23, but gave Ottawa one year to fix the flaws. The Conservatives have introduced the necessary legislation but it has not yet been passed by Parliament.

sbell@nationalpost.com

A report on KGIA Advisory Member Abdur-Rashid’s Troubling Ties

Thanks to Joe Kaufman and FrontPageMagazine.com for this article, and Beila Rabinowitz, the Director of Militant Islam Monitor, who contributed to this report.

Islamist Payola in the City of Brotherly Love

By Joe Kaufman
FrontPageMagazine.com | 1/3/2008

The history of the United States runs through Philadelphia. It is there that the American Revolution was born. However, a new revolution threatens to take hold of Philly, a Muslim one. It is led by one of Philadelphia’s favorite sons, singer/songwriter/producer Kenny Gamble (a.k.a. Luqman Abdul Haqq), who has a master plan to renovate a once great part of the city using taxpayers’ money. While on face value his intentions appear to be worthy, Gamble’s revitalization plan for Philadelphia has sinister implications, leading to the question: Will Philadelphia remain “the City of Brotherly Love” or will it become a city of Muslim Brotherly hate?

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) or Ikhwan in America exists, in large part, within two immigrant populations. One is the Arab Muslim community, falling under the aegis of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and to a smaller extent the Muslim American Society (MAS). The other is the South Asian Muslim community, positioned under the umbrella of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a subsidiary of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in Pakistan. These groups form the core of MB America.

Still, there is a third U.S. Muslim population of much less acclaim/notoriety. It is the African American Muslim community, and it consists mainly of converts who fall within a number of categories, many of which overlap, including black power advocates, racial separatists, ex-felons, anti-Semites and hate America firsters. There are two organizations that encompass all of the above: the Nation of Islam (NOI), a black supremacist group that is built upon the hatred of whites and Jews, and the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), the African American version of ISNA and ICNA.

MANA was founded in May of 2000, in response to the arrest of cop killer H. Rap Brown, a.k.a. Jamil Al-Amin. According to the group, it was officially formed on January 27, 2001. Today, MANA coordinates a vast network of mosques and Islamic organizations.

While MANA is almost entirely an African-American-based entity, the group has aligned itself most closely with Arab and South Asian “Brotherhood” organizations. In fact, MANA’s Amir (President), Siraj Wahhaj, is the former Vice President of ISNA U.S., and MANA’s General Secretary, Ihsan Bagby, is a national board member of both ISNA and the Hamas-related Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

One of the functions of MANA is to hold yearly conferences. The group’s most recent event took place this past November in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, entitled ‘The State of the Black American Muslim Community.’ At the affair, certain outside organizations, such as CAIR, were permitted to set up shop to showcase their materials. One of the groups, the Philadelphia-based International Islamic Information Network (IIIN), propagates lectures given by Saleh as-Suhaimi, who stated during one of his speeches that a wife needs to practice “obedience” to her husband and cannot go “outside the house without his permission,” and if “it comes to a point where he has to hit her, that it does not break the skin or does not break a bone or does not leave a mark or a bruise…”

Most of those attending the conference were people unknown to the non-Muslim world. But one in particular has been in the public eye for decades.

Kenneth Gamble is an icon within the music business, in part responsible for over 170 platinum and gold albums and songs, including “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Love Train,” and “Me and Mrs. Jones.” As stated by John A. Jackson, in his A House on Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul, by the end of 1974, Gamble along with his partners Leon Huff and Thom Bell “were the top three soul producers in the pop music industry.”

According to Jackson, though, things started to unravel for Gamble, when, in 1975, the record company he helped create, Philadelphia International, became embroiled in a payola scandal. That, the demanding workload placed upon him, his heavily mortgaged business headquarters, and his failing marriage, all led up to a nervous breakdown. It was around this time that Gamble began to turn to Islam.

The first group that had an impact on his newfound religion was the Nation of Islam, a black supremacist movement that was founded in the ‘30s. About NOI, Gamble stated during an interview on Saudi TV Channel 2, “[T]he Nation of Islam… was a tremendous brotherhood that promoted self-help and ‘do for self.’ And being a conscious person, I looked at our communities and I looked at us as a people, and I thought that that was something that the African American community really needed to think about and to get involved in…” [Currently, Gamble is involved in the NOI-associated “10,000 Men.”]

But Gamble – now, Luqman Abdul Haqq – was not to reach the true Brotherhood, until April 21, 2001, when he was chosen to be on the first Executive Committee (Diwan) of MANA. The following day, almost a year after its founding, the establishment of MANA was announced. The event took place at the Philadelphia Masjid, which was at the time headed by Shamsud-din Ali (a.k.a. Clarence Fowler), who is rumored to be a friend of Gamble. Ali, an ex-leader of the notorious Black Mafia, had previously been incarcerated for murder and is presently serving out an 87 month jail sentence for charges that include racketeering.

Today, Gamble sits on MANA’s Majlis Ash Shura, the ruling body which sets the policy and agenda for the group. Others sitting on the Majlis with him include:

  • Johari Abdul Malik, imam of the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, labeled by investigative journalist Paul Sperry as “The Most Dangerous Mosque in America.” Malik, in November of 2004, stated that it was better to be a Muslim under poor conditions than to be a “kaffir under any conditions” and warned that Islam, one day, would overtake Christianity as the “first religion in America.”
  • Talib Abdur-Rashid, imam of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood (MIB) and member of the Advisory Board of the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), a controversial Arabic language school in New York City. Abdur-Rashid, in January of 2007, on a Tampa, Florida radio program stated that many black churches are controlled by white churches and that “usually when you’ll find an African American pastor speaking in that negative kind of way, there’s a hidden devil, so to speak, somewhere in the background egging him on.”
  • Altaf Husain, former President of the Muslim Students Association (MSA). Husain is the U.S. Correspondent for Islam Online, a site that issues religious rulings (Fatwas) in support of: Palestinian suicide bombings, terrorist attacks against American troops, and the death penalty for homosexuals, including the throwing of homosexuals from tall buildings (“Death Falls”).

Gamble’s interaction with MANA goes far beyond the organization and well into his community. Within the “ACTIVISM” section of MANA’s website, MANA discusses Universal Companies (UC), its recovery plan for a part of Philadelphia that has been ravaged by drugs and violence. The effort, which is being led by Gamble, consists of children’s schools, a social services department, an entertainment foundation, and real estate holdings, which include low-income residential properties.

According to MANA, Universal Companies is “one of the best-kept secrets in Muslim America.” While this may or may not be so, the fact that UC is a Muslim institution is no secret at all, and this has some concerned that the effort is being done for the sole purpose of creating an all Muslim enclave within the heart of Philadelphia.

Gamble, providing a reason for this unease, stated the following to Saudi television: “One of the intentions that we had from the beginning was to create a model, so that, in the coming years, Muslims would be able to live close to each other, that they would live closer to the masjid (mosque), that they would eventually be able to open up businesses so that they would be able to employ each other and develop community life.”

The UC “masjid” that Gamble is referring to is the United Muslim Masjid, whose website’s homepage currently features pictures from MANA’s November conference. The address of UMM is 810 South 15th Street, which places it on the same block as Universal Companies, located at 800 South 15th Street, and Salaam Enterprises, a social services organization run by Gamble’s wife, Faatimah, at 814 South 15th Street.

Of interest is another group, the United Muslim Movement (UMM), found at the same address as UC. According to UC’s website, it (UC) has been in operation since 1993, yet it was incorporated only in June of 2002. On the other hand, UMM was incorporated in June of 1994. In addition, the website for UC began in May of 2001, while UMM’s site was shut down just after, in July of 2001.

As well, the missions of the two groups are nearly identical. As stated by Gamble, along with having Muslims “living closer to the masjid,” “Universal Companies goal and objective is to be involved in the political, the social, the economic, educational activities that go on that make up all those systems that make up a community.” According to the former website of UMM, “Our goal is to build both a central Masjid in the City of Philadelphia and a strong organization responding to social, economical, political, educational, and religious needs facing our communities.”

Question: When Universal Companies states that it started in 1993, does it really mean that the United Muslim Movement started then? And if the answer is yes, does that then mean that the two groups are really one and the same? This leads to concern number two, that not only is Universal Companies in existence to form an all Muslim Philly enclave, but that it is being done with the blessings and money of the city and the state of Pennsylvania.

On the ex-UMM site, one could read that it was part of the group’s mission to “establish the religion of Islam with the clear representation of the Quran and the Sunnah…” If the group wished to receive funds from the government, surely it would not be able to do so with this type of rhetoric, not to mention the religious significance of the group’s name. As well, the UMM site listed its member organizations as including ICNA, ISNA and the American Muslim Council (AMC), three groups tied to terror. Therefore, a name change was in order, and what could be more innocuous sounding than “Universal Companies”?

There are two further corporations that share the address of UC and UMM. They are Universal Community Homes (UCH) and the Universal Institute Charter School (UICS). Both of these entities play a large role within Universal Companies; the President of the Board of Trustees of the school is UC’s President and CEO, Abdur-Raheem Islam. As well, both UCH and UICS are financed via the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

About the role the city and state play, with respect to UC, Gamble stated: “The city of Philadelphia has been an intrical part of what we’ve been doing, and they have participated in economic growth, as far as our real estate ventures. We’ve gotten tremendous recognition from them – as much as they can do – and I think you couldn’t do a project like this without having a public/private partnership. You need not only the city of Philadelphia, but we also have a great relationship with the state of Pennsylvania. And that is the way business is done here in America…”

In fact, the participation and recognition from the city and state towards Gamble’s organization has been worth millions of dollars. In April of 2003, the city of Philadelphia issued a press release announcing a $100 million revitalization plan, whereby Universal Companies would build or renovate nearly 400 homes in South Philadelphia, through the local government’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI).

Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street is quoted in the release as saying, “NTI has provided us with a unique opportunity to rethink our neighborhoods and develop well thought out solutions to 50 years of decay and neglect; it was intended to be a catalyst, to help foster change, to spur development, to forge much needed partnerships with great organizations such as Universal Companies. Kenny and I have been talking about this Philadelphia renaissance for more than two decades.”

In February of 2003, a report came out discussing how Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell was providing $250,000 towards Gamble’s plan to move New York City’s R & B Foundation to Philadelphia, to become part of Universal Companies’ “Entertainment and Economic Development Strategy.” Gamble now sits on the board of the foundation.

One can say that Mayor Street and Governor Rendell have been kind to Gamble because of what they believe he offers to his community. However, one cannot overlook the kindness that Gamble has provided both of them. According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, between June of 2001 and April of 2006, Kenneth Gamble has contributed $44,000 and $27,000, respectively, to Street’s and Rendell’s campaigns for Mayor and Governor.

In June of 1975, Gamble and 18 others were indicted in a payola scandal, in which the Justice Department accused Gamble’s record label of offering bribes in return for airplay. In the end, he was fined $2500. Today, while he is still tied to the music business – he will be inducted into the 2008 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Gamble has sought out new avenues to deal in. Unlike before, though, his present ventures are tied to a radical form of religion, one that puts a Muslim Brotherhood organization, MANA; a black supremacist group, NOI; and his own Islamic organization, the United Muslim Movement (Universal Companies), on center stage.

Why would the local and state government get so involved in something that could prove potentially dangerous for its citizens? Is it blind ambition or is it money for money? Has Kenny Gamble learned from the past or is this 1975 all over again? Regardless of the answers, if things continue as they are going, very soon the city of Philadelphia will be experiencing its first taste of Sharia law – a sad note indeed for America’s birthplace.

Beila Rabinowitz, the Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.


Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate, the founder of CAIR Watch, and the spokesman for Terror-Free Oil Initiative.