Despite FBI warnings, Christians extend helping hand to terrorist magnet
Posted: September 11, 2011
9:00 pm Eastern
Christian houses of worship are lending their parking lots to a radical Washington-area mosque that aided some of the hijackers who attacked the Pentagon on Sept. 11, despite warnings from FBI agents and local anti-jihad watch groups that such brotherly outreach is only helping the Islamic center expand and potentially attract future terrorists.
When Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center was first built two decades ago in a quiet neighboorhood in Falls Church, Va., it quickly attracted throngs of Muslim worshipers. The mosque eventually outgrew its parking lot, so much so that it violated local ordinances. The traffic congestion disturbed residents, and they complained to zoning authorities.
The mosque had no extra land to widen its parking lot, so officials turned to neighboring churches for help. The First Christian Church and the Falls Church Church of Christ offered their large parking lots on Fridays, the Muslim Sabbath. They've also agreed to accommodate overflow parking during the busy Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Thanks to their kind gestures, the mosque has continued to grow, and now is one of the largest in the country.
It's also one of the most dangerous.
Almost since its opening in 1991 – made possible by a generous grant from the Saudi Embassy – Dar al-Hijrah has been a hive of terrorist activity.
From 2000 to 2002, it employed the notorious imam Anwar Awlaki as its prayer leader. Awlaki counseled two of the 9-11 hijackers in closed-door meetings, and helped them secure housing and ID. He also helped radicalize Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who also worshiped at Dar al-Hijrah.
The U.S. last year designated Awlaki a "key leader of al-Qaida" and froze his assets. "Anwar al-Awlaki is extraordinarily dangerous," said Stuart Levey, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
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Several other mosque members have been the subject of FBI terrorism investigations, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a post-Sept. 11 al-Qaida plot to assassinate the president. Dar al-Hijrah's leadership is closely tied to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement.