UPDATED: Protest planned for mosque's fundraiser in Northern Virginia
Several groups are planning a protest in Northern Virginia on Saturday outside a fundraiser for a Falls Church mosque that they say has been linked to violence.
Democratic Committee Chairman and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and U.S. Reps. Jim Moran and Gerry Connolly, both Democrats from Northern Virginia, are invited guests and featured prominently on the fliers distributed by the mosque. But Kaine and Moran are not attending, according to their spokesmen. A message to Connolly's office was not returned.
Two of the Sept. 11 hijackers briefly worshiped at the mosque, the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, and one of its former imams, Anwar al-Aulaqi, has been linked to accused terrorists and subsequently denounced by the mosque, one of the largest in the United States.
The annual dinner will take place at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church.
"While brave young American men and women are risking their lives to fight terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, Connolly, Moran and Kaine are yucking it up with them and popping champagne corks here at the Marriott," said James Lafferty, chairman of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force. "These spineless politicians are owned and operated by the radical Islamists and their sinister front groups."
Members of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force, Act for America and the Center for Security Policy and encouraging others to call the offices of Kaine, Moran and Connolly and demonstrate outside the dinner.
Last month, some of the same groups protested when the mosque's imam gave the opening prayer in the House of Delegates. About a dozen delegates, mostly Republicans, skipped the prayer of Imam Johari Abdul-Malik.
Abdul-Malik was not affiliated with the mosque in 2001, when the Sept. 11 attacks occurred. In recent years, he has made statements following the arrest of Muslims on terrorism charges, arguing for due process, civil rights and fair sentencing.
Updated: Abdul-Malik returned our call this evening. He said he is not sure which politicians are attending the fundraiser, but that Moran and Connolly have attended in the past. He said he invited Kaine because as governor he appointed a member of Dar al-Hijrah's board to the state immigration commission. (Kaine was forced to ask for his resignation after videos surfaced in which the board member was seen making controversial comments about Israel and its interaction with its Middle East neighbors, including expressing his support for the "jihad way.") Abdul-Malik said he is more interested in "building bridges" than worrying about "fringe groups."
Washington Post Editors
April 2, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , Fairfax County , General Assembly 2010 , Gerald E. Connolly , House of Delegates , James P. Moran Jr. , Timothy M. Kaine
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