August 16, 2007
D.C. Mosque: Embezzlement or Wahhabi Retribution?
The scandal at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. centers on embezzlement allegations made against Farzad Darui. Darui claims that the money was not embezzled, but was being used to pay off the mistresses of Abduallah M. Khouj. Polygamy is officially sanctioned under Islamic law, but since the practice is illegal in the U.S., some of these 'mistresses' were really wives. Except for the ones that weren't. At least one of these 'mistresses' is said to have been held against her will.
I'm not sure how that is a good defense. Surely paying off Khouj's wives wasn't in the mosque budget--even if Abduallah M. Khouj is well connected with the Saudi royal family and was a former official at the Muslim World League and even if he was the mosque administrator.
But the crux of Darui's argument is this:
the charges against him had been manufactured by unnamed Saudi government officials as part of a scheme to oust him from his post. Their goal, Darui maintains, was to claim control over the mosque after Darui resisted Saudi efforts to have “radical” Wahhabi figures deliver messages of intolerance there.Khouj is said to have invited Ali Al-Timimi, who is in serving life in prison for encouraging Muslims to join the Taliban and engage in jihad against U.S. forces, and Osama Basnan, who was deported because of his known association with 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, to speak at the mosque. Darui objected to the radical messages being preached.
“Because Darui barred Islamic radicals, from the [Islamic] Center, the Saudis, via the Center, have falsely accused him of embezzlement,” Darui’s filing claims.
The conflict between the Saudi Wahabbi Khouj and the more moderate Iranian born Darui came to a head when Khouj decided to step down and the Saudi government, which funds the mosque,
intended to replace him with a former director of the Institute for Islamic and Arab Sciences, an organization that has been investigated by U.S. officials for possible links to terrorism. (No charges have been filed against the group.) After Darui sought to thwart the move by calling a rare board meeting, “the Religious Section of the Saudi Embassy began spreading the rumor that Darui was embezzling funds.”And I thought church politics were bad in the Baptist church!
Hat tip: Laura Mansfield