Debate Continues over Islamic Center in Boston

January 5, 2006

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On January 5, 2006 The Christian Science Monitor reported, "Worshipers at the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) still pack into their cramped mosque in Cambridge, Mass. The crowd spills out into the parking lot for the Friday prayer service. Their hopes of celebrating this past Ramadan in a brand-new mosque and cultural center were dashed. The stated aim of the quarter-century-old society was to build a center for worship, education, and community outreach. Instead, the $24 million project in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood is snarled in accusation, acrimony, and lawsuits... After the city of Boston conveyed a parcel of land to the ISB, articles appeared in the Boston Herald in 2003 linking society leaders to Islamic extremists. The ISB denied the story, responding in detail to what it saw as inflammatory distortions... The society has filed a defamation suit. A local resident has also sued the city seeking invalidation of the land sale to the ISB. The specific charges may have to be sorted out in court, but the Boston controversy fits a national pattern. Four years after 9/11, mosques in many communities continue to encounter wariness and resistance ranging from suspicions raised at zoning hearings to vandalism and worse."