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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Escape From a Brooklyn Mosque

Terrorism Bos Smith
April 29, 2008

Don’t snap a photo of the Masjid At-Taqwa in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn unless you want to be hauled away by a group of angry Muslims in Islamic attire to the basement of the facility where a group of twenty “security guards” in karate suits will interrogate you.

This might sound preposterous. But it happened on Saturday, April 24, at 3:00 in the afternoon.

Ali Kareem, the head of security for Siraj Wahaj’s mosque, conducted the grilling. A small, muscular man with a wispy black beard that has been dyed red with henna, Kareem demanded to know the reason why a trio of kafirs had dared to photograph the building on a public street without securing his permission.

He further insisted on securing our identities and obtaining our motives for such a violation of Islamic space.

Being surrounded by a group of militant guards in a mosque basement from which there is no means of escape is not a comforting place to be for a Wall Street financier.

We tried to explain that we found the neighborhood with its halal meat vendors and food stores; Islamic dress shops, featuring the latest styles in burqas and hijabs; Muslim souvenir outlets, replete with bumper stickers stating “Don’t Be Caught Dead Without Islam”; and Middle Eastern restaurants offering a variety of goat dishes to be rather quaint and interesting.

This explanation was not sufficient.

Kareem was impatient and did not want a detailed explanation of the reason for our excursion (simple sight-seeing) or a graphic account of the sights we had seen and photographed.

“I ask the questions here,” he said, “and you provide the answers.”

Don't believe this can happen here? Read the rest of the story at New Media Journal.