IslamismJuly 14 2022, 14:17 pm

Former Executive Director of Controversial Mosque Appointed to Massachusetts Government Post

On 26 May 2022, Boston May­or Michelle Wu announced the appoint­ment of Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­er Yusu­fi Vali as her Deputy Chief of Staff. Accord­ing to the City of Boston’s press release:

Vali will sup­port May­or Wu and Chief of Staff Tiffany Chu in lead­ing the Mayor’s Cab­i­net and imple­ment­ing May­or Wu’s trans­for­ma­tive vision of a Boston that works for all res­i­dents. Vali will play a key role in advanc­ing May­or Wu’s pri­or­i­ties, strength­en­ing City gov­ern­ment to be respon­sive to res­i­dents’ needs and voic­es, and ensur­ing strong col­lab­o­ra­tion among City depart­ments, local orga­ni­za­tions out­side City Hall, and oth­er lev­els of gov­ern­ment to effec­tive­ly deliv­er pro­grams and services.

Read the rest here.

Accord­ing to the state­ment, since 2019, Vali has been the Direc­tor of the Boston Mayor’s Office for Immi­grant Advance­ment, sup­port­ing the Mayor’s leg­isla­tive agen­da on immi­gra­tion and work­ing to strength­en legal infra­struc­ture for path­ways to status.

Before join­ing the city admin­is­tra­tion, Vali was a field orga­niz­er for the 2008 Oba­ma pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and lat­er served as the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Islam­ic Soci­ety of Boston (ISB) Cul­tur­al Cen­ter, a mosque and com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter cater­ing to 1,500 con­gre­gants of var­i­ous eth­nic­i­ties, the major­i­ty with immi­grant backgrounds.

The ISB also has a his­to­ry of invit­ing extrem­ist speak­ers and mosque atten­dees and offi­cials have been impli­cat­ed in ter­ror­ist activity:

  • In 2013, the ISB gained nation­al atten­tion after it emerged that the two Boston Marathon bombers had attend­ed the ISB mosque.
  • In 2016, Vali over­saw the appoint­ment of ISB asso­ciate imam Abdul-Malik Mer­chant, who has dis­sem­i­nat­ed anti-Semit­ic posts via social media and also dis­played hos­til­i­ty against homo­sex­u­als, say­ing that, accord­ing to the Shari­ah, they were “dirty and unclean.” Mer­chant lat­er apol­o­gized for his anti-Semit­ic state­ments, claim­ing they were made to improve his trans­la­tion skills.
  • The ISB reg­u­lar­ly hosts rad­i­cal preach­er Abdul­lah Faaru­uq, who in the past gave anti-Semit­ic ser­mons and has advo­cat­ed vio­lence, urg­ing Mus­lims to “grab onto the gun and the sword” in response to the arrests of local Islam­ic extrem­ist Aafia Sid­diqui and ter­ror sus­pect Tarek Mehan­na. Faaru­uq has also accused police of “mur­der­ing” anoth­er Islamist ter­ror­ism sus­pect who was killed dur­ing his 2015 arrest. In 2022, he gave a ser­mon at the ISB, call­ing same-sex mar­riage a “per­ver­si­ty.”

For many years, the ISB flag­ship mosque was over­seen by the Boston branch of the Mus­lim Amer­i­can Soci­ety, iden­ti­fied in a report authored by the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) edi­tor as a part of the GMB in the US and close­ly tied to the Egypt­ian orga­ni­za­tion. Accord­ing to a Chica­go Tri­bune inves­ti­ga­tion, the MAS chose to con­ceal its Broth­er­hood affil­i­a­tion ear­ly in its his­to­ry, fear­ing that the US would crack down on Hamas mem­bers. For­mer ISB imam William Suhaib Webb, a reg­u­lar guest speak­er at GMB events in the US, has also long been involved with the MAS. Pri­or GIOR cov­er­age of the MAS has included:

  • A Feb­ru­ary 2021 report that asso­ciates of the late Sau­di dis­si­dent and Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist Jamal Khashog­gi, includ­ing for­mer MAS lead­ers, had launched a think tank and watch­dog mon­i­tor­ing human rights vio­la­tions by US allies in the Mid­dle East and North Africa.
  • A June 2022 report that MAS Direc­tor Ous­sama Jam­mal had called on Amer­i­can Mus­lims to vote to influ­ence for­eign pol­i­cy and sug­gest­ed the US inten­tion­al­ly sowed chaos in the Mid­dle East.
  • A July 2022 report that a con­ven­tion of the Islam­ic Cir­cle of North Amer­i­ca (ICNA) and the MAS had brought togeth­er a large num­ber of GMB lead­ers, a mem­ber of the US Con­gress, and high-rank­ing US gov­ern­ment officials.


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