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Mayor/Dictator Shuts Down Talk of Cooper City, Florida Mosque
At Commission Meeting, Mayor Greg Ross abuses power, shields terror ties.
By Joe Kaufman
On Tuesday, February 14th, this author, along with a group of residents and community leaders, attended the Cooper City Commission meeting with the goal of placing into the record and educating the public about the terrorist and bigoted ties of the city’s Nur-ul-Islam (NUI) mosque. NUI had just received the go-ahead from the city to expand its property to include minarets and a three level school building. We wished to show that the expansion approval was a mistake and that the Mayor’s taking money from mosque leaders and their real estate attorney for this matter was a conflict of interest, but the Mayor acted as a dictator and shut my speech down.
I had much to say. Indeed, the extremist links to NUI are many, and I wanted to get it all on record. I began by stating that I had wished to speak at the previous meeting, but at the time, I was in New York touring the 9/11 museum, which is true. I said that I was concerned that everyone speaking out against the mosque expansion did so by complaining about the height and possible noise of the minarets or the traffic and increase in taxes that the school would cause, but that no one had mentioned the threat to the community that NUI, itself, posed.
I then discussed how the mosque’s children’s school, Nur-ul-Islam Academy (NUIA), is related to Raed Musa Awad, a past fundraiser for a terrorist charity. Less than six months following the school’s creation, in 1996, Awad was named as its Vice President. At the time he was the Florida rep for the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a Hamas charity that was shut down by the US government, in 2001, for providing millions of dollars to Hamas. I quoted the Sun-Sentinel, which described Awad as “the chief Florida fund-raiser for Holy Land Foundation in the 1990s.” I mentioned that Awad, himself, had been named a co-conspirator for the HLF federal trials.
I spoke of the fact that NUIA’s website previously had a link on its homepage to Islam Way, which also was the subject of a US terrorism trial. According to the US Justice Department, the group’s own site, islamway.com, “promoted violent jihad” and “included a section urging Muslims to contribute money to HAMAS.”
I acknowledged that those things – the hiring of Awad and the link to Islam Way – might have happened in the past, so I told the Commission to consider what is going on in the present, today. I mentioned how NUIA’s Student Government Association (SGA), this past January, organized an event at the mosque for the group Islamic Relief (IR). I discussed how this same group had been banned by a number of nations; that Israel has labeled IR a front for Hamas; that UAE placed IR on its terrorism list; that HSBC bank, which housed the account for IR’s global headquarters in England, closed the account due to concerns about “terrorist financing.”
I then began speaking about how, three days from the commission meeting, on February 17th, NUI was hosting a talk by Shafayat Mohamed, the founder and imam of the Darul Uloom Institute (DUI). But before I could say the name of the mosque, I was told to stop my speech, that my time was up. I could not mention how DUI has been a haven for al-Qaeda operatives, including “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla, who took classes from Mohamed at DUI, and al-Qaeda Commander Adnan el-Shukrijumah, who was a prayer leader at DUI. I could not say how Mohamed, himself, was thrown off several Broward County boards for his rhetoric against gays.
We had arrived at the commission meeting with the understanding that, if I needed time for my speech, beyond the four minutes allotted to each speaker, one or more of the people in our group would be able to yield their time to me. That was the case, during the previous commission meeting, and at that time, the crowd was packed with those wishing to speak regarding the mosque. This meeting featured a mostly empty audience, where barely anyone beyond us wished to speak – on any issue – so allowing for the yielding of more time to speakers would be a ‘no brainer.’
After the completion of my four minutes, when Kashmir Hindu Foundation Director Deepak Ganju’s name was called by Mayor Greg Ross to speak, Ganju said that he wished to yield his time to me. To that, the Mayor gave a definitive “no.” I asked, “Why can’t I get time ceded to me? Isn’t it the ruling for here that time can be ceded to someone else? In the past meetings, that was the case. Why is that not the case now?” To which the Mayor dictatorially and arrogantly replied, “Because each and every time, it’s up to the Chair to decide. I’ve decided not to do it.”
Mayor Ross clearly did not wish to hear about the security concerns of the mosque that he and the Commission just approved for an expansion. And it is this author’s opinion that the Mayor, even more so, did not want me to mention how he accepted money from both NUI’s leaders and their attorney handling the mosque expansion, Dennis Mele, money which the Mayor previously admitted to taking. Additionally, as stated in the ‘Minutes’ for the January 24th commission meeting, Commissioner Lisa Mallozzi “looked into the Mayor’s campaign contributions and noted almost $10,000 of campaign contributions from board members of Nur-UL-Islam.”
(Note: Cooper City Commissioner Jeremy Katzman also has admitted to taking money from members of NUI and lawyer Dennis Mele.)
Throughout the case regarding NUI’s expansion project and the Commission’s vote on whether or not to approve it, the Commission repeatedly referred to the process as a “quasi-judicial proceeding,” as opposed to a legislative one, whereby the Mayor and Commissioners would be acting as “judges.” If a judge were to receive money from one of the parties – let alone such an amount as $10,000 – and another sum from the party’s attorney, it would be considered a tremendous conflict of interest, and no doubt this judge would be expected to recuse himself/herself from the case. Yet, Mayor Ross would do no such thing.
By shutting down my speech in front of the Commission, Mayor Ross demonstrated that he cares little for the safety and security of Cooper City and its citizens. It furthermore lent credence to the notion that, when the Mayor took the money from NUI patrons, his vote in favor of the mosque expansion was corrupted. If his vote was not tainted and his intentions were pure, he would not have felt threatened by what I had to say. In the name of local and national security, he would have welcomed it.