Sistani is not merely saying homosexuality is condemnable, a view shared by many a religious tradition. He holds, authoritatively within his tradition, that those who engage in it should be brutally murdered
New York State taxpayers have handed over $23 million to a number of divisive Islamist groups over the last ten years, including one institution banned in the United Arab Emirates as a terrorist organization, according to state funding reports obtained by Focus on Western Islamism. The funds came from several state agencies, but primarily from New York's Department of Education.
"This information is shocking. It's unbelievable that New Yorkers' tax dollars are going to groups that preach and advocate hatred. Not one penny should go to them," former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind told FWI. Hikind served in the legislature for 36 years and founded Americans Against Antisemitism in 2019. "I will call on the governor to stop this," he said.
New York taxpayers have given the Muslim American Society (MAS) of Upper New York $2.5 million since January 2013. In 2004, federal prosecutors said MAS's national organization "was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America." The UAE designated MAS as a terror organization in 2014.
Other funding recipients in New York include a number of Islamist schools. Al Madrasa Al Islamiya, a religious school located in Brooklyn, has received over $1.6 million. The school's curriculum includes the book Muhammad the Last Prophet: A Model for All Time, which calls Judaism "a tribal religion" and portrays killing and enslaving the enemies of Islam as a good thing.
"I judge that the men be killed and their property divided up and that their children and women be taken as slaves," reads an excerpt from the book on the school's website. The text continues, "The Messenger of Allah said, 'You have given the judgement of Allah regarding them.'"
The state has also given more than $800,000 to Al-Mamoor School in Fresh Meadows which promotes the teachings of Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, who has said, "the punishment for blasphemy is indeed death." Qadhi has also defended the Taliban and called for stoning adulterers and killing homosexuals "if we had an Islamic State."
Al-Ihsan Academy in Queens, another recipient of public funds, has received more than $5.6 million since 2013. Last October, the school hosted a lecture by Deobandi Islamist Shaikh Shafayat Mohamed. Mohamed currently directs the Darul Uloom Islamic Institute in Florida, which he founded in 1994. He has described most Jews and Christians as "perverted transgressors" and called Jews "apes and swine."
Darul Uloom "has been a haven for terror-related individuals and activity," writes Joe Kauffman, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative. "'Dirty Bomber' Jose Padilla was a student of Shafayat Mohamed's at Darul Uloom," Kaufman writes, adding that other terrorists associated with the institute include now-deceased al-Qaeda Global Operations Chief, Adnan el-Shukrijumah. "And Darul Uloom Arabic teacher Imran Mandhai, along with mosque goers Hakki Aksoy and Shueyb Mossa Jokhan, hatched a plot at the mosque to blow up different South Florida structures, including area power stations, Jewish businesses, and a National Guard armory," writes Kauffman.
Meanwhile, the Al-Khoei Foundation, a prominent Shia organization in Queens that has consultative status at the UN and an influential role in New York politics, has received $760,000 from state coffers. The organization subscribes to and promotes the teachings of Ayatollah Sistani, often upheld by Westerners to be a moderate alternative to Khomeini. However, in 2007 Sistani placed non-Muslims in the same category as, "urine, feces, semen, dead bodies, blood, dogs, pigs, alcoholic liquors" and "the sweat of an animal who persistently eats [unclean things]."
Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who assisted in the prosecution of terrorists, wrote that Sistani called for the murder of homosexuals. "Sistani is not merely saying homosexuality is condemnable, a view shared by many a religious tradition. He holds, authoritatively within his tradition, that those who engage in it should be brutally murdered."
The Khoei Foundation also accepted funds from the Alavi Foundation and issued a statement in support of the foundation in the midst of federal law enforcement's prosecution of the Alavi Foundation for operating as a front group for the Iranian regime.
New York has also given $1.6 million to the NYC Muslim Center, which is led by Shakiel Humayun, who serves as a "scholar and advisor" to the Alim Foundation, a "social network" that provides "tools for studying Islam and the Quran."
The Alim Foundation's site hosts multiple documents that promote sex slavery. One declares "it is halal [permitted] for him to have intercourse with her by his right of possession." Another states, "the slave-girls whom you took from the war booty are also permitted to you." Another text mentions "the perfidy of the Jews" and calls them "transgressors." And yet another text says, "The Christians, may Allah curse them, have no limit to their disbelief because of their ignorance, so their deviant statements and their misguidance grows."
The NYC Muslim Center promoted its expansion with a Ramadan video in 2020 from extremist Yusuf Estes, who has said, "Those who seek to convert people away from Islam into other faiths or to destroy the Islamic government would naturally be considered as traitors and then dealt with as such." Mohammad Elshinawy, who was investigated by the NYPD in the early 2000s for allegedly supporting violent jihad, made a promo in 2018 for the mosque's expansion.
Elshinawy has also spoken for the Muslim Center of New York, which runs the Muslim Center Elementary School, which has received $600,000 from New York Taxpayers. The mosque has hosted Islamist Shaykh Yaser Birjas and Islamist cleric Siraj Wahhaj. Upon the death of Egypt's former president and Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi, Birjas referred to him as a "martyr."
In 1992, Wahhaj said, "If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a Caliphate. If we were united and strong, we'd elect our own emir and give allegiance to him. Take my word, if 8 million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us." In 2011 he said, "The trap we fall into is having a premature discussion about sharia when we are not there yet."
Taxpayers also gave $10.3 million to the Al-Madinah School in Brooklyn. A religious school, Al-Madinah has partnered with the previously mentioned Muslim Brotherhood affiliated MAS and with Muslims Giving Back (MGB), an organization cofounded by Asad Dandia. The NYPD investigated both MGB and Dandia for statements he made in support of violent jihad, including praise of former al-Qaeda commander Anwar al-Awlaki. Dandia "regularly attended" lectures given by Elshinawy.
The school's high school principal, Ahmed Jammoudy, shared a Facebook post promoting Egyptian Islamist cleric Omar Abdelkafi. Abdelkafi had made unequivocally violent statements toward Jews, including, "The Hour will not begin until you fight the Jews, until a Jew will hide behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will say: 'O Muslim, O slave of Allah, here is a Jew behind me; come and kill him, but the tree Gharqad [a kind of thorny tree] would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews." After the 2015 terrorist murders of Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris, Abdelkafi called it "the sequel to the comedy film of 9/11."
"There should not be a single dollar spent by American cities or states on organizations that brainwash children and the public with anti-American propaganda that promotes terrorism and incites violence," New York Councilwoman Inna Vernikov told FWI. "Funding organizations with terror ties may be seen as providing material support to terrorists, and that should not be tolerated by anyone, especially New York's DOE, where a majority of the state funding comes from," she said.
Susannah Johnston is Focus on Western Islamism's investigative reporter.