As Islamists increasingly look to real estate as a means of planting their flag and forwarding their agenda, it is worth noting the revelations that depict some of America's most prominent Islamist-leaning developers and property managers as agents of urban squalor.
An October 23 article in the New York Post reports that the head of the controversial mosque project near Ground Zero "can't take care of a rat-ridden apartment building with just 14 units":
Sharif El-Gamal, the main developer behind the mosque, has nearly 400 open violations that he has refused to fix despite a court order. His company owes the city $61,633 in fines, fees, and taxes for the property at 1835 Amsterdam Ave.
Complaints lodged against the company include vermin infestations, lack of heat, and obstructed stairs and fire escapes. It has been engaged in legal battles with both tenants and the city.
A similar pattern of neglect sullies Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Shari'a-promoting imam who once was the face of El-Gamal's planned Islamic center. In 2010, the Record exposed Abdul Rauf as "a New Jersey landlord who got more than $2 million in public financing to renovate low-income apartments and has been beset for years by tenant complaints," which range "from failure to pick up garbage, to rat and bedbug infestations and no heat and hot water" — not to mention the occasional hallway that reeks of urine. After Union City filed suit against Abdul Rauf last year, with the mayor calling him one of its worst "slumlords," a judge placed his buildings into receivership.
Also attracting unwanted attention is Kenny Gamble, the Islamist real estate mogul known for purchasing cheap property from the city of Philadelphia en route to assembling what has been termed a "black Muslim enclave." An October 19 item in the Philadelphia Daily News slams him for the continuing deterioration of the historic Royal Theater, even after his Universal Companies "got $330,000 from the city's Commerce Department to acquire and restore the building" in 2000 and a $90,000 federal grant to carry out repairs in 2005. Maybe Gamble should repackage it as an arboretum, given how "treelike weeds and bushes sprout from the building."
The paper cites additional unfinished projects overseen by Universal. "So many properties are just sitting and rotting, and it's just taxpayer-funded blight," said one neighborhood activist. A business owner remarked that the situation "represents everything that's wrong with this city." And perhaps the state as well. The Daily News reports that before he left office in January, Governor Ed Rendell awarded Universal $2.25 million to fix the Royal; like many other capital grants, it has been put on hold by his successor, Tom Corbett. (Readers can contact him here.)
These ramshackle buildings are metaphors for the decay and decrepitude inevitably wrought by Islamism. However, a silver lining may be found. By tarnishing carefully cultivated public images and supplying practical grounds for turning off the funding spigots, such histories of dilapidation have real potential to impede developers seeking to advance Islamist goals. Their sorry track records should be exploited to the fullest.