Prominent Boston Islamophobe launches new campaign to smear the city's Muslim community
A "political activist" with links to far right extremism has whipped up a storm of controversy on social media, after launching a new campaign suggesting the city's entire Muslim community is 'infected' with violent extremist ideology.
- Dr Charles Jacobs, founder of Boston-based advocacy group "American's for Peace and Justice", took out a full page ad in The Washington Times announcing the organization's new "Countering Violent Deception Campaign" - before bombarding unsuspecting twitter users with 'promoted' tweets about the inflammatory project.
- The group describes itself as "a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting peaceful coexistence in an ethnically diverse America", but has been lambasted by critics as an outpost of "hate and intolerance" for its anti-Islamic rhetoric and campaigns against Boston-area mosques and Islamic cultural centers.
- It's latest campaign, levelled at the Islamic Society of Boston and the Muslim American society, claims both are "Muslim Brotherhood entities that indoctrinate their followers with radical Islamist ideology."
- Shocked twitter users reacted to the barrage of unsolicited tweets, some using profanity to express their disgust.
- The group's incitement to racial hatred comes amid the struggle to seat an unbiased jury for the trial of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, who, along with brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, attended the same Cambridge mosque at the heart of the organization's latest vitriol.
- Tsarnaev's lawyers have repeatedly argued negative pre-trial publicity and "emotionally charged" coverage have made it impossible to seat an unbiased jury in Boston, a view rejected by U.S District Judge George O'Toole who has denied three requests to move the trial out of state.
- They cite analysis that shows an eye popping 68% of prospective jurors are already convinced of Tsarnaev's guilt without hearing a single word of court testimony.
- In 6 weeks of jury selection 54 potential jurors have been identified as qualified to serve, court papers say.
Boston's Religious Leaders
- Boston's Muslim leaders and allies in other faith communities said Charles Jacobs' campaigns were both "false and hurtful" toward their communities.
- According to the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center's executive director Yusufi Vali, “Our mosque is completely open to the community, and we want people to come and see the work we are doing. What they’ll see is we are welcoming to neighbors."
- He added that in the past, ex-Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and ex-Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino had both visited the mosque, “because everyone realizes the allegations [by Jacobs] are not at all connected to who we are.”
- Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to a total of 30 charges connected to the April 15, 2013 marathon bombings, 17 of which carry a possible sentence of death by lethal injection.
- Jury selection is expected to resume Tuesday.