Newsletter #162 – The Governor and Mrs. Haslam Promote a “Healthy Tennessee”….and Muslims

Since taking office Governor Haslam has tried different ways to leave his mark on improving the health of Tennesseans. He even tried to use his Medicaid Expansion plan “Insure Tennessee” to pay people to get healthy. Haslam said he could use his own healthcare plans to “fundamentally chang[e] health care in Tennessee.” His “Healthy Incentives Plan” envisioned letting people “earn more money” of the free money by taking specific actions to get healthy. Except Medicaid Expansion became another of Haslam’s “reforms” that failed. Now Governor Haslam has launched his “Healthier Tennessee Communities” initiative, “a coordinated initiative supporting physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco abstinence at the local level.” The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness will focus on individuals, workplaces and faith congregations. In addition, the Tennessee Department of Health through their Office of Minority Health and Disparities Elimination, works with faith communities and trains congregants to become “certified Health Ambassadors” who will help make Tennesseans aware of how to lead healthier lifestyles. Being the picture of an “overabundance” of health herself, Nashville resident, Aisha Lbhalla, a member of the Islamic Center of Tennessee (ICTN), has been selected to be one of these Health Ambassadors. lbhalla and crissy copy Let’s take a close look at Aisha’s mosque. Individuals involved in establishing the ICTN in 2010, included Awadh Binhazim (Secretary of the ICTN Board) who had previously served on the Board at the Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN) during the time when Abdulhakim Mohamed was the imam there. He had the dubious privilege of being the imam at the al-Qaeda al-Farooq mosque in Brooklyn, New York, the same mosque attended by the “blind sheik” convicted for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Before splitting from the ICN to form the ICTN mosque, Binhazim (a CAIR chapter leader when he lived in Texas), conducted his dawa (proselytizing) through his Olive Tree Education project promoting on-line writings by al-Qaeda’s Anwar Awlaki. During this time he was the self-appointed Muslim “chaplain” at Vanderbilt University. It was in this position that he publicly admitted at a student forum, that Islamic law mandates capital punishment for homosexuality and that “as a Muslim he does not have a choice of whether to accept or reject what Islam teaches.” Did Nashville Mayor Karl Dean know Aisha’s background when he appointed her to the Metro Human Relations Commission? Is he trying to eradicate Nashville’s radical Islamophobia?   lbhalla copy So Who is Aisha Lbhalla? Various websites align an Aisha Teshara Washington with an Aisha Teshara Lbhalla who lives in Antioch, Tennessee. Aisha Teshara Washington at one time lived at 147 Dreamwood Lane in Dover, Tennessee. This address corresponds to an area in Dover referred to as “Islamville,” the Muslims of America (MoA) compound. MoA aka Jammat ul-Fuqra is a movement founded by the infamous Pakistani Sheik Mubarik Ali Gilani and is described as a “Sunni militant group.” An Aisha Teshara Washington is also listed as having lived in Maryland. Aisha Washington is associated with and/or operated a business in Maryland called “Loving Home Care.” This business ran into some difficulties with the Maryland State Department of Labor Licensing and was sued for failing to pay taxes. The suit was settled for over $8,000. lbhalla judgment   Aisha Lbhalla is associated with and/or operates a business in Antioch, Tennessee called “Loving Home Care” although no business by this name was found in the Tennessee Secretary of State’s database. The website for “Loving Home Care” lists the Main Office contact in Antioch and a contact number for a Maryland, D.C. Virginia office. Wonder why? lbhalla business copy                       lbhalla business 2 copy                         Like a growing number of sharia observant Muslims, Lbhalla and her husband live in a Habitat for Humanity home located in the Edison Park development in Antioch, Tennessee. The Habitat for Humanity program, a Christian ministry, has ironically become a convenient vehicle to impose the restrictions of sharia finance law to a part of the U.S. housing market. Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Sheikh al-Qaradawi, describes sharia compliant finance as “jihad with money.” Lbhalla serves on the Executive Committee of the Nashville chapter of the Religion Communicators Council’s (RCC), which is led by Scientologist Brian Fessler. The RCC leadership has heavy representation by the United Methodist Church (UMC) which makes it highly unlikely that they would find Lbhalla’s anti-Israel tweets problematic for a group that is supposed to be an interfaith association. lbhalla on israel copy

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The first imam at Lbhalla’s mosque was AbdulRahman ibn Esa Chao. He was trained at the Islamic University of Medinah, Saudi Arabia, an institution highly associated with the Salafi branch of Sunni Islam. Salafists have been described as trying to return Sunni Muslims to the “practice of the pious ancestors, i.e., the first three generations of Muslims.” That is, they seek to practice Islam in its most original, purest and “authentic” form without relying on cultural practices or clerical interpretations. Does this mean that reformation or moderation is out of the question? Probably so. Too bad our elected leadership is so gullible.

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