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.


Newsletter #8 – More Tennessee AMAC

TN American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) profiles cont’d

One small postscript to Newsletter #4 –

Mention of one of the Institute’s more high profile graduates was omitted –  Muneer Awad who is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma CAIR chapter.  He sued and enjoined the Oklahoma constitutional amendment banning Sharia law in Oklahoma.

This newsletter and the one to follow will profile more of the TN American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) members.

Abdulkadir Gure – Middle Tennessee representative

Former taxi driver turned Arabic instructor at Vanderbilt University (listed as a “lecturer, Religious Studies Dept), he is affiliated with the Nashville Metro Taxi Drivers Alliance, which offered free rides last year to Muslims going to legislative plaza to protest against the anti-terrorism legislation.  He is also affiliated with the Workers Interfaith Network in Memphis and is a Middle Tennessee organizer for TIRRC.

Of greater interest perhaps is his work with the Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee (CRIT), formerly named the Somali Community Center.  In 2007 Abdirizak Hassan, the Center’s Executive Director until last year, was charged with and sentenced to 2 years federal probation for making false statements in connection with a federal grant for the Center.  Despite these charges, he was still able to apply for and have the Center receive federal grant money throughout this time period.

This federal charge relates back to his indictment in 2001 for felony illegal banking.  Prior to serving as ED of the Somali Community Center/CRIT, Hassan ran a halwa money changing business out of a convenience store.  As reported by New English Review:

“Hassan’s Nashville bank was shut down by counter-terrorism investigators because they said the bank was linked to Al-Barakat.

Al-Barakat is a bank and wiring transfer service that is linked to al-Qaida, according to investigators.  Hassan was arrested and charged with felony illegal banking.  While out on bond, Hassan and the Somali Center were awarded a grant in the amount of nearly $500,000 by the same federal government that indicted him.”

The CRIT even when it was named the Somali Community Center, is what is known as an “ethnic based organization” that receives taxpayer money from the Tennessee Office for Refugees to provide refugee resettlement services.

Mwafaq Aljabary – Middle Tennessee representative

This individual also goes by the name Mwafaq Mohammed.  In 2010 he was listed as the president of the Salahadeen Islamic Center (see newsletter #4 for more info about this center).  He is employed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation and is involved with a group attempting to start the Nolensville Academy of Science & Math charter school in Metro Nashville.

Haneef Shabazz – Middle Tennessee representative

Property records indicate that he owns property in the Jamaat ul-Fuqra (Islamville) compound in Stewart County.  Jamaat ul-Fuqra, also known as Muslims of America (MoA), has been described as a “Sunni militant group”.

They follow Pakistani cleric Sheikh Gilani whose terrorist training video “Soldiers of Allah” shows Gilani explaining how to kill American infidels –  “Act like you are his friend. Then kill him.”  In 2006, the videos were confiscated and sealed by the Department of Justice.  It is reported that Jamaat ul-Fuqra/MoA have approximately 35 compounds across the U.S.

Saleh Sbenaty – Middle Tennessee representative

Immigrated from Syria in 1982 to attend college in the U.S. and now teaches engineering at MTSU.  He is a board member and on the planning committee for the Murfreesboro mosque.  He was a vocal and active opponent of the anti-terrorism legislation and was quoted in the Tennessean a number of times on the issue.  He also spoke out against the law during a panel discussion at the First Amendment Center in 2011.  He was recently advertised as participating in a program with the Society for Universal Dialogue (SUD) on environmental issues.

Dr. Mohammed Moinuddin – West Tennessee representative

In 2008 the Director of the FBI presented Dr. Moinuddin with the Community Leadership Award.  He is also a trustee of the Memphis Islamic Center and a board member of the Masjid al-Noor.  Per the warranty deed, this mosque, which also houses the Muslim Student Association (MSA), is owned by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), one of the organizations listed in the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood Explanatory memorandum.

It has been reported elsewhere that in 1993 Dr. Moinuddin attended an event in Virginia involving Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hanooti. Dr. Moinuddin was later quoted speaking favorably about Al-Hanooti.  In 2000 Al-Hanooti headed the Michigan CAIR office.  In 2008 he was indicted on charges of spying for Iraqi intelligence.  He has been identified by the FBI as a top fundraiser for Hamas (over $6 million) and is named as both an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial (identified as top Muslim Brotherhood leadership), and a conspirator in the trial of “blind sheik” Omar Rahman (1993 World Trade Center bombing).  See, “Blue Suede Jihad: Major Hamas Fundraiser Welcomed in the Land of Elvis”, Patrick Poole, July 1, 2010.

In July 2010, the Masjid al-Noor posted an announcement on their website that Al-Hanooti would be speaking at the mosque that month.  When the event was published by Patrick Poole in his article “Blue Suede Jihad”, the mosque scrubbed the announcement from its website and denied that the event was ever scheduled.  Poole notes in a follow-up piece on August 6, 2010, that “..we’ve been provided two separate classified terror alerts that were sent to Memphis-area law enforcement agencies prior to the publication of my initial report warning them of al-Hanooti’s upcoming appearance.”

Younis Sherif – West Tennessee representative

Mr. Sherif is active at the Masjid As-Salam, another Memphis mosque owned by NAIT, and with the Muslim Society of Memphis located in another property also owned by NAIT.

 Three other members, Dorothy Awayyed, Hanan Ayesh, and Zak Mohyuddin (brother-in-law to Sabina Mohyuddin in newsletter #6), are all East Tennessee representatives.  All were actively and vocally opposed to the anti-terrorism legislation and lobbied legislators to that end.

Many connections between individuals and organizations; many affiliations with Muslim Brotherhood entities.  We have to assume that Commissioner Gibbons and Asst. Commissioner David Purkey who heads the TN Office of Homeland Security have all the same information and simply discounted it all in order to move forward and begin working closely with this group.