King Fahad Mosque Honors FBI for Aborting Plot to Blow up Mosque
By Mohammad Khan
In 2002, a few days before the Eid celebrations, the FBI and the LA County Sheriff Department, uncovered a plot to blow up a mosque in Culver City. They arrested the suspects who were found with explosives in their possession . On July 27, 2014 ,the last day of Ramadan, the community held a largely attended function at the King Fahad Mosque (KFM) to express gratitude and appreciation for the timely action of the two organizations which succeeded in averting what could have been a truly catastrophic situation.
Mohammed Khan, Director of Interfaith and Public Relations, thanked FBI Director Bill Lewis on behalf of the Mosque founders, management and community.
Said Khan, “We wanted to make sure that the community appreciates and recognizes what the FBI has done to protect the society. It's easy for the community to forget. If your counter-terrorism team was not alert the mosque and over 1000 folks would have been victims of terror. I, like so many others, would not be here today“ if the FBI had not acted with exemplary promptitude.
The community showed appreciation and gratitude to FBI Director Bill Lewis who continues to maintain a sound relationship with its members. The last day of Ramadan, marking the beginning of the Eid festivities, was a most propitious occasion to recall FBI’s swift action and timely help. "We are proud of this fact and not shy to say thanks for keeping society safe, not just for Muslim Americans but for all citizens," Mohammad Khan said.
Director Lewis gave an inspirational speech spotlighting the Bureau's role in partnering with institutions and community to cement closer bonds for community security. After his address, many congregants came up to him to personally thank him.
KFM Director Rauf Patel, who made the closing remarks said, “Muslim are facing so many challenges and the only way we can convert these challenges into opportunities is that we work with different agencies”.
FBI Community Outreach Specialist Dianne Gonzalez stated, “The importance of outreach is to dispel the myth and perceptions of what people have about the FBI. Education is key and programs like CREST achieve this. This community has over 100 graduates.”
Mohammad Z Noori, Board Member of KFM, said, “We appreciate the sincerity and the dedication of FBI for keeping us safe. This case is an example.”
Long Beach Chief of Police Jim McDonnell was also honored by the community on the occasion. It will be recalled that on July 2, 2014 a Muslim woman was attacked. While she was walking a man made derogatory comments about Hijab, ripped it from her head, and ran away with it.
Chief McDonnell was thanked for responding very quickly and making it publicly clear that no one's religious freedom is to be violated.
Chief McDonnell told the gathering that American Muslims have the constitutional right to practice their religion and that he does not tolerate hate crimes targeting a community. As an Irish Catholic he knew that nuns cover their hair. He respects the fact that Muslim women practice this tradition of emulating Mary, the Mother of Jesus. As a law enforcement official he would do what it takes to prevent hate crimes.
Chief McDonnell is currently running for election to the post of Sheriff of Los Angeles County to be held in November.