By Patrick Poole
Back in March, my friend and colleague Erick Stakelbeck of CBN News emailed me a link to an article in Tablet Magazine and asked: “Hey — isn’t that your neighbor with the head of Hamas?” Sure enough, it was. My former neighbor Salah Sultan was standing right beside Ismail Haniyeh — the Hamas “prime minister” of Gaza — as Haniyeh left a meeting with Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Cairo (purple shirt):
Stakelbeck knew about my neighbor Sultan because Erick and I had worked together on a video segmenthighlighting Sultan’s activity and residence in my hometown of Hilliard, Ohio, back in 2007. That was more than a year after I had first written about returning home to Ohio to discover that I had an internationally known Hamas cleric living about a mile from my own house. Not only that, but Sultan was the religious director at the local Islamic school, Sunrise Academy, which had taken over the former public library building in town. Sultan was also the resident scholar of the newly built Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Hilliard.
As I later recounted, the Columbus Dispatch attacked me as a racist and a bigot, characterizing me as a Christianist Neo-Nazi. This after I had identified Sultan’s rabidly anti-Jewish remarks, his calls for violent jihad, his open support for Hamas, his ties to Muslim Brotherhood front organizations, and his association with international Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi…
….MEMRI also translated a January 17 interview with Sultan in which he encouraged Muslim youth to take up sports such as karate in preparation to fight for the liberation of Palestine:
I call upon young people to practice sports, and to strengthen their bodies in preparation for jihad. Practice Karate, practice Taekwondo, practice all the sports that make your body extremely strong. Lift weights, and then dream, day and night. Turn your faces towards the heavens. If the young turn their faces to the heavens in a desire to liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque, it will be liberated soon, Allah willing.
Whatever happened to the respected Islamic scholar and interfaith moderate Salah Sultan, for whom the Columbus Dispatch was driven to publicly castigate me for daring to call him a terror-loving, terrorist-associating, racist Muslim Brotherhood leader?
He was a figment of the newspaper’s imagination, fed to them by their friends in the local Islamic community and by Sultan himself, and aided in no small measure by soothing narratives of interfaith peace and harmony many hold to despite all the conflicting evidence.
All along, he really was who I said he was. But it’s doubtful that the local media will correct the record.
But why does the record need to be corrected? Since his activity is entirely outside the U.S. now (he’s been banned from reentering the country), surely there’s really no relation between what happens over there and our communities here? Even though everything I said about Salah Sultan going back to April 2006 has been verified, my stated fears of a “hometown jihad” are nothing more than the paranoid fantasies of a raging, racist Islamophobe, right?
I’ll answer that question here at PJ Media shortly.