By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

New questions about the Roxbury mosque

Just finished reading David Bernstein’s excellent piece in this week’s Boston Phoenix on the long-controversial mosque that’s been built in Roxbury, known as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. Among other things, Bernstein reports the following:

  • Originally intended as a spiritual center primarily for U.S.-born African-American Muslims, the center’s control shifted long ago to conservative Muslims primarily from the Middle East, some of whom have espoused homophobic and anti-Semitic views.
  • Despite numerous financial difficulties, the project was pushed along at key moments by Mayor Tom Menino and a staff member at the Boston Redevelopment Authority who had a conflict of interest that almost certainly should have led him to recuse himself.
  • Promised benefits to the community have not materialized, and are unlikely to any time soon given the mosque’s ongoing financial problems.
  • Former state senator Dianne Wilkerson and Boston city councilor Chuck Turner, charged by federal authorities with taking bribes, have showed an unusual degree of interest in the mosque.

The mosque has been 20 years in the making, and is still incomplete. A fascinating story, even though there are more questions in Bernstein’s story than there are answers.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.


Chuck Turner (allegedly) joins the 90 percent


A NewsTrust news hunt on the global economy


  1. O'Reilly

    A fascinating story, even though there are more questions in Bernstein’s story than there are answers.Ask them!

  2. O-FISH-L

    “Gay, gay, gay,” Officer Joe Morquecho says. “Why does everything have to be gay?”-question asked by a D.C. Police Officer protesting the hanging of a rainbow flag outside the offices of the Police Gay and Lesbian Liaison unit, WaPo, 03-28-05—- I was actually looking for that quote credited to Dr. Michael Savage as I remember WRKO using it as a promo awhile back, but whether it was Savage or Officer Morquecho asking then, I have to ask it now. Why, in an otherwise solid piece on Boston political corruption and incompetence, do we have a side story about gays?Like it or not, conservative Islam, most Christian religions, Orthodox Judaism and many others frown on homosexual behavior. In fact, while homosexuality has gained some acceptance in the secular world, most religions continue to condemn it. So why is it news that religious leaders of the new mosque condemn it too? Opposition to homosexual behavior would seem to be one of the few areas where conservative Islam is in agreement with many other religions practiced in the area. Surely there are other teachings of conservative Islam that are more troubling to a wider section of non-Muslim society, but all we get is “gay, gay, gay”. The misplaced focus on one special interest group diminishes an otherwise decent piece.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: I think the suggestion to put bags over the heads of gay people and push them over a cliff puts this in a different category. But hey, maybe it’s just me.

  4. O-FISH-L

    Dan, maybe it is you. You’re a hiker, have you seen any Roxbury Muslims pushing gays over a cliff lately? Have you seen any Christians killing gays in the name of the bible? “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:13). “Again, I’m sure there are many shocking tenets of conservative Islam that the Phoenix could have mentioned, but the condemnation of homosexuality isn’t one of them, it’s fairly universal. Singling out this “issue” is not only grandstanding, but blatant pandering to a special interest group as well. It had no place in a piece on municipal incompetence.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: Right now you can find Internet videos of gays being executed by Islamic regimes in the Middle East. That’s rather different from what fundamentalist Christian churches are doing, don’t you think?

  6. Ani

    I don’t mean to make light of all this, but I have been listening to Tom Lehrer’s song “National Brotherhood Week” on YouTube for a little solace.

  7. Shawmut

    Let’s just say there’s a rivalry; maybe a bidding war, to keep in the public eye. If there’s any chance that Islamics are seen as being victimized for being cited in the corruption over the mosque, they could get higher victim standing than gays.Also, and here’s the irony; recently arrested Wilkerson and Turner have been seen as gay champions.So, the news lottery now stands at: Corruption – Win, Islamics – Place, and Gays – Show.Daniel Pipes has a running record of the Islamic Center whiich I used in “White Colllar – White Thawb Crime”.Lehrer’s song is most appropriate.Ever the balance on a razor blade?

  8. bob gardner

    Speaking of Chuck Turner and the Phoenix, Turner was the subject of probably the most egregious blind qhotes I’ve ever seen. “Chuck is the political equivalent of a suicide bomber.” from an article by Adam Reilly. The quote was attributed to a “city hall insider”. Comparing a city councillor to a suicide bomber in a blind quote–just breathtaking. How did something like that slip past the editor at the Phoenix, not to mention the media critics?

  9. Neil

    If I was a corrupt black city councillor, now would be the perfect time to exploit the fear of the appearance of picking on black pols, to make a killing, because no way are they going to sting another black pol now. Likewise if I was a corrupt white guy, I’d keep my cash transactions to a minimum till this blows over.

  10. Doug Shugarts

    To my knowledge, no door within the U.S. Department of Justice bears a placard that reads “Office of Leviticus.”The commenter o-fish-l describes himself as a conservative, yet seeks to grant the state control of citizens’ private lives and censor their rights of free speech and religious liberty.A Christianist, not a conservative, argues for hermeneutical interpretation of law.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén