This is a follow-up to the "Imam Resigns As Incoming FDNY Chaplain" post.
Some wonder if there so many Muslims in the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) that they need to hire a Muslim chaplin? After all the department of 16,000 employs three Catholic chaplains, two Protestant chaplains, and two Jewish chaplains.
That question got me to do some research about why the FDNY hired a Muslim chaplain.
The answer starts with a press release found on the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) website. It announces that on April 20, 2001 the New York Chapter of CAIR (CAIR-NY), along with that city's Islamic Society of Fire Department Personnel (ISFDP) and the Vulcan Society [a fraternal organization of black New York City firefighters] will hold a news conference to demand that the FDNY appoint a Muslim chaplain.
CAIR complained that Muslims in the Fire Department requested a Muslim chaplain more than three years earlier and are seeking injunctive relief from the Eastern District Federal Court. It should be noted that the press release identifies Kevin James as the CAIR-NY spokesman and president of the ISFDP.
In an article in The Bronx Beat, a publication of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, states that the FDNY claimed there were "only 12 practicing Muslims on staff." The Beat quotes FDNY Deputy Commissioner Francis Gribbon:
Fire officials contended that they would consider a Muslim chaplain, but unlike the other religious representatives, their role would be informal. "We said that if we felt that he was providing a valuable service, that we would eventually consider putting him on the payroll," said Francis Gribbon, the department's deputy commissioner.
The New York Daily News in October 2001 referred to Kevin James as Brooklyn Fire Marshal. According to the Daily New There were then 200 to 300 Muslims in the department. The News also reported that the ISFDP had about 20 members.
So the answer to the first question is I don't know whether there are so many Muslims in the FDNY that they need to hire a Muslim chaplin. I can't find verifiable or reliable numbers.
I think I know why the FDNY hired a Muslim chaplin.
In June of 2000, Islamic Society of Fire Department Personnel and Kevin James (the ISFDP president, CAIR-NY spokesman and Brooklyn Fire Marshal) commenced sued the City of New York over alleged discrimination against Muslim employees of the FDNY. the crux of the lawsuit was the FDNY's refusal to hire a Muslim chaplin.
A year after the lawsuit was filed, the FDNY decided to hire a Muslim chaplin. According to the only reported decision in the case, after the FDNY decided to hire a Muslim chaplain, plaintiffs agreed to attempt to resolve the remaining issues. That agreement fell apart when the FDNY hired a person other than the person recommended by plaintiffs as a Muslim chaplain. The FDNY hired Dr. Abd'allah A. Adesanya.
The facts concerning the lawsuit are from Judge Glasser's 2002 decision, 205 F.Supp2d 75.
Back to the chaplin wannabee, Imam Intikab Habib. New York's WABC reports Habib was one of several Imams the ISFDP recommended for the Chaplain's job.
At Hyscience, Richard points out that Habib was recommended for the chaplain's job because of his work teaching junior high students at Al-Ihsan Academy in Ozone Park, a private Islamic school, where he worked for about five years. Richard then goes on to explore a connection between the Al-Ihsan Academy in Ozone Park and the Al-Ihsan Society:
And just what do we know about the Al-Ihsan Academy in Ozone Park? Not much, but do you think it would be too much of a stretch to connect Al-Ihsan "Academy" with ? I think not, so let's take a look at the Al-Ihsan Society, also known as The Elehssan Society, which the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated in May of this year as a "charitable front" for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a terrorist organization based in Damascus, Syria. And the "Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies in Israel (C.S.S.) has a lot more to say about "The Elehssan Society."
The Elehssan Society is a network of Islamic “charitable societies” identified with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It claims to engage in social, cultural and health issues. At the same time, however, it is also part of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's civilian infrastructure and provides support for the organization's terrorist activities, which includes financial assistance provided to the families of shaheeds and prisoners. It should be noted that another Islamic terrorist organization, Hamas, has similar but larger terrorist-supporting civilian infrastructures both on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.
The Elehssan Society has several branches in the Gaza Strip and a few on the West Bank (Bethlehem, Jenin, Tulkarm). It receives most of its funding from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad leadership located in Damascus, which itself receives generous financial aid from . Such aid is intended to foster the deadly terrorist activities perpetrated by the organization in the PA-administered territories, particularly in Israel itself.
In addition to welfare activities, Elehssan branches deal with instigation to terrorist acts against Israel by glorifying the image of the terrorists who have perpetrated such attacks and by turning them into role models.
Like Michelle says, "government at all levels still refuses to screen out Wahhabist and terror-apologizing influences in our prisons, in the military, at the FBI, and in other prominent positions."