Bombing suspect’s mosque hosted author who criticized US, UK for ‘war against Islam’

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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The Islamic Society of Boston, attended by Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, recently hosted a book event at its cultural center featuring a journalist who has been highly critical of the U.S. and U.K. “War on Terror,” which she described as a “war against Islam.”

The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center also encouraged its members to show their “support of the forgotten women of the War on Terror.”

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based mosque’s affiliated cultural center in Roxbury, Massachusetts —  which announced its indefinite closing Friday in light of “the terrible and sad events of last night, the criminal of the bombings on the loose, and the strong recommendations of our Governor” — hosted a book signing and “Meet the Author” event April 6 with British journalist and former Guardian editor Victoria Brittain, who discussed her book “Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror.”

The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center posted a graphic promoting the event on its Facebook page April 1, describing the plight of a British woman whose husband has been in Guantanamo prison for 11 years and encouraging people to “Put your profile in shadow in support of the forgotten women of the War on Terror.”

Brittain wrote an article last month, posted on, criticizing the American and British government’s “war against Islam” and Washington’s “global gulag” of black sites.

“I stayed in Great Britain.  There, my government, in close conjunction with Washington, was pursuing its own version of what, whether anyone cared to say it or not, was essentially a war against Islam.  Somehow, by a series of chance events, I found myself inside it, spending time with families transformed into enemies,” Brittain wrote.

“I came to know women and children who were living in almost complete isolation and with the stigma of a supposed link to terrorism. They had few friends, and were cut off from the wider world. Those with a husband under house arrest were allowed no visitors who had not been vetted for ‘security,’ nor could they have computers, even for their children to do their homework,” Brittain wrote.

Brittain also wrote of “the coming of a new torture report from Washington’s then-expanding global gulag of black sites and, of course, Guantanamo.”

Brittain criticized British security services who “returned to a post-9/11 stance on overdrive” in the aftermath of the 2005 London subway bombings, referred to as the “7/7” attacks.

“Here was the texture of a hidden war of continual harassment against a largely helpless population.  This was how some of the most vulnerable people in British society — often already traumatised refugees and torture survivors — were made permanent scapegoats for our post-9/11, and then post-7/7 fears,” Brittain wrote.

“Against this captive population, in such an anything-goes atmosphere, all sorts of experimental perversions of the legal system were tried out.  As a result, the British system of post-9/11 justice contains many features which should frighten us all but are completely unfamiliar to the vast majority of people in the United Kingdom,” Britain wrote.

“Against ideological governments obsessed by terrorism on both sides of the Atlantic and a culture numbed by violent anti-terrorist tales like ’24’ and Zero Dark Thirty, such complicated and technical initiatives on behalf of individuals who have been given the tag, implicitly if not explicitly, of ‘terrorist’ stand little chance of getting attention,” Brittain wrote.

The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, headed by Imam Suhaib Webb, could not be reached for comment.

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