Dar al-Hijrah, the mosque where Anwar al-Aulaqi used to preach, is four miles from my house. Even better, according to the W. Post, "two of the Sept. 11 hijackers had briefly worshiped [there] when Aulaqi was the imam." That is so cool!
At the risk of droning on, I should probably comment on the PR nightmare the mosque is facing so I can write off this tall "red eye" as a business expense. First thoughts: suit up, and don't forget your cup. It's going to get rough.
I know you're tired. You've been under the microscope for the last ten years and you just want to put this all behind you. Well, you can't. The last decade was just the rehearsal. This is opening night. Places people, it's showtime!
Khalid, set the scene for us, please.
"Dar al-Hijrah is dedicated to the betterment of Muslims and the society at large. We offer education, youth programs, counseling and food banks to the thousands who worship here every Friday night."
Good, Khalid. Now, Nawaf, rope me in. Let's build some tension.
"This is guilt by association. We are good people being persecuted because a few fellow worshipers had alleged links to terrorism. Let's see, there was our imam, Anwar, of course, and one of those five boys they caught in Pakistan trying to join a terror cell ... ummm, the Fort Hood shooting suspect. Oh, and two of the 9-11 hijack..."
Let's stick to the script, people! Nidal, I need you to bring it all together for us. The stage is yours!
"This is America, where people are free to worship as they please, to speak freely without fear of reprisal, to assemble peacefully. Those who criticize us and denigrate our mosque are sullying the very founding principles of this great nation."
That was beautiful, Nidal. Now, let's ...
"And we reject the use of extra-judicial assassination of any human being and especially an American citizen, which includes Al-Awlaqi!"
Really, you want to go there? Now? * sigh * All right. It's your show. OK, listen up, people! If I call your name, you may go home. We will not be using you in this production. Young school children from the day care center, youth program managers, prison counselors, teachers, food bank staff ..."