An Egyptian-born imam who in 2007 said that Somali-born activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali should receive the death penalty for her criticism of Islam is now a Department of Justice contractor hired to teach classes to Muslims who are in federal prison.
According to federal spending records, Fouad ElBayly, the imam at Islamic Center of Johnstown in Pennsylvania, was contracted by the DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons beginning last year to teach the classes to Muslim inmates at Cumberland Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md.
The records show that ElBayly has two contracts worth $12,900 to teach the classes and to provide the inmates “leadership and guidance.” One of the contracts is dated Feb. 20, 2014, and the other is dated Dec. 8, 2014.
It was April 2007 when ElBayly, the imam at the Islamic Center of Johnston, protested Ali’s scheduled appearance at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.
Ali, a former Dutch parliamentarian who fled Somalia with her family at a young age, has been vocal in her critique of Islam, claiming that women suffer greatly under the religion.
Those comments have angered many, including ElBayly, who called Ali’s statements “poisonous.”
“If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death,” the imam told a local newspaper ahead of her university visit.
ElBayly, along with Mahmood Qazi, the Islamic Center of Johnstown’s founder and past president, pressed university officials to block Ali from speaking.
“I don’t want her to poison anyone’s mind,” Qazi said. “She doesn’t believe in God. How can she talk about God?”
The men were unsuccessful, and ElBayly was heavily criticized for his comments, which gained national attention at the time. He apologized in a letter to the newspaper and seemingly resigned his post.
But that resignation was temporary, it turns out.
The federal Bureau of Prisons requires religious services contractors to provide credentials and other background information in their applications. One section asks applicants to list their associations with established religious organizations. According to recent news reports, ElBayly is once again the imam at the Islamic Center of Johnstown.
The application makes no mention of a required interview, though the document indicates that one is optional.
Besides the credentials, applicants have to provide two personal references and a letter of recommendation from their local religious organization.
Perhaps the highest hurdle for ElBayly to clear would be the program’s requirement to affirm, ”I do not endorse nor will I practice or use language in the institution that will support violence, terrorism, discrimination against other inmates.”
The Daily Caller sought to interview ElBayly, but he didn’t not respond to an email request. A phone number listed for ElBayly was directed to a fax machine.
TheDC also wanted to find out more about how the DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons chooses who can teach religious classes to inmates, but the agency did not respond. The Cumberland facility also did not respond to specific questions about ElBayly’s classes.
Ali has faced more heady opponents than ElBayly and Qazi. Last year, students at Brandeis University successfully forced school administrators to rescind an invitation to have Ali speak at its commencement ceremony where she was to be given an honorary degree. That incident was part of an emerging pattern of supposedly tolerant and open-minded college activists organizing boycotts against speakers who criticize Islam.
Ali has also faced serious death threats from Islamic radicals over her comments. Those threats became all too real in 2004 when Dutch director Theo van Gogh was assassinated by an Islamic radical upset over a film he had directed.
The script of that film, “Submission,” was written by Ali.
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