The Illinois State Police has revoked the appointment of the agency’s first Muslim chaplain, citing only information revealed during a background check. A national Muslim advocacy group Wednesday blamed the move on Islamophobia.
Kifah Mustapha, a Chicago-area imam, was appointed the agency’s first Muslim chaplain in December. Community groups had praised Mustapha’s appointment as a nod to the growing diversity among the agency’s nearly 2,000 officers.
But within days, the appointment came under criticism from the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a Washington-based think tank.
The group alleged that Mustapha was linked to the Palestine Committee of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, a popular movement in the Muslim world that advocates the formation of Islamic governments in the Middle East. It also alleged he raised money for the Holy Land Foundation, a now-defunct Islamic charity whose founders were sentenced last year for funneling money to the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The group cited internal documents and a list of unindicted co-conspirators.
Ahmed Rehab, CAIR’s executive director in Chicago, called it discrimination against Muslims, especially since Mustapha hasn’t been formally accused of wrongdoing.
“The ISP is kowtowing to the run-of-the-mill fear-mongering that Islamophobes have devoted their careers in order to avoid a public relations controversy,” he said.
Emerson [Steve Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism] dismissed charges of Islamophobia as “empty diversions and without merit” in an e-mail.