Virginia city official charges mosque a threat to national security

Sept. 26, 2013 at 2:44 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Sept. 26 (UPI) -- A Virginia city councilman claims a mosque approved for construction in Virginia Beach is a threat to national security and has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Bill DeSteph made the charges after the Virginia Beach City Council approved the application by the Crescent Community Center, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Thursday.

DeSteph was the only council member to vote against the mosque Tuesday night.

He claimed to have information that money for construction of the mosque came from a mosque in Hampton, which he alleged had connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

DeSteph said he had given the information to the FBI, but declined to say what the information was or how he had obtained it.

In a written statement, the Crescent Community Center denied DeSteph's allegations. The center's directors said they had no connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and were not tied to any other mosques or persons outside the United States.

The allegations were "irresponsible," said Mayor Will Sessoms, who said DeSteph needed to provide proof.

The FBI didn't comment on the councilman's charges, but said in a statement "the FBI does not investigate individuals absent specific information that they are committing crimes or pose a risk to national security."

Two trustees of the Hampton mosque, Jamal Badawi and Ahmad Sakr, have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Richard Scott Saunders, leader of the Virginia Beach chapter of ACT! for America, charged in an email Wednesday.

The Southern Poverty Law Group, which monitors hate groups, has labeled ACT! an extremist group.

Ahmed Noor, the third trustee of the Hampton mosque, denied Saunders' allegations. He said founders of the mosque made sure to stay away from association with the Muslim Brotherhood when the mosque was established in 1983.

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