Thursday, January 19, 2012

Family of man thought to be al-Qaeda operative is known for interfaith work in Plano, Texas

Family of man thought to be al-Qaeda operative is known for interfaith work in North Texas
By Jeffrey Weiss and Jason Trahan

For the Salam family’s fellow volunteers in North Texas interfaith activities, the idea that they could have a son in al-Qaeda seemed preposterous.

“He could not be in al-Qaeda, knowing his parents,” said Mike Ghouse, president of the Foundation for Pluralism in Dallas.

And yet, according to The Associated Press, when Moeed Abdul Salam died in Pakistan late last year, he was an al-Qaeda operative. Pakistani officials say he killed himself with a hand grenade. An Islamic media group said troops killed him.

His family lives in Plano, in a two-story house on a suburban street. A woman inside the house on Wednesday would not open the door or speak to a reporter.

That doesn’t surprise Christopher Parr, former chairman of the Plano Multicultural Outreach Roundtable, where Moeed Salam’s mother, Hasna Shaheen Salam, is a co-chair.

“She doesn’t want to talk about it because it is too painful,” he said.
The Salams had never mentioned a son in Pakistan, he said. Other members of the roundtable learned about his death only when contacted by an AP reporter. That’s when Parr called his friend, he said.

“She said they didn’t know where he was or what he was doing,” he said.
Parr met Shaheen Salam, a fellow Rotarian, several years ago. Not long afterward, she joined the Plano roundtable, where she was a liaison to the North Texas Muslim community, Parr said.

According to public records, Shaheen Salam lives in the Plano home with her husband, Mohammed. The house is worth about $400,000. Moeed Salam’s driver’s license also lists that address. In addition, the home is the address of record for several businesses, at least one of them closed because of bankruptcy in 2005.
Bankruptcy documents listed secured debt of $186,000 and unsecured debt of $980,000. They listed at least $442,000 owed on at least 17 credit card accounts.
According to a piece Shaheen Salam wrote for the January 2011 edition of the “Lone Star Crescent,” a Texas Muslim publication, she herself had traveled to Pakistan in 2010. According to the article, she went there to facilitate the adoption of an infant girl by her daughter, a Dallas physician who was unable to make the trip. She makes no mention of Moeed Salam.

Moeed’s brother Monem Salam is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, a former Morgan Stanley money manager in Dallas and a former executive council member of the Islamic Society of North America. The society was an unindicted co-conspirator in the federal criminal case against the North Texas-based Holy Land Foundation. Foundation leaders were convicted of funneling money to Hamas.
According to the AP, Moeed Salam, who was 37 when he died, had not lived in Plano for many years. He attended boarding school in Connecticut, attended college at the University of Texas in Austin, and had moved overseas at least eight years ago.

However Moeed Salam’s thoughts about the West had mutated, Ghouse said that the family remained more than casually involved with volunteer work in North Texas and beyond. Shaheen Salam has served as a president of the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation. And a few years ago, Ghouse said, she had taken wheelchairs to Afghanistan.

“The one thing I can tell you is that his parents had nothing to do with it,” he said of Moeed Salam’s apparent al-Qaeda connection. “His mother would not have put up with it.”

Mohamed Elibiary, a Muslim interfaith advocate, said the family members “were pillars of the community as I was growing up” in North Texas.

“The family members are victims in all this,” said Elibiary, a Department of Homeland Security adviser who has assisted the FBI in multiple investigations of homegrown terrorism. “They did everything to try to set a good example, not only inside their own family but by being good citizens and good Muslims.”

Staff writer Brooks Egerton contributed to this report.;

Mike Ghouse
Committed to a cohesive America

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.