Suhaib Webb

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Suhaib Webb
Suhaibwebb3.jpg
Born William Webb
(1972-06-29) June 29, 1972 (age 42)
Oklahoma
 United States
Occupation Imam
Religion Islam
Website
http://www.suhaibwebb.com

Suhaib Webb is an American Muslim imam.[1] He is currently the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC).

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

He was born William Webb in 1973 in Oklahoma to a Christian family, including a grandfather who served as a preacher.[2] At age 14, he lost interest in religion, going through a self-described spiritual crisis. He also began engaging in delinquency by joining a local gang and became a local Hip-Hop DJ and producer,[1] making records with various artists.

Education[edit]

After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career as a DJ and studied at the University of Central Oklahoma, where he graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Education.[citation needed] He also studied privately under a Senegalese Sheikh, learning enough Islam and Arabic to become a community leader in Oklahoma City, where he was hired as Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.[3] He simultaneously started teaching at Mercy School, an Islamic K-12 school in Oklahoma City.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

Webb is an active member of the Muslim American Society and its youth department and has been so for the last ten years. It is through the Muslim American Society's scholarship program that he was sent to Egypt to attain fluency in Arabic and focus on Islamic studies.[3] Webb frequently hosts lectures and posts articles offering Islamic perspectives on modern-day issues such as community involvement and social relevance.[4]

Apart from his studies, he frequently lectures in the United States and Malaysia, and records public lecture series on Islam and contemporary Muslim matters. After graduating from Al-Azhar, he moved to Santa Clara in the San Francisco Bay area, where he worked with the bay area Muslim American Society Office & Muslim Community Association. On December 1, 2011, Webb was inaugurated as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston's Cultural Center (ISBCC),[5] the largest Islamic center in New England.[2]

Reputation[edit]

According to a strategy report by the UK government, senior UK government officials, including representatives of nine of the biggest Whitehall departments, consider Webb as a notable, moderate leader for mainstream Muslims along with the likes of Hamza Yusuf and Amr Khaled that should receive more support in providing leadership to Muslims in the West. [6] [7] [8] Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in 2010.[9] Webb's website, www.SuhaibWebb.com, was voted the best "Blog of the Year" by the 2009 Brass Crescent Awards [10] and his tweets won him the vote of "Best Muslim Tweeter" of 2010.[11]

Views and accomplishments[edit]

Webb joined a trip of imams to Auschwitz in 2010, followed by a public statement to condemning Holocaust-denial and anti-Semitism.[12] He helped raise $20,000 for widows and children of firefighters killed in the 9/11 attack.[13] He is a part of efforts to more effectively rebut militants and religious extremists [14][15] and is an advocate for grassroots Muslim activism to promote social change. He advocates for an American-style Islam, one which he claims to be true to the Quran and Islamic law but that reflects this country's customs and culture.[16][17] He has spoken out against radical clerics that seek to prey on insecure youth and their American identities, stating that "We do have to shepherd them and look out for people like al-Awlaki who tries to undermine that (U.S.) experience and use it against them." [18] Following the Boston Marathon bombings, Webb condemned the acts as radical [19] and joined with interfaith clergy to pray that "we continue to live in harmony, honoring and celebrating our similarities and differences, working together for the common good." [20]

Controversies[edit]

According to FBI surveillance documents [21][22] Webb joined Al Qaeda operative Anwar Awlaki (killed by U.S drone strike in 2011) two days before 9/11 in headlining a fundraiser on behalf of H Rap Brown (aka Jamil al Amin), who had been accused of murdering two police officers in Georgia the year before. That night, Webb and Awlaki raised $100,000 to pay for Brown’s defense. Brown was found guilty of the murders. The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) confirmed that Webb had in fact worked with Anwar Awlaki but claimed Webb did not know the full extent of al-Awlaki’s terrorist agenda when Webb was “working with him (Awlaki).” [23]

In 2007, Webb wrote an article calling homosexuality an “evil inclination” and told a gay would-be convert to Islam to seek treatment for his “problems.” Webb also gave a public speech where he encouraged his congregation to speak out against gay marriages. He says he has since re-thought the issue and no longer opposes gay marriages.[24] Webb has also had homosexuals contribute to his website.[25]

On April 19 2013, Webb was replaced as the representative of Boston’s Muslim community [26] to the interfaith service honoring the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross by Governor Deval Patrick's office for undisclosed reasons. Webb still attended in the pews along with several other prominent imams. Webb was replaced by Nasser Wedaddy, director of civil rights outreach for the American Islamic Congress and chair of the New England Interfaith Council. [27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Islam is all-American for one U.S. Muslim leader". Reuters. March 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  2. ^ a b "With a New Imam, a New Outlook". Boston Globe. December 2011. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  3. ^ a b "Suhaib Webb". Egypt Today. January 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  4. ^ "Islam is all-American for one U.S. Muslim leader". Reuters. March 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  5. ^ http://isbcc.org/imamsuhaib/
  6. ^ Leppard, David (May 30, 2004). "Bomb finds stir ministers to target the roots of terrorism". The Sunday Times (UK). Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  7. ^ Thompson, Harvey (June 3, 2004). "Blair government’s strategy to police Britain’s Muslims leaked". World Socialist Website. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  8. ^ Saeed, Sohaib (July 9, 2004). "If Qaradawi is an extremist, who is left?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  9. ^ "The 500 Most Influential Muslims". Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (Jordan). 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  10. ^ "Best Muslim Blog of the Year". Brass Crescent Awards. 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  11. ^ "Best Muslim Tweeter of the Year". Brass Crescent Awards. 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  12. ^ "Imams’ trip to Auschwitz brings hope". Jerusalem Post (Jerusalem). August 22, 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  13. ^ Booth, Jenny (May 30, 2004). "The moderates". Times Online (London). Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  14. ^ "Muslims Combating Extremism". PBS (London). September 10, 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  15. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (July 31, 2010). "American Muslims Make Video to Rebut Militants". New York Times (New York). Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  16. ^ "The Need to be Socially relevant". ISNA. August 30, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  17. ^ Abdulrahim, Raja (May 27, 2011). "Imam teaches Islam with a distinct U.S. style". Los Angeles Times (USA). Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  18. ^ Marsh, Wendell (March 20, 2011). "Islam is all-American for one U.S. Muslim leader". Reuters (WASHINGTON). Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  19. ^ Webb, Suhaib (April 24, 2013). "No Room for Radicals". New York Times (USA). Retrieved 2013-06-04. 
  20. ^ Webb, Suhaib (May 17, 2013). "A Statement of Grief and Hope From Boston". Huffington Post (USA). Retrieved 2013-06-04. 
  21. ^ http://dailycaller.com/2013/06/27/dzhokhar-tsarnaevs-imam-shares-ties-with-senior-al-qaeda-operative/
  22. ^ http://peaceandtolerance.org/index.php/2012-07-26-13-33-42/islamic-extremism-at-northeastern/boston-marathon-bombing-update/133-imam-of-boston-terrorists-islamic-society-raised-cash-for-cop-killer-together-with-arch-terrorist-anwar-awlaki
  23. ^ http://dailycaller.com/2013/06/27/dzhokhar-tsarnaevs-imam-shares-ties-with-senior-al-qaeda-operative/
  24. ^ http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/05/11/imam-william-suhaib-webb-emerges-face-boston-muslim-community-time-crisis/Kd8v0O48vkHSZAnOpYCqOI/story.html
  25. ^ http://www.suhaibwebb.com/ummah/community/gay-muslims-the-elephants-in-the-prayer-room/
  26. ^ http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/04/19/muslim-brotherhood-linked-mosque%E2%80%99s-imam-replaced-as-speaker-at-service-for-boston-marathon-attack-victims/
  27. ^ http://www.jns.org/latest-articles/2013/4/18/muslim-brotherhood-linked-mosques-imam-replaced-as-speaker-at-service-for-boston-marathon-attack-victims

External links[edit]