In the New York Post and elsewhere in the mainstream media, he is being all but called a terrorist as they noted that Wahhaj is an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
But believe me, if after 15 years the government had any evidence to indict Wahhaj, it would have.
And I say that as someone who had close family who worked at the World Trade Center and who considered it almost a second home.
Here's the truth about Wahhaj. Back in the mid 1980s the crack epidemic was ravishing Bedford-Stuyvesant, where Wahhaj's mosque, called At-Taqwa, was and still is located.
Merchants, many of them frightening immigrant Muslims, were being held up. Complaints were made to the 79th precint but nothing happened.
Then Wahhaj went out on his own with members of his mosque, including at least one who was a Uniformed Court Officer, and began knocking on the doors of those known to be thugs and drug dealers.
The dealers complained to the police and Wahhaj and his Muslim companions were themselves arrested. While at the 79th precinct, a white police officer slapped Wahhaj.
Fortunately at the time, the police commissioner was Ben Ward, who was a hardliner but carried certain sensibilities because he happened to be black. The officer who slapped Wahhaj was demoted, and after this correspondent wrote an article about the whole affair (which article, we promise, we will locate and post), community support grew for Wahhaj and his band of citizen cops.
Suddenly there were civilian patrols on Fulton Street and the busy intersection of Fulton and Bedford Avenue became a safer place. To this day, merchants in that area owe much to Wahhaj and the members of his mosque.
Please remember this and put the screaming headlines that ignorantly defame Wahhaj into perspective.
We need not say more for now, other than to suggest that Wahhaj's message, from our perspective, seems like that of Catholic priests and others who argue that their people should be respected and that there is a world beyond this world that is a spiritual world, where good and righteousness prevail.
Wahhaj, who is African American and speaks fluent Arabic, once led members of the United States Congress in prayer. In one video he says:
"Allah lets you know that nothing is permanent but him…All your life you learn to love things and as soon as you get real close Allah snatches it away from you . . . to let y ou know to be humble and that you should always put your trust in allah. Not in money, not in material things, but in Allah."
Here's the video: