Virginia mosque in turmoil after FGM endorsement video

Smiles: Top Washington DC-area mosque leader Shaker Elsayed went on leave after fallout from his pro-FGM video. (Image: MEMRI)

A Virginia mosque leader’s pro-FGM video has plunged the local religious community in turmoil.

Imam Shaker Elsayed, longtime leader of the Dar-al Hijrah Islamic Center outside Washington, DC, is now “on leave” after his spokesman quit over the outrage surrounding Elsayed’s May 19 video endorsing female genital mutilation.

Another imam at the mosque, Johari Abdul-Malik, quit over the controversy, on June 8, according to the Washington Post.

“Prominent members of the Muslim community have denounced Elsayed’s comments, and some are calling for his ousting,” Fox News reports.

But the mosque isn’t talking. “Fox News reached out to the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center via e-mail but the center has not responded. On Monday [June 12], board members released a statement saying they did not condone or support female genital mutilation.”

Elsayed did not resign.

Mosque spokesman quit over ‘lack of decisive leadership’

In quitting on June 8, “Abdul-Malik cited ‘the lack of decisive leadership’ from the mosque’s board and Elsayed’s ‘many reprehensible statements,'” the Washington Post reported. “Abdul-Malik had called for Elsayed’s dismissal, and resigned Friday after the board decided not to do so: ‘I have worked to pull us out of the fire many times. And this is indefensible,’ Abdul-Malik said.

The Dar al-Hijrah mosque has had its share of PR problems over the years.

“Dar al-Hijrah hired Abdul-Malik 15 years ago, after the mosque came under intense scrutiny for being the onetime house of worship for two of the 9/11 hijackers,” the Washington Post said. “Several years later, the mosque’s former imam, Anwar al-Aulaqi, invited further investigation of the mosque after he began espousing terrorist ideology from a hideout in Yemen. And then there was Nidal Hassan, the Fort Hood shooter, who had also visited the mosque at some point in the years prior to his rampage.”

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