As reported in The Boston Globe on May 31, 2007, the Islamic Society of Boston recently settled its civil rights and defamation lawsuit against various individuals, groups and media organizations which it alleged had conspired to spread malicious and false statements that the Islamic Society had links to terrorism in an effort to stop area Muslims from building a place of worship.
The ISB began building what will be the largest mosque in the Northeast in 2003, but construction came to a halt, the ISB alleged, in light of the attacks made upon the mosque by the defendants. Ironically, the mosque, when completed, will house a center for inter-faith dialogue and understanding with a focus on Muslim-Jewish understanding. During discovery, the ISB learned that some of the defendants were behind the filing of a lawsuit by a Mission Hill resident against the ISB, the Boston Redevelopment Authority and Roxbury Community College designed to stop the building of the mosque but kept their identity hidden. One email obtained in discovery disclosed that this was part of a larger plan to "attack the mosque." As part of the settlement, the lawsuit filed to stop the mosque was dismissed.
There has been a wide-ranging, welcoming and enthusiastic response to the settlement by organizations and individuals working towards inter-faith understanding. Area Muslims and those who believe in tolerance between religious groups hailed the settlement as a true victory for tolerance. The ISB is currently moving forward with the construction of the mosque. A recent minaret capping drew thousands of supporters.
Howard M. Cooper, attorney for the ISB, was honored by the ISB with a plaque which bears the following inscription: "The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center wishes to thank Howard M. Cooper for his commitment to defending the rights of the Muslim community to worship freely and his unwavering dedication to the cause of justice."
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