As President Obama enters the final year of his presidency, he continues to check off “To Do” items on his so-called “bucket list,” as he told the press last year noting that the term rhymed with a phrase describing the freedom he has as a lame duck without an election looming in his future.

Obama has vowed to take bolder steps toward going it alone without Congress to implement sweeping restrictions on gun ownership and closing the military detention facility at Guantanamo, Cuba, and now the White House has announced the president’s first visit to a U.S. mosque on Wednesday.

The president has visited mosques abroad in his official capacity, including the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo, just months after his inauguration when he delivered the “New Beginning” speech, as well as mosques in Jakarta in 2010 and Kuala Lumpur in April 2014.

Obama’s choice has raised eyebrows and questions, however, as out of more than 2,000 mosques in the United States, he has chosen one with longstanding ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremist elements of the Islamic faith.

The president will visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB), a large complex with a mosque, schools, community center and housing with a 3,000-member congregation to “celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life,” according to the White House press release.

The Baltimore mosque is a member of the Islamic Society of North America, an unnamed unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case in which ISNA leaders were sentenced to lengthy prison terms after being found guilty of financing terrorism and funneling $12 million to Hamas.

Mohammad Adam el-Sheikh, who twice served as ISB’s imam, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and co-founded a Virginia-based Muslim group with close ties to terrorism including two of the 9/11 hijackers, Mohammed al-Hanooti an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, and U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan, who murdered 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas in November 2009.

The imam has gone on the record as defending suicide bombings in a 2004 quote to the Washington Post.

“If certain Muslims are to be cornered where they cannot defend themselves, except through these kinds of means, and their local religious leaders issued fatwas to permit that, then it becomes acceptable as an exceptional rule, but should not be taken as a principle.”

He has also recorded a youtube video condemning homosexuality, saying it is a psychological disorder that “has no place in Islam or society,” which runs contrary to the President’s open support of the Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender community.


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