Daily Herald: Wheaton leaders join to condemn fake mosque website

After an impostor website tried to link the Wheaton mosque with radical groups, the Islamic Center of Wheaton held a panel of speakers Saturday that included Ahmed Rehab, center, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Chicago, Noah Toly, the director of Wheaton College’s Urban Studies program and Matthew Milliner, right, a Wheaton College professor of art history.

City and religious leaders strongly condemned on Saturday a “disturbing” impostor website that surfaced last week designed to falsely link the Islamic Center of Wheaton with radical groups such as the Islamic State.

“We should not only stand with those who are wrongly reviled during times of crisis, but we should stand with our neighbors even during times of calm,” said Noah Toly, director of Wheaton College’s Center for Urban Engagement.

Wheaton Mayor Michael Gresk said the center’s actual website, ICWonline.org, is “a real robust list of activities and programs and outreach to the community, which the center should be proud of.”

Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Chicago, called the fake website, which has since been taken down, a “cybercrime” that left a chilling effect on families.

“And I hope and I believe that the police and the FBI will take this very seriously and continue to investigate it to its natural end to where we know who the people are, they’re found, they’re subpoenaed, they’re indicted, and they’re put through the justice system because this is a serious crime,” Rehab said.

But Wheaton Police Chief Jim Volpe, whose department is investigating with the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office, said there was “no indication that this is a cyberattack. We have no indication that this is anything more than an individual using the computer to strike out at the Islamic Center either as a prank or to make a statement or whatever his reasoning is.”

The Rev. Jay Moses, senior pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, said he attended the event because he didn’t like bullies.

“My charge to you, whether you be Muslim or Christian or Hindu, if you’re a human being in here, find someone you can be in dialogue when you leave today because that’s what bonds us together, is the courage to be friends and to be friends during the daylight,” he said.

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Photo Credit: Katlyn Smith | Staff Photographer, Daily Herald