work of the Islamic Society of Boston" and praising the project for coming along at a time "whenthe need for cross-cultural understanding and cooperation has never been greater."But the good feelings didn't last. In the following months, the Boston Herald and Boston's FoxChannel 25 published reports documenting the ISB's ties with terrorists, terror supporters, andanti-Semites. The Herald reported that members of the ISB's Board of Trustees had at one timeincluded one of the Islamic world's most prominent and vocal supporters of terrorism andanother gentleman who would become notorious for his anti-Semitic writing. The media alsoreported that one of the ISB's eight founders was a genuine terrorist who had since beenarrested, convicted, and sent to jail.There followed lawsuits. The ISB sued Fox Channel 25, the Boston Herald, and 14 other privatecitizens and organizations for having conspired to defame the organization. Meanwhile, a citizenof Boston sued the Boston Redevelopment Authority for giving the land for the mosque to theISB at a price significantly below market value.But even though this is a story framed by two lawsuits, it is not a tale of legal intricacies or lawyerly hairsplitting. It is, instead, a case study in how the leadership of a large AmericanIslamic group woos and works with politicians, attempts to intimidate its adversaries, and claimsto champion moderation--all while keeping company with prominent proponents of hatred andviolence.THE LAND TRANSFER AND THE ISBIN AUGUST OF 2000, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) conveyed the land for themosque to the Islamic Society of Boston. Established in 1957, the BRA is run by appointees of the mayor; its function is (among other things) to hand out or sell city-owned land for thebetterment of the community.There were a few curious aspects of the land transfer to the ISB. Both the BRA and the ISBagreed that the land was worth slightly more than $400,000. But because the land wasconveyed, not sold, this figure was somewhat arbitrary. Indeed, many observers close to thesituation believed that the market value of the land far exceeded $400,000.Even so, the City of Boston asked that the ISB pay only $175,000 in cash. The theoretical"balance" of $225,000 would be "paid for" by a variety of services the ISB would provide to thecommunity in the future. According to the agreement, these "services" included maintaining anearby play area, giving a series of lectures at neighboring Roxbury Community College, and"assist[ing] the Roxbury Community College Foundation in its ongoing fund raising campaign."It seems an odd arrangement. After all, Mayor Menino is normally adamant about the separationof church and state. As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby recently noted, Menino is the kindof fellow who, in column, wrote "about the lighting of Christmas Trees all over Boston--yet notonce [did] he use the word 'Christmas' to modify the word 'tree.'" It also seemed strange that thecity would extend an apparent financial handout to an organization capable of raising the cashto complete a $22 million construction project.And there was another oddity about the conveyance. According to Boston City Councilor JerryMcDermott, to get the signatures of the ISB trustees, the paper work had to be sent to SaudiArabia.THE LAND TRANSFER AND THE POSSIBLE government subsidy that accompanied it focusedmedia attention on the Islamic Society of Boston.