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News Analysis

American Islamist Conference Comes to Chicago

Tue, November 20, 2012

by: 
Ryan Mauro

For the second time in two months, stars of the Islamist movement in America will come together in the Chicago area, parading as the moderate Muslims we need to guide us. This time, it’s the 11th annual convention of the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America on December 21-25.

Both the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) are in a 1991 internal Muslim Brotherhood list of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” Imprisoned Brotherhood operative Abdurrahman Alamoudi testified that “everyone knows that MAS is Muslim Brotherhood.” ICNA is closely linked to a Pakistani Islamist group called Jamaat-e-Islami and its 2010 handbook laid out a five-step strategy that culminates in a “united Islamic state, governed by an elected khalifah in accordance with the laws of shari’ah (Islamic law).” A former president and secretary-general of ICNA, Ashrafuzzaman Khan, is accused of committing war crimes by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal.

The theme of the event is, “Toward a Renaissance: Believe, Act & Engage.” The “Arab Spring associated with the Islamic Awakening in many parts of the Muslim world” is given as an example of this “renaissance.” By “renaissance,” MAS-ICNA means the Islamist ideology. That is the message an expected audience of 9,500 will hear.

The roster of speakers is filled with Islamists, one of which is even called an Islamist in his biography on the convention website. The page for Sheikh Abdelfattah Mourou, a founder of the Tunisian political party Al-Nahda, says he “started his Islamist activities in the 1960s.” He worked alongside Rashid al-Ghannouchi, another one of the party’s founders, who has a very extreme past but is still consistently described as a “moderate” in the Western media.

One major speaker is Tariq Ramadan, who was banned from entering the U.S. in 2004 because of a donation he made to a Hamas front. The ban was lifted in 2010 on orders from Secretary of State Clinton. He is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood and the son of Said Ramadan, who was a major Brotherhood leader in Europe.

Nihad Awad is the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history. The federal government says CAIR is a creation of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee. Awad publicly supported Hamas as far back as 1994 and referred to the terrorist group and Hezbollah as “liberation movements” in an Arabic interview with Al-Jazeera in 2004.

Siraj Wahhaj is a favorite of the various Brotherhood affiliates and was listed as an “unindicted person who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He preaches that the U.S. should become an Islamic State.

“If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate. If we were united and strong, we’d elect our own emir and give allegiance to him. Take my word, if eight million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us,” he said.

Wahhaj has said that “America is the most wicked government on the face of the planet Earth” and that the U.S. is a “garbage can” that he prays “crumbles.” The book Muslim Mafia quotes Wahhaj preaching violence. “We don’t need to arm the people with 9mms and Uzis. You need to arm them with righteousness first. And once you arm them with righteousness first, then you can arm them,” he said, as well as “I will never tell people, ‘Don’t be violent.’ That’s not the Islamic way.”

Imam Zaid Shakir told the New York Times in 2006 that he hopes to see the U.S. nonviolently become an Islamic State one day. He approves of attacks on U.S. soldiers in America and says that Hezbollah’s bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon was not an act of terrorism. In April, he wrote a poem that put the U.S. and its military in a disgustingly negative light. He believes in 9/11 conspiracy theories and blasts the U.S. for “demonizing” Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban, while characterizing Al-Qaeda, Hamas and other Islamist terrorists as flawed freedom fighters.

Mohamed Qatanani leads a mosque founded by a Hamas operative and the Department of Homeland Security wants to deport him because of his terror ties. He did not disclose on his green card application that Israel convicted him in 1993 for his involvement with Hamas. He admitted to having been a member of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood but says he left in 1991 because of time limitations.

He has also made shady money transfers. The DHS explained in a 2008 court filing, “It is certainly suspicious when a person who has been convicted of being a member of, and providing services, to Hamas, who has personal ties to a Hamas militant leader, and a Hamas fundraiser also sends undisclosed cash to the West Bank.” More recently, he said the U.S. should institute laws against anti-Islam speech.

Jamal Badawi is a founder of MAS and his fundraising for the Holy Land Foundation got him designated as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the charity. He made a theological case for suicide bombings in 1999 by saying the action doesn’t qualify as suicide. In February 2009, he referred to Hamas terrorists as “martyrs” and endorsed the group’s “combative jihad” in March 2010. His name also appears in a 1992 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood phone book.

In July 2007, he spoke at an event in Qatar honoring senior Brotherhood cleric, Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, who likes to call himself the “mufti of martyrdom operations.” He is also on the board of Qaradawi’s International Association of Muslim Scholars that endorsed the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Imam Suhaib Webb is the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. The mosque was founded by Abdurahman Alamoudi, the senior U.S. Brotherhood operative that now sits in prison on terror-related charges. The mosque’s 1998-2000 tax filings lists Qaradawi as one of its officials.

Hatem Bazian is the chairman of American Muslims for Palestine, the host of another major Islamist gathering in the Chicago area in November. In 2004, he called for an intifada in America to “change fundamentally the political dynamics here,” calling on Muslims to follow in the footsteps of Palestinians and Iraqis involved in an “uprising,” a subtle endorsement of those fighting U.S. soldiers in Iraq at that time. He eerily predicted, “They’re gonna say some Palestinian [is] being too radical – well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet.” In speeches this year, he made the U.S. sound like a racist, imperialist country that wages war on Islam abroad and persecutes innocent Muslims at home.

At MAS-ICNA’s 2009 conference, Ragheb Elsergany preached that Muslims must “liberate all of Palestine from the North to the South, from Al-Quds [Jerusalem] to the sea.” When this got attention, MAS-ICNA issued a statement saying “we deeply regret and affirm that such individuals will not be invited to future conferences,” not mentioning him by name. That same year, he said Allah commands Muslims to engage in jihad by “supporting the fighters, and the mujahideen and the besieged, and those in need there in Palestine.”

The 2009 statement was insincere. MAS-ICNA had him back in 2010 and he said that the Arab Spring would make Israel “vanish absolutely.”  He is speaking again this year.

Kifah Mustapha is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial and, like CAIR, was listed by the federal government as a member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee. He used to be a volunteer for the pro-Hamas Islamic Association for Palestine, another Brotherhood front and he fundraised for the Holy Land Foundation, CAIR and MAS. He also was a vocalist in a band that performed pro-Hamas songs. He is an imam at the Mosque Foundation, which has strong Brotherhood affiliations.

The conference’s speakers include numerous senior officials from the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), another unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial that the federal government says is a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. The FBI identified ISNA as a Brotherhood front as early as 1987 and a 1991 American Muslim Brotherhood document confirms it. The MAS-ICNA convention features ISNA Secretary-General Safaa Zarzour and former ISNA President Imam Mohammed Magid.

The MAS-ICNA website does not list the sponsors of its 2012 event but last year’s sponsors include the Dish Network, the Islamist group Islamic Relief USA, Turkish Airlines, Shop & Save Market, Allied Assets Advisors, Dar El Salam Travel, Zakat Foundation of America, Zaytuna College (America’s first Muslim college), Helping Hand for Relief & Development, Life for Relief & Development, Alwan Printing and Azzad Funds.

This December, while many of you will be celebrating Christmas, nearly 10,000 Muslims will be coming together in Chicago for a celebration of the Muslim Brotherhood.

You can phone the Sheraton at 312 464-1000 to voice your opinion against the hotel for hosting this conference.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.

This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy. It appeared originally on FrontPageMag.com