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News Analysis

DISH Network, Turkish Airlines Support Islamist Conference in U.S.

Thu, January 17, 2013

Ryan Mauro

The annual convention of the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) brings together Islamists from around the U.S. and outside the country. This year’s event, held on December 21-25, had at least a dozen Islamist speakers with links to the Muslim Brotherhood and histories of extremist rhetoric. (See our previous article about the here.)

One speaker who was booked for the event, Saudi Sheikh Ayed Al-Qarni, is so radical that the U.S. government refused to let him enter the country to attend the conference.

Advocating for his entry into the U.S. was CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (whose executive-director spoke at the event), who demanded that the U.S. allow him in.

MAS was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood and ICNA is listed in a 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” 

Renting venues and equipment, covering travel expenses, purchasing advertising and all the other costs that come with these huge events (MAS-ICNA expected nearly 10,000 people) are not cheap. That’s where sponsors come in. Helping with this year’s event was the DISH Network and Turkish Airlines. Their logos are seen at the bottom of the convention home page and were printed on the bags given to attendees.

It’s unclear why the DISH Network would sponsor an event like this. You can click here to email them and ask them. Press them to commit to ending their financial support for future MAS-ICNA events.

Turkish Airlines at least has a customer base to target. Turkish Airlines donated two economy class plane tickets to the 2011 conference of American Muslims for Palestine but, contrary to original reports, decided against supporting the 2012 conference because of its “highly political nature.” Turkish Airlines should be encouraged to end its support for MAS-ICNA events as well. A proper email address was not found at its website, but a mailing address was found: Levent Selvili; Turkish Airlines; General Manager, Chicago; 455 N. Cityfront Plaza Dr., Ste. 2560; Chicago, IL 60611

Other MAS-ICNA convention sponsors include:

  • Islamic Relief USA, whose background we documented here. CEO Abed Ayoub promoted the conference in a videotaped message, referencing his charity’s long relationship with MAS and ICNA.
  • ICNA Relief USA, a part of ICNA. It was also one of the top two donors (along with ICNA Relief Canada) to the Al-Khidmat Foundation in August 2006 when the Pakistani Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami group said it was using the Foundation to give about $100,000 to Hamas.
  • Zakat Foundation of America, which has reportedly worked the terror-tied IHH group of Turkey. IHH is banned in Germany and the Netherlands.  Members of the U.S. Congress want to do the same. It has also worked with Muslim Hands, a member of the Hamas-linked Union of Good coalition led by Brotherhood spiritual leader Sheikh Qaradawi.
  • Life for Relief and Development (LIFE), an official of which was convicted for illegal dealings with the Saddam Hussein regime that included being paid by Iraqi intelligence. Its office was raided by the U.S. military in Iraq in 2004. According to the Investigative Project, LIFE has been involved with multiple Hamas-linked charities. For example, one of its employees used to be a fundraiser for the Holy Land Foundation, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity shut down for financing Hamas. In 2008, it was reported that some of LIFE’s staff were supporters of the Islamic Party of Iraq, a Brotherhood affiliate.
  • Baitul Maal, Inc. The 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo lists it as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.”
  • Zaytuna College, whose founders include Zaid Shakir and AMP chairman Hatem Bazian.
  • Iman Fund/Allied Assets Advisors, which shares its address with the North American Islamic Trust. NAIT was labeled an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation. The U.S. government says it is an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, a claim substantiated by the 1991 U.S. Brotherhood memo.  In 2009, a federal judge ruled that “ample” evidence linked NAIT to Hamas to justify the label.
  • Mercy-USA. The chairperson of the Board of Directors is Iman Elkadi, the widow of Ahmed Elkadi, the former president of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood from 1984 to 1994. Its leadership has denied being connected to Mercy International, a group tied to Al-Qaeda.
  • Dar El Salam Travel.
  • IQRAA International Channel.
  • Azzad Funds.
  • Reach Media, Inc.

Multiple other groups and businesses paid for advertisements in the MAS-ICNA profile. One was the Mishkah Islamic University of North America, which was originally called the Sharia Academy of America when it started in 2004. It is an online university with an office in Cairo.

ClarionProject.org will be happy to post any response from the DISH Network or Turkish Airlines you receive explaining their sponsorship of this Islamist event.

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.