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Islamist Organization Profile

Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)

by: 
Ryan Mauro

Year Formed: 1968

Website: www.ICNA.org

2010 Revenue: $2,767,416 (ICNA) and $4,289,732 (ICNA Relief USA)

Headquarters: 166-26 89th Ave., Jamaica, NY 11432

ICNA describes itself as a “leading grass roots organization which seeks to obtain the pleasure of Allah (SWT) through working for the establishment of Islam in all spheres of life. ICNA has many projects, programs, and activities which are designed to help in the process of molding the individual and reforming society at large.”[2]

An ICNA teaching guide produced by its Chicago Tarbiyah Department is explicitly subversive in nature. It instructs Muslims to wage jihad until the entire globe is brought under Sharia. Muslims are told to challenge non-Muslim governments to move in a more Sharia-compliant direction and to support Muslims waging jihad abroad against the enemies of Islam.

It advocates the use of deception and advises to“work in public but organize in secret.” It specifically says not to disclose its "strategies, plans and organization."

It draws from Muslim Brotherhood teachings and envisions the day when “capitalist democracy will shudder at the thought of defending itself even in Washington and New York"[2a]

ICNA says it was established by South Asians in 1968 but wasn’t formally called ICNA until November 1977.[3] The organization has been accused of being a front for the Pakistani Islamist group, Jamaat-e-Islami.

An article in the October 1996 issue of ICNA’s Message International publication stated, “Using the organizational development methodology of [Jamaat-e-Islami founder] Maulana Mawdudi and the Jamaat Al-Islami of Pakistan, which lays special emphasis on spiritual development, ICNA has developed a strong foundation.”[4]

ICNA’s logo is identical to that of Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing.[5] In 2007, it was noticed that the ICNA website was registered to the now-defunct website, farrukh.net, a mirror page of Jamaat-e-Islami’s media branch.[6] The registrant email for ICNA’s website, which includes the word “farrukh,” remains the same.[7]

Former ICNA President and Secretary-General Ashrafuzzaman Khan was formally charged with war crimes by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal in October 2012. He is accused of being the “chief executioner” in at least 18 political assassinations in 1971. He belonged to Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing and moved to New York to work for ICNA after Bangladesh became independent.[8]

In 2013-2014, ICNA pressured the U.S. government to force Bangladesh to stop its prosecutions of Jamaat-e-Islami leaders for war crimes. When Ghulam Azam was executed for atrocities committed during the 1971 war for independence from Pakistan, ICNA depicted him as an innocent victim of political persecution. Some Muslims expressed their outrage at ICNA on their website and said the action proves it is not a legitimately moderate organization.[8a]

In 1990, the deputy-chief of Jamaat-e-Islami and a senior Hamas official spoke at ICNA’s conference.[9] In July 2000, ICNA held a meeting with a rival Islamic organization to try to mend fences. A press release after the event was published on a Middle Eastern website and stated, “Jamaat-e-Islami’s supporters have an organization in America known as ICNA.” The president of Jamaat-e-Islami represented ICNA at the meeting. [10]

The document stated that the president called for joint “participation in Jihad” in Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, southern Sudan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere. The “Hindu Brahmins and Zionist Jews” were specifically named as enemies. He said that “Islam must be translated into political dominance” and “the sword and the Quran go together.”[11]

In August 2006, Jamaat-e-Islami said it dispatched a delegation from its Al-Khidmat Foundation to deliver a “special message” as well as about $100,000 to a senior Hamas leader. At that time, the Al-Khidmat Foundation’s top two donors were ICNA Relief USA and ICNA Relief Canada. A third ICNA charity, Helping Hand, was also listed as a donor.[12] Notably, the website of ICNA’s Southeast Zone linked to the websites of Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups until November 2002, over a year after the 9/11 attacks. The website also promoted a Hamas front, the Islamic Society in Gaza, as a charity.[13]

A 1989, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Financial Committee document instructs participants to contact “all the Islamic centers and groups in the field,” naming ICNA as one of them.[14] A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memorandum, presented by the FBI in the Holy Land terror financing trial, that says its “work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within” identifies ICNA as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” The document twice refers to positive meetings with “the brothers” in ICNA “in an attempt to reach a unity of merger.”

ICNA’s 2010 handbook laid out a five-level strategy to achieve a “united Islamic state, governed by an elected khalifah (caliph) in accordance with the laws of sharia (Islamic law).” The five levels are: Individual, Family, Societal, State, Global. The handbook references numerous Islamist authors, including Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi and Jamaat-e-Islami founder Maulana Maududi. [15]

ICNA President Zahid Bukhari praised the anti-Semitic former Prime Minister of Turkey, Necmettin Erbakan, when he died in February 2011. He called him a “visionary and brilliant leader of Turkey’s Islamist movement who devoted his entire life to creating a more peaceful and just world.” He recalled that Erbakan gave an “inspiring speech” at ICNA headquarters in 1996, translated by future Islamist Turkish President Gul.[16]

The chairman of the ICNA Council for Social Justice is Imam Khalid Griggs. He is also the imam of the Community Mosque of Winston-Salem in North Carolina. [17] He was involved with the Islamic Party of North America in the 1970s,[18] which says it follows “a revolutionary Islam” that follows in the footsteps of Jamaat-e-Islami founder Maulana Maududi, Iranian regime founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Muslim Brotherhood cleric Sayyid Qutb and former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi.[19]

ICNA events regularly feature radical speakers[20] and reading material[21] that contradict[22] its moderate image. Its annual conferences are held jointly with the Muslim American Society (MAS). Their 2012 conference featured at least 10 prominent Islamist speakers, many of which have ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and have expressed support for Hamas and acts of terrorism.[23]

In 2001, then-ICNA President Zulfiqar Ali Shah instructed the audience to chant with him in Arabic, “Our way, our way, is jihad, jihad.” He explained that he was referring to “our mujahideen brothers and sisters in Kashmir” and Palestine, and stated, “We stand for them and we are for their support and for the victory.”[24]

The MAS-ICNA conference in 2002 included a speaker essentially telling Muslim-Americans to follow the Brotherhood doctrine of gradualism. He said, “We may all feel emotionally attached to the goal of an Islamic state [in America]” but “We mustn’t cross hurdles we can’t jump yet.”[25] Another speaker said, “So now the occupiers [Israel] are whining to the U.S. that they are being hit back, that they are getting burned once in a while, that the settlers are being set aflame. Let them burn. I say let them burn.”[26]

ICNA President Bukhari says the notion that sharia is a threat to U.S. democracy is a “preposterous claim” because sharia requires obeying the law and “a radical form of sharia will never be instated in the U.S., both because Muslim Americans are not calling for it and because our legal system prevents it from happening.”[27]

In 2007, ICNA Secretary General Muhammad Naeem Baig said at the group’s convention that it is a “U.S.-based Islamic organization. We have no relations-no links-to any organization or any country outside the United States.”[28]

A Gallup poll published in 2011 found that 2% of Muslim-American males and 0% of females picked ICNA when asked which Muslim-American organization most represents their interests. [29]

In September 2013, ICNA President Naeem Baig endorsed a letter opposing the Islamic State terrorist group’s tactics, but endorsed Sharia governance’s brutal hudud punishments, the recreation of a caliphate and the Islamist doctrine of gradualism. It even implied that journalists that are viewed as dishonest as acceptable targets for violence.[30]

 

 


[1] Address as of January 1, 2013, as seen on the “Contact Us” page of the ICNA website. http://www.icna.org/contact-us/

[2] “Contact Us,” ICNA website, http://www.icna.org/contact-us/

[2a] Mauro, Ryan. “’Mainstream’ Muslim Org. Puts Out Jihadi Educational Guide,” Clarion Project, April 1, 2014. http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/mainstream-muslim-org-puts-out-jihadi-educational-guide

[3] “About ICNA,” ICNA website, http://www.icna.org/about-icna/

[4] Screenshot of the “Beyond Malcolm” article by Amir al-Islam, Americans Against Hate, http://www.americansagainsthate.org/Beyond_Malcolm.html.

[5] Screenshots comparing the two logos can be seen at the Americans Against Hate website, http://www.americansagainsthate.org/ICNA_BICS_logo.html.

[6] Kaufman, Joe. “Helping Hand to Hamas,” FrontPage Magazine, May 15, 2007. http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=26552

[7] According to WhoIs.net, http://whois.net/whois/icna.org, accessed January 1, 2013.

[8] Mauro, Ryan. “Former Pres. Of ICNA to Be Charged With War Crimes,” ClarionProject.org, October 24, 2012. http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/former-leader-icna-be-charged-war-crimes

[8a] Mauro, Ryan. “U.S. Brotherhood Group Mourns Death of Terror Leader,” October 29, 2014. http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/us-brotherhood-group-mourns-death-terror-leader

[9] “ICNA Relief Promotes Jihad Donations,” IPT News, May 2, 2012. http://www.investigativeproject.org/3562/icna-relief-promotes-jihad-dona...

[10] Ibid., Kaufman.

[11] “Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA),” Discover the Networks, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/printgroupProfile.asp?grpid=6380. The original CNS News story is no longer available.

[12] Ibid., Kaufman.

[13] “ICNA Relief Promotes Jihad Donations,” IPT News, May 2, 2012. http://www.investigativeproject.org/3562/icna-relief-promotes-jihad-dona...

[14] “Meeting Agenda of the Financial Committee,” February 18, 1989. Introduced into evidence during the trial of the Holy Land Foundation.

[15] “Hand Book Shows ICNA’s True Goals,” IPT News, December 6, 2010. http://www.investigativeproject.org/2373/hand-book-shows-icna-true-goals. The handbook can be seen at: http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/475.pdf#page=6

[16] “Prof. Necmettin Erbakan: ICNA Offers Condolences,” ICNA website,  February 28, 2011. http://www.icna.org/prof-necmettin-erbakan-icna-offers-condolences/

[17] “About ICNA Council for Social Justice,” ICNA Council for Social Justice website, http://icnacsj.org/about-us/

[18] “Imam Khalid Griggs,” Islamic Learning Foundation of Texas, http://www.ilftexas.org/imam-khalid-griggs/

[19] Al-Ahari. Muhammed A. Taking Islam to the Street: The Daw’ah of the Islamic Party of North America (Magribine Press: 2006). http://www.onlineislamicstore.com/b9452.html

[20] “ICNA’s Search for Radicalism Should Start Within,” IPT News, December 15, 2009. http://www.investigativeproject.org/1577/icnas-search-for-radicalism-sho...

[21] “ICNA Still Promotes Radical Texts,” IPT News, September 9, 2011. http://www.investigativeproject.org/3155/icna-still-promotes-radical-texts

[22] “ICNA’s Radicalization Continues,” IPT News, April 25, 2012. http://www.investigativeproject.org/3554/icna-radicalization-continues

[23] Mauro, Ryan. “American Islamist Conference Comes to Chicago,” ClarionProject.org, November 20, 2012. http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/another-american-islamist-conference-comes-chicago

[24] “ICNA Relief Promotes Jihad Donations,” IPT News, May 2, 2012. http://www.investigativeproject.org/3562/icna-relief-promotes-jihad-dona...

[25] Ibid., Ibid., Ahmed-Ullah, Roe and Cohen. “A Rare Look at Secretive Brotherhood in America.”

[26] “Let Them Burn,” December 26, 2002, Investigative Project on Terrorism, http://www.investigativeproject.org/229/let-them-burn.

[27] Bukhari, Dr. Zahid. “Attacking Shariah, Attacking Religious Freedom,” originally published in The Nation, reposted on ICNA website, August 14, 2012. http://www.icna.org/attacking-shariah-attacking-religious-freedom/

[28] Kaufman, Joe. “ICNA’s Evil Overseas Twin,” FrontPage Magazine, June 2, 2009. http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=35064

[29] Gallup Nightly Poll from January 1, 2008 to April 9, 2011.   http://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/153611/REPORT-Muslim-Americans-Faith-Freedom-Future.aspx

[30] Mauro, Ryan. “Muslim Leaders Sign Letter Against ISIS, But Endorse Sharia.” Clarion Project, October 1, 2014.  http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/muslim-leaders-sign-letter-agains...