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News Analysis

Nothing Moderate About ISNA's Conference Line-Up

Sun, August 25, 2013

Zaid Shakir, a frequent speaker at Islamist events, is one of the featured speakers at the ISNA conference.

Zaid Shakir, a frequent speaker at Islamist events, is one of the featured speakers at the ISNA conference.

by: 
Ryan Mauro

On August 30 to September 2, Muslims from across the country will go to Washington D.C. for the Islamic Society of North America’s 50th annual convention. There, they will receive instruction about political activism and Allah’s will from notorious Islamists known for their support for Hamas and advocating for Sharia-based governance.

But you wouldn’t know it based on the conference’s theme of “Envisioning a More Perfect Union: Building the Beloved Community,” or that the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA, is a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity.

ISNA and several of its components are listed as Muslim Brotherhood organizations in a once-secret 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo that defines the Muslim Brotherhood’s “work in America as a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”

The U.S. government also labeled ISNA an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorism-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a U.S. Brotherhood entity housed within ISNA that was shut down for financing Hamas.

The current conference includes strategizing sessions for ISNA “constituent organizations” called the Muslim Youth of North America, the Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers and the Muslim Students Association. All three are identified as Brotherhood fronts in the 1991 memo.

ISNA portrays itself as a moderate organization so well that it is the primary liaison between the Muslim community and the White House’s Office of Public Engagement. ISNA’s roster of speakers tells a different story about the group’s credentials as a “moderate.”

A look at the teachers selected to lead the Muslim-American community shows ISNA’s Islamist agenda and raises the question why so-called “moderates” like former Bush Administration official Suhail Khan and Muslim politicians like Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) are taking part.

Zaid Shakir:  The Clarion Project’s documentation of Shakir’s extremism is exhaustive. Most recently, we reported on how Shakir preached that the U.S. Constitution is inferior to Sharia Law because it grants equality to non-Muslims.

Shakir will be teaching eight sessions at the conference on topics including civil rights, the “Fear Factor” (Islamophobia) and the vision for the Muslim-American community over the next 50 years. One is specifically devoted to the Zaytuna College that he founded in California.

Imam Mohamed Magid: He is the President of ISNA and Executive Director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center, which had its offices raided as part of a terrorism-financing investigation in 2002.

In 2004, he reacted to the U.S. government’s investigation into U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities by accusing elements of the U.S. government of being “intent on dismantling Muslim organizations and bringing them down.”

Magid is leading seven sessions on a variety of topics, including the ummah, marriage and religious minorities in the Muslim world.

Yasir Qadhi: He is a Salafist preacher from the Al-Maghrib Institute. He says that “Allah destroys this [American] version of capitalism” and that the U.S. economic system enslaves millions. He also preaches against man-made law and in favor of Sharia law. There is also disturbing audio from him justifying the persecution of Christians and Jews under an Islamic State.

He is teaching seven sessions, most of which are about the Muslim Students Association. One is about how citizens on campuses can become “game changers” and another is titled, “Why Are You Just Standing There?”

Tariq Ramadan: He is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood and the son of a major Brotherhood leader in Europe. A Norwegian documentary about the Brotherhood by an Iraqi Muslim includes an interview with a senior Brotherhood leader. He is asked whether Ramadan is part of the organization.

“He thinks he is using the Muslim Brothers’ perspective and he’s convinced of the Muslim Brothers’ ideology, but he spreads the word in his own way. We give people the freedom to express their understanding exactly the way they want,” the Brotherhood leader answers.

In April 2010, he said that the Iraqi and Palestinian resistance is “legitimate” but you cannot target innocents and civilians, justifying attacks on U.S. and Israeli soldiers.

Ramadan is teaching six sessions, including one about the Muslim Students Association.

Suhaib Webb: He is the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. His mosque is run by the Muslim American Society, which federal prosecutors say was “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”

The Center’s parent organization, the Islamic Society of Boston, has significant Muslim Brotherhood ties and was attended by the Boston bombers. There is video of Webb preaching that homosexuals are cursed.

He is teaching six sessions, including one about “crisis communication” and another about the Muslim Students Association.

Siraj Wahhaj: The Clarion Project has reported extensively on the barely-concealed extremism of Siraj Wahhaj. He has tempered down his language a bit since 9/11, but the message is the same. In 2011, he warned a Muslim audience that “The trap we fall into is having a premature discussion about Sharia when we are not there yet.”

There are many incriminating quotes from Wahhaj to choose from. For example, he said in 1992, “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.”

ISNA is using him to teach five sessions, including ones about activism and one about how the Muslim Students Association can “Rise Up as One.”

Hamza Yusuf: He is an extremely influential preacher with a history of incendiary anti-American and anti-Semitic rhetoric, some of which has disavowed. He is a co-founder of Zaytuna College with Zaid Shakir and another Islamist radical.

Yusuf has lamented “what happened in the 19th century with the abdication of Islamic Law and the usurpation of its place by Western legal systems.”

Yusuf is leading six sessions, with topics including the Muslim Students Association, immoral influences on Muslim youth and Zaytuna College.

Ingrid Mattson: She is a former President of ISNA. She is on the Council of Scholars of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity in Virginia that had its offices raided by federal agents in 2002. Zaid Shakir’s website has an endorsement of his theology from Mattson.

The Clarion Project has reported on how the International Institute of Islamic Thought has an official who characterizes the U.S. military and government as terrorists and is Islamizing Bosnia. The group is partnering with U.S. universities and colleges.

A 1988 FBI memo quotes a source inside the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network warning that IIIT was set up as a front to “institute the Islamic Revolution in the United States” and one of the methods is to “peacefully get inside the United States government and also universities.”

Mattson is teaching four sessions, including one about the history of the Muslim-American community.

Muzammil Siddiqi: He is a founder of ISNA and was its President from 1997 to 2000. In 1996, he advocated the Islamist doctrine of gradualism, saying that Muslims “should participate in the [democratic] system to safeguard our interest and try to bring gradual change for the right cause … We must not forget that Allah’s rules have to be established in all lands, and all our efforts should lead to that direction.”

In 2001, Siddiqi explained that he hoped that Sharia Law, including its criminal justice system, would come to America. He said, “The criminal of the Sharia is not practiced here and it is not even required for Muslims to practice the criminal law in a non-Islamic state…Once more people accept Islam, insha’allah, this will lead to the implementation of Sharia in all areas.”

Siddiqi is teaching four sessions, including one about the history of the Muslim-American community. In another, he is presented as an Islamic scholar with the Fiqh Council of North America.

Jamal Badawi: Badawi was listed as a member of ISNA’s Board of Directors until recently. He is personally listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial and is a founder of the Muslim American Society, another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. His name is listed as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood official in an internal document from 1992.

His history includes endorsing suicide bombings and “combative jihad” and praising Hamas as “martyrs.” He is also close to Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi.

Badawi is leading three sessions, with one about raising the next generation. In another, he is presented as an Islamic scholar with the Fiqh Council of North America.

Zahra Billoo: She is the leader of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial. A 2007 court filing notes CAIR’s private agreement to use deception to conceal its links to terrorists and extremists.

Her CAIR chapter honors anti-American Islamists and has instructed Muslims not to talk to the FBI. She also has written tweets supporting Hamas and the destruction of Israel.

She is teaching two sessions, one about young activists and the other about “crisis communication.”

Ahmed Bedier: He is a former CAIR official who now leads his own organization. Joe Kaufman exposed more of his background in June, including his brother’s admiration for Osama Bin Laden.

In the Clarion Project documentary, The Third Jihad, Bedier is seen being asked about CAIR’s position on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization. He refuses to answer.

Bedier is teaching two sessions on political activism and social media.

Naeem Baig: He is the President of the Islamic Circle of North America, another group identified as a Brotherhood organization in the once-secret 1991 memo. Its parent organization, Jamaat-e-Islami, was recently banned from elections in Bangladesh. ICNA’s annual conferences, held jointly with the Muslim American Society, are also filled with Islamist speakers.

He will be teaching two sessions about compassion and charity.

Sayyid Syeed: He is the former Secretary-General of ISNA and the current director of ISNA’s Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances. He was recorded in 2006 stating, “Our job is to change the constitution of America.”

He is teaching two sessions, including one about the history of the Muslim-American community.

Shaker Elsayed: He is the imam of the radical Dar al-Hijrah mosque that is strongly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Court documents also show Elsayed is connected to the Brotherhood. In January, he was caught on videotape advocating armed jihad at a high school.

He will be teaching one session about following the example of Islam’s founder, Mohammed.

Johari Abdul-Malik: He is the Outreach Director of the radical Dar al-Hijrah Mosque. He is teaching two sessions, including one about marriage, even though a 2007 U.S. government document says his mosque “has also been associated with encouraging fraudulent marriages.”

Corey Saylor: He is the National Legislative Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He is teaching a session about “crisis communications;” a peculiar choice given his awkward and revealing response in The Third Jihad when asked to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations.

Saffet Catovic: He used to be the New York representative of Benevolence International, a charity shut down for its involvement with Al-Qaeda. In 1992, he spoke at an Islamic Association for Palestine conference, a pro-Hamas front for the Muslim Brotherhood. He stated in his address that the “long-range” goal is resurrecting the Caliphate. He also spoke at a military-themed “Jihad Camp” in 2001.

He will be teaching one session about environmentalism.

Yahya Hendi: In 2003, he testified on behalf of Sami al-Arian, who was later convicted of being a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. He is also an admitted Brotherhood member. During his questioning, Hendi said that suicide bombings are justified in Islam.

He will be teaching a session about dealing with stress while in college.

Abed Ayoub: The Clarion Project broke the story in January about how his organization, Islamic Relief USA, has at least four officials linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Israeli government has also accused IRUSA’s parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide, of being involved with Hamas.

He will be teaching one session about compassion.

Hisham al-Talib: He is a co-founder of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity that a confidential source warned the FBI in 1988 sought to “institute the Islamic Revolution in the United States.” He is the group’s current Finance Director.

He used to work for the Al-Taqwa Bank run by senior Muslim Brotherhood member Youssef Nada. He was reportedly identified by the FBI as an Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood member before he came to the U.S. The IIIT website has a photo of him meeting with Egyptian President Morsi in New York on September 24, 2012.

He is teaching one session about the ummah.

 

Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.