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News Analysis

Obama Official to Share Stage With Three Islamists

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by: 
Ryan Mauro

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, has announced that the U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Rashad Hussain, will be speaking at its banquet in Dallas on June 15. Hussain will share the stage with at least three Islamists with a record of incendiary rhetoric.

Hussain is the Obama Administration’s liaison to the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a coalition of Muslim countries that lobbies for the outlawing of "defamation" of religions. The event he is speaking at is ISNA’s South Central Conference, even though the group was labeled an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism-financing trial in U.S. history. U.S. Muslim Brotherhood documents identify ISNA as one of its fronts.

The keynote speaker for the event is Dr. Jamal Badawi. He is listed as an unindicted co-conspirator because he was a fundraiser for the Holy Land Foundation, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity that was shut down for financing Hamas. His name is listed in a 1992 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood phone directory.

In 1999, Badawi justified suicide bombings. Ten years later, he praised the “martyrs” of Hamas and in March 2010, he endorsed “combative jihad.” He is also closely linked to Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi.

According to the program, he will be teaching about Sharia and speaking on a panel themed, “Fostering Healthy Environment for Muslim Families.” He’s a peculiar choice for the panel, because an article titled "Does Islam Allow Wife-Beating?" quotes him and a former ISNA president. Badawi says a “gentle tap on the body, but never on the face” is permissible when “a wife persists in bad habits and showing contempt of her husband and disregard for her marital obligations.”

Imam Siraj Wahhaj, a very radical cleric with a history of anti-American preaching, is also listed as an invited speaker. He has been recorded saying “America is the most wicked government on the face of the planet Earth,” and “If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.” Wahhaj was named as a possible co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Another speaker is Dr. Yusuf Ziya Kavakci, a long-time member of ISNA’s leadership. He was the imam of the Dallas Central Mosque, which a 1999 article says “is considered to be one of the most active centers of Hamas activity in the United States and hosts … the primary conduits for Hamas activity and fundraising in the United States.” He will be speaking during the opening introduction, leading a prayer, and teaching about Sharia alongside Badawi.

Hussain’s latest speaking engagement should bring renewed attention to his affiliations with U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities. In a 2008 study he co-authored, Hussain argues for “the potential interest in detaching the counterterrorism message from the rhetoric of freedom and democracy.” The “first and foremost task is not the explicit promotion of freedom and democracy per se, but the promotion of mainstream Islam,” he writes.

He argues against confronting the Islamist ideology. He writes that if promoting Western values is “interpreted as a mandate for secularism, hostility to Islamic law, and the promotion of freedoms such as the right to negatively depict holy figures, then winning the battle of ideas will become nearly impossible.”

The solution, he says, is to make alliances with Muslims “not limited to those who advocate Western-style democracy, and avoid creating a dichotomy between freedom and Islamic society.”

In other words, don’t undertake an offensive against the Islamist ideology that would inevitably pit the U.S. against the Muslim Brotherhood and its legacy groups here in America. No wonder why ISNA, one such legacy group, is so happy to have him speak at their event.

 

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