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Monday, August 25, 2008

President of Unindicted Co-Conspirator in Holy Land Foundation Trial To Speak At Democratic Convention

Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, is among those religious leaders invited to speak at the Democratic Convention.

The reaction of the media appears disingenuous at best:
But ISNA isn't without its detractors.

It has been a frequent target of attacks from bloggers and authors who specialize in criticizing Muslim groups. [emphasis mine]
There really is nothing like unbiased investigative reporting--it is all well and good to note that the ISNA has condemned 'terrorism', but the question is whether they condemn all terrorism.

Steve Emerson wrote in August 2007:
ISNA has never condemned terrorist groups like HAMAS or Hizballah by name. More notably, in June of 1997, two and a half years after HAMAS was officially designated as a terrorist organization by the United States government (and long after common sense and reality indicated as such), top HAMAS official Mousa Abu Marzook thanked ISNA (and several other U.S.-based Islamist and “civil rights” organizations), writing that ISNA supported him through his “ordeal” – Marzook had been detained at JFK airport in 1995 and arrested and the Israelis were seeking his extradition. Marzook wrote that ISNA’s efforts had “consoled” him.
And ISNA's actions have not been altogether passive:
Additionally, evidence has been introduced during the HLF trial which further exposes ISNA’s claim of “unqualified condemnation of all acts of terrorism” as lies, at the same time, undercutting HLF’s innocent claims that the organization only assisted impoverished widows and orphans, and establish long-standing ISNA ties to HAMAS. Exhibits entered into evidence a few days ago at the HLF trial include an expense voucher from the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), an ISNA subsidiary, made out for $10,000 in the name of Musa Abu Marzook, as well as a check drawn on a NAIT account in the same amount made out to Marzook. Another check for $10,000 on the same account was made out to Marzook’s wife, Nadia Elashi. Another check for $30,000 was made out to the Islamic University of Gaza (and has Shukri Abu Baker/OLF written on the memo line), a school long known to be controlled by HAMAS, and which counted such notables as former HAMAS leader Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantissi and current HAMAS leader Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahar as professors, and the recently deposed HAMAS Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is a former dean of the University.
Emerson is not alone. In January of this year, The Jewish Week carried a letter to Rabbi Eric Yoffie, who also had claimed that ISNA was a moderate Muslim group with which he wanted to form an alliance. The letter was from a number of moderate Muslims who pointed out, in part:
We do not presume to judge the political or theological outlook of Rabbi Yoffie or his organization, except with regard to his and their comments about Islam. We, however, know the Muslim community, worldwide and in North America, and we do not recognize or otherwise support ISNA as a legitimate representative of mainstream Islamic believers in the West.

...ISNA, which URJ has accepted, apparently uncritically, as a “partner,” has a long history of association with extremist trends in Islam. ISNA has served as a front group for Wahhabism, the official sect in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the jihadist ideologies originating in Pakistan with the writings of a certain Mawdudi and the Deoband schools in that country — the latter of which produced the Afghan Taliban, and the Ikhwan al-Muslimun, or Muslim Brotherhood.
The letter is signed by:
  • Nawab Agha, president, American Muslim Congress
  • Omran Salman, director, Aafaq Foundation
  • Kemal Silay, president, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, executive director, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Salim Mansur, Canadian director, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Jalal Zuberi, Southern U.S. director, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Imaad Malik, fellow, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • M. Zuhdi Jasser, president, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
  • Sheikh Ahmed Subhy Mansour, president, International Quranic Center
As in the case of Abbas, here too in the case of ISNA, the term 'moderate' appears to be one of convenience, empty of any real meaning.

It is only natural that Obama would want to take advantage of the Democratic Convention as an opportunity to reestablish his bona fides with the Muslim community, but Obama's inability to discern moderate Muslims from radicals demonstrates a serious lack of judgement, and one more troubling example of the kind of company he keeps.

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