When it comes to Islamic-oriented fanatical groups, the United States has a troubling uneven policy. On the one hand, groups such as Hamas and Al-Qaeda have been placed on the U.S. State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). On the other, the group that they originated from is mysteriously absent from the list. The following involves those groups mentioned already and their relation to a group located in America that has been allowed to exist for the past 36 years. It was written in hopes that those in power will find new reason to freeze the group’s funds and close it down.
Since its inception in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) has spawned numerous radical movements around the globe, all charged with the responsibility of spreading Islam, whether by pen or by sword. Those born out of the Iqwan all have a single goal in mind – the creation of an Islamic world order.
One of the organizations birthed from the Muslim Brotherhood is Hamas (Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya) or the Islamic Resistance Movement. Founded in 1987 during the onset of the intifada – the violent uprising of the Palestinians perpetrated against Israel – the group targets innocent civilians by such deranged means as suicide bombings. Because Hamas is on the State Department’s list, a number of American groups have been shut down for financing it. They include KindHearts, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), and the Global Relief Foundation (GRF).
If it can be concluded that others have been financing Hamas from America, one can assume that they would be shut down as well.
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) was founded in 1971, via the Muslim Students Association (MSA), as an umbrella group for South Asian-oriented mosques and Islamic centers. It also contains a youth division called Young Muslims (YM), a multimedia division called Sound Vision, a web information center called Why Islam, a magazine called The Message International, and charities which go by the names ICNA Relief and Helping Hand.
When ICNA was created, it was to act as the American counterpart to the Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). Indeed, if one looks at the web domain information for ICNA’s official website (as well as the site for Why Islam), he/she will find that the site is registered to farrukh.net, a former mirror (replica) site of JI’s media division. Today, farrukh.net is being used to showcase the works of Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Islahi, a Jamaat leader.
Further evidence of the connection between ICNA and JI is found in a July 2000 “Unity Meeting” that took place in New York between ICNA and its Baltimore-based rival, Jamaat al-Muslimeen. [pdf] Speaking for the side of ICNA, in his native language of Urdu, was none other than the President (Amir) of JI, Qazi Hussain Ahmad (who is still the head of JI). During the meeting, he stressed the need for “participation in Jihad;” he stated that “Islam must be translated into political dominance;” and he said that “the sword and the Quran go together…” His sharp rhetoric was not unusual, given his public support for the Taliban and his numerous get-togethers with Osama bin Laden.
While Ahmad’s communication with the head of Al-Qaeda is serious, his organization’s dealings with Hamas are much more damning. And ICNA’s involvement in this is apparent, as well.
Jamaat-e-Islami has a charity located in Karachi, Pakistan called the Al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF). AKF touts its work in such fields as: education, health care, and distribution of medical and food supplies. But these worthy initiatives stand in sharp contrast to the group’s recent aid to Hamas.
On August 17, 2006, JI announced on its website that AKF had presented a check for six-million rupees (the equivalent of $99 thousand U.S.) to Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas. In addition, JI stated that it “delivered a special message” from JI President Ahmad to Mashaal. The announcement went on to say, “Khalid Meshaal thanked Pakistani nation for sending the donation to the Palestinian brethren in this hour of need. Hamas leader assured the delegation that struggling Palestinians will not relinquish their just Jihad and continue to wage it until the First Qibla [Jerusalem] is liberated from Zionist yoke.”
In order to provide money to Hamas, AKF had to raise it. So the question becomes where did it get the money from? The answer is on AKF’s website, where the charity lists its donors. ICNA Relief USA and ICNA Relief Canada are its two top donors. ICNA’s Helping Hand is also on the list. Additionally, the Al-Khidmat Welfare Society (AKWS), AKF’s sister organization, lists ICNA Relief and Helping Hand as “partner” organizations (along with their logos), out of a list of only three organizations, the final one being Muslim Aid UK, a London-based JI charity.
As stated in the beginning of this piece, providing material support to Hamas, a State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, is illegal and has led to the closures of a number of American Muslim groups. Given the admission by Jamaat-e-Islami that it has provided significant funds to Hamas through its charity Al-Khidmat Foundation and given that ICNA, the American affiliate of JI, is the top donor of AKF, does that not conclude that ICNA should be shut down as well?