In court documents filed at the end of May, a large number of groups and individuals were named by the U.S. government as co-conspirators involved in the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. Three of the organizations identified on the list were noteworthy, as they are, and have been for years, major components of the Muslim American community. Two of the three, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) are intimately connected. [The other org is CAIR.] But the group that was responsible for their existence was nowhere to be found on the list. The following gives reason for an amending of the documents.
The Muslim Students Association (MSA) was founded by members of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, in January of 1963. It was the first major project of the newly arrived Brotherhood immigrants, who numbered in the hundreds. Today, MSA chapters are found in most, if not all, of the leading universities throughout the United States and Canada.
Thirteen years after the MSA’s founding, in 1976, the Ikhwan was brought to Greater Israel, countering the influence of the largely secularized Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). [The Ikhwan, apart from its political component, was built on a strict, fundamentalist interpretation of the Islamic texts.] Leaders of Muslim Brotherhood – Palestine, Al-Jamiya Al-Islamia, comprised of such influential personalities as Ahmed Yassin, who was executed by the Israelis in March of 2004, and Abdullah Azzam, the mentor of Osama bin Laden and the father of the global jihad movement.
Other names for Muslim Brotherhood – Palestine include Islamic Society, Islamic Association and Islamic Congress. In 1987, at the onset of the Intifada (Uprising) against Israel, these aliases gave way to a vicious faction known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya (HAMAS). Years earlier, in 1979, another Ikhwan creation called Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was formed by a group of students in Egypt, who felt that the Brotherhood was not violent enough. Both of these fanatic-driven organizations, Hamas and PIJ, would play a colossal role in the structure of the Islamic movement within the United States.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an umbrella organization for Arab-oriented mosques and Islamic centers across the U.S. and Canada, was incorporated in the state of Indiana, in July of 1981. [The MSA was incorporated under the same address, 6555 South County Road 750 East in Plainfield, in August of 1971. The Holy Land Foundation (HLF), to which ISNA has been named a co-conspirator in the trial against, also shared the address.] However, according to the website of ISNA, it (ISNA) was created in 1963, which is essentially saying that it is the same organization as the MSA.
ISNA was established by the MSA with the help of one of PIJ’s founding students, Sami Al-Arian. Around the same time, Al-Arian was involved in the creation (with future Hamas leader, Mousa Abu Marzook) of another organization, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which was incorporated in the state of Illinois, in November of 1981. [Note the similarity in the two groups’ names with those of Hamas’s predecessor.] The IAP went on to become Hamas’s American propaganda arm.
In the fall of the same year, another Brotherhood entity opened its doors in Illinois – the Mosque Foundation, a.k.a. Bridgeview Mosque. [Both the IAP President, Rafiq Jaber, and the IAP Chairman, Sabri Samirah, would hold leadership positions within the mosque.] The foundation had begun long before, but in 1981, a non-profit organization called the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) had just created an Islamic centers division and had been handed the deed to the property.
NAIT has been touted on the web as “the first ever Muslim financial trust company.” Like ISNA, NAIT was a project of the MSA. It was founded in 1971 and was incorporated in Indiana, in May of 1973. The individuals listed on the incorporation papers, Jamal Barzinji and Hisham Al-Talib, were tied to Saudi billions. According to NAIT, it “provides protection and safeguarding for the assets of ISNA/MSA and other communities by holding their assets and real estate in ‘waqf’ [Islamic charitable endowments].” Contained within the “other communities” are a quarter to a half of all the mosques and Islamic centers within the United States – hundreds.
When NAIT got involved with the Mosque Foundation, it was a signal that the mosque had gone radical. Indeed, the mosques that are considered the most radical in our nation are controlled by NAIT. Additionally, NAIT controls Muslim children’s schools. That includes the Tampa, Florida school founded by Al-Arian, the Islamic Academy of Florida (IAF), which was incorporated in August of 1992. [The mailing address for IAF, 5910 E 130th Ave., is a NAIT office that is located a few doors down from the school.]
It is no coincidence that the two brainchildren of the MSA – ISNA and NAIT – turned out to be radical. That was the case with the MSA from its beginning, for that is the legacy that the Ikhwan has left on every group it has spawned. And that is the case today.
Much like the Brotherhood overseas, the MSA is set up using “Zonal” representatives. Both the U.S. and Canada have East and West Zones and conferences staged at each. At the MSA West Conference 2006, speeches were given about various subjects. One of those subjects dealt with Hamas, which had just won a large percentage of seats in the Palestinian Authority (PA) elections. During his lecture, entitled “Da’wah, Political Activism and Civil Rights: Elevating the Word of Allah in the campus and society,” Abdul Malik Ali, the imam of Masjid Al-Islam in Oakland, California, had the following to say:
“Last week, we were all feeling so good – we were all feeling so good – because of what happened with Hamas. [crowd: ‘Takbir – Allahu Akbar’] Now, it’s always dangerous for an Islamic movement to get involved in electorial politics. It is always dangerous. But you gotta admit, [crowd laughing] when Hamas won last week, didn’t you feel good about that? And then, didn’t you just think about the Yahood [Jews]? [crowd laughing] Because remember the Israeli government was trying so hard to destroy Hamas? Our beloved Sheikh Yassin was martyred. And then Sheikh Rantisi was martyred after him… And then, the Israelis tried all they could to instigate a civil war – tried to get the Palestinian Authority to attack Hamas, and they did, and Hamas bit. They bit; they said, ‘No, no, no, we ain’t fightin’ back. We ain’t fightin’ back.’ A brilliant move! A brilliant move, because there would have been a civil war. They said, ‘We’ll wait.’ That’s the Islamic movement. See, the Islamic movement is not planes going into buildings. That’s Yahoodi [the Jewish] movement. [crowd laughing] You know what I’m sayin’? That’s George Bush movement. [crowd laughing] You know what I’m saying? But the Islamic movement is not putting bombs in subways and so on and so forth – in London, so on and so forth – that type of thing. That’s not Islamic movement. When you look at Hamas and see what Hamas is doing, you say that’s Islamic movement! That’s what Islamic movement represents!”
Earlier this month, Malik Ali was a featured speaker at the 3rd Annual MSA West High School Conference. The theme was ‘Muslim Youth at the Crossroads.’ One can only imagine what he told his impressionable listeners.
Recently, the Pew Research Center conducted a poll, which showed that over a quarter of all American Muslims, between the ages of 18 and 29, believe that there is at least some justification for suicide bombings. In an article written about the poll, for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Ahmed Billoo, the outgoing President of the Muslim Student Association at California State University, Long Beach, admitted to being one of those believers. He stated, “Blowing yourself up is not something everyone can do or something that everyone has the courage to do. But don't get me wrong: I'm not saying we should all go around America doing that; Palestine is a different situation. There is a huge difference between saying we should do it and saying I'm going to be a suicide bomber. I just think it is something that Islam justifies.”
The trial dealing with the financing of Hamas, through the charity, Holy Land Foundation (HLF), is set to begin in less than one month, on July 16, 2007. When the federal government released its compiled list of co-conspirators or “unindicted co-conspirators,” it was obvious that those in charge did their homework. Nevertheless, one organization was glaringly missing from the list – the organization that was responsible for much of the terrorist-related Islam that has been built into the American Muslim infrastructure. That organization is the MSA.
It is this author’s wish for the prosecution to amend its list to include the MSA, as the group’s troubled history and present support for Hamas and terrorist-related activities is pivotal to the case against HLF and its representatives. To ignore this would not only do harm to the case, but it would give a green light to the creation of future ISNAs and NAITs, as well. One must always keep in mind, you can’t get rid of a disease by just attacking the symptoms.