This Labor Day weekend, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice will be paying the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) to have a booth at its 44th Annual Convention.
Ironically, ISNA, along with NAIT (North American Islamic Trust), an organ of ISNA, were recently named unindicted co-conspirators in DOJ’s criminal case against the Holy Land Foundation (HLF). The Holy Land Foundation is an Islamic "charity" whose assets were frozen by President Bush because it was giving money to Hamas. The trial is taking place in Texas at this very moment.
There has been some debate about whether or not it is a wise thing for DOJ to make an appearance at the ISNA convention. If you look at ISNA’s website at a glance, it appears to be a "mainstream", even "moderate" Islamic organization, whose main objective is to ensure the civil rights of Muslim Americans, and to engage in educational and charitable works. A cursory internet search of some of the board members might even provide the impression that its leadership is very involved in humanitarian works, and trying hard to "bridge the gap" between Islam and other faiths.
However, a closer look at ISNA reveals the following. ISNA is a Wahabbi organization which preaches Shari'a law. All of its affiliations are also Wahabbi: Council on American Relations (CAIR), Muslim Student Association (MAS), etc. It is Saudi funded and physically controls 50-80 percent of North American mosques. It distributes huge quantities of Wahabbi literature and has a large presence in the United States and Canada. In 2003, the Senate Finance Committee, with Charles Grassley (Republican) as Chair and Max Baucus (Democrat) as Ranking Member, listed the ISNA as one of 25 American Muslim organizations that finance terrorism.
Mike Waller, expert from Institute for World Politics, testified in front of Senator Jon Kyls' Judiciary subcommittee in 2003 that the ISNA has links to terrorism. It also helps train Wahabbi imams, and unfortunately is one of the theological organizations imbued with the authority to approve Muslim clerics for the US military. It was established by the Muslim Students Association, which was started by Alamoudi, who now sits in jail, having been convicted of terrorism-related charges subsequent to trial. ISNA is also very active in "Da'wa" (spreading the faith and converting people).
Past ISNA President Muzammil Siddiqi founded the "Fiqh Council" -- a group of imams who are supposed to be experts on Islamic jurisprudence. Along with CAIR, they signed a phony fatwa which allegedly condemned terrorism generally, but which was grossly flawed. Oddly enough, that same Fiqh Council was also raided by the FBI during the Green Quest raids -- the largest terrorism related raid ever to take place in America. This is the same raid through which the FBI discovered HLF’s Hamas ties. To make matters worse, Siddiqi has openly stated that he hopes one day the U.S. will be a theocracy ruled by Shari'a law.
Siraj Wahhaj, a board member for ISNA is a black convert to Islam. Both he and Siddiqi are slated to speak at this year’s convention. Wahhaj started a Wahabbi mosque in Brooklyn, New York, which hosted Sheik Abdul Rachman, otherwise known as the "blind sheik," who helped plot the 1993 WTC attack. Wahhaj is an unindicted co-conspirator for the 1993 World Trade Center attack, and indeed he testified on Rachman's behalf during his trial. Despite Wahhaj’s testimony, Rachman was convicted of terrorism charges and is currently in jail serving his sentence. Wahhaj is also on the board of CAIR. Both ISNA and CAIR signed a statement criticizing Bush for freezing the HLF assets arguing that it’s wrong for the Administration to prevent people from giving money to Palestinian orphans (in other words, funding suicide bombers). Both organizations also criticized the jailing of Sami Al-Arian, who is currently in jail having pled guilty to terrorist related charges regarding the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Al-Arian also founded the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), which is the daughter organization of the Holy Land Foundation. IAP was also affiliated with InfoCom, another organization raided by the FBI during the Green Quest raids.
Also scheduled to speak at the convention is Sheik Hamza Yusuf. Though he originally served as an advisor to President Bush (as did Alamoudi and Al-Arian), he proved not to be the "moderate" Muslim that he appeared to be. Indeed, the FBI came knocking on the door of his house to investigate him for terrorist ties on the exact day that he was meeting with Bush at the White House. Imagine their surprise.
It is probably a fair bet that a good percentage of the convention’s speakers are far from being "moderate" Muslims. The ISNA convention always has a huge turnout and will be filled with numerous Muslim organizations which have booths there. And, the Holy Land Foundation used to be one of them.
So, perhaps the ISNA is reaching out to "bridge the gap" between themselves and other Muslims as well as people of other faiths. But it is clear that they intend to do so by converting people to their way of thinking and through providing false impressions, rather than by promoting true tolerance on the part of radical Islamists. DOJ should not be "reaching out" to help ISNA in this effort.