Starting December 21st, Rosemont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, will play host to two organizations tied to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the inspiration for so many of the world’s worst terror groups. The organizations, the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), have an extremist history of their own. Soon Chicago, December 2007, will become a part of that history, as the Hyatt Regency O’Hare packs in thousands of Muslims that refuse to speak out against those that use their religion as a means to commit violence.
Most people in America are unaware of the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is not just an overseas group – that it’s here in America, as well. Indeed the group has had a presence in the United States starting in the 1950s. MAS was established in 1992, because MB leaders thought that previously created American MB groups were becoming too assimilated into Western society. ICNA was founded in 1971 as an embodiment of MB Pakistan or Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).
Both MAS and ICNA use the internet to spread violent forms of bigotry. MAS is currently propagating material via the internet calling for the murder of Jews and the waging of war against non-Muslims, while ICNA runs a website, Why Islam (WI), where WI leaders and members target Jews and discuss the merits of Hamas and Hezbollah.
Also, both MAS and ICNA have had individuals involved in their organizations that are serving prison sentences after having been charged with terrorist activity. Randall Todd “Ismail” Royer, the former Communications Director for MAS, was convicted of conspiring with Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT), an Al-Qaeda related group, to attack Americans and Indians overseas. And four members of the ICNA-related ‘Houston Taliban’ were charged with jihad training with firearms for the purpose of joining the Taliban to, as well, attack Americans overseas; so far, three of the four have been found guilty.
Furthermore, ICNA has been involved in terror financing. When the Al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF), a Pakistani “charity” run by JI, gave $99 thousand to the head of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, in August of 2006, ICNA was the group’s top donor. As well, shortly before and shortly after the attacks of 9/11, the Southeast division of ICNA (ICNA-SE) was soliciting funds for Al-Qaeda related groups via the web.
None of the above has raised any eyebrows in Chicago, as the city will be opening its arms to MAS and ICNA for their 6th Annual Convention, commencing on December 21st and ending December 25th. Included in the gathering, much like all of the groups’ past conventions, will be a large list of the country’s most outspoken Islamic radicals. This year’s event features:
- Jamal Badawi. Badawi was named by the U.S. government as an “Unindicted Co-conspirator” for the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial that began in July, which dealt with millions of dollars in fundraising for Hamas. Badawi has authored a book entitled Gender Equity in Islam, in which he justifies the beating of women by their husbands.
- Jamal Said. Said is the imam of the Mosque Foundation, located in Bridgeview, Illinois, an Islamic center with ties to Hamas. Said served as the Treasurer of the Al Aqsa Educational Fund, an entity identified by the FBI as a Hamas “charitable” front. Said, like Badawi, was also named as an “Unindicted Co-conspirator” for the HLF trial.
- Raed Tayeh. Tayeh is a former Executive Board Member of the Chicago chapter of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), the now defunct American propaganda wing of Hamas. In November 2001, Tayeh was fired from his job as a Congressional aide to then-U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney, when a letter of his was published by a newspaper accusing Jewish lawmakers of exhibiting inappropriate loyalty to the State of Israel.
- Zulfiqar Ali Shah. Shah is the former South Asia Director of KindHearts, an Islamic “charity” that was shut down by the U.S. government in February 2006 for raising millions of dollars for Hamas. In a June 2001 article in Islam Online, Shah is quoted as saying, “If we are unable to stop the Jews now, their next stop is Yathrib (The Prophet's city of Medina), where the Jews used to live until their expulsion by Prophet Muhammad (SAW). That’s the pinnacle of their motives.”
While MAS and ICNA are portrayed in the media as “mainstream” and “moderate,” their involvement in extremist activity makes them anything but. They are groups that openly promote violent organizations and propagate hate towards non-Muslims. This is evidenced in the type of speakers they invite to their events; in the way they use the internet to spread radical Islam; and in their members’ direct involvement with terrorist groups. Yet, regardless of this, MAS and ICNA have built up a tremendous following.
When the American public asks why Muslims haven't mobilized against the radicals in their community, one only has to look upon the MAS ICNA convention, where thousands of Muslims in attendance will be turning a blind eye to violence in the name of their religion. The theme they are using for this year's event is “Islam Universal Message & Universal Values.” If the Islam that is portrayed by MAS and ICNA - one that is violent and intolerant of others - truly is the religion's universal message and values, then there can be no place for it in our society or anywhere else.
However, if the religion of MAS, ICNA and the Muslim Brotherhood is a false expression of Islam, then Muslims of good conscious need to come out from hiding, stand up and say so - loud and clear - so that all in their community, radical and otherwise, hear their voices. “Chicago beware!”