February 20, 2006 proved to be an eventful day for the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at The Ohio State University. Not only did that date mark the conclusion of their weekend-long “Leaders of Tomorrow” conference, but that was also the day that their conference sponsor, Kindhearts, was raided by federal law enforcement and closed by order of the Department of the Treasury for financing terrorism, freezing its assets.
According to the US government, Kindhearts, which was established following the closure of the Holy Land Foundation and the Global Relief Foundation, was not only engaged in providing millions for HAMAS in Lebanon and the West Bank, it had hired as a fundraising specialist the man identified by HAMAS head Khaled Mishal as the designated HAMAS bag man in the US, Mohammed El-Mezain. (For additional background on Kindhearts and its multiple connections to the international terrorism finance network, see Joe Kaufman’s FrontPage article, “The Black Hearts of Kindhearts”)
Kindhearts, however, was not the only terror-connected sponsor of the OSU MSA conference. Also supporting the MSA’s conference was its local parent organization, Masjid Omar Ibn El-Khattab, known affectionately in the Central Ohio area as “Masjid Al-Qaeda”. The mosque nearby the OSU campus was home to the largest known Al-Qaeda cell in the US since 9/11, with two former members – Iyman Faris and Nuradin Abdi – already convicted and serving prison terms for their participation, and another cell member – Christopher Paul – currently awaiting trial.
The third identified sponsor of the MSA conference, Ilmquest Productions, is the media arm of the Al-Maghrib Institute (profiled last year here at FrontPage, “Jihad U”). Ilmquest not only publishes and markets DVDs and CDs of Al-Maghrib “scholars”, but also a long-line of other extremist speakers, including Bilal Philips, Khalid Yasin, and Yemeni Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Aulaqi.
As noted recently here at FrontPage, the Ohio State MSA is no stranger to controversy. Three months after 9/11, the Associated Press reported that the OSU MSA was under federal investigation for its MSA News email list that regularly published news releases by a whole host of Islamic terrorist organizations, and also for encouraging readers to purchase videos from a terrorist support website:
— Ohio State University's Muslim Student Association produces and distributes MSA NEWS, which publicizes events featuring controversial speakers and has included news releases from terrorist groups such as the Algerian Armed Islamic Group, which is on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations Americans are forbidden to support or finance, and the Islamic Salvation Front, a fundamentalist political party banned in Algeria.
— During last year's Ramadan fast, MSA-NEWS urged campus groups to purchase a videotape called The Martyrs of Bosnia and show it to Muslim-only gatherings. The video was sold by London-based Azzam Productions, which featured articles on its Web site like "Taliban: Allah's Blessing on Afghanistan," and solicited funds there for the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan. The site, and a related German site, were shut down by the British and German governments as part of their Sept. 11 response.
Two years later, the OSU MSA played a critical role in hosting the Third National Conference on Palestinian Solidarity, whose keynote speaker was none other than now-convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader and former University of South Florida professor, Sami Al-Arian.
And more recently, the OSU MSA jointly sponsored an event to counter last October’s Islamofascism Awareness Week featuring notorious wife-beating advocate and Muslim Brotherhood leader Jamal Badawi, “Interfaith Relations – A Muslim Perspective”. The event was paid for by the university through student fees. As I reported here at FrontPage, “Fatwa Fraud”, Badawi was one of the featured speakers and an honored guest last July at a terrorist confab in Doha, Qatar honoring HAMAS spiritual leader Yousef Al-Qaradawi and attended by HAMAS head Khaled Mishal.
College students and administrators would do well to consider that Islamic terrorism and extremism are not phenomena distant and far removed from American college campuses (even though Ohio State professor John Mueller contends there is no threat from Islamic terrorists).
In fact, Islamic terrorism and extremism might be closer than they would ever realize – as close as the nearest Muslim Student Association.