If an organization stood accused of supporting a fanatical religious movement that seeks to create a global empire wherein women are oppressed, homosexuals are executed, and all faiths other than Islam are expressly outlawed, would that group try to discredit such accusations by providing a public forum for an individual who proudly and vocally embraces precisely those ideals? Yes, if that organization was the Muslim Students Association (MSA), which recently commissioned a religious bigot and apologist for terror named Sheikh Khalid Yasin to speak on its behalf.
During the first week of April, the MSA invited Yasin to appear at four college campuses -- Minnesota State University, St. Cloud State University, the University of Minnesota, and Washington State University -- to rebut charges about the organization’s countenance of religious bigotry and Islamic terror. Those charges were featured prominently in Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week (IFAW), a national event organized by the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Terrorism Awareness Project (TAP). Held in the fall of 2007 and again in the spring of 2008 on more than 100 college campuses nationwide, IFAW sought to familiarize students with radical Islam’s quest to conquer the world in the name of Allah, and to eviscerate its every perceived foe in the process. Moreover, TAP called on student groups like the MSA to condemn terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as leaders like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who exemplify Islam's most extreme and dangerous faction.
It was thus revealing of the MSA’s political agenda that it refused to do so. Instead, the MSA depicted IFAW (falsely) as an exercise in anti-Muslim bigotry and disinformation. Numerous MSA campus chapters organized their own "Islamic Awareness Week" programs, which professed to "oppose Islamophobia," and "raise awareness and remove misconceptions about Islam and … reduce the suspicion, discrimination, racism and violence that sometimes result." But in choosing Sheikh Khalid Yasin as the featured speaker to correct these alleged "misconceptions," the MSA merely ended up confirming their accuracy.
Who is Sheikh Yasin? Even a cursory review of his public pronouncements reveals him to be an America-hating religious extremist who candidly justifies Islamic terrorism against the West. Along these lines, he has declared that the 2002 and 2005 terrorist bombings in Bali were reasonable responses to years of Western transgressions. Of the 9/11 attacks, he maintains that they were carried out not by al Qaeda but by the U.S. government. And, like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the sheikh also believes that a U.S. government lab created the AIDS virus specifically to kill black Americans.
Then there are his theological beliefs. In Yasin's view, all the world's nations should abandon their current forms of government and submit to the strict rule of Sharia (Islamic Law). No champion of interfaith harmony, Yasin holds that Muslims should not pollute their minds and spirits by taking non-Muslim friends. He dismisses the beliefs of Christians and Jews as "filth." Stressing that the "delusion about the equality of women is a bunch of foolishness," Yasin judges wife-beating acceptable because, after all, the Koran permits it. As for homosexuals, they may be executed consistent with Koranic mandates.
Strange as it may seem to many readers, the MSA considers the sheikh an ideal spokesman for Islam. As Washington State University's MSA vice president Naima Abshir gushed in April 2008, Yasin "is able to touch upon all areas of the spectrum and discuss Islam as a way of life and depict its reality."
To understand the MSA's fondness for Sheikh Yasin, it is instructive to consider the MSA's roots. This organization was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological parent of Hamas and al Qaeda. In its earliest days the MSA was financed largely by Saudi Arabia. In return, the organization’s leaders advanced the Saudis’ extremist Wahhabi strain of Islam. According to Islam expert Stephen Schwartz, the MSA remains to this day a key lobbying organization for Wahhabism.
A May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood memorandum named the MSA as one of the Brotherhood’s likeminded “organizations of our friends” who shared the common goal of destroying America and turning it into a Muslim nation. These “friends” were described by the Brotherhood as groups that could help teach Muslims “that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands ... so that ... God’s religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions.”
The MSA chose not to endorse or participate in the May 14, 2005 “Free Muslims March Against Terror,” an event whose stated purpose was to “send a message to the terrorists and extremists that their days are numbered ... [and to send] a message to the people of the Middle East, the Muslim world and all people who seek freedom, democracy and peaceful coexistence that we support them.”
The MSA has published a Starter's Guide…on How to Run a Successful MSA, which states: “It should be the long-term goal of every MSA to Islamicize the politics of their respective university … the politicization of the MSA means to make the MSA more of a force on internal campus politics. The MSA needs to be a more ‘In-your-face’ association … For example, the student body must be convinced that there is such a thing as a Muslim-bloc.”
Noteworthy MSA events in recent years have included such spectacles as a crowd of demonstrators at the Israeli consulate chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to the Jews”; an “Anti-Zionist Week” where MSA members raised money for Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists; a guest speaker declaring that “[t]he only relationship you should have with America is to topple it”; a featured speaker who had proudly and publicly referred to himself as “a supporter of the Hamas movement”; a fundraiser for Islamic Relief Worldwide, an organization that received a $50,000 contribution from a pro-Osama bin Laden front group based in Canada; a guest panelist who previously had extolled an Islamic suicide bomber as a “martyr” whose actions constituted “one of the greatest good deeds, which is jihad”; praise for the “uncompromising” positions of Hamas and Hezbollah; praise for the terrorist leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s “legitimat[e]” fight against the U.S. “occupation” in Iraq; a declaration that “the only solution to the current [Israeli] occupation [of Palestine] is military resistance -- not shaking hands, not dialogue”; and a call “to make sure that our MSAs are part of the global Islamic movement.”
In short, the MSA is not an innocent student group dedicated merely to fostering better relations with non-Muslims. It is an intensely political organization that has long promoted an ideology of Islamic supremacy and religious bigotry. Sheikh Khalid Yasin is part of that Islamo-fascist tradition. Small wonder that he has found such a staunch ally in the MSA.