The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and its sister org, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), are attempting to have their names taken off the U.S. government’s list of “unindicted co-conspirators” for a Dallas Hamas fundraising trial that began almost one year ago. They are claiming that, because of the designation, the government has done harm to their relationship with law enforcement and interfaith groups. The following will show that the designation was a proper one and that, if any damage has been done to the groups’ relationships with others, they have only themselves to blame.
On June 18, 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a legal challenge on behalf of ISNA and NAIT, stating that the two groups had been wronged when the U.S. government labeled them as “unindicted co-conspirators” for the 2007 trial which named leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) as defendants. HLF, the former American Hamas financing wing, was founded in 1987 by Hamas operative Mousa Abu Marzook.
According to the ACLU, “the government’s action... has caused each organization’s reputation and good name to be dragged through the mud,” and the government has the “obligation to correct the record and clear” their names.
ISNA’s alleged “good name” began in July of 1981, when it was incorporated in the state of Indiana, under the address 6555 South County Road 750 East, in Plainfield. At the time, the address was occupied by the Muslim Students Association (MSA). [Later, HLF would share the address, as well.] ISNA was the brainchild of former leaders of the MSA, who wished to create an alumni group for recent and past MSA graduates. Amongst ISNA’s founders was convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operative Sami Al-Arian.
NAIT was established by the MSA in 1973 to “protect and safeguard” the youth group’s assets. Today, it does the same for ISNA, in addition to a large percentage of radical mosques and Islamic centers throughout North America, including the one founded by Al-Arian in 1989, the Islamic Community of Tampa (ICT), which also goes by its PIJ name, Al-Qassam.
During the HLF trial, the Justice Department submitted into the record a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood (MB) document, which detailed a plot to destroy America from within. A number of Muslim organizations were listed in it as being part of the conspiracy. The first organization on the list was ISNA. NAIT was listed eighth [pdf].
As reported by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), both ISNA and NAIT provided support to Hamas leader Marzook. ISNA, in its November/December 1995 issue of Islamic Horizons, while it derogatorily referred to Israel as “the Zionist entity,” solicited funds for Marzook’s legal defense. [Marzook had been taken into custody by the U.S. government in 1995 and deported to Jordan two years later.] Prior to that, in 1988, NAIT had financed Marzook directly and indirectly with tens of thousands of dollars.
The two groups, in putting forward their legal challenge, would have the world believe that such damaging evidence against them is the product of ignorance or hysteria, that they are somehow peaceful and caring institutions with nothing to hide. However, present ISNA and NAIT activities would suggest that their kind-loving persona never existed.
ISNA is comprised of two divisions, its main division located in the U.S. and a Canadian division (ISNA-Canada). Both divisions are headed up by the same president, Ingrid Mattson. Leaders from NAIT and the MSA also sit on ISNA’s Board of Directors.
As reported by journalist Patrick Poole, last month Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the Ameer (President) of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), was scheduled to speak at ISNA-Canada’s 34th Annual Convention, entitled ‘Our Youth, Our Future: the Path to Paradise.’ JI has been forthright in its support for Hamas. [Both JI and Hamas are member orgs of the Muslim Brotherhood.] Under Ahmad’s leadership, in August of 2006, JI, via its charity the Al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF), handed $99,000 to the current head of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, for the purpose of committing terrorist acts against Israelis. Ahmad was stopped from speaking at ISNA, though, as he was refused entry into Canada.
ISNA-Canada’s 33rd Annual Convention, entitled ‘Shaping a Canadian Muslim Identity,’ which took place in May of 2007, featured Tariq Ramadan as a speaker. In July of 2004, Ramadan’s U.S. visa was revoked for providing funds for “charities” associated with Hamas, and he has since been banned from entering the United States. As well, Ramadan has had dealings with Al-Qaeda-related individuals.
Both of the ISNA-Canada conventions were sponsored by Human Concern International (HCI), a “charity” that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has repeatedly called a front for Al-Qaeda. Prior to his death in 2003, Ahmed Said Khadr, a close associate of Osama bin Laden, was the head of HCI’s Pakistan office. Bin Laden, reported to be a founder of HCI, stated in a 1996 interview, “To put it simply the Bin Ladin Establishment’s Aid covers 13 countries... This aid, comes in particular from the Human Concern International Society, which was founded in Afghanistan in 1982.” [pdf]
In 1965, the MSA established the Islamic Book Service (IBS), which advertises itself as “the largest Islamic Bookstore in North America.” Today, NAIT controls its U.S. division and ISNA runs its Canadian division. Featured on IBS are the most violent and hateful texts, including a version of the Quran, The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, that has been banned by the Los Angeles school system for having numerous anti-Semitic commentaries. Also featured are texts written by such Muslim Brotherhood luminaries as Hassan Al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, Syed Abul Ala Maududi, and Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.
The same hate and violence portrayed within the texts from IBS can currently be found right on ISNA’s main website, including a section devoted to the “Stoning to Death of Jews and Other Dhimmis.” Further ISNA content is as follows:
- “I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.”
- “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.’”
- “Whoever takes them [Christian Arabs] as friends is from them.”
- “O Allah! I ask you for martyrdom in Your way and death in the city of Your Messenger!”
ISNA and NAIT’s documented propagation of hatred and violence speaks for itself. As the evidence, both past and present, shows, the two were aptly named by the U.S. government as “unindicted co-conspirators” in the Holy Land Foundation trial. Indeed, it would not have been inappropriate to have named them as outright defendants.
To remove ISNA and NAIT from the government’s list of co-conspirators would be a victory for the Islamists and would undermine our ability to defend ourselves against internal threats to our country’s freedom and liberty.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, assisted with this report.