Jamaat-e-Islami, the largest Islamist organization in Pakistan, wants the United States out of its country, so much so that the group created a movement based upon this. The movement is far reaching, and unfortunately for America, it stretches to the U.S. itself.
When the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) hit Pakistani shores in 1941, it came with a price. The group had only been around for little over a decade, and already it had established itself as a legitimate threat to governments all over the Middle East. Now, South Asia had to deal with it.
Today, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) continues to cause trouble in the region, aligning itself with extremist elements in al-Qaeda, the Taliban and many other violent factions. It even has its own militant wing, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), which has committed numerous terrorist attacks against Indian civilians. The group’s former militant wing, al-Badr, was involved in the 1971 Bangladesh massacre, which reportedly took the lives of up to 3,000,000 mostly unarmed citizens.
Like most Islamist groups in South Asia, JI likes to hold angry demonstrations, what it calls “political rallies.” The events are usually aimed at at least one of two entities, the sitting government of that particular JI locale (Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, etc.) and/or the United States.
After the 9/11 attacks, it was not uncommon for the world to see images of heated JI sponsored rallies targeting America. One such rally held a week and a half later, on September 21, 2001, featured 3000 protesters shouting such slogans as “Death to American soldiers” and “Long live Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.”
A staple of JI demonstrations has become the burning in effigy of the U.S. President. Over the recent past, likenesses of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have been torched by members of JI at their rallies.
A May 2009 JI protest included an effigy of President Barack Obama being set aflame. The event was part of JI’s new “Go America Go” movement – what sounds like a pro-America rah-rah call, but is instead a long reaching campaign to rid Pakistan and Afghanistan of the United States.
The banner across the top of Jamaat-e-Islami’s main website reads “GO AMERICA GO.......” Below it is a quote from the new leader (Ameer) of JI, Syed Munawar Hassan. It states, “All Islam and Pakistan loving forces must unite against America.”
While anti-American sentiment always runs high within the Pakistani Islamist community, the reason for the latest campaign is the crackdown by the Pakistani government on some of the country’s more extreme elements. JI believes that this is being done at the behest of the U.S. So at recent rallies, chants of “Friend of American is a traitor” could be heard. As well, Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s Presidents, Asif Ali Zardari and Hamid Karzai respectively, have been referred to as “slaves of Washington.”
Calling the United States “an enemy of Islam, the Muslims and Jehad,” Hassan stated that the “Go America Go” movement is “aimed at driving the US out of this land.”
At one “Go America Go” rally, the Secretary General of JI, Liaquat Baloch, told a crowd that JI would “continue the movement to routing out America from the region.” He warned that “a 1971 like situation” had been created in Pakistan – an ominous statement, given the fact that JI was in large part responsible for what happened in 1971 (See above).
Routing out America from Pakistan or Afghanistan is one thing, but routing out America from America is quite another.
With regard to 1971, the mass slaughter of innocent Bangladeshis (then referred to as “East Pakistanis”) was not the only important event concerning JI. 1971 was also the year that JI’s American affiliate, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), was founded.
As stated in a piece for ICNA’s publication, The Message International, titled ‘Beyond Malcolm: Muslim Leadership for the 21st Century,’ “Using the organizational development methodology of [JI founder] Maulana Mawdudi and the Jamaat Al-Islami of Pakistan, which lays special emphasis on spiritual development, ICNA has developed a strong foundation.”
20 years later, in May 1991, a Muslim Brotherhood document bearing ICNA’s name was produced detailing a plot to destroy the United States from within. It read, “The Ikhwan [Brothers] must understand 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 and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and G-d’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
Today, ICNA, similar to JI in South Asia, represents one of the largest Islamist organizations in North America, possessing huge membership rolls. It has a religious outreach group (Why Islam?), a youth group (Young Muslims), a multimedia group (SoundVision), two charitable arms (ICNA Relief and Helping Hand), a magazine (The Message International), an educational institution (Islamic Learning Foundation), and a book service (Hikmah).
Furthermore, ICNA continues to be associated with JI, through one of JI’s leaders in India, Muhammad Yusuf Islahi. Islahi, who was a featured speaker at ICNA’s 2009 national convention, is the Chief Patron of ICNA’s Why Islam (WI) project. As well, ICNA’s official website is registered to a site linked heavily to JI that solely promotes Islahi speeches.
Given the vast scope of ICNA’s organization and membership – with the assumption that the 1991 document is still in effect and JI’s influence is indeed ongoing – a legitimate threat is being realized right inside America’s shores, right now.
In January 2009, Amir Mukhtar Sahib, Moderator for ICNA’s Young Muslims (YM) website forum, made the following statement: “The Muslims population need to stand up to their corrupt rulers… You can burn as much American flags as you want but that won’t make a difference. The only way to remove America from the Muslim world is to have those in power in the Muslim world to remove them…”
Sahib’s words are eerily similar to what JI is saying overseas. The fear is that it happens over here.