National Lawyers Guild
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is an organization with more than 8,000 members, chapters in every major U.S. city, and tens of thousands of active supporters worldwide. It formally defines its mission as an effort “to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers of America [to] function as an effective political and social force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.”
NLG was founded in 1936 by Communist Party USA (CPUSA) lawyers and liberal fellow-travelers. “The real aims of the National Lawyers Guild,” read a 1950 report by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, “as demonstrated conclusively by its activities, . . . are not specified in its constitution or statement of avowed purpose. In order to attract non-Communists to serve as a cover for its actual purpose as an appendage to the Communist Party, the National Lawyers Guild poses benevolently as ‘a professional organization which shall function as an effective social force in the service of the people.’”
In the 1960s, NLG focused its efforts on defending those who attacked in word or deed the United States, its policies, and its fundamental social order. Throughout the Cold War, NLG embraced pro-Soviet agendas while systematically opposing the foreign policy of the United States.
NLG today is an active affiliate of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, which in 1978 the CIA described as “one of the most useful Communist front organizations at the service of the Soviet Communist Party, [an organization that] has so consistently demonstrated its support of Moscow's foreign policy objectives, and is so tied in with other front organizations and the Communist press, that it is difficult for it to pretend that its judgments are fair or relevant to basic legal tenets.”
In recent decades, NLG has been at the forefront of efforts to weaken America’s intelligence-gathering agencies. In the post-9/11 era, for example, NLG launched a national campaign to repeal the Patriot Act. In 2002, NLG identified one of its chief resolutions as: “Establishing a National Campaign to Defend Democracy and Restore Civil Liberties: Repeal the USA PATRIOT Act.” This resolution called for “the repeal of the USA Patriot Act and the formation of a grassroots movement to defend democracy and restore civil liberties and as a first step to call for hearings with the House and Senate on the results of the Patriot Act to date; [and] to join with other groups in forming a national campaign calling for the repeal of the Patriot Act, including the formation of an umbrella coalition of groups to restore democratic rights at the local and national levels.”
NLG similarly opposes the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (or “Patriot II”) and the use of military tribunals for captured combatants in the War on Terror.
The National Lawyers Guild’s anti-American agenda is reflected in its choice of Lynne Stewart as its institutional hero. On February 17, 2005, NLG announced that it was “outraged about the prosecution and conviction of Lynne Stewart, and has called for a national day of outrage . . . to protest the prosecution.” The organization held press conferences in major cities nationwide to speak out against the conviction of Stewart, the self-proclaimed “radical attorney” who is the Guild’s most infamous member. Stewart, who has long detested the United States, has tacitly endorsed terrorism by openly advocating “violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism, sexism, and at the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions and accompanied by popular support.” In an interview with the Marxist magazine Monthly Review, she described the Muslim jihadists who have declared war on America as “basically forces of national liberation.”
NLG’s “day of outrage” was conceived in response to Stewart’s February 10, 2005 conviction on charges that she had provided material support to her incarcerated terrorist client Omar Abdel Rahman. Notwithstanding Stewart’s transgressions, NLG has long been her staunchest supporter. (Another notable backer has been Osama bin Laden himself, who urged support of Stewart on videotape.) The Guild ascribes Stewart’s conviction to a Bush administration effort “to deter lawyers from representing politically unpopular clients, particularly individuals charged with terrorism-related crimes.”
Humanitarian Law Project
The Humanitarian Law Project (HLP) describes itself as “a non-profit organization . . . dedicated to protecting human rights and promoting the peaceful resolution of conflict by using established international human rights laws and humanitarian law.” In practice, HLP is a strong supporter of Marxist causes and consistently condemns American policies. It was founded by Los Angeles real estate magnate Aris Anagnos, who has funneled rivers of money to Marxist organizations for more than three decades; among the beneficiaries of his largesse have been the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, Marxist Mexican rebels in Chiapas, and Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro, whom Anagnos has called “one of the outstanding statesmen of the world today . . . [who] has served his people faithfully and unselfishly and is a model for presidents to imitate.” Anagnos has also given considerable funding to the Pacifica Radio Network, a group of donor-funded stations that regularly advocate Marxist ideals.
HLP is part of a network of radical organizations funded by the Anagnos Peace Foundation and given rent-free office space in the Los Angeles-based Anagnos Peace Center; other groups that maintain a presence in the Peace Center are the National Lawyers Guild, the Democratic Socialists of America, Americans for Democratic Action, and the Coalition for World Peace (CWP). A member organization of CWP is the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, a Communist Party faction co-chaired by Leslie Cagan, a pro-Castro, hard-line Communist who heads the United For Peace and Justice anti-war coalition.
In a lawsuit brought by the radical Center for Constitutional Rights, HLP was the lead plaintiff in a case challenging the section of the Patriot Act forbidding groups like itself from giving support or advice to recognized terrorist groups; this section was modeled after a similar provision in the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. At issue was HLP’s desire to support two groups in particular: (a) the Sri Lankan Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which is responsible for more than 200 suicide bombings and the assassinations in the early 1990s of the prime ministers of India and Sri Lanka; and (b) the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Marxist entity that fought for an independent Kurdish state in southeast Turkey in the 1980s and 1990s, killing many thousands in the process. Backed by Syria, PKK’s modus operandi included suicide bombings and the wholesale massacres of civilian populations.
Both LTTE and PKK had been officially designated as terrorist groups by the Clinton administration; between them, they had killed more than 100,000 people. Yet Audrey Collins, a Clinton-appointed Federal District Court judge, decided in HLP’s favor, ruling that the Patriot Act provision in question violated the plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to free expression.
HLP deems it axiomatic that American society, and by extension its government, is rife with racist, malevolent impulses aimed at minority communities. Such a worldview led Anagnos to contribute at least $600,000 to finance the now infamous Christic Institute RICO lawsuit of 1985, which alleged that the CIA had used drug money – allegedly earned from selling narcotics to inner-city residents – to fund the Nicaraguan Contras in their war against the Marxist Sandinistas and to fund assassination plots against Communists around the world. When the charges were found to be baseless, the judge presiding over the case ordered the Institute to pay the legal expenses of the defendants named in what he called a “frivolous” lawsuit.
HLP considers the United States the world’s greatest threat to international peace. Attorney Karen Parker, who has represented HLP before the United Nations for many years, claims that in its war with Iraq, the U.S. “does not intend to abide by the principles of humanitarian law carefully carved out since the first Geneva Convention.” In July 2003, Parker testified before a UN Commission on Human Rights subcommittee, stating that the “true disarmament” of the U.S. was an essential prerequisite for world peace. “The smaller, poorer countries cannot possibly keep up with 'arm-chair' wars or they will bankrupt themselves,” she said. “Even the other developed countries are far, far behind this technological madness. If the United States is allowed to use and develop these weapons, all other countries are reduced to peonage at the mercy of the United States.”
People For the American Way
People for the American Way (PFAW) was founded in 1981 by television producer and leftwing activist Norman Lear, ostensibly to counteract the social and political influence of what he termed the “religious right.” During the past quarter-century, however, PFAW has expanded its list of enemies to include a wide array of groups and individuals that oppose its own leftwing political agenda, whether or not they are of a religious nature.
Professing a dedication to the defense of civil liberties, PFAW has vocally condemned the Patriot Act. On its website, it posted this statement: “Just eight days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and before any investigation of what might have prevented the attacks, the Bush Administration sent Congress draft counter-terrorism legislation, which became known as the USA PATRIOT Act, and pressed for its immediate passage. While Congress altered some of the troubling provisions pushed by Attorney General Ashcroft, People For the American Way believes the legislation signed into law grants law enforcement sweeping new powers without adequately protecting our civil liberties.”
PFAW president Ralph Neas asserts, “The USA-Patriot Act and other actions taken by the administration undermine our civil liberties and the constitutional system of checks and balances.” “Provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act,” wrote Neas in June 2004, “have left individuals open to secret seizure of private data and individual records even when there is no evidence of a relationship with a suspected terrorist or criminal activity. The increasing practice of ethnic and racial profiling has created a culture of fear and suspicion within many immigrant communities, especially Muslim communities. This suspicion and fear discourages cooperation with antiterrorism efforts, and diverts resources from more targeted investigations that could lead to dangerous terrorist cells as opposed to innocent immigrants.”
The National Coalition to Repeal the Patriot Act (NCRPA) seeks to bring to public attention what it perceives as the Act’s violations of civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism; the group’s most pressing objective is, as its name indicates, to achieve the immediate and complete repeal of the Patriot Act, which it claims has bestowed unconstitutional powers to the President, the Attorney General, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security. NCRPA members maintain a visible presence in anti-war and civil liberties rallies across the United States.
The NCRPA website features an anti-Patriot Act petition for people to sign, circulate, and mail to their Congressional representatives. In December 2003, Democratic Congressman and then-Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, a member of the radical Progressive Caucus, joined the NCRPA board. By the time Kucinich joined the board, more than 13,000 people had already signed the Coalition’s online petition calling for the Patriot Act’s repeal.
Among Kucinich’s fellow NCRPA leftwing board members are Ajamu Baraka of Amnesty International; former Black Panther and New York City Councilman Charles Barron, who at a 2003 International ANSWER anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. denounced U.S. capitalist interests as the real “axis of evil”; Mitchel Cohen of the Green Party USA; the Rev. Herbert Daughtry of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Now Committee; Primella Dixit of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; Rani Elizar of Atlanta Palestine Solidarity; Akeel Hanano of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Georgia; Robert Knight of WBAI radio; former U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney (D - Georgia), who made slanderous charges that the Bush administration knew in advance about the 9/11 attacks but did not warn Americans so as to line the wallets of U.S. arms manufacturers; Josh Ruebner of Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel; and attorney and terrorist conspirator Lynne Stewart of the pro-Communist National Lawyers Guild.
The specific provisions of the Patriot Act to which NCRPA objects include: the right of the Justice Department to monitor organizations known to have hostile intentions toward the United States, even if no specific criminal activity has yet been initiated; the government’s right to treat terrorists differently from enemy combatants in war (who are protected by the Geneva Convention); the right of government officials to avoid opening to public scrutiny certain sensitive documents that may contain information whose secrecy is crucial to future anti-terrorist initiatives; and the right of the INS to detain or deport suspicious aliens.
NCRPA’s founder and national coordinator is attorney Kellie Gasink. In the 1980s she belonged to Fred Newman’s New Alliance Party, and she worked on the 1992 presidential campaign of the Marxist Lenora Fulani. Gasink is a vocal supporter of Palestinian militants and a harsh critic of Israel.
The Unholy Alliance
The foregoing member groups of the anti-Patriot Act left are joined in their efforts by a number of radical Islamic organizations, many of which have close links to international terrorism. The first and most important of these of course is the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom founded by terrorist Sami Al-Arian, now headed by National Lawyers Guild executive Kit Gage, and listed in the groups above. The entire coalition of radical Islamic groups and American leftists work together to chisel away the safeguards designed to protect America from future acts of terror.
The American Muslim Alliance (AMA) is a political action committee that works to get Muslims elected and/or appointed to policy-influencing positions at all levels of government in the United States – local, county, state, and national. AMA is an active member of the American Muslim Political Coordinating Council (AMPCC), and meets in cooperation with other Muslim groups that are known to verbally support Hamas and Hezbollah, or that have members who have been linked to funding terrorism – groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. In 1998 AMA, along with CAIR and the American Muslim Council, sponsored a rally at Brooklyn College in New York City, where militant speakers advocated jihad and derided Jews as “pigs and monkeys.”
The American Muslim Alliance has also taken a stand against the Patriot Act, characterizing it as an assault on civil liberties. AMA endorses the American Civil Liberties Union’s effort “to mobilize the civil rights communities in America to urge the U.S. Congress to fix the Patriot Act, as it is being used for increasingly greater intimidation and harassment of individuals and communities, particularly the Muslim Americans and Arab Americans.”
In January 2003, AMA executive director Agha Saeed complained that the Patriot Act was being used to intimidate and discriminate against Muslims. On February 20, 2004, Saeed was a featured speaker at a forum titled “The Patriot Act and the Attack on Human Rights in America.” The event was scheduled to commemorate “the one year anniversary of the unjust imprisonment of Dr. Sami al-Arian.”
AMA 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.”
American Muslim Council
Founded in 1990, the American Muslim Council (AMC) was one of the most prominent militant Islamic organizations of recent times. It largely ceased operations, however, after its founder and former chairman Abdulrahman Alamoudi was imprisoned on terrorism-related charges in October 2003.
In February 2003, AMC joined the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the American Muslim Alliance (AMA), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in forming a coalition to repeal and amend the Patriot Act – alleging that it violated the civil rights of Americans. AMC also endorsed the Civil Liberties Restoration Act of 2004, which was designed to roll back, in the name of protecting civil liberties, the Patriot Act and other post-9/11 national security measures.
The tenor of AMC’s overall message was set by Alamoudi, who has a long history of expressing support for groups that the U.S. State Department has designated as terrorist organizations. On November 22, 1994, for instance, he told the National Press Club, “Hamas is not a terrorist group. . . . I have followed the good work of Hamas. . . . They have a wing that is a violent wing. They had to resort to some kind of violence.”
During a March 26, 1996 appearance on Middle East TV, Alamoudi had this to say about Musa Abu Marzook (founder of the Islamic Association for Palestine), who was deported from the United States because of his Hamas-related activities and then became Deputy Chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau in Syria: “I am honored to be a member of the committee that is defending Musa Abu Marzook in America. This a mark of distinction on my chest. . . . I have known Musa Abu Marzook before, and I really consider him to be from among the best people in the Islamic movement, Hamas – in the Palestinian movement in general – and I work together with him.”
At an October 28, 2000 anti-Israel protest in Washinton, D.C, Alamoudi shouted to a cheering crowd, “We are all supporters of Hamas. Allahu Akhbar! . . . I am also a supporter of Hezbollah.” In addition, Alamoudi has passionately defended the terrorist Omar Abdel Rahman. Alamoudi was arrested in September 2003 for illegally failing to notify the U.S. State Department of his numerous trips to Libya, and for illegally accepting $10,700 from the Libyan mission to the United Nations. That same month, British customs officials found $340,000 in cash in Alamoudi’s luggage – money that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement affidavit asserts originated in Libya and was intended for distribution in Syria, where terror groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad maintain a strong presence.
AMC executive director Eric Vickers has been no less outspoken on terrorism-related issues. In January 2002 he publicly called Sami al-Arian a victim of media-driven character assassination. “What has happened to professor Arian,” said Vickers, “is happening to Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent all over this country. They are being discriminated against.” A month later, al-Arian was indicted – on the strength of the compelling evidence described earlier in this article – by a federal grand jury for leading the North American operations of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
In November 2002, AMC publicly urged American Muslims to give money to Islamic relief organizations to aid Afghani refugees. Included in AMC’s list of recommended charities was the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), whose assets had recently been seized by the FBI and the Treasury Department because of the group’s alleged activities as a terrorist fund-raising front. AMC called Bush’s action against HLF “particularly disturbing . . . unjust and counterproductive.” AMC also solicited Muslims to give to the Global Relief Foundation, another charity under U.S. government scrutiny for possible terrorist links.
In December 2000, AMC’s Dallas chapter presented an award to Ghassan Dahduli, who was deported eleven months later because of his connections to al-Qaeda and Hamas. According to one U.S. prosecutor, AMC advisory board member Soliman Biheiri is “the Muslim Brotherhood's financial toehold” in the United States. In March 2002, federal authorities raided the Virginia house and business of yet another AMC board member, Jamal Barzinjim, in an anti-terrorism investigation. Over the years, AMC has held press conferences supporting Sudan’s National Islamic Front (NIF), which is on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. In 1992, AMC hosted the NIF leader during his visit to the United States.
American Muslim Union
The American Muslim Union (AMU) is a Paterson, New Jersey-based Islamist organization, a number of whose current and former officials have held leadership positions at the Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC), where AMU president Mohamed Younes sits on the board of trustees. The ICPC was co-founded by Hamas fundraiser Mohammad El-Mezain. AMU also has close ties to the infamous Hamas attorney Stanley Cohen.
AMU views the Patriot Act as an assault on the civil liberties of Americans, especially those of Muslim heritage. AMU executive director Waheed Khalid wrote in July 2003, “[T]he first Patriot Act, passed by Congress in October 2001, has created havoc for thousands of individuals and their families – U.S. citizens, and documented or undocumented aliens. Patriot Act II goes much further, seriously affecting our civil liberties. It is an extremely dangerous piece of legislation giving much wider powers to the executive branch without any accountability or oversight by the Congress and judiciary. By proposing this legislation under the guise of ‘national security,’ the Bush Administration is attempting to compromise our nation’s more than 200-year-old Constitution.”
“The American Muslim community has never felt so insecure and apprehensive due to discrimination and intolerance,” Khalid said on another occasion. “Our government’s actions following 9/11 have impacted and continue to impact tens of thousands of individuals in ways which seriously violate our Constitution.”
Like the American Muslim Alliance, AMU chose not to endorse or participate in the May 14, 2005 “Free Muslims March Against Terror.”
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) was established in 1980 as a non-religious civil rights group by James Abourezk, former Democratic Senator of South Dakota. As the War on Terror has shifted into high gear, ADC has accused the Bush administration of seeking to deprive Arab Americans of the civil liberties to which they are entitled. ADC has characterized the Patriot Act and other government-initiated anti-terrorism efforts as persecutory and discriminatory against Arab Americans. Condemning what it calls the Act’s “police state restrictions,” in early 2004 ADC was a key player in securing the passage of anti-Patriot Act measures by the City Councils of New York and Los Angeles. The group was also a co-plaintiff, in July 2003, in the first major legal challenge to Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
The Georgia and San Francisco chapters of ADC were signatories to a February 20, 2002 document, composed by the radical group Refuse & Resist, condemning military tribunals and the detention of immigrants apprehended in connection with post-9/11 terrorism investigations. Titled “National Day of Solidarity with Muslim, Arab and South Asian Immigrants,” the document read, in part, “[T]hey [the U.S. government] are coming for the Arab, Muslim and South Asian immigrants. Based on their racial profile, over 1500 have been rounded up and the government refuses to say who they are, where they are jailed and what the charges are!!! Already, a Pakistani man has died in custody. Who will be next? The recent ‘disappearances,’ indefinite detention, the round-ups, the secret military tribunals, the denial of legal representation, evidence kept a secret from the accused, the denial of any due process for Arab, Muslim, South Asians and others, have chilling similarities to a police state. We will not allow our grief for the tragedy of September 11 to be used to justify this new repression. We are clear that being an immigrant is not a crime; Muslims, Arabs and South Asians are not terrorists.”
ADC was also a signatory to the March 17, 2003 letter exhorting members of the U.S. Congress to reject the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, or “Patriot II.” Moreover, it endorsed such anti-Patriot Act measures as the Community Resolution to Protect Civil Liberties campaign, and the Civil Liberties Restoration Act of 2004.
According to Middle East expert Stephen Schwartz, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) “is best described as a branch of the Saudi religious militia operating to impose Wahhabi conformity on American Islam. It is the most active and consistent promoter of extremism in the name of Islam now found the U.S. and Canada, an arm of the Saudi-Wahhabi establishment, partially funded by the Saudi government and rich Saudi subjects.”
Founded in 1994, CAIR portrays itself as a civil rights organization that looks out for the welfare of American Muslims, who CAIR says are routinely victimized by acts of discrimination. In the aftermath of 9/11, CAIR secured a position as the chief group to which the American media turned for insight into the “Muslim view” about such timely world issues as the War on Terror, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Patriot Act. Though it has cultivated an image of moderation, CAIR has been, from its inception, an ally of the Hamas movement, condemning the U.S. government for allegedly allowing Zionist extremists to dictate its foreign policy.
In 1996 CAIR co-founder Nihad Awad candidly declared, “I am in support of the Hamas movement.” In November 1999, CAIR board chairman Omar Ahmad told a Chicago audience that he supported Palestinian suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians. “Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam,” he said, “that is not suicide. They kill themselves for Islam.” This same spirit was on display at a 1998 Brooklyn College rally co-sponsored by CAIR and the American Muslim Council, where guest speaker Wagdi Ghuniem led 500 attendees in chanting “No to the Jews, descendants of the apes.” CAIR board member Siraj Wahhaj, a New York imam, served as a character witness for Omar Abdel Rahman in his trial for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In April 2005, Ghassan Elashi, who founded the Texas chapter of CAIR, was convicted of supporting terrorism by funneling money to a high-ranking official in the terrorist group Hamas. Elashi was found guilty of all 21 federal counts he faced for conspiracy, money laundering and dealing in property of a terrorist.
Viewing the U.S. as a nation rife with racism and injustice, the New York chapter of CAIR joined the ACLU and many other groups in endorsing an October 22, 2002 National Day of Protest against the alleged trend of “[h]ard-won civil liberties and protections [being] stripped away as part of the government’s ‘war on terrorism,’” and the Patriot Act’s “new set of repressive laws and restrictions on people.” This event was also choreographed to express support for terrorists Lynne Stewart and Jose Padilla, and for murderers Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Leonard Peltier – portraying them as American “political prisoners.”
In February 2003, CAIR joined the American Muslim Council (AMC), the American Muslim Alliance (AMA), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in forming a coalition to repeal and amend the Patriot Act – alleging that it violates the civil liberties of Americans, particularly Muslims. CAIR Governmental Affairs Director Corey Saylor stated, “The Patriot Act was passed in haste during a time of national crisis and now needs to be revised to bring it into conformity with the Constitution and with American traditions of personal privacy.”
CAIR opposed the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, also known as “Patriot II”; endorsed the Community Resolution to Protect Civil Liberties campaign for the creation of new “Civil Liberties Safe Zones”; and in September 2003, supported a bill dubbed the Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act, introduced by Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Ron Paul (R-Texas), which proposed to repeal 15 sections of the original Patriot Act.
In April 2005, CAIR urged “members of the American Muslim community and other people of conscience to contact their elected representatives and ask that they co-sponsor the recently introduced ‘Security and Freedom Enhancement (SAFE) Act,’ designed to repeal unconstitutional sections of the original USA Patriot Act.” According to CAIR, the SAFE Act would “scale back the government’s authority to seize personal information – credit reports, communications records and financial information – through National Security Letters without judicial review”; “narrow the ‘sneak and peek’ provision in the Patriot Act, which allows federal agents to get court authorization to search Americans’ homes without notifying them for weeks or even months”; and “refine section 215, which allows the FBI to obtain a rubberstamp court order giving it access to Americans’ medical, business, library and even genetic records without probable cause.”
CAIR chose not to endorse or participate in the May 14, 2005 “Free Muslims March Against Terror.”
Islamic Circle of North America
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) was founded in 1971 as a “non-ethnic, non-sectarian, open-to-all, independent” grassroots organization. Based in Queens, New York, ICNA is infamous for bringing radicals to speak at its annual conferences, and the group has long been suspected of having ties to terrorism. In March 1996, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell stated, “One of the groups with Hamas ties is the Dallas-based Islamic Association for Palestine in North America, which, in turn, apparently is allied with the Islamic Circle of North America in New York.” ICNA also works closely with the Muslim American Society (MAS), an extremist organization that produces publications describing suicide bombings as “justifiable.”
In the post-9/11 era, ICNA has taken a stand against the U.S. war on terror, the Patriot Act, and the American military incursions in Afghanistan and Iraq. In July 2003, ICNA co-sponsored, along with the Muslim American Society, a three-day Philadelphia conference designed to “rally the political power of the nation’s estimated 7 million to 8 million Muslims to oppose restrictions on their freedom following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, such as the USA Patriot Act and the recent government order that recent immigrant men from mostly Muslim countries register with federal authorities.”
Like the American Muslim Alliance, the American Muslim Union, and CAIR, the Islamic Circle of North America chose not to endorse or participate in the May 14, 2005 “Free Muslims March Against Terror.”
Islamic Society of North America
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is responsible for enforcing Wahhabi theological writ in American mosques. According to Kaukab Siddique, the editor of the extremist Islamic periodical New Trend, “ISNA controls most mosques in America and thus also controls who will speak at every Friday prayer, and which literature will be distributed there.” Though former ISNA president Muzammil Siddiqi appeared as a goodwill ambassador in a post-9/11 ceremony at Washington’s National Cathedral, a mere ten months earlier he had said, “America has to learn, if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come. Please, all Americans. Do you remember that? If you continue doing injustice, and tolerate injustice, the wrath of God will come.”
ISNA views the Patriot Act as an affront to Muslim Americans and advocates that it be overturned. At its 2004 national convention, ISNA sponsored a “workshop [that] showed how Muslims can work with their congressional representatives to repeal the Patriot Act. Seminars were also held on how to join political campaigns to elect candidates who will fight for Muslims’ rights.”
ISNA was a signatory to Refuse & Resist’s February 20, 2002 document condemning military tribunals and the detention of immigrants apprehended in connection with post-9/11 terrorism investigations. ISNA chose not to endorse or participate in the May 14, 2005 “Free Muslims March Against Terror.”
Muslim American Society
The Muslim American Society (MAS), founded in 1992, is an extremist group that describes itself as “a charitable, religious, social, cultural and educational, not-for-profit organization” whose aim is to promote “Islam as a total way of life.” It identifies the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) as fellow members of this same revival movement. MAS is characterized by Stephen Schwartz, author of The Two Faces of Islam, as “a major component” of the “Wahhabi Lobby” that channels money from, and advances the policies of, Saudi Arabian fundamentalists.
In 2003 federal agents arrested Randall Royer, the Communications Director of MAS, on charges that he had conspired with a Wahhabist group based in Pakistan – Lashkar-I-Taibi, or “Army of the Righteous” – to commit terrorism in Kashmir, Chechnya and elsewhere.
The executive director of the Muslim American Society’s “Freedom Foundation” is Mahdi Bray, a former activist with the radical Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and Students for a Democratic Society; he now works closely with International ANSWER, an anti-war group controlled by the Communist World Workers Party.
MAS strongly opposes the Patriot Act, and in September 2003 issued the following statement: “Since the national tragedy of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has implemented laws that have drastically infringed upon every American’s rights by giving the government expanded powers to invade privacy, imprison and deport people without due process, and punish political dissent. . . . [T]he Patriot Act is an example of such a law. This act strips away the fundamental checks and balances that safeguard many of our basic civil liberties. To date, over 160 cities across America have passed anti-Patriot Act resolutions. However, President George W. Bush, in a speech marking the second anniversary of September 11, 2001, has called on Congress to pass legislation that will expand the Patriot Act (Patriot Act II). This suggested legislation would allow authorities to issue subpoenas without going to grand juries in order to hold suspects without bail. Other recommendations have included revoking citizenship of terrorism ‘suspects,’ forbidding the release of information of ‘terrorist’ detainees, and setting up a DNA database of people associated with terrorist groups. Clearly, under Patriot Act I, Americans' liberties have been abused, especially in the Muslim community. Why give this administration more room for abuse? Americans must say ‘No’ to Patriot Act I and Patriot Act II.”
MAS produces the publication The Muslim American, wherein suicide bombings that target Jewish civilians have been described as “justifiable.” In its March 2002 edition, for instance, this publication quoted an Islamic scholar stating the following:
“Martyr operations are not suicide and should not be deemed as unjustifiable means of endangering one’s life. . . . Prophet Muhammad strictly forbade suicide and made it clear that anyone who commits suicide would be cast into hell. But in such case suicide means Muslim’s killing himself without any lawfully accepted reason or killing himself to escape pain or social problems. On the other hand, in martyr operations, the Muslim sacrifices his own life for the Sake of performing a religious duty, which is Jihad against the enemy as scholars say. Accordingly, a Muslim’s intention when committing suicide is certainly different from his intention when performing a military operation and dying in the Cause of Almighty Allah. So it is natural that the religious legal status would differ in each case . . . This means that martyr operations are totally different from the forbidden suicide. Concerning the Palestinians, the enemy has occupied their land, their houses and their sacred places and has driven about four million of them out of their houses replacing them with even larger numbers of Jewish settlements. The enemy relies on sophisticated military equipments while, at the same time, denies the Palestinians their basic human rights, killing their women, children and men mercilessly, and rendering the Palestinians powerless and incapable of defending themselves — even all the Arab countries face the same fate, lacking necessary weapons. . . . So the Palestinians resort to martyr operations, in which the martyr seriously harms the enemy meanwhile sacrifices his own life.”
MAS elected not to endorse or participate in the May 14, 2005 “Free Muslims March Against Terror.”
Muslim Public Affairs Council
Created in 1989, the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) consistently condemns American and Israeli policies while defending extremist Muslim violence. In reaction to news of an August 2001 suicide bombing in Israel, for example, MPAC asserted that Israel itself was “responsible for this pattern of violence.” On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, MPAC cofounder Salam al-Marayati did a radio interview in which he accused the Israelis of responsibility for that morning’s deadly attacks.
MPAC is currently working to oppose the federal government’s shutdown of Muslim charities suspected of supporting terrorism; prevent anti-Muslim bias and hate crimes; give assistance to the victims of such crimes – crimes whose incidence, according to MPAC, has reached epidemic proportions; conduct voter-registration drives for Muslim Americans; develop an influential political action committee that promotes the candidacy of Muslims in political elections; and oppose the U.S. war against Iraq.
Striving to curb “the excesses of the war on terror,” MPAC is also campaigning for the repeal of the Patriot Act and its alleged assault on the civil liberties of Americans, particularly Muslims. In February 2003, MPAC joined the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the American Muslim Council (AMC), and the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) in forming a coalition to repeal and amend the Patriot Act.
MPAC was a signatory to the March 17, 2003 letter exhorting Congressional Representatives to reject the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, or “Patriot II”; it endorses the Community Resolution to Protect Civil Liberties campaign to create new “Civil Liberties Safe Zones” pledging their defiance of the Patriot Act; and it was a signatory to a November 1, 2001 document characterizing the 9/11 attacks as a legal matter to be addressed by criminal-justice procedures rather than military means. Ascribing the hijackers’ motives to alleged social injustices against which they were protesting, this document explained that “security and justice are mutually reinforcing goals that ultimately depend upon the promotion of all human rights for all people,” and called on the United States “to promote fundamental rights around the world.”
Muslim Students Association (MSA) of the United States and Canada
Established in 1963, this group, with which some 150 campus MSAs are affiliated, is a key lobbying organization for the Wahhabi sect of Islam. Since its inception, MSA has been intimately linked with the extremist Muslim World League, though it portrays itself as a moderate group that opposes Islamic terrorism. It has also maintained close ties to the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, two organizations that raised money to fund terrorism.
MSA strongly opposes the Patriot Act, which it describes as “infamous.” Many of the organization’s chapters nationwide have similarly denounced virtually every other government-implemented security measure of the post-9/11 era. Scholar of Islam Daniel Pipes reports, “At an MSA rally at the University of Pennsylvania, the co-chair of Muslims for Justice declared, ‘the Patriot Act is sending us in a backwards spiral, where the destination is chaos.’”
Like the other Muslim organizations named in this article, MSA chose not to endorse or participate in the May 14, 2005 “Free Muslims March Against Terror.”