Towards the end of 2007, a website was created by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) that was used to help propagate the group’s extremist activity within the United States.
Recently, it was being used entirely as a political site advocating for the 2012 reelection of President-elect Barack Obama, a blatant violation of ICNA’s status as a tax-exempt organization.
ICNA, an American Islamic establishment tied to the extremist Muslim Brotherhood overseas, has various chapters around the country, one of which is located in Atlanta, Georgia (ICNA-Atlanta). Also known as the ICNA-Southeast division or ICNA-SE, the organization utilizes a number of websites to spread its radical message.
In March 2000, icnase.org was launched. On its homepage was an appeal from then-ICNA national president Mohammad Yunus to ICNA’s followers to give “spiritual and material support for our brothers and sisters being oppressed by Russian forces.” Under the appeal was a link to qoqaz.net (Jihad in Chechnya), a website that was raising funds and recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda. Soon the ICNA-SE homepage would include links to the official websites of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Taliban.
Icnase.org was taken down in June 2003. It was then replaced by icnase.com in September 2003. Today, the two web addresses lead to the same site, icnase.org; all of the prior links to terrorist organizations have been scrubbed. Keeping in tune with the national organization, the site’s “donate” page is the same as the national site’s donation page.
A third address, icnase.net, was added in October 2007. The following month, ICNA’s national website announced ICNA-SE’s 13th Southern Islamic Convention, titled “Discover Islam: The Way of Life,” taking place November 23-25. Listed as “featured speakers” for the event were a number of prominent Muslim radicals, including: Yunus; current ICNA national president Khurshid Khan; “unindicted co-conspirator” of the first World Trade Center attack Siraj Wahhaj; and former executive director of CAIR-Tampa and unofficial spokesman for Sami Al-Arian, Ahmed Bedier.
Those who saw ICNA’s convention announcement were told to go to icnase.net to register for the event. That was then. Recently, viewers of the site witnessed an entirely different message.
Up until last week, icnase.net was being used as a political campaign site for the 2012 reelection of President-elect Barack Obama. Across the top of the site’s homepage hovered an official Obama campaign banner. Also on the homepage was a video entitled “Obama 2012.” It discussed the accomplishments of the first Obama administration — how Obama made health care more affordable, how he made it easier for Americans “to live the American Dream,” and how he brought soldiers home from the war. This, while Barack Obama hasn’t even begun to serve his first term yet. The video ended with a boy on a bicycle asking the question, “Can we keep this country moving forward, if we reelect President Obama?” and a chorus of children replying, “Yes, we can.”
The registrant of icnase.net is an individual named Zakiyah Omar, an operative for the 2008 Barack Obama for President campaign. Omar is also the registrant for the website of the organization Muslim Americans for Obama ’08, a group which held events at various Islamic extremist functions, including the 32nd Annual ICNA-MAS convention. The web host for this site and all three ICNA-SE sites is the same group, 1 & 1 Internet, Inc.
The Islamic Circle of North America, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization. According to the IRS, under its “Ban on Political Campaign Intervention,” “For an organization to be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) it cannot participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
In addition, according to the IRS, “Violating this ban may result in denial or revocation of the organization’s tax-exempt status.” It is obvious that ICNA has indeed violated this ban.
ICNA has been involved in a number of terror-related issues that should, for all intents and purposes, get the organization closed down. However, it could be the unlikely subject of politics that, in the end, causes ICNA’s downfall.
If ICNA wants to participate with groups that help finance terrorism abroad, it should be held accountable. And if ICNA wants to support political candidates, it should be held accountable as well. Regardless, America’s taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill.