The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which bills itself as “the largest Islamic umbrella organization in North America,” is meeting in Washington, D.C., this weekend for its annual conference. One former ISNA speaker won’t be in attendance this year — al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen on September 30, 2011.
On September 1, 2001, just days before the 9/11 attacks, Awlaki gave an infamous lecture on “tolerance” at the 2001 ISNA convention, just as some of his disciples were preparing to launch the largest terrorist attack in American history.
One of his co-panelists in 2001, Hamza Yusuf, is one of this year’s keynote speakers. At the 1995 ISNA convention, Yusuf told the crowd that Judaism “is a most racist religion.”
Video of Awlaki’s lecture has never before been viewed by the public. PJ Media has obtained a video — watch it above in its entirety.
At the time of the speech, Awlaki was a media darling. The New York Times hailed him as part of “a new generation of Muslim leader capable of merging East and West.” NPR contrasted Awlaki with Osama bin Laden, describing Awlaki as one of the “moderates who want to solve the problems without violence” and someone who could “build bridges between Islam and the West.” Awlaki was even featured in a November 2001 Washington Post Ramadan online chat.