This event was held at the Islamic Center of Southern California, which was founded by Hassan and Maher Hathout (according to the New York Times), longtime Muslim Brotherhood operatives from Egypt. In an interview he gave to the Voice of Islam before his death, Hassan Hathout spoke of “The Man Who Changed My Life,” the man being Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Banna. In the interview, Hathout lauds Al-Banna as his teacher:
My teacher was a student at the time. His name was Hassan al Banna….I believe he is a unique type of person. Centuries might roll over before a similar personality is produced. I think that the person who most influenced my life was that teacher.
But he goes one step further than that. Hathout expresses his hopes that Al-Banna’s vision for a revived Islamic state and the reimposition of shariah law will take place in the West, whereas it hadn’t done so in the Middle East (at the time):
Long after Hassan al Banna, when Egypt had been through the Revolution and the new Regime, but Islam was always considered an enemy. We were persecuted, we were in jail, including my brother and myself. We had to flee home, at last coming to the United States of America. Who knows, maybe the infertile soil that would not accept the seed of Islam in the East, might be replaced by a more fertile soil that would accept Islam in the West…This is the beginning of the Islamic Movement in the United States and in the West, and you are a part of this.
Many of the organizations that Chief Downing work with openly promote the very violent and supremacist ideology that Downing says the Brotherhood in America has transcended. For instance, the Muslim American Society (MAS) incorporates the works of Hassan Al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb (the godfather of contemporary jihadist ideology) in its standard membership training. The Chicago Tribune noted in a 2004 expose the Muslim Brotherhood roots of MAS, and federal prosecutors have stated in court documents that “MAS was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”
Chief Downing identifies Sayyid Qutb’s book, Milestones, as the foundation of al-Qaeda’s ideology. And yet, Milestones is part of MAS’s introductory curriculum (as is Hassan Al-Banna’s tract “Jihad”), as it also is for the Islamic Circle of North America, which requires new members to spend 9 months studying Qutb’s Milestones. The North American Islamic Trust, which owns the property to one-quarter of all mosques in the United States, publishes an English translation of Milestones through its American Trust Publications arm. I guess they haven’t changed their ideology and doctrine as much as Chief Downing believes.
He also says with respect to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim Student Association (MSA), which he admits is an offshoot of the MB, that “you can’t say they are the same thing.” But in a December 2003 front page article in the Wall Street Journal, Paul Barrett recounts the story of Mustafa Saied, who claimed that he was recruited into the Muslim Brotherhood through the MSA at the University of Tennessee and was taken to MSA conferences that feature known extremist MB leaders from around the world.
Back in February I reported here exclusively at the PJ Tatler on the 2011 MSA West conference, where their keynote speaker, Amir Abdel Malik (a notorious hatemonger who spouts a wide variety of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories), led the crowd in reciting the “MSA Pledge of Allegiance,” which was a restatement of the Muslim Brotherhood credo. Apparently they didn’t get Chief Downing’s memo. I also reported here at PJM last year on the long line of MSA leaders who have been charged and convicted in terror plots.