The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the largest Muslim organization in the United States and Canada. It encompasses youth movements — including the largest Islamic collegiate group, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) — as well as hundreds of mosques throughout North America.
ISNA issues a bi-monthly publication titled Islamic Horizons. At face value, the magazine seems innocuous. However, it is filled with features and advertisements linked to radical Islamic thought and activity.
A feature story from the January/February 2013 issue covers the life of Nihad Awad, and how he came to found the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR was established as a part of an umbrella organization created by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. Awad founded CAIR with two others via the then-American Hamas propaganda wing, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), in which Awad held a leadership position.
The article conveniently leaves out the associations with Hamas of Awad and CAIR.
Another story in the same issue promotes Siraj Wahhaj, the imam of Brooklyn’s al-Taqwa mosque. This is the same Siraj Wahhaj named by the U.S. government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” for a trial dealing with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, an act which resulted in the deaths of six innocent Americans. Wahhaj had been linked to the bombmaker of the attack, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, and during the trial he was a character witness for the spiritual leader of the attack — “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman — whom Wahhaj has openly praised.
Page 2 of last month’s issue of IH carried a full-page advertisement for Islamic Relief, asking readers to donate $10 for “Palestine emergency aid.” In May 2006, Israel labeled Islamic Relief a front for Hamas after arresting the group’s Gaza program manager, Ayaz Ali, for providing “funds and assistance to various Hamas institutions and organizations.” Ali admitted that he had cooperated with local Hamas operatives.
Further, in 1999 IR collected and sent more than $6 million to Chechen rebels with ties to al-Qaeda.
The same year, IR received $50,000 from Human Concern International (HCI), a charity that the U.S. Department of Treasury described as a “Bin Laden front.” And shortly after the September 11 attacks, IR itself was investigated by the Treasury Department as a “possible source of funding for al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.”
Another full-page ad in last month’s issue featured Helping Hand USA, a charitable function of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). The ad asked readers to “sponsor a child,” and features a cute, smiling little boy. However: in August 2006, the al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF), a Pakistani charity run by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), hand delivered six million rupees, approximately $99,000, to global head of Hamas Khaled Meshaal at his Damascus residence. Meshaal thanked the members of the delegation and assured them that Hamas would continue to “wage jihad” against Israelis. According to AKF, at the time of the money handover Helping Hand and other ICNA entities were both donors and partners to AKF. Helping Hand continues to affiliate with AKF.
Another full-page ad in the issue featured the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). In March 2002, IIIT had its Virginia offices raided by the FBI in a probe that targeted over a dozen businesses accused of financing terrorism. One of the groups IIIT was said to have financed was the World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), a now-defunct Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) front run by PIJ leader Sami al-Arian. The raids led to the convictions of two individuals.
The final page of the January/February issue of Islamic Horizons featured the Michigan-based Mercy-USA for Aid and Development, a group that has had a number of terror-related individuals serve as board members. The list includes convicted terrorist Abdurahman Alamoudi, and an “unindicted co-conspirator” of both the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and September 11 attacks, Mohammed al-Hanooti. Mercy-USA is also the U.S. office of Mercy International, a charity implicated in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania — this East African al-Qaeda operation first brought Osama bin Laden to the attention of the American public.
In the December 1996 newsletter of Mercy-USA, President Umar al-Qadi stated: “During 1995, Mercy opened new offices in the Los Angeles area and in Kenya.” At the 2001 trial of USA v. Usama Bin Laden, federal prosecutors stated that Mercy International served as a front to aid the embassy attackers. According to testimony, Mercy’s Kenya branch worked closely with al-Qaeda, issuing identity cards to bin Laden and his colleagues.
The amount of advertising either given or sold to entities associated with terrorism by Islamic Horizons, and the level of coverage individuals related to these groups receive from the publication, is troubling to say the least. The truth is that a number of American Muslim organizations are considered “mainstream,” yet are supportive of terror.