PJ Media

A Close Look at Obama's New Islamic Partners

Following up on Jennifer Rubin’s exclusive Pajamas Media article — concerning the efforts of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division to recruit employees to man their booth at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) annual conference in Washington, D.C. — it bears examining exactly who the Obama administration and the DOJ are partnering up with. The Investigative Project on Terrorism notes that ISNA appears to be the new lead partner for the administration’s Islamic outreach after a top FBI official met with an ISNA vice president last week.

In response to Rubin’s report, Thomas Jocelyn of the Weekly Standard observed that ISNA’s name has come up in a current German terror finance investigation. It is believed that the Islamic group had donated $100,000 to the Third World Relief Agency at the very same time that TWRA was funding the terror network behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

According to Steve Emerson in his New York Times bestselling book, Jihad Incorporated, ISNA was also responsible for providing $170,000 in start-up cash for the Islamic African Relief Agency. The U.S. Treasury Department designated them a global terror finance entity in 2004 for providing direct support to Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and Hamas.

The DOJ Civil Rights Division officials pushing this new outreach to ISNA must have short memories, as they have apparently forgotten that the DOJ filed a brief with the federal court last summer defending its designation of ISNA as an unindicted co-conspirator. They argued that documents entered into evidence during the Holy Land Foundation trial showed that ISNA and its affiliate, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), had been directly involved in the transfer of money between HLF and Hamas. Prior to incorporation, HLF had operated as a direct subsidiary of ISNA as the Occupied Land Fund and used ISNA’s Plainfield, Indiana, mailing address. Those ISNA/HLF connections prompted Indianapolis NBC affiliate WTHR to air a two-part series investigating ISNA’s ties to terror.

As reported by Newsweek, in 2007 the DOJ had to abruptly cancel a Muslim outreach meeting with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez because a top-ranking ISNA official was going to be in attendance. Just weeks before that event, DOJ prosecutors had named ISNA as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror finance trial in Dallas.

The Department of Homeland Security also found itself embarrassed when it sponsored a booth at the 2007 ISNA annual conference. ISNA organizers placed their recruiting booth directly beside that of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist supremacist group which is banned throughout the Middle East. That embarrassment could have been avoided had they heeded the advice of Congressman Pete Hoekstra and Congresswoman Sue Myrick, who sent a letter to the attorney general asking him to withdraw DOJ sponsorship of the 2007 conference because of ISNA’s support for terrorism and Islamic extremism.

The Bush administration came under fire after ISNA official Muzzamil Siddiqi and other known supporters of Islamic terrorism appeared with Bush at a prayer service just three days after the 9/11 attacks. One of those leaders, Abdurahman Alamoudi, was later convicted on terrorism support charges and is serving a 23-year federal prison sentence. Alamoudi was identified in 2005 by the Treasury Department as the top al-Qaeda financier in the U.S. He too had been a leading Islamic partner of the U.S. government; he was personally responsible for establishing the Department of Defense’s Islamic chaplain program. He served as a State Department “goodwill ambassador” to the Islamic world, taking half a dozen trips to the Middle East at taxpayer expense before his arrest and conviction.

The DOJ institutional amnesia apparently extends back decades, as witnessed by a declassified FBI report from the 1990s obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, which observed that the “annual ISNA conferences provided opportunities for the extreme fundamentalist Muslims to meet with their supporters.”

ISNA’s extremist policies have also been a repeating theme in my reporting here at Pajamas Media. Last summer I reported that Pakistani terror leader Qazi Hussein Ahmad, a close ally of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, was scheduled to be a featured speaker at ISNA’s Canadian convention. Due to pressure by the Canadian Coalition for Democracies, he was denied entry to the country and couldn’t appear at the ISNA event. He had, however, appeared at previous ISNA conferences, but he is now banned from entering the U.S. as well.

Another article published here at Pajamas Media back in January noted that Salah Sultan, a member of ISNA’s Fiqh Council, had appeared on Egyptian TV threatening that America was destined for death and destruction. Sultan also invoked a notorious Islamic hadith promising that the Day of Judgment would not come until Muslims killed all of the Jews, and he cited approvingly the anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Previous ISNA conferences have covered some startling topics, such as a breakout session at their 2006 conference on proper methods of wife-beating entitled “And Beat Them Lightly: An Analysis and In-Depth Discussion of Verse 4:34.” The conference program explained that proper Islamic wife-beating was for a woman’s protection, not for abuse.

One speaker at this year’s ISNA conference is long-time ISNA favorite Hamza Yusuf, who at the 1995 ISNA conference denounced Judaism as a “most racist religion”:

The Jews would have us believe that God has this bias to this little small tribe in the Middle of the Sinai desert and all the rest of humanity is just rubbish. I mean that this is the basic doctrine of the Jewish religion and that’s why it is a most racist religion.

Another featured speaker this year is Yasir Qadhi, who in 2001 delivered a sermon claiming that Hitler never intended to exterminate the Jews and promoted a book entitled The Hoax of the Holocaust. Curiously, Qadhi’s name does not appear on ISNA’s conference website, but is included in the official compilation of ISNA speaker biographies. Qadhi has been a main attraction at ISNA conferences for the past several years.

One speaker at this year’s ISNA conference who has first-hand knowledge of genocide and holocaust is Abubaker al-Shingeiti. As I reported exclusively here at Pajamas Media, al-Shingeiti is the appointed outreach coordinator for ISNA and a number of other Muslim Brotherhood front groups to the Obama administration. Al-Shingeiti served as the official spokesman for the regime of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when it was waging a war of genocide against Christians in southern Sudan, which claimed the lives of over two million people. He was also a top advisor to Bashir when his regime was giving shelter to Osama bin Laden and was listed by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism. Al-Shingeiti later came to America, where his first position was editor of ISNA’s Islamic Horizons magazine, and he is now the president of American Muslims for Constructive Engagement. Bashir, his previous boss, is wanted by the International Criminal Court after being indicted for war crimes related to the regime’s ongoing campaign of genocide in Darfur.

But no doubt the belle of this year’s ISNA ball will be ISNA president Ingrid Mattson, who spoke at Barack Obama’s inaugural prayer service despite her organization’s ties to Hamas. That invitation was opposed by a number of American Islamic leaders, who issued a statement chronicling Mattson’s extensive record of denigrating other religious faiths and her support of Islamic extremism.

No doubt the DOJ Civil Rights Division is well aware of ISNA’s extensive history of extremism, racism, religious bigotry, and terror support because it has been repeatedly noted by their own department in court briefs, trial evidence, and internal reports made public through FOIA requests. But as the Obama administration has rushed to extend its hand to the brutal Iranian theocratic regime currently engaged in a bloody crackdown on its own people, it should not be surprising that the administration’s new Islamic partners in the U.S. are cut from that same mold.