Why Is the Justice Department Cozying Up to Islamic Radicals?
Pajamas Media has obtained a copy of the following internal email sent to Justice Department employees:
Volunteers needed for unique opportunity. The civil rights division will be sponsoring an information booth at the islamic society of north america convention here at the washington convention center over the july 4th weekend. The division needs volunteers to work at the booth at times on July 3 through July 5. The ISNA convention expects 35,000 to 40,000 visitors and is a huge annual cultural event in the muslim community. The bazaar, where the divisions booth will be, will have more than 500 vendors and groups. The Division is looking for attorneys who can engage visitors in discussions about the Division and non-attorney staff, law students, and student interns who would be willing to hand out literature [sic] and answer basic questions. Acting counsel Eric Treene will hold an orientation session for all volunteers the week before, which will be particularly useful for non attorneys. If you are willing to volunteer for this unique opportunity, please submit your contavt [sic] information along with the dates that you can volunteer to the Human Resources Office email account.
What is the Islamic Society of North America? And what is the Justice Department doing soliciting civil service employees to work at this organization's convention?
ISNA, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), was founded in 1981 "by Muslim Brotherhood members who had been part of the Muslim Students Association." IPT explains:
ISNA was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas-support prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), which ended in the conviction of five former HLF officials on 108 counts. Federal prosecutors identified ISNA as a "member organization" of the "U.S. Muslim Brotherhood" on its list of Unindicted Co-conspirators and/or Joint Venturers.
This is not the first time ISNA and the Justice Department have gotten into the news. In 2007, similar conduct by the Justice Department drew the attention of Sen. Tom Coburn. IPT reported:
In 2007, Coburn pushed an amendment to the FY 2008 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill which barred DOJ from underwriting any conferences with organizations identified "as an unindicted co-conspirator by the federal government in any criminal prosecution." The Senate passed the provision but when the Senate and House of Representatives met to create one final bill, it was taken out.
The Washington Times reported in October 2007:
In a letter to then-Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, Reps. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican and ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Sue Myrick, North Carolina Republican, called the Justice Department's involvement [with ISNA] a "grave mistake."
"In light of the threat that our nation ... is currently facing from radical jihadists, and because of the president's commitment to fighting the war on terror on all fronts, we believe it is a grave mistake to provide legitimacy to an organization with extremist origins, leadership and a radical agenda," the lawmakers said.
Coburn also published an 86-page report which detailed the Justice Department's "outreach" efforts and called on the Justice Department to "withhold or rescind funding for or collaboration with any entities that do not advance the mission of the Department, which is the security and stability of the United States, including its culture, its people, and its form of government."
As IPT reported:
The Coburn report on DOJ singles out the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Both are unindicted co-conspirators in the Hamas support trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) and five former officials. CAIR and ISNA appear in prosecution exhibits involving the Palestine Committee, a group created by the Muslim Brotherhood to help Hamas. CAIR is actually listed as a committee member, as are the group's co-founders Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad. ISNA is listed among friendly organizations.
The report notes what it calls an "alarming" agenda for the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. It was written by another Palestine Committee member, Mohamed Akram, in 1991 in a document called "the General Strategic Goal for the Group In North America." In the memo, Akram defined the group's role in America as "a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
In July 2008, declassified memos provided further evidence of the connection between ISNA and the Muslim Brotherhood. ISNA has maintained it is a voice of Muslim moderation, has fought its status as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, and with President Ingrid Mattson recently has attempted to present a benign image of the group to the public.
However, FBI documents, prosecutors in the Holy Land case, and even ISNA officials have revealed the association between ISNA and the Muslim Brotherhood. In the 1980s the FBI documented that "the annual conferences are used for both religious and political purposes. The political purpose is to further the Islamic Revolution, which includes the providing of anti-U.S. and Israel publications."
So the question remains: what is the Justice Department doing soliciting employees through the Justice Department email system to attend a convention at which ISNA can propagate its views?
The Justice Department did not respond to our email asking for an explanation of its outreach efforts, whether it is concerned about ISNA's connection to the Holy Land Foundation case, and whether it undertakes similar outreach to any other organizations which are explicitly religious in orientation.
Pajamas Media will continue to investigate.