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MAS-ICNA Hosts Several Islamist and Terrorist Speakers in Chicago

What do you get when you mix a group described by federal prosecutors as “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America” with a group identified as the American front for South Asian Islamist movement Jamaat-e-Islami? The Muslim American Society-Islamic Circle of North America (MAS-ICNA) annual convention: A multi-day, 20,000-person Islamist conference featuring hateful speaker after hateful speaker -- taking place right in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Founded in 1993 in Falls Church, Virginia, the Muslim-American Society claims to work for a more “virtuous and just” America while striving for “liberty, and justice.” ICNA, meanwhile, trumpets the work of its subsidiary humanitarian charities and its involvement with “many national interfaith organizations for the betterment of society.” But, while MAS and ICNA’s “About Us” pages are full of encouragingly progressive platitudes, a quick look through the speakers’ roster for the 2018 MAS-ICNA convention (held from December 28-30) is enough to show that MAS and ICNA are not the paragons of tolerance they pretend to be.

Among the dozens of extremist speakers at MAS-ICNA was Georgetown professor and Islamist convert Jonathan Brown, who came under fire in February 2017 for his speech defending Sharia-sanctioned rape and sex slavery.

Imam Omar Suleiman was also invited. He describes homosexuality as a "disease" and a "repugnant shameless sin," and claims that women who are too close with their brothers are likely to commit incest.

Deobandi-educated hate preacher Abdul Nasir Jangda describes the Jews of Mecca as “really bad people” who were “very hateful, very spiteful,” and “the enemy,” and he also advocates for  the murder of apostates and adulterers. At the MAS-ICNA convention, Jangda spoke about “Change in the World”.

Islamic school instructor Hussain Kamani -- he calls Western society “filth,” complaining that “[w]e are surrounded by filth … our environment is full of this filth, everywhere we turn” -- delivered a lecture titled: “Anatomy of a Sound Heart” at the convention.

And Islamist darling Linda Sarsour -- despite her friendly relationship with the notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, her claim that “the Jewish media” is responsible for her bad press, and her public praise for convicted terrorist mastermind Rasmea Odeh -- gave a speech in Chicago about “Standing Firm in Justice”.

Brown, Suleiman, Jangda, Kamani, and Sarsour are mainstays of MAS-ICNA conferences, but there were new faces there this year as well. One plenary featured Chicago’s Turkish consul general, Umut Acar, who delivered a message from Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself. Acar’s remarks condemned Western “Islamophobia and cultural racism,” but conveniently avoided mentioning Erdoğan’s crackdown on political opponents and journalists.

Though such revisionism, and Turkey’s participation in MAS-ICNA, outraged some members of the Muslim community, neither are new phenomena at MAS-ICNA. At MAS-ICNA 2016, Erdoğan’s daughter Sümeyye Erdoğan Bayraktar used her keynote address to defend her father's regime, denying that democracy and press freedoms are under assault in Turkey.