UPDATE: Rep. Carson responds to this article. See the update, “Congressman Walks Back Appearance at Islamic Terror Group’s Chicago Convention.”
Congressman Andre Carson found himself in strange company Saturday evening when he was scheduled to be featured on a panel with a known Al-Qaeda webmaster and Taliban fundraiser, Mazen Mokhtar, during the just-concluded 2014 Muslim American Society/Islamic Circle of North America (MAS/ICNA) 2014 convention held in Chicago.
The panel was titled “Ferguson is our issue: We Can’t Breath.”
Here’s a promotional video of the three-day event:
One attendee tweeted that the joint Carson/Mokhtar panel was the “most important session” of the convention:
Mokhtar is presumably well-known to Carson, one of two sitting Muslim members of Congress, since Mokhtar is well-known to the FBI.
In 2004, Mokhtar was named in a federal affidavit in the case of a UK-based Al-Qaeda website that raised money for the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.
According to the Washington Post:
Meanwhile, a New Jersey man is under investigation for having helped a British computer specialist, also arrested in London this week, allegedly solicit funds for a terrorist group by creating and operating an exact replica of the British man’s Web site.
Mazen Mokhtar, an Egyptian-born imam and political activist, operated a Web site identified in an affidavit unsealed Friday by the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut. The Web site solicited funds for the Taliban and Chechen mujaheddin, according to the affidavit. It is an exact replica of Web sites operated by Babar Ahmad, who was arrested in England on a U.S. extradition warrant this week.
The affidavit said the New Jersey home of the mirror Web site operator, identified on a Web site as Mokhtar, was searched in the recent past and that copies of Azzam Publications sites, operated by Ahmad, were found on Mokhtar’s computer’s hard drive and files.
Officials at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, which is leading the investigation, declined yesterday to comment on Mokhtar or the New Jersey investigation.
A CNN report (now removed from their website) added:
Federal officials are investigating a man accused of running Web sites that are exact replicas of those used to solicit funds for the Taliban and Chechen mujahedeen, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday by the U.S. attorney’s office in New Haven, Connecticut.
Law enforcement sources identified the man as Mazen Mokhtar, 36, of New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Those sources said Mokhtar is the “specific individual who resides in the United States” referred to in the affidavit as working with Babar Ahmad to solicit funds for the “blocked organizations … in an effort to support their goals.”
Predictably, when Mokhtar’s name surfaced in the investigation, the Muslim community rallied around him and the media began pushing the “moderate Islamic cleric” narrative.
In fact, the accusations by federal law enforcement authorities have barely made a dent in Mokhtar’s rise to prominence in the Islamic community.
Mokhtar currently serves as the executive director of the national MAS. A 2004 Chicago Tribune investigative report, published just a month after Mokhtar was named in the federal affidavit, noted that MAS was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members to conceal their ties to the Egyptian Islamic group.
In 2007, federal prosecutors described the group in a federal court filing saying that MAS was “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States”:
Congressman Carson is not without his own controversy. While speaking to a 2012 ICNA convention, Carson told attendees that American schools will never be innovative until they become modeled after the Islamic education system.
Carson’s fellow Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, is not without his own controversy. In 2012, I noted here at PJ Media Ellison’s long entanglement with Muslim Brotherhood front groups and Islamic organizations identified in federal court as fronts for foreign terrorist organizations, with even his hajj trip to Mecca being paid for by MAS to the tune of $13,500.