Last Saturday I broke the story here at PJ Media that Congressman Andre Carson — one of only two Muslim congressmen — had been scheduled to speak at a panel at the Muslim American Society (MAS) – Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) annual convention held last weekend in Chicago. I noted that the panel included Mazen Mokhtar, who, as federal agents have testified in federal court, helped run an Al-Qaeda website that raised money for the Taliban.
At the time, Carson’s scheduled appearance on the panel was noted on the convention’s online program. Within the past 48 hours, his name was removed from the website.
Now you see him:
Now you don’t:
I also included in my report a tweet from one of the convention attendees noting his inclusion in the Ferguson panel in the official convention program. That tweet has now been removed, but is reproduced below.
Late yesterday, Congressman Carson responded to our report by walking back his role in the Ferguson panel. He published this statement on his House website, which we reprint here in full:
INDIANAPOLIS – Today, Congressman André Carson released the following statement in response to his attendance at the ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) Chicago convention last weekend.
On Saturday, December 27, I attended the ICNA Chicago convention to deliver a speech on the importance of civil engagement and developing leaders in the community.
On Sunday, December 28, I learned that ICNA had also scheduled me to sit on a Ferguson panel Saturday night – which I had not planned on participating in. At no point had I ever confirmed to attend any other events other than the dinner. Any reference to my participation or appearance on the Ferguson panel during the ICNA conference is not factual.
As a former law enforcement officer with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security in the anti-terrorism unit, it is critical that Americans know that I would never associate with any individual or organization trying to harm the United States of America or its citizens.
Carson acknowledges his appearance at the MAS-ICNA convention, but disclaims any appearance at the Ferguson panel. Convention organizers could clear up any confusion by publishing the video of the panel (past conventions have been recorded and session videos published on YouTube).
This doesn’t quite resolve the problem.
While Carson claims he didn’t sit on the Ferguson panel with Mokhtar, it should be noted that Mokhtar was no marginal player in the event. As I noted in my previous report, Mokhtar currently serves as the national executive director of MAS, the primary convention organizer.
It may not be accidental that Carson leaves MAS’ role in the convention out of his press statement.
Despite his statement that “I would never associate with any individual or organization trying to harm the United States of America or its citizens,” it should be noted that just six weeks ago, MAS was listed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a terrorist organization:
As I noted in the previous article, in 2007 the Justice Department said in a federal court filing in a terrorism case that “MAS was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”
ICNA also has its difficulties. Earlier this year, counter-terrorism researcher Ryan Mauro noted that ICNA’s Tarbiyah (instruction) guide for members:
…tells Muslims to wage jihad to conquer the West and establish sharia and repeatedly references the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood as a source.
And in November 2013, former ICNA president Ashrafuz Zaman Khan was sentenced to death in his home country of Bangladesh in absentia by the international war crimes tribunal for killing 7 teachers while serving as commander of the infamous “Al-Badr” militia during Pakistan’s 1971 war.
Khan can be seen speaking at a 2011 ICNA rally posted on the group’s YouTube channel:
So by walking back his scheduled joint panel appearance with Mokhtar, but acknowledging his attendance at the convention for these two organizations, led by Moktar and Khan, Carson still has questions he needs to answer in associating, contrary to his own claims, with groups and individuals promoting extremism, and, in the case of MAS, designated a terrorist organization by the UAE.