Bernie, Castro Set to Speak at Terror-Linked Radical Islam Conference
At least two candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, will speak at the annual convention for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). ISNA was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case concerning funding the terror group Hamas.
ISNA may be the largest Muslim group in America, but it also has a bad history with terror and radical Islam. The Holy Land Foundation raised $12 million for Hamas, which the State Department designated a terrorist organization in 1997. The U.S., Israel, and the European Union have shut down organizations that funnel money to Hamas.
The Department of Justice lists ISNA as an "entity" of the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical group dedicated to establishing a global caliphate with all humanity living under sharia (Islamic law), as the Clarion Project's Ryan Mauro noted.
ISNA wasn't just a co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case — the organization also shared an address with the Holy Land Foundation. One of its founders, Sami Al-Arian, would later be deported to Turkey thanks to his support for terrorist groups. Abdurahman Alamoudi, who would later be convicted on terror charges, led ISNA's Political Awareness Committee.
ISNA's bi-monthly publication, Islamic Horizons, has promoted terror-supporting radicals like Siraj Wahhaj, imam of Brooklyn's al-Taqwa mosque. Wahhaj was an unindicted co-conspirator for a trial dealing with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, an act that killed six Americans. He had been linked to the bombmaker. The publication has also fundraised for Islamic Relief, which Israel labeled as a front for Hamas.
Many forms of sharia condemn homosexuals. In July 2017, ISNA booted Muslims for Progressive Values, a pro-LGBT Muslim group, from its convention. Muzammil Siddiqi, ISNA's president from 1997 to 2001, said he supported laws in countries where homosexuality is punishable by death.
Why do Sanders and Castro, who claim to support LGBT activism, openly associate with ISNA?
American politicians have been criticized for not connecting with Muslims. Sanders hired the likely first-ever Muslim presidential campaign manager, Faiz Shakir.
It seems Sanders and Castro are trying to appeal to the Muslim vote, and American politicians should champion Muslims who do not support the political institution of sharia. (Figures like Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser come to mind.) Sadly, Sanders and Castro are associating with the dangerous kind of Muslim.
At last year's ISNA Convention, ex-Muslim protesters wearing ex-Muslim t-shirts were kicked out of a nearby Starbucks.
Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, will also speak at the convention. ISNA claimed to have invited President Donald Trump, but it seems unlikely the president will attend.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.