By Ryan Mauro, The Clarion Project
Former President Jimmy Carter will speak and sign books at the 51st annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the organization has announced. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is also listed as a speaker on its program.
The U.S. Justice Department labeled ISNA an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism-financing trial in American history and listed the group as a Muslim Brotherhood entity. The event’s speaker lineup includes many Islamist radicals, debunking the moderate image ISNA puts forth.
The name of this year’s conference is, “GenerationsRise: Elevating Muslim American Culture.” It will be held in Detroit on August 29-September 1.
A Clarion Project analysis in March showed that ISNA’s religious leadership is made up of radicals, including one whose deportation is sought by the Department of Homeland Security because of his links to Hamas.
Sayyid Syeed, former ISNA Secretary-General and current National Director of its Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances, was videotaped in 2006 declaring, “Our job is to change the constitution of America.”
A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo explicitly identifies ISNA and its various components among its fronts. The memo states the Brotherhood network’s “work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” Another Muslim Brotherhood document from 1988 states ISNA is part of its “apparatus.”
In 2007, the Justice Department labeled ISNA an unindicted co-conspirator in the successful trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim Brotherhood front found to be financing Hamas. The U.S. government also listed ISNA as one of the “individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.”
Specifically, federal prosecutors revealed how checks for the “Palestinian Mujahideen” were deposited into ISNA accounts and then transferred to the Holy Land Foundation for distribution to Hamas. A federal judge upheld the unindicted co-conspirator designation in 2009, citing “ample” justification and observing that the Foundation “operated from within ISNA.”
ISNA portrays itself as the leader of the Muslim-American community, but a 2011 Gallup poll found that only 4% of Muslim-American males and 7% of females see ISNA as the group that most represents their interests. Nonetheless, its organizational capabilities and high profile have given it access to American leadership on a bi-partisan basis.
ISNA, like other American Islamist groups with radical backgrounds, were also embraced by the Bush Administration following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Last year, President Obama delivered a videotaped address for ISNA’s convention, praising it despite that event’s extremist lecturers.
This year’s event is no different. Carter is adding his name to a lineup that includes:
Imam Siraj Wahhaj, whose history of extremist and anti-American incitement is too long to review. For example, in 1992, he said, “If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a Caliphate. If we were united and strong, we’d elect our own emir and give allegiance to him. Take my word, if eight million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us.”
His rhetoric became more cautious after the 9/11 attacks. In 2011, he preached, “The trap we fall into is having a premature discussion about sharia when we are not there yet.” In November, the New York Police Department disclosed frightening information about his mosque’s activity.
He is scheduled to teach at the conference on the topic of elevating Muslim-American culture.
Zaid Shakir, an imam with a history of radicalism. Last year, he preached that the U.S. Constitution is inferior to sharia because it grants equality to Muslims and non-Muslims. His writings depict the U.S. military in the worst of ways and the New York Times reported in 2006 that “he said he still hoped that one day the United States will be ruled by Islamic law.”
He will be preaching about using the culture to pass Islamic values to the next generation and will be on an interfaith panel about political activism.
Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). He most recently disparaged Independence Day and questioned whether fallen U.S. soldiers should be honored for Memorial Day. He has also expressed support of the Muslim Brotherhood and vilifies the U.S. government.
He is hosting a panel about “collective conscience” that includes Rep. Keith Ellison.
Zahra Billoo, the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of CAIR. She joined Walid in questioning Memorial Day and defaming the U.S. military. She’s also defended the terrorism of Hamas against Israel.
She will be speaking about the work of the youth activists. The ISNA program lists her as one of the “most remarkable young Muslim leaders and activists who are elevating Muslim American culture in the new millennium.”
Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder and the son of a major Brotherhood leader in Europe. In April 2010, he inferred that Iraqi and Palestinian attacks on U.S. and Israeli soldiers are legitimate by saying resistance cannot target civilians.
A Norwegian documentary by an Iraqi Muslim asked a senior Brotherhood leader if Ramadan is a member of the group.
“He thinks he is using the Muslim Brothers’ perspective and he’s convinced of the Muslim Brothers’ ideology, but he spreads the word in his own way. We give people the freedom to express their understanding exactly the way they want,” he replied.
He will speak on the topic of “re-thinking education.”
Jamal Badawi, formerly listed on ISNA’s website as a member of its Board of Directors. He is personally listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial and is a founder of the Muslim American Society, another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. His name is listed as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood official in an internal document from 1992.
His history includes endorsing suicide bombings and “combative jihad” and praising Hamas as “martyrs.” He is also close to Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi.
Badawi will preach on the topic of sharia and culture.
“[Muslims] should participate in the [U.S. political] system to safeguard our interest and try to bring gradual change for the right cause…We must not forget that Allah’s rules have to be established in all lands, and all our efforts should lead to that direction.”
Siddiqi was more specific in a 2001 speech, where he said that Sharia’s penal system must also be eventually established:
“The criminal law of the Sharia is not practiced here and it is not even required for Muslims to practice the criminal law in a non-Islamic state…Once more people accept Islam, insha’allah, this will lead to the implementation of sharia in all areas.”
Siddiqui will teach on the topic of “remosqued,” or how to change mosque culture so there is greater attendance.
Hassan Qazwini, imam of the Islamic Center of America in Michigan. The mosque has had Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam as a guest speaker. Qazwini has boasted that Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a spiritual leader of Hezbollah, “considered me his son” and the two met whenever he traveled to Lebanon. Qazwini’s mosque held a memorial service for him when he died in 2010.
He will be teaching about sharia and culture.
Ihsan Bagby, the executive director of the Kentucky chapter of CAIR. He was also a national board member for CAIR from 1995 to 2013. He is also the General-Secretary of the radical Muslim Alliance in North America, which is led by Wahhaj.
A 1991 publication quoted him as saying, “Ultimately, we [Muslims] can never be full citizens of this country…because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.”
Bagby is also teaching on the topic of “re-mosqued.”
Suhaib Webb, is the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. His mosque is run by the Muslim American Society, which federal prosecutors say was “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”
The Center’s parent organization, the Islamic Society of Boston, has significant Muslim Brotherhood ties and was attended by the Boston bombers. There is video of Webb preaching that homosexuals are cursed.
Webb will be preaching about how to elevate Muslim-American culture.
Yasir Qadhi, a Salafist preacher from the Al-Maghrib Institute. He says that “Allah destroys this [American] version of capitalism” and that the U.S. economic system enslaves millions. He also preaches against man-made law and in favor of sharia law. There is also disturbing audio from him justifying the persecution of Christians and Jews under an Islamic state.
He is teaching about sharia and culture.
Ingrid Mattson, a former President of ISNA. She is on the Council of Scholars of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity in Virginia that had its offices raided by federal agents in 2002. IIIT was embraced by the former Egyptian President Morsi when he ran Egypt for the Muslim Brotherhood. Zaid Shakir’s website has an endorsement of his theology from Mattson.
She will be teaching on the topic of “collective conscience.”
Imam Mohamed Magid, ISNA president and executive director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center, which had its offices raided as part of a terrorism-financing investigation in 2002.
In 2004, Magid reacted to the U.S. government’s investigation into U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities including the Holy Land Foundation by accusing elements of the U.S. government of being “intent on dismantling Muslim organizations and bringing them down.”
He will be preaching on the topics of “positive citizenship” and elevating Muslim-American culture.
ISNA’s recruitment of former President Carter as a speaker is a feather in the cap for the organization. Despite its documented history, ISNA will be able to further its political influence by pointing to Carter’s presentation as proof of its moderation and credibility.
The Clarion Project has asked the Carter Center for comment and has yet to hear back.