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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > President Bush sending WH representative Karen Hughes to radical Islamist ICNA conference

President Bush sending WH representative Karen Hughes to radical Islamist ICNA conference

August 29, 2005

Letters From The Home Front War On Terror - The Bush Administration's Serious Missteps Regarding ISNA


By William A. Mayer & Beila Rabinowitz

Item: The Islamic Society of North America - a Wahhabist funded group and a subject in a major inquiry by the Senate Finance Committee into "organizations, particularly tax-exempt organizations such as charities and foundations, which finance terrorism and perpetuate violence"1 - has invited President Bush to its upcoming 42nd annual convention, to be held September 2-5 in Rosemont, Illinois.

August 29, 2005 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - For some reason spokesmen who claim to represent "moderate" American Islam are never scrutinized by the main stream media about their motives or in depth about the organizations that they represent. These groups are seldom - if ever - called to account as to why their members have been convicted of terror related offenses, support suicide bombing or raise funds which end up in the hands of jihadists.

It strikes us as odd that journalists from such august organizations as the Washington Post, the New York Times and CBS news apparently know so little about the groups which serve as the spearhead of Islam in North America that they find themselves merely providing an uncritical forum for the public relations efforts of those organizations.

This is why you will never hear the following asked of the Islamist lobby:

"Why is American Islam put together in a manner not unlike an organized crime syndicate, ala La Cosa Nostra?"

A benign explanation for such a query does not exactly jump out during even a cursory review of the history of the people involved, their radical statements, their support by Saudi Wahhabis and a web of troubling entanglements some of which have understandably drawn the attention of the Justice Department.

Such is case with the Islamic Society of North America, an outgrowth of the Muslim Student Association.

In keeping with above described model, it should not be surprising that the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA] serves as a holding company for much of American Islam.

ISNA is funded by the Saudis and is used by them - a tool to assert and maintain ideological control of the movement. While so engaged it spreads Wahhabism.

In hearings before the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism held October 14, 2003 J. Michael Waller an internationally renowned authority on terrorism declared that ISNA controls the ideological content of the majority [1,100 of 1,500] US mosques and that through its North American Islamic Trust [NAIT] owns or controls the physical assets of 75% of them.

That is a stranglehold; call it religious monopolism.

The control mechanism used against those not in the fold is simple and direct - the Wahhabis employ physical violence, storming into moderate Islamic congregations, assaulting and otherwise intimidating them.

"The dissidents tried to drive out the worshipers...knocking over a pregnant woman who later miscarried...the "scuffle" was one in a dramatic series of struggles at mosques throughout the country between fundamentalist and moderate Muslims...part of a Saudi-financed missionary project to spread the kingdom's harsh and highly political version of Islam, known as Wahhabism."Saudi form of Islam wars with moderates, St. Petersburg Times, March 11, 2003

ISNA has a myriad of associations which challenge its self-described moderation.

"...we found about a dozen charities, organizations or individuals under federal scrutiny for possible ties to terrorism that are linked in some way to ISNA - ties sources tell us have also placed ISNA under the federal microscope." -Images In Conflict, WTHR Indianapolis

A look at some of ISNA's principals reveals their radical Islamist agenda:

  • Secretary General - Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed - On ISNA's support [providing booth space at its annual conventions and fundraising activities] of the faux Islamic charity the Holy Land Foundation, now under Federal indictment - "We have helped in the past to establish these charities and relief organizations...They are not legally part of us."

    Previous to his association with ISNA, Syeed was the Director of Academic Outreach for the International Institute of Islamic Thought [IIIT], an Islamist think tank in Herndon Virginia. The IIIT has been raided as part of Federal terrorism investigations, at least once in regards to the prosecution of Sami Al-Arian [Al-Arian is currently on trial in Florida for establishing a funding network for the terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad] whom ISNA and Syeed have defended.

    During the time Syeed was at IIIT they made contributions to Sami Al-Arian's Quranic Literacy Institute. Of those contributions Syeed now says - "It was a surprise for me, a shock for me."

  • Vice President - Dr. Ingrid Mattson - On 911 - "The terrorist attack on Sept. 11th exacerbated a double-bind American Muslims have been feeling for some time. So often, it seems, we have to apologize for reprehensible actions committed by Muslims in the name of Islam."

    On the supposed moral equivalency between the US government and Islamic terror - "...These policies (support for oppressive governments, enforcement of sanctions responsible for the deaths almost 1 million Iraqi children, vetoing any criticism of Israel at the United Nations) contradict the 'true' values of America."

    Denying the existence of Islamic terror, quoted as saying - "The term 'islamic terrorism' should not be used by the media."

    Denies the existence of Wahhabism, quoted as saying - "...It's not helpful, I believe, to create another broad category i.e. "Wahhabism" that becomes the scapegoat for terrorism."

  • Vice President [Canada] Dr. Syed Imtiaz Ahmad - Signatory to "War on terror is anti-Muslim" petition - "We demand of the United Nations immediate action to withdraw support for the on-going Occupation of Iraq, and to initiate an international process of judgment against the illegal and criminal use of force against the people of Iraq." Cached through Google, original page pulled by the website "humiliateamerica.com"

    The "Humiliate America" jihad website originated in India. It and other associated sites which appeared on this server network - since shut down - urged that armed violence be used against American troops stationed in Asian countries - "Make a solid groundwork for over throw of your government ... Then jump like a wild cat soon the situation is ripe; side with anti-American elements of your army to launch a revolt. "Link

  • Member Board of Directors - Muzammil Siddiqi - Spoke at the Islamic Circle of North America's 2001 convention in Cleveland together with Saudi Shaikh Abdur Rahman al-Sudais, senior imam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Al-Sudais has been quoted vilifying Jews as the "scum of humanity" and "the grandsons of monkeys and pigs."

    Siddiqi has spoken at pro-Hezbollah and pro-Hamas rallies, has supported an Islamic state in the U.S. and praised suicide bombing for the Islamic cause.

    Spoke at an Oct. 28, 2000, "Jerusalem Day" rally in Washington, that media reported degenerated into a "hate-fest" in which the crowd chanted, "Death to the Jews!"

  • Member Board of Directors - Imam Siraj Wahhaj - On Feb. 2, 1995, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named Siraj Wahhaj as one of the "unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators" in the attempt to blow up New York City monuments.

    Quoted as saying "In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing. And the only thing that will remain will be Islam."

    "In 1993 two members of his [Wahhaj'] mosque pleaded guilty in connection with charges of plotting to kill the secretary-general of the United Nations, a U.S. senator and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and blow up major buildings and tunnels." - Newsweek, September 30, 2002

  • Chapter President - Kareem Irfan - On jihadi beheadings, Irfan was quoted as saying he - "believes that beheadings simply demonstrate a primordial sense of retaliation and revenge."

  • Chapter President - Sayed Gomah - Former director of TAIBAH International. There are two TAIBAH branches, both associated with terror. Re the US branch located in Falls Church Virginia, a veritable terror funding nest:

    "According to TIAA's 2000 IRS Form 990, Abdurahman Alamoudi is the Vice President of TIAA [TAIBAH]" the court documents stated. TIAA, founded in 1991, also "lists Abdullah A. bin Laden, as founding officer." He is the nephew of Osama bin Laden, according to the U.S. Justice Department." - Alleged terror threats operate in DC suburb - CNS News, July 12, 2004

    Re the Bosnian TAIBAH:

    "The court documents filed by the U.S. attorney's office in Virginia stated that Mohammed El-Nagmy, an employee of TIAA and its sister organization Taibah in Sarajevo, Bosnia, served simultaneously as the Bosnian representative for the Global Relief Foundation (GRF).

    GRF is also on the State Department's list of specially designated global terrorist groups.

    GRF ... personnel had multiple contacts with Wadih El-Hage, UBL's [Osama bin Laden] personal secretary when UBL was in Sudan," according to the U.S. Treasury Department. El-Hage was convicted in May 2001 for his role in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings." - Alleged terror threats operate in DC suburb - CNS News, July 12, 2004

  • Such individuals populate the infrastructure whereby mosques are strong-armed into orthodoxy.

    As noted by Reza F. Safa, author of "Inside Islam," since 1973 the Saudis have spent nearly 100 billion dollars spreading Wahhabism and that 80% of American mosques have been built by them and therefore fall under their control.

    "But the main clearinghouse for Wahhabism in the United States is...the Islamic Society of North America. ISNA is subsidized by the Saudi government." - Saudi form of Islam wars with moderates, St. Petersburg Times, March 11, 2003

    "The North American Islamic Trust was established in 1971 by the MSA of U.S. and Canada. NAIT provides protection and safeguarding for the assets of ISNA/MSA and other communities by holding their assets and real estate in "waqf."2 - NAIT website

    NAIT comprises four "divisions" which gives the parent organization micro-control over its harem of mosques.

    Islamic Centers Division, which acquires, finances, maintains and provides legal services for US mosques, Islamic centers, religious schools and chaplaincy programs for the US Armed Forces - an area in great need of examination.

    American Trust Publications, provides written tracts for schools, Islamic centers and mosques.

    Audio Visual Center, provides multi-media for schools, Islamic centers and mosques.

    Islamic Book Service, a retail operation for Islamic books.

    So what do we have here, is this a religious organization or is it merely a Wahhabi version of a vertically organized monopolistic trust?

    Please consider the facts - outside funding from Saudi Arabia, home of Wahhabi Islam; an overriding umbrella organization comprised of many sub-groups and associations; a shadowy trust subsidiary that holds properties in common; foot soldiers - emissaries of violence - who enforce orthodoxy from the top down, crushing the true moderates.

    "We feel this is very much a war for the heart and soul of our religion," said Jamaluddin Hoffman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America..."They [the Wahhabis] are going around telling people that we are heretics," said Agha Jafri, a leader of the Shia Muslim community in New York. "That we are the product of a Jewish conspiracy and we are not Muslims. Nobody is Muslim to them except themselves. They just hate us."

    And ISNA is at the center of this gangster-like universe.

    This is not the traditional manner in which religions are organized, in the United States or anywhere else in the world.

    The most innocent explanation is that this is the way business ventures are pursued - objectives identified, goals set and a method put into place to achieve them. In this manner, Islam Inc. has mechanized and automated the precept of Da'wa - a religiously mandated spreading of the Islamic faith - and used the enterprise to fraudulently install and maintain Wahhabism as the official face of "moderate" Islam in America.

    Wahhabism's long-term goal is no less than installing Sharia [Islamic law] as the governing force in America. That fact should be very troubling to people who get paid to worry about such things.

    Why such information remains far from common knowledge is a complex subject, but can be broadly stated:

    1. The organizational tactics employed by these groups are designed to obfuscate and their spokesmen are deceitful.

    2. Hampering any investigative impulse, the leftist social strictures enforcing diversity and multiculturalism are being used to great effect, mandating in the nation's newsrooms the absurd contention that Islam is no more responsible for terrorism than Judaism or Christianity.

    3. The skillful use of civil rights code words to brand critics as anti-Muslim.


    Given the previous analysis, we consider it outrageous that the Bush administration has apparently made the decision to send top aid and newly appointed State Dept public relations chief Karen Hughes - hat in hand - to the ISNA convention.

    If this plays out it will be an incredibly damaging move that will have a lasting and negative impact on the President's war on terror. It sends the message that this administration really has no conception of what it is fighting and how the Islamist movement is being advanced in North America.

    Actions like this prove that despite assurances that the flow of vital information between various governmental agencies has improved, that little progress has been made.

    Apparently this administration is unaware of what ISNA represents, that it is engaged in a vicious campaign to crush Islamic moderates and that the organization's IRS records have been requested by Senator Grassley's Finance Committee because of concern over the group's possible ties to terror funding.

    We call upon the Bush administration to reconsider this serious misstep and withdraw all support from the ISNA event immediately.

    In our opinion, an appropriate reaction would be to have the Department of Homeland Security placed ISNA and similar organizations on "watch" lists similar to those used to screen airline passengers and to immediately end the Muslim chaplaincy program until the training methods and vetting process can be fully examined.

    The Islamists and their representatives don't deserve recognition at any official level and they must no longer be included in the type of White House programs in which ISNA has ["Radical Muslim Group Invited To Participate In White House Faith Based Program Conference" March 1, 2005, PipeLineNews.org, William A. Mayer & Beila Rabinowitz] participated in the recent past.

    In our opinion they represent a significant security risk.

    We call on the US Department of Justice to increase its scrutiny of these groups and hold them to account for their individual and organizational ties to terrorism. We hope moreover, that they sharpen their focus with an eye to dismantling the Wahhabist infrastructure which has been allowed to dominate Islam in the United States.

    Excessive tolerance, attempts to negotiate with or find common ground with the Wahhabists is - in these times of suitcase nukes - nothing short of a suicide pact.


    1. ISNA Grassley IRS Request December 22, 2003

    2. "waqf" in Arabic means to hold or to confine, especially to be used for some special purpose. In short it is an Islamic trust mechanism.

    1999-2005 PipeLineNews.org, all rights reserved.


    MIM: 'Wake up and smell the Caliphate' - editor of Pakistan News complains of lack of caffeine at ISNA 'instant ummah' .


    ISNA Convention: A Lesson in Diversity

    In the North American Muslim diaspora the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has become an eagerly anticipated experience for a sizable portion of the community. This year's event was no exception. It attracted thousands, attired in colorful garb representing many ethnic groups, over the Labor Day weekend at Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois.

    The three-day gathering created an instant ummah, a global Muslim society. The diversity represented, in racial, ethnic, linguistic, cultural and nationality dimensions, would be difficult to find anywhere else, including the Muslim world, except at the time of the pilgrimage. American Muslims are fortunate to experience a hajj-like atmosphere in microcosm, and hopefully, appreciative of the opportunity made available. Get-togethers of this type help to lessen the parochial, narrow and tribal outlook for which Muslims are notorious.

    An estimated thirty thousand turned up to celebrate the reality of Islam in America, as well as to participate in spiritual learning, to hear world renowned speakers, to renew old acquaintances and to make new friends. Some enthusiasts described the gathering as a mini-hajj for the inspiration it provided to numerous participants.

    The overwhelming numbers who come to the conventions are unfamiliar with the history of ISNA and its early struggles. Those who reached the shores of America during the past fifteen or twenty years take it for granted the existence of an Islamic presence in the land. However, not too long ago, in the fifties there was hardly a regular Muslim congregation to be found. It was not until the sixties that a nationally identifiable Muslim community began to take shape on the American soil.

    The Muslim Students Association (MSA) founded in 1963, later to become ISNA in 1982, started with just a little more than a dozen students, if memory serves me right. The earlier conventions in the sixties attracted hardly a hundred participants. But the momentum provided by the likes of Ahmad Sakr, Ahmad Totonji, Jamal Barzinji and others too numerous to mention, gradually caught on, membership increased, chapters multiplied and brought us to the point where we are today.

    One of the encouraging signs at the recent ISNA convention was the number of younger people in attendance. Their rapt attention to speakers such as Hamza Yusuf, Abd Al Fattah and Anwar Aulaqi means that they are attracted to the spiritual, intellectual and developmental aspects of Islam that has been neglected from the Islamic discourse for considerable period of time.

    There might even be an intergenerational transformation in the offing as the American educated youth begin to grapple with their own problems of identity and seek to become active, as well as to move in the direction of leadership positions. The election of younger people, particularly women, to ISNA offices is an encouraging sign, hopefully indicative of a trend.

    Despite the experience of thirty-eight years, well over a third of a century, ISNA has yet to become professionalized. Even on a shoestring budget its panels at the convention could still start and end on time. In the larger plenary sessions some advance planning might be useful. Such sessions of mainstream organizations usually are highly orchestrated and choreographed. Too much ad hoc activity on the stage and spontaneous presentations waste time and distract from the main agenda.

    On Saturday evenings thousands gather for some dramatic happening, an inspirational speaker or two, or some breakthrough by a prominent national leader. But all they hear is the grating voice of the fundraiser. It is an opportunity lost year after year.

    Then there is the perennial problem of meals. Why not invite vendors to set up several food outlets, and have some fast food type service available from early in the morning until late at night. There is always clamor for coffee but none was available at the convention this go-around.

    "We ain't here no more," is what Pogo said when he saw the scenery changing and the boat moving. The Muslim community and the ISNA convention clientele are also changing. New values are being acquired (time awareness) and new tastes (coffee) developed. Changing times require changing action. Let's keep up.

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