Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > ISNA: The Islamic Society of North America :"Solid base of Islam is in place - now it's time to start building the infrastructure"
ISNA: The Islamic Society of North America :"Solid base of Islam is in place - now it's time to start building the infrastructure"
ISNA urges Muslims: "Give $1000 a year to supply as many bricks as possible " for our future and spread Islam in America
MIM: The building of Islam means converts, and Militant Islamists have in America have not hidden their intentions of turning the United States into an Islamic country . The Islamic Circle of North America recently announced that a solid foundation already exists and it is time to complete the 'buiding' which is a metaphor for Islam , The ISNA started a 1000 donor's club, which exhorts Muslims to contribute $1,000 a year so "the building can grow sturdy and sound".
With estimates of a Muslim population in the US of upwards of 7 million and a predicted doubling by 2018, one need only do the math to realize the financial potential of what could turn out to be one of the largest grassroots conversion drives in Noth America.
Conquest or Conversion : Da'wa as Jihad and Terrorism
In case anyone doubted the militant Islamist ambitions to convert the world to Islam, these words of cleric Yusuf Qaradawi and the Koran should dispel any illusions:
Dawa (recruitment to Islam )is an obligatory duty (Fard) for all Muslims.
Muslims believe that everyone was born Muslim but led astray by their non Islamic upbringing.
They refer to new Muslims as "reverts' not converts.
"You are now the best people brought forth for (the guidance and reform of) mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah." (Quran 3:110)
This from Jihad Watch:
A leading Islamic cleric , al-Qaradawi also promises that eventually Islam will prevail over all other religions and a single Islamic state will rule the world.
Al-Qaradawi says some countries will fall to the armed Islamic jihad, but in others, such as the United States, victory will come through Da'awa - the teaching of Islam to non-Muslims - which will trigger Westerners to convert to Islam "in droves."
"We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through (the) sword, but through Da'awa," al-Qaradawi told members of the Muslim Arab Youth Association at the group's 1995 convention in Toledo, Ohio. http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/001104.php
"Jihad can be with the pen and the tongue just as it can be with the sword and the spear. Islamic Jihad is not limited to military efforts only; it extends beyond this, including several means that Muslims need to utilize now more than ever."
MIM: The ICNA logo : Note the Minaret forms the I in the word Islamic and the S and N are combined and topped with a crescent to form the dome of a mosque - The Islamic Society of North America leaves no doubt about their intentions to live up to their name and turn the US into an 'Islamic Society of North America' .
Prophet Muhammad (saws) described Islam as a beautiful building which must be erected upon a sound foundation.
The Muslim community has worked many decades to construct the bedrock of Islam in the
Members of the ISNA 1000 Donor's Club are like bricks in the building of Islam in North America. Each brick represents a commitment to contribute at least $1000 annually for a minimum of five years so that the building can quickly grow sturdy and sound.
We encourage you to supply as many bricks as you can for our future. Join us today!
For an enrollment package please email us at: [email protected], call: (317) 839-8157x809, or write: IDF, PO Box 808, Plainfield, IN 46168.
Thank you and may Allah reward you for your generosity and your dedication to erecting His house in North America !
MIM:The" solid base of Islam " which ISNA refers to as "already (having) been established" can be seen here.
The group has branches throughout the United States and Canada and is dedicated to spreading Islam through Da'wa conversion. ISNA is a Saudi funded militant Islamist group, which attempts to present themselves as mainstream, and preaches the Wahabist brand of Islam.
MIM: The board of directors of ISNA includes many individuals who belong to multiple organisations.
Several of the groups and individual listed below are under investigation by the Senate finance committee for links to terrorism funding.
Note that the board of directors lists Bassam Osman as a member of NAIT which is the North American Islamic Trust . The NAIT is a Saudi government organisation specifically for funding of Islamist enterprises in North America and is reported to own nearly 20% of all mosques and Islamic centers in North America.
Article from series from WTHR Indianapolis News
This story was prepared by reporter Angie Moreschi, photographer/editor Bill Ditton and producer Gerry Lanosga.
Tucked away on the farmland of rural Plainfield, Indiana, are headquarters to one of the largest Islamic organizations in the country – the Islamic Society of North America.
Its charismatic leader, Dr. Sayyid Syeed, promotes ISNA as a mainstream organization of American Muslims. He preaches family values, unity and acceptance of all religions.
"Here we are Muslims, young and old, men and women," he said in a Friday prayer service earlier this year. "We respect Christianity. We respect Judaism…. America should be proud of this community."
It's talk that is worlds away from the beliefs of Islamic extremists.
But although ISNA is a well-respected Islamic organization that's received accolades from Indiana's late Governor and even grant money from the federal government, some charge it is a supporter of extreme ideology.
A national terrorism expert, Steven Emerson, mentioned Indiana specifically while testifying before Congress about terrorism fundraising last March.
"Portland, Washington, Plainfield, Indiana, Buffalo, New York – I could go on," Emerson said.
Emerson, author of the bestselling "American Jihad: The terrorists Living Among Us," dedicated an entire section of his book to ISNA as a supporter of militant Islamic groups.
Emerson says ISNA's popular annual conventions, attended by thousands of Muslims, serve as gathering places for some Islamic extremists to raise money and share ideas.
"I think ISNA has been an umbrella, also a promoter of groups that have been involved in terrorism," Emerson told Eyewitness News. "I am not going to accuse ISNA of being directly involved in terrorism. I will say ISNA has sponsored extremists, racists, people who call for Jihad against the United States."
In fact, 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.
ISNA has provided convention booth space and helped raise money for a number of Islamic charities later linked to terrorism by the federal government – groups like the Holy Land Foundation.
The U.S. government accuses Holy Land of funneling dollars to support suicide bombings carried out by the militant group Hamas. Holy Land's assets, along with those of several other Islamic charities, are now frozen pending further investigation.
At an ISNA conference in Chicago last April, Syeed talked with Eyewitness News about the charity issue. Syeed acknowledged ISNA is active in providing direction for Islamic charities, holding workshops and offering advice at its conventions. But he said the ties stop there.
"We have helped in the past to establish these charities and relief organizations," he said. "They are not legally part of us."
Syeed said support for Holy Land was innocent support for what the organization believed was a good cause.
"We were donating money according to the claims they were making," he said.
Asked if he believed the donations might have been diverted to militant activities, he responded: "I have no personal knowledge. That's why we are dependent on the system."
ISNA has also supported Hamas leader Mousa Marzook, who was deported from the U.S. in 1997 and is on the State Department's designated terrorist list. Marzook thanked ISNA in an open letter of appreciation for support of his legal defense fund.
"It doesn't hurt it you give a few words of support or if you give a few words of sympathy," Syeed said. "The issue is, do I get involved in some major campaign? Then it would be a problem."
Emerson said ISNA took Marzook on "as their poster child."
"Go ask ISNA whether Hamas and Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad are terrorist groups," he said.
When we asked, Syeed said: "That's not us."
But does he condemn the groups?
"We will condemn anywhere there is hate, whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jew or whatever."
So why associate with militant groups at all? Syeed says that if he never opens the door to people with more radical views, he will never be able to influence them and bring them more into the mainstream.
Emerson is best known for an award-winning documentary called "Jihad in America" that exposed militant Muslims recruiting and calling for war against Americans right here in the U.S. He has testified before Congress 19 times and is a frequently-used terrorism expert on MSNBC.
But Emerson, too, is controversial. His critics say he jumps to conclusions to create a sensation. For instance, he falsely speculated after the Oklahoma City bombing that it had the trademarks of Islamic extremism. That and other gaffes provoked the ire of many American Muslims and hurt Emerson's standing with some media outlets.
"Every Muslim knows him," Syeed said. "He has dedicated himself to the demonization of Muslims….
Syeed said Emerson is nothing more than a Muslim-basher.
"There are people like him. There are others who are enjoying and wallowing in this kind of dirt. It's very unfortunate, what can we say?"
But Emerson said that's a diversionary tactic.
"That's exactly the M.O. of radical Islamic groups – to hide under the charge and accusation that those who criticize them are Muslim bashing," Emerson said.
Arrested University of South Florida professor Sami Al Arian. An Islamic charity called the Quranic Literacy Institute. An Islamic think-tank known as Triple I-T.
These are among a dozen individuals and organizations under federal scrutiny for possible ties to terrorism that are linked in some way to the Islamic Society of North America in Plainfield. The ties, sources tell Eyewitness News, have also placed ISNA under the federal microscope.
ISNA's Secretary General, Dr. Sayyid Syeed, said he invites any investigation. He agreed to talk at length about the organization and its connections to questionable organizations or individuals.
Syeed said he was brought in almost 10 years ago to redirect the vision and direction of ISNA. He said he's succeeded in making it a well-respected, mainstream Muslim organization.
"If there are any questions, people should ask us questions, because we are an open organization," Syeed said. "I mean, whatever is happening we should be able to explain."
Recently indicted University of South Florida professor Sami Al Arian is one controversial figure ISNA supported. In a federal indictment, Al Arian is accused of heading the U.S. front for the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The department of Justice links him to the death of 100 civilians overseas, including two Americans. When Al Arian was arrested, ISNA issued a statement critical of the government.
Syeed downplayed the action.
"Sometime we might have said that so-and-so should not be targeted just because he's a Muslim," he said. "But once you know there's a definite case in court, ultimately it will be the court that will decide. No one else will decide."
Before coming to ISNA, Syeed was a long-time employee of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, an Islamic think tank in Virginia known as Triple I-T. Federal authorities executed a search warrant there last year. The reason - major donations made, while Syeed was there, to an organization founded by Sami Al Arian.
"It was a surprise for me, a shock for me," Syeed said.
He said he no longer has any ties to Triple I-T. But according to the group's website, Syeed is still on the advisory board of its journal. Triple I-T leaders say they have no ties to terrorism, and no charges have been filed.
Some of ISNA's own members have raised concerns on another issue: large donations from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia follows an extreme version of Islam known as Wahhabism, and questions continue to swirl around Saudi connections to terrorism, including the attack on 9-11.
A videotape obtained by Eyewitness News shows a 1994 ISNA convention where one member questioned why the organization accepted more than $500,000 dollars in Saudi donations.
"I don't think Saudi Arabia is a good model for one of the largest organizations in the U.S.," the member said. "I am concerned whether we are under their dictates or not."
Syeed said the money in question consisted of individual - as opposed to governmental - Saudi donations. He said the money never came from Saudi extremists and did not buy influence at ISNA. Even so, the organization no longer accepts money from Saudi donors.
"I can tell you, for the last three to four years… it was exactly a big zero," Syeed said.
The Quranic Literacy Institute, an Islamic charity founded by a past president of ISNA - Dr. Ahmed Zaki Hammad - is also under federal scrutiny. The government froze more than $1 million in QLI assets because of suspected ties to terrorist fundraising.
Syeed acknowledged ISNA made a donation to QLI - and was questioned about it by federal authorities - but said that's as far as the connection goes.
"Our records are very clear," he said. "We are not on their board. I have never visited them."
As for Hammad, Syeed said he was expelled from ISNA on bad terms.
"He might not have been sharing the same vision that this organization has," he said.
What exactly is that vision? Some people in the Muslim community say they are confused. Many are hesitant to talk about their concerns publicly, saying ISNA is a powerful and influential organization. But privately, several former ISNA members and people in the national Muslim community say some of ISNA's connections send the wrong message.
Syeed, however, insists the organizations practices what it preaches.
"A statement here, a few words here - that doesn't mean anything," he said. "What you have to see is how aggressively we are opposing terrorist activities, how aggressively we are opposing misinterpretation of religion (or) hijacking of religion."
Does ISNA need to be more careful about who it's associating with? Said Syeed: "Yeah, naturally, everybody has to be careful. Yeah, no doubt. That's the final advice ."
MIM: Joel Mowbray exposes ISNA vice president Ingrid Mattson's facade of moderation.
...Though Dr. Ingrid Mattson appears moderate, she is insidious precisely because she maintains that façade while steadfastly refusing to criticize radical Islamists, claiming that there is no such thing as Wahhabism and that the term "Islamic terrorism" should not be used in the media. Most shocking of all, though, is how little concern she expressed about suicide bombings in an essay she wrote shortly after 9/11.
At a CNN-sponsored "town hall" forum in October 2001, Mattson — with a straight face — claimed that the radical, Saudi-sponsored form of Islam known as Wahhabism was akin to the Protestant movement in Christianity. Wahhabism "really was analogous to the European protestant reformation," she explained.
This wasn't an isolated use of the analogy. At a November 2003 roundtable sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies Conference, Mattson said the Wahhabist movement in Islam is "a very old struggle …between the more theologically austere Muslims who like Protestant Christianity believe that there should be no saints there should be no intervention between you and G-d."
Mattson takes a similar "see no evil" approach to the idea of Islamic terrorism. Mattson was one of several Muslim "scholars" quoted in a Washington Times article shortly after 9/11 who claimed that the media should not use the term "Islamic terrorism." Mattson took this stance despite the fact, as the Times paraphrased her, that "Islamic terrorists themselves use this term."
The reason Mattson is able to pass herself off as a moderate is probably because she clears the low bar set for most Muslims: the ability to explicitly condemn suicide bombings. But she hasn't done so for very long. In a remarkably revealing essay Mattson penned for Beliefnet.com in October 2001, she wrote that, until then, Palestinian suicide bombings "simply did not cross my mind as a priority among the many issues I felt needed to be addressed." She stated it as matter-of-factly and inconsequentially as someone who apologizes for forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning because it "simply did not cross my mind as a priority..."
WAR ON TERROR http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38715
Adam Gadahn allegedly traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan to train at al-Qaida camps following his conversion while attending the Islamic Society of Orange County in Garden Grove, Calif., in the late 1990s. Siddiqi is head of the mosque there.
Congress is reviewing the financial records of the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA, as part of a post-9-11 investigation into alleged ties between tax-exempt Muslim organizations and terrorist groups.
Siddiqi served as president of ISNA from 1996 to 2000. He still serves on its board. ISNA did not return phone calls to its Indianapolis headquarters.
The Senate Finance Committee, which is heading the probe, earlier this year asked the IRS for tax records on ISNA – the nation's largest Islamic organization – to determine the source of the non-profit group's funding. Names of donors are redacted from public tax documents for privacy reasons.
It's suspected that many U.S.-based Muslim groups receive the bulk of their money from Saudi-based charities tied to al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.
Many also have been financially linked to Dallas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the largest Muslim charity in the U.S., which was shut down after 9-11 for ties to the terrorist group Hamas. Its assets have been frozen.
ISNA and Holy Land Foundation shared a web portal before authorities raided the offices of the Muslim-owned web hosting company in 2001.
In a TV interview, Siddiqi said Gadahn did not discuss any plans to travel to Afghanistan with him when he attended his mosque in 1996 and 1997.
"Who knew about al-Qaida at that time?" he said. "We had no idea of anything like that."
Siddiqi, who was reared in Pakistani religious politics and studied Islam at a Saudi university, made a public appeal for his former pupil to turn himself in to authorities. Siddiqi held the press conference Thursday after FBI agents questioned him.
He told Gadahn he should not get involved with any group that advocates "terrorism." The thin, mild-mannered Siddiqi asserted in an interview that "Islam is the religion of peace."
According to "Silent No More: Confronting America's False Images of Islam" – a book on the Council on American-Islamic Relations' recommended reading list – Siddiqi is regarded as "one of the most respected Muslim leaders" in America.
In September 2001, President Bush invited him to lead a prayer during the 9-11 memorial at the Washington National Cathedral. He also read from the Quran.
ISNA's website says its mission is to "advance the cause of Islam and Muslims in North America." It lists training imams as its No. 1 goal.
But critics say ISNA is an extremist group disguised as a moderate group.
ISNA "enforces Wahhabi theological writ in the country's 1,200 officially recognized mosques," said terror expert Stephen Schwartz, author of "The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role in Terrorism." Wahhabism, a puritanical, anti-Western strain of Islam, is the official religion of the Saudi government. It's also practiced by Osama bin Laden.
Members of ISNA's board include controversial New York imam Siraj Wahaj, named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the federal case last decade against terrorist Omar Abdel Rahman, a.k.a. the Blind Sheikh.
Siddiqi and Wahaj 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, who has been quoted vilifying Jews as the "scum of humanity" and "the grandsons of monkeys and pigs." The three were scheduled to speak again in December at an Islamic conference in Kissimmee, Fla.
Siddiqi, who writes a weekly column for a Pakistani publication, has spoken at pro-Hezbollah and pro-Hamas rallies, and has supported an Islamic state in the U.S., while praising martyrdom for the Islamic cause, according to the SITE Institute, an anti-terror watchdog group.
On Oct. 28, 2000, Siddiqi issued a stern warning to America during an anti-Israel rally across from the White House. He and other Islamic leaders had organized the demonstration to protest America's pro-Israel policy and to support what they called just resistance to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.
"America has to learn," Siddiqi was quoted as saying, "if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come. Please, all Americans. Do you remember that?"
Then he stressed: "If you continue doing injustice, and tolerate injustice, the wrath of God will come."
Abdurahman Alamoudi, the former American Muslim Council president arrested last year on terrorism-related charges, appeared with Siddiqi at the 2000 protest rally. And he proclaimed: "Hear that, Bill Clinton! We are all supporters of Hamas. I wish to add that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah."
ISNA's secretary-general, Sayyid M. Syeed, is the former director of academic outreach at the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a Northern Virginia think tank raided in 2002 by federal authorities on suspicion of terror-financing.
The book "Silent No More" describes Syeed, a native of Kashmir, as a "prominent mainstream Muslim."
The FBI fears al-Qaida is recruiting American converts like Gadahn to blend in to American society and not raise security suspicions before carrying out suicide attacks in America.
Agents are searching for Gadahn and six other al-Qaida suspects in an attempt to disrupt a possible al-Qaida plot to attack America again this summer.
Look who's teaching Johnny about Islam
FBI puts agents through Muslim-sensitivity training
Paul Sperry is Washington bureau chief for WorldNetDaily and author of "Crude Politics."
Summary: Rod Dreher, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News recently asked a moderate Muslim leader how he was going to handle Islamic extremists. The response was ugly.
Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher was troubled when he was called a Nazi by Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, the general secretary of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
Dreher's encounter with Syeed came as a result of a meeting with the newspaper's editorial board. During the board interview with Dr. Syeed, Dreher asked him how he squared his profession of tolerance and moderation when he had overt Islamist radicals on the ISNA board. Dreher was accused of engaging in "Hitlerian persecution."
Dreher noted in his recent column about the ISNA that former ISNA president Muzammil Siddiqui spoke at an anti-Israel rally in Washington, D.C., which included chants of "Death to the Jews." ISNA board member Bassam Osman is president of an organization that owns the Islamic Academy of Florida. This group has been described as a criminal enterprise in a federal indictment handed down by government after the school founder, Sami Al-Arian, was arrested for ties to terrorism.
Dreher noted of Syeed and the ISNA: "As benign as they sometimes sound, Dr. Syeed and his ilk are not friends of moderation and tolerance."
Bio info on former ISNA president Muzzamil Siddiqui :