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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > CAIR and Hasan Al Turabi -Quba Institute does Interfaith with the Philly Mitzvah Food Pantry

CAIR and Hasan Al Turabi -Quba Institute does Interfaith with the Philly Mitzvah Food Pantry

January 9, 2007

"America incarnates the devil for Muslims. When I say Muslims, I mean all the Muslims in the world."

Hassan al-Turabi, Saddam Hussein's close ally, Osama bin Laden's friend and one-time benefactor, as quoted in an interview with the Associated Press (1997)

"...Such educational and political luminaries as Hassan Turabi, the former President of the Sudan...have added their voices and their efforts to replenish and support International Muslim Brotherhood's educational agenda..."

Website of the Quba Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Philadelphia which recently did an interfaith event with Jewish student from the Gratz Jewish College.

"...The Brotherhood", as it has historically been known, has always served as a beacon to Muslims from all over the world that spent their lives in the preservation and dissemination of Sunni Islam. Such acknowledged Muslim luminaries as the world renowned Qaari, Sheikh Mahmoud Khalil Al-Husri, Dr. Medhat Hussanein, Dr. Abou Sulaiman and Dr. Hassan Turabi were all instrumental in contributing instruction in this masjid..."(The Quba Institute )

Website of the Muslim Brotherhood International Inc.

Jihad As Interfaith - CAIR, Hassan Al-Turabi and the Philly Mitzvah Food Pantry

By Beila Rabinowitz and William A. Mayer

January 9, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - The caption under the picture of the girl in the white hijab holding a plate to be filled with lasagna read, "Interfaith students prepare dinner for the Mitzvah Food Pantry." Standing shoulder to shoulder with students from Gratz Jewish College and the Archbishop Carroll High School at the November 16 Sukkat Shalom/Peace Shelter/Dar Us Salaam event was Ibrahim Muhaimin of the Quba Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies who declared that the experience gave him the opportunity to "go to his new found friends with questions about their beliefs," i.e., challenging them with Islam.

Gratz College professor "Rabbi" Carol Harris-Shapiro, a board member of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia which helped organize the event enthused, saying that "students form friendships that would not occur normally" and adding that the year-long program allows the time for "real bonds to develop...and all of the components reinforce each other...they are learning about each other as they are learning about the world..." http://www.jewishexponent.com/article/11431

Unfortunately for "Rabbi" Harris-Shapiro, the Quba Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies preaches a world-view much closer to al-Qaeda than the fuzzy kumbaya on public display at this event and has made no attempt to hide the group's Islamist roots.

According to the QIAI website, the school "is a corollary of the International Muslim Brotherhood' [the radical Egyptian Islamist organization responsible for assassinating Anwar Sadat, from which grew al-Qaeda, first WTC bomber Omar Abdel "the Blind Sheikh" Rahman, among others] and lists former Sudanese president Hassan Al Turabi as one of their three "political luminaries" who have "added their voices to the efforts to replenish and support the International Muslim Brotherhood's Educational agenda...and to expand the competency of their outreach [da'wa] programs..."

Ibrahim Muhaimin, the father of the above quoted Ibrahim Muhaimin, sits on the board of directors of Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. On the QIAI website he describes himself as, "the Sheikh Anwar ibn Nafea Muhaimin, CEO & Imam Mufti The International Muslim Brotherhood, Inc. & Subsidiaries http://www.qubainstitute.com/anwar_bio.html

As a Federation of American Scientists' intelligence report notes:

"Today, a very complex financial network connects the operations of over seventy branches of the Muslim Brothers worldwide. During the Muslim Brothers' seventy-plus years of existence, there have been cycles of growth, followed by divisions into factions, including clandestine financial networks, and violent jihad groups, such as al-Jihad and al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya in Egypt, HAMAS in Palestine and mujahideen groups in Afghanistan." http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/mb.htm

Hassan al-Turabi has been dubbed by the European media as "The Pope of Terrorism."

According to the 911 Commission report:

"By the fall of 1989, Bin Ladin had sufficient stature among Islamic extremists that a Sudanese political leader, Hassan al Turabi, urged him to transplant his whole organization to Sudan.Turabi headed the National Islamic Front in a coalition that had recently seized power in Khartoum.30 Bin Ladin agreed to help Turabi in an ongoing war against African Christian separatists in southern Sudan and also to do some road building.Turabi in return would let Bin Ladin use Sudan as a base for worldwide business operations and for preparations for jihad." [source 911 report, p 57]

"America incarnates the devil for Muslims. When I say Muslims, I mean all the Muslims in the world." [source Hassan Al-Turabi, Saddam Hussein's close ally, Osama bin-Laden's friend and long-time benefactor, as quoted in a 1997 AP interview]

The other two QIAI "luminaries" are the Director of the University of Malaysia, Abdul-Hamid Abu Sulaiman and Medhat Hussanein, the Minister of Finance of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

In 2003 Malaysian Prime Minister caused an international outcry when he stated in speech, "1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews."

One way in which the Jews can be defeated is by bogus "interfaith" events which are in actuality examples of jihad through da'wa.

Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi a founder of the Muslim Brotherhood declared in 1995 that, "We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America not through [the] sword but through da'wa." [efforts to convert infidels, source Qaradawi speech to Muslim Arab Youth Assoiciation, Toledo, Ohio]

The Mitzvah Pantry event involving the Learning and Leadership Institute of the Jewish Community College of Gratz High School should be looked upon as a primer for how Islamists exploit the Western desire for interfaith, using it instead to create false impressions of tolerance while granting themselves unwarranted legitimacy.

As we noted in a previous article:

"Interfaith is perhaps the most disingenuous of all Islamist tactics, relying on non-Muslim's almost complete ignorance of the tenets of the religion. Most basic is that to Muslims "faith sharing" is a one way proposition, a means of recruiting converts - jihad through da'wa. In this view all non-Muslims are seen as potential Muslims. Further complicating the offering of interfaith sharing as a panacea is that the rejection of Islam is a grave offense - apostasy - and the prescribed penalty is death - converts take note. The spirit of obfuscation is also alive in the preposterous assertion that Islam is one of the "Abrahamic faiths," thus creating a false sense of kinship and moral equivalency with Judaism and Christianity." [source Irvin Borowsky And the Center For The Study Of Islam And Democracy, Part II

The Mitzvah Pantry's "Peace Shelter" meal program also afforded the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR] - a Saudi funded front group for Hamas - the chance to pursue its cultural jihadist agenda through the participation of Muhammed Aziz.

Aziz is the Imam and president of the Islamic Society of Valley Forge [ISVF] who spoke to the participants about "hospitality in the Muslim tradition." In addition to running the Islamist ISVF, Aziz is also a board member of CAIR. His step daughter Adeeba Al Zaman runs the CAIR Philadelphia office.

CAIR's altruistic façade was stripped away this week, when California Senator Barbara Boxer rescinded a "Certificate of Acheivement" award given by her office to Basim Elkarra the head of the CAIR office in Sacramento, sparking a national uproar.

When questioned about why her office had taken the unprecedented step of rescinding the award to CAIR, Senator Boxer stated that "we made a bad mistake not researching the organization," noting, "CAIR's unwillingness to condemn Osama Bin Laden by name or condemn...Hamas."

The communications director of Boxer's office also cited the cases of Ghassan Elashi [see the PipeLineNews article Ghassan Elashi's Sentencing Proves CAIR's Terror Ties] a founding board member of the Texas branch of CAIR who was sentenced to 80 months in prison for business dealings with Hamas leader Musa abu Marzook [he is scheduled to go on trial, along with seven co-defendants again on July 16, 2007 before U.S. Chief District Judge A. Joe Fish [Texas] in a much more serious terror case, that of U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, HRF directly funded Hamas] as well as the case of Randal "Ismail" Royer a CAIR communications specialist and civil rights coordinator who was sentenced to 20 for conspiracy to "support Jihad overseas."

In the article in the Jewish Exponent entitled "Night of Service…Role of Hospitality" about the Food Pantry program, Graetz High School Student Marshall Moritz said he was "grateful" for the opportunity to learn about Islam and Christianity. Catholic school student Kimberly Spadero gushed "we all have the same ideas...even though the rituals in each religion differ..."

Jihad, suicide bombings, and beheadings?

The program outlined above is shockingly typical; motivated primarily by a sense of feel-goodism, Jewish and Christian groups are actually furthering the spread of Islamism because they are not exercising even a modicum of judgment before engaging in such phony interfaith exercises.

What of a positive nature is to be gained from breaking bread with groups that admire Hamas and benefactors of bin-Laden?

At some point the Judeo-Christian community must take personal responsibility for the enabling of its mortal enemies.

We therefore urge that the Gratz Jewish College, the Archbishop Carroll High School and involved parties to halt all such interfaith programs and immediately terminate their activities with the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. http://www.interfaithcenterpa.org/httpdocs/index1.html.

We challenge the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia to review its entire program in light of the above information [with removal of Ibrahim Muhaimin Quba's Imam and self proclaimed "Imam Mufti The International Muslim Brotherhood" from the Center's board of directors a necessary first step] and call upon federal and local law enforcement to launch a thorough investigation into the Quba Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies and its Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda supporters.



MIM: From the Quba Institute website



The Quba Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies is a corollary of the International Muslim Brotherhood, Inc. The International Muslim Brotherhood was established in 1949. It is the oldest indigenous Muslim Organization/Masjid in Philadelphia. From as far back as 1967, when the first Adult Islamic Educational Programs were established, this masjid has been at the forefront of Islamic education. During that time, International Muslim Brotherhood forged partnerships with the Muslim Student Associations of local Universities to expand the level of competency of their educational outreach programs. Such educational and political luminaries as Hassan Turabi, the former President of the Sudan; Abdul-Hamid Abu Sulaiman, the Director of the Islamic University of Malaysia and Medhat Hassanein, the Minister of Finance of The Arab Republic of Egypt have added their voices and their efforts to replenish and support International Muslim Brotherhood's educational agenda.



MIM: The biograpy of Imam Anwar Mumainin

Sheikh Anwar ibn Nafea Muhaimin, CEO & Imam Mufti
The International Muslim Brotherhood, Inc.
& Subsidiaries

"Sheikh Anwar Muhaimin is the eldest of eight children born to the late Sheikh Nafea Muhaimin (may Allah have Mercy on him) and Hajjah Najwa Iman Muhaimin. Sheikh Anwar is married and has a large family, himself.

At 11 years of age Sheikh Anwar and his family migrated to the Holy City of Medina, Saudi Arabia in order to study The Holy Qur'an, the Arabic Language and Islam. During his 15-year stay there, he exceeded all the expectations of his family and community. By the tender age of 15 years, masha-Allah, he had memorized the entire Qur'an under the tutelage of Sheikh Muhammad Khalil Al-Rahman, owner of the Khalil Al-Rahman Qur'an Schools. Though documented to be the first African American Hafith and lauded as a gifted Qaari at such an early age, that achievement only served to herald his later accomplishments in the academic arena.

Starting in the first grade at 11 years of age, he went on to complete the Kingdom's entire school system, graduating first in his high school class of over 400. After accomplishment, he was bestowed the title of Sheikh by the Islamic University of Medina's Department of Arabic Language from which he graduated third in his class with honors also obtaining a minor in Arabic Literature. In addition to his academic studies in language and his traditional studies in Qur'an, he completed his post graduate classical receiving Ijaazat in Aqeedah, Hadith, Tafsir and Fiqh from some of the most prominent Islamic Scholars of our times.

Upon returning to Philadelphia in 1989, he tirelessly worked alongside his late father (may Allah have Mercy on him) and his brother Hafith Anas Muhaimin, Imam IMB to expand the services offered to the Muslims of the Delaware Valley. In his organizational role as Imam Mufti and CEO of the International Muslim Brotherhood, Inc. and subsidiaries, he opened the Quba Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies, a full-time day school from Pre-K-12th grade in 1992, the Quba Institute for Advanced Studies an Adult Weekend School in 1989 and the Sheikh Nafea Muhaimin Qur'an School, offering a traditional Qur'anic memorization program in 2003. Other planned expansions include conversion to a year round day school in 2003-2004, The Janazah Center, Inc. (2006), Alif Translation and Publishing Co., Inc.
(2005), The IMB Arbitration Center (2005) and The Al-Asas Community Development Corporation (2005). He has also expanded the community involvement of the organization by sitting on the Board of the Interfaith Center of Philadelphia, maintaining participatory status in the Majlis Ashura of the Delaware Valley and having his staff sit on the Board of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Community Partnership. Most noteworthy of his accomplishments were the establishment of the Salatul-Tarawih during the Holy Month of Ramadan, which passed 25 years of uninterrupted practice in 2005 and the school's development of an American educated Hafith. May Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, sustain him, guide him, and provide for his needs. Ameen.


MIM: According to the Muslim Brotherhood International website Hasan Al Turabi "was instrumental in contributing instruction to this masjid" a refencence to the Quba Institute in Philadelphia. Al Turabi has visited the United States and spoke at a conference organised Sami Al Arian a professor at the University of South Florida. Al Arian the now jailed head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Tampa organised two think tank terrorism fronts "The World Islamic Studies Institute" (WIS ) and the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP).


To the site of the International Muslim Brotherhood, Inc., and its subsidiaries.
Please take your time to browse this site. We have information on our history, our programs and our mission.

Imam Nasir Ahmed founded the International Muslim Brotherhood, Inc. in 1949. He was one of the original contributors who helped Professor Muhammad Ezzaldeen locate and establish Ezzaldeen Village. As an organized, living embodiment of the Islamic Social System espoused by Professor Muhammad, it was but the first of several such communities that he set up and federated across the Eastern United States under the name the Adenu Allahu Universal Arabic Association. These settlements crystallized the Professor's dream to see indigenous African Americans of North America return to Islam, which he saw as their genetic birth right passed on to them through Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and Mother Haggar (AS) through their Hametic Arab Roots. He was guided to this belief as a result of studying Egyptology, Arabic Language and Islam under the Young Men's Muslim Society, in Turkey and Egypt for many years. The Sunni Theology of these pioneers provided the foundation for the International Muslim Brotherhood, Inc. Since its formation, "The Brotherhood", as it has historically been known, has always served as a beacon to Muslims from all over the world that spent their lives in the preservation and dissemination of Sunni Islam. Such acknowledged Muslim luminaries as the world renowned Qaari, Sheikh Mahmoud Khalil Al-Husri, Dr. Medhat Hussanein, Dr. Abou Sulaiman and Dr. Hassan Turabi were all instrumental in contributing instruction in this masjid. In the early 1960's upon visiting IMB and leading Salatul Jumaa, Sheikh Husri held our present Imam, Hafith Sheikh Anwar Nafea Muhaimin on his lap and made du'a that he would memorize the Holy Qur'an. By age 15 yr. Sheikh Anwar became the First African American to hafith the Qur'an while studying in Medina, Saudi Arabia at the Khalil Abdur-Rahman Qur'an Schools. In addition to hafith, he went on to become a Qaari before graduating from the University of Medina with honors in Arabic Language and Literature. Read on for more…



The International Muslim Brotherhood was established in 1949 by Imam Nasir Ahmed. Imam Nasir had originally been a devotee of Sheikh Muhammad Ezzaldeen. Although a native Philadelphian, Imam Ahmed helped his mentor, Professor Ezzaldeen establish Ezzaldeen Village as one of the first communal settings in the USA formed for the purpose of teaching, implementing and disseminating the Social Systems legislated by Sunni Islam. In addition to The Adenu Allahu Universal Arabic Association of Ezzaldeen Village in Elm, New Jersey, the Professor also founded the Adenu Allahu Universal Arabic Association of Newark, New Jersey; AAUAA of Youngstown, Ohio; AAUAA of Florida; and Jabil Arabia in Buffalo, New York.

Although Imam Nasir never lived in a physical community, he modified a vision to fit Philadelphians, who were urban dwellers that possessed a different set of priorities for establishing faith and worship. The International Muslim Brotherhood was his solution for addressing those needs.

Though heritage and Arabic language remained chief concern, the Philadelphia Muslim community sought to establish a more global platform that would also systematize a wide range of social, educational and economic reforms while offering a system of governance that involved consultation and some form of consensus. The original by-laws and ideals of that pioneering few guide the spiritual, social and political platform that IMB, Inc. pursues to this day. May Allah Ta'ala grant Sheikh Nafea Muhaimin (AS), the second Imam of the IMB, paradise for his personal sacrifices in pursuing credentialing Arabic Language, Qur'an and deen. Through Sheikh Nafea's tenacity in accomplishing this goal, the Brotherhood has the unusual distinction of having leadership that is highly qualified in Arabic language and Qur'an as well as other Islamic Sciences. Sheikh Anwar and his brother Imam Anas possess the necessary skills and knowledge to establish the institutions of Islam that will allow American Muslims to worship and prosper within the most powerful Western society on earth. Representing the third generation of IMB, Inc. Sheikh Nafea's sons Hafith Sheikh Anwar Nafea Muhaimin and his brother Hafith Imam Muhammad Anas Muhaimin have established The Quba Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Inc. (full time day school), The Quba Institute for Advanced Studies (an adult weekend school), The Sheikh Nafea Muhaimin Qur'an School, and Alif Productions. They are set to launch the Al-Asas Community Development Corporation, Inc. and the Janazah Center, Inc. in the coming year.

Hamid, M.(2005). Personal Interview on history of islam in philadelphia and new jersey.
Conducted in his home April 15, 2005.


MIM: Information on a conference which featured the work of Al Ghazali one of the main ideolouges of the Muslim Brotherhood and by extension Al Qaeda .

The International Muslim Brotherhood

Four Weekend Deen Intensive

"Fortifying the Foundation of Your Deen"

Dates: July 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, and 29- 30

Location: 4737 Lancaster Ave., Philadelphia Pa 19131

Daily Schedule: 9 AM – 8 PM

Courses of Instruction/ Workshops

Weekend 1

Course: Aqida (Islamic Creed)

Instructor: Abdullah bin Hamid Ali

Course Text: Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazzali's "Qawa'id al-‘Aqa'id" (The Foundations of Orthodox Beliefs)

Weekend 2

Course: The Fiqh of Marriage & Divorce

Instructor: Ustadh Anas ibn Nafea Muhaimin

Course Text: The Risala of Ibn Abi Zaid Al-Qayrawani

Weekend 3

Course: Introduction to the Science of Hadith

Instructor: Abdullah bin Hamid Ali

Course Text: Al-Manzuma al-Bayquniyya (Imam Bayquni's Didactic Poem)

Weekend 4

Course: Behavioral Refinement

Instructor: Sheikh Anwar ibn Nafea Muhaimin

Course Text: Imam al-Ghazzali's "The Duties of Brotherhood"

Lectures to be conducted by

Dr Amir al-Islam, Dr Jameelah Carter, and
Imam Aqil A. Sabur!
Daily Evening - Lectures and Workshops


Sheikh Anwar Muhaimin
Ustaadh Abdullah ibn Hamid Ali
Ustaadh Anas Muhaimin
Professor Amir Al-Islam
Dr. Jameelah Carter
Imam Aqil A. Sabur

MIM: The mission statement and board of directors of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia



The Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia advances mutual trust, understanding and cooperation among faith communities in order to work together for the common good of the region.

To achieve these goals, the Interfaith Center:

  • Furthers interfaith dialogue between individuals of all ages.
  • Provides opportunities for multi-faith
  • Creates educational programs that foster respect for the spectrum of religious traditions through programs

History and Background

Everyday citizens seek sources of strength and healing as well as ethical and moral guidance from their respective faith traditions and ethnic communities. Philadelphia, the birthplace of religious liberty provides fertile soil for the Interfaith Center, an institution aimed to lift up the values and voices of faith to invest in the welfare or our region. The Interfaith Center, which was jointly founded and led by many religious communities, helps to fill the much needed role of fostering interreligious understanding and cooperation in an effort to create greater social cohesion and stability.

Aware that other cities have reaped the benefits from various models of Interfaith centers, a Multi-faith Advisory Committee was formed in September 2003 to assess the need for, and explore the possibility of, creating an Interfaith Center in the Greater Philadelphia area. This process resulted in an enthusiastic endorsement of the concept and the Interfaith Center embarked on a seven month planning phase in January of the following year.

Since then the Interfaith Center has continued to grow and expand its involvement in the community. The Center has been able to establish various programs such as the interfaith youth service learning initiative, a program in which teens participate in a year-long project involving community service, dialogue and study of shared values while experimenting with various forms of self expression ranging from collages to haikus. In addition, the center coordinated an Alternative Spring Break trip for a group of students from North Carolina State University during which they created a mural, volunteered at an after school program and participated in educational interactions with many of the faith based communities in the Greater Philadelphia region. The Center has become a vast resource for the community, not only by helping to organize workshops and discussions to encourage multi faith interaction but also by creating a safe space to discuss controversial issues and shared values as well as the opportunity for asking questions and open dialogue.

Goals of the Interfaith Center:

To Build Communities of Trust:

  • To strengthen relationships between faith communities to enable them to work to together to prevent and resolve problems as well as gather in times of crisis and celebration.
  • To bring people together for meaningful encounters and dialogue, in order to foster mutual respect and trust as well as facilitate a deeper understanding of the multitude of communities and cultures in the Greater Philadelphia region.

To Enhance Understanding and Reduce Fear:

  • To dispel misconceptions about diverse religious communities that can lead to discrimination, fears and acts of violence.
  • To educate youth and adults about the faith communities in our region and in our world.

To Enrich and Strengthen our Region:

  • To honor distinct religious traditions and draw on the collective wisdom of our diverse religious communities.
  • To bring creativity, imagination, collaborative and multi-disciplinary approaches to building vital, respectful and harmonious communities.
  • To serve the community through the interfaith youth service initiative and other collaborative efforts to address the community's needs.

Board of Directors

Executive Committee:

Imam Muhammad Abdur-Razzaq Miller, Board Chair
Lawrence Silverman, Esq., Treasurer
Reverend Richard Fernandez, Secretary
Sr. Gloria Coleman, S.H.C.J.
Gity Etemad, M.D.
Reverend Sherri Hausser
Chukri Khorchid
Reverend John H. Rice
Reverend Susan Teegen-Case

Board of Directors:

Dr. Constance Carter (Jamilah Abdus-Sabur)
Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer, Ph.D.
Reverend Henry Galganowicz
Reverend William C. Gipson
Kenny Gamble (Luqman Abdul-Haqq)
Rabbi Carol Harris-Shapiro, Ph.D.
Reverend Carolyn V. Jordan
Sr. Josephine Kase, I.H.M.
Marwan Kreidie
Ashvinder Kaur Mehta
Imam Anwar Muhaimin
Reverend Fr. Emmanuel Pratsinakis
Reverend Charles W. Quann
Rabbi Reena Spicehandler
Thomas S. Stewart
Rabbi David Straus
Reverend Marilyn Turner
Jane West Walsh, Ed. D.


Abby Stamelman Hocky is Executive Director of the Interfaith Center. Prior to this, she served as Associate Executive Director and Director of Interreligious Relations for the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia. This work entailed striving to enhance interfaith understanding, resolve issues among religious groups and develop numerous models for dialogue -- especially among Muslims, Christians and Jews. Abby is a professional consultant for the Experiment in Congregational Excellence, working with synagogues in New York to re-imagine their models of Jewish education. She serves on the Board of the Arts & Spirituality Center and is an active member of her synagogue, Beth Am Israel. Abby received her BA from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania and her MSW from Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work in New York City.

Marjorie Scharf is the Project Director of Walking the Walk: Values in Action, an Interfaith Youth Service Learning Initiative of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. She also is a group facilitator for the Jewish Children and Family Service's Youth Mitzvah Corps, a service learning program for Jewish adolescents. Marjorie's professional background is in public health education and nutrition and has 25 years of experience in designing and implementing culturally relevant health education programs targeted to a variety of audiences: young mothers, youth, women diagnosed with breast cancer, public school teachers, and African Americans and Latinos living with HIV/AIDS. She has a Master's degree in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley and an undergraduate degree from Penn State University.

Sister Maria Hornung, MMS is Coordinator of Interfaith Education.

In her early years as a Medical Mission Sister, Maria Hornung served as a pharmacist in Africa, then was called to education and administrative work. Her life in Africa spanned twenty five wonderful years. Most recently she completed a six year term as Sector Coordinator of Medical Mission Sisters in North America, a position that connected her both nationally and internationally with pressing needs.

Believing in the great potential of faith groups to influence our world for the better Maria Hornung undertook studies in interreligious dialogue at Temple University and received her Masters in religion (Interreligious Dialogue). She also works with diverse groups, facilitating an understanding of their commonalities, and an acceptance of their differences. Maria Hornung is author of a book, Deepening Faith Through Interreligious Dialogue, Paulist Press, 2007. An accompanying manual is available to guide congregations and community groups in a process of adult education and dialogue.

.Our Funders

Our work is made possible, thanks to the generosity of our funders:

  • Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church Outreach Council
  • Eugene C. Bay Fund for Urban Ministry, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church
  • Connelly Foundation
  • Dorothy Monteverde Memorial Fund
  • The Samuel S. Fels Fund
  • The Hassel Foundation
  • The Samuel P. Mandell Foundation
  • The Roswell Foundation
  • SHCJ Provincial Ministry Fund
  • The Wright Hayre Foundation
  • Inspired to Serve, a project of Search Institute ( Minneapolis , MN ) and the Interfaith Youth Core (Chicago), funded by Learn and Serve America

Individual supporters, congregations and religious communities.

MIM: Information on Hassan Al Turabi "The Pope of Terrorism"


The Pope of Terrorism, Part I
Hassan al-Turabi, ally of Saddam Hussein and bin Laden's long-time friend and benefactor, is freed from jail.
by Thomas Joscelyn
07/25/2005 12:00:00 AM

"America incarnates the devil for Muslims. When I say Muslims, I mean all the Muslims in the world."
--Hassan al-Turabi, Saddam Hussein's close ally, Osama bin Laden's friend and one-time benefactor, as quoted in an interview with the Associated Press (1997)

WHEN SECRETARY OF STATE CONDOLEEZZA RICE visited Sudan last week, much of the press's coverage focused on the rough treatment her senior advisors and NBC's Andrea Mitchell, who was among the reporters traveling with the Secretary, received. Mitchell had questioned the Sudanese president, Omar el-Bashir, about his government's role in the current battle raging in Darfur, where an ongoing humanitarian crisis has drawn considerable attention. For this, she received Khartoum's version of hospitality: She was roughed up by Bashir's henchmen.

Absent from much of the discussion in the press, however, is any mention of Hassan al-Turabi. This is curious since late last month the arch-terrorist was freed from his prison home by Bashir's government. His supporters have been accused of being directly involved in the Darfur crisis, which raises important questions about Bashir's willingness to end the carnage.

But Turabi's freedom is disturbing for a variety of other reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that he is, in many ways, a founding father of the Islamist terrorist network we currently face. It was Turabi's apocalyptic vision for confronting the West, after all, which brought together Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden against their common enemy: the United States.

At first blush, Turabi's role as an international terrorist leader would appear to be an unlikely outcome of his educational background. Born in 1932, Turabi studied law at the University of Khartoum, then at the University of London and, finally, at the Sorbonne in Paris. Multilingual, charismatic, and western-educated, Turabi at first espoused a much more lenient version of Islam. According to Turabi, women deserved a greater degree of equality throughout the Muslim world and democracy was not inconsistent with the fundamental teachings of the Koran.

But such comparatively moderate views were part of a superficial veil covering Turabi's deeper, more radical beliefs. After leaving Paris and returning to Sudan in the mid-1960s, Turabi joined a subsidiary organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and quickly became one of its most prominent leaders. Formed in 1928 in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood spread not only to Sudan, but also across the globe. The organization's vast international footprint laid the groundwork for countless terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda.

Turabi then survived two decades of turbulence. After tensions arose between the Sudanese government and the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1960s, Turabi was arrested and spent much of the next decade in prison, and then exile. He reconciled with the Sudanese government in 1979 and returned to become the country's attorney general. In the early 1980s he was instrumental in establishing a strict version of sharia, with its exceedingly harsh punishments for even menial crimes, in parts of the country.

Civil war plagued the nation throughout the 1980s with power shifting hands several times. Finally, in 1989, along with the current Sudanese president, Omar el-Bashir, Turabi was one of the principle architects behind the National Islamic Front's coup. With his successful acquisition of power, Turabi was free to create the type of radical Islamist state he had always envisioned.

The world was about to face a terrorist threat like no other.

Within a year of taking power, Turabi intervened in a crisis that shook the Muslim world to its core. When Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait in August 1990, the Islamic community ferociously debated the appropriate course of action. Should the Saudis allow foreigners onto their soil to protect the kingdom and extricate the tiny Muslim nation from Saddam's grip? Or, should Saddam be repelled by a Muslim-only force?

BIN LADEN HIMSELF, having just recently returned from Afghanistan as a Muslim hero, approached the Saudi royal family with an offer to amass thousands of his Arab Afghans on the Saudi border. Many point to this offer as demonstrating the open hostility between Saddam and bin Laden. But while bin Laden's first instinct may have been to oppose the secular tyrant, his soon-to-be host in Sudan did not share these sentiments. According to an interview at the time with Turabi's cousin, Mudawi Turabi, the Sudanese leader met twice with Saddam Hussein before the Gulf War and "had appeared to be designing his own Islamic empire even then."

Indeed, as the Gulf War approached Turabi positioned himself as a mediator between Saddam's government and the Saudis. In October 1990 he led a delegation of Islamists to Jordan to meet with Iraqi government officials. Bin Laden sent emissaries to this meeting as well. While it is not clear what bin Laden's emissaries or bin Laden himself thought of the meeting, it is clear that Turabi threw his full support behind Saddam.

An account of this meeting in the New York Times offers a unique window into Turabi's mindset as Saddam's showdown with the West approached. "In every place, it is division and the absence of an Islamic order which is leading to these conflicts," he said. In Saudi Arabia, Turabi said he found "an aversion to a war scenario, keenness towards a settlement, and very cordial sentiments towards Saddam Hussein" should he pull back in a "complete withdrawal from Kuwait and the reinstatement of the Royal Family."

Saddam promised Turabi that he would release Islamic militants who Iraq had detained for opposing Saddam's regime. Turabi added that he and his Islamist cohorts had "found an element of flexibility in the Iraqi position, but a determination not to countenance any unilateral withdrawal and a very cold and calculating determination to accept the consequences of their decision and to go to war if necessary." Saddam's flexibility, according to Turabi, meant that there needed to be "a proper linkage between the Gulf crisis and the Palestinian problem, if the context was exclusively Arab, if there was a reasonable offer that was that was made that would satisfy them, they would be prepared to consider discussions, maybe even a degree of withdrawal." Turabi was certainly not the only one to notice that Saddam had linked the Gulf crisis to the "Palestinian problem." When Saddam attacked Israel during the Gulf War he managed to successfully link his holy war against the West to the fate of the Palestinians, thereby giving him instant credibility among many Islamists.

Another account of a post-meeting press conference in Jordan says that Turabi warned, "there is going to be all forms of jihad all over the world because it is an issue of foreign troops on sacred soil." Similar calls for jihad were heard coming out of Baghdad from the reportedly more than 1,400 terrorists who had amassed there.

When it became clear that all efforts to avoid war failed, Turabi did not fault Iraq. Instead, Turabi--as well influential Islamist leaders from Algeria and Tunisia--traveled to Baghdad and expressed their support for Saddam.

The terrorist counter-offensive failed to materialize for a variety of reasons. But, Turabi's jihad was just beginning.

EVEN AFTER THE SWIFT DEFEAT of Saddam's forces Turabi would continue to object to the presence of U.S. forces in the region. Starting in April 1991, only weeks after the conclusion of the Gulf War, Turabi began hosting the Islamic Arab Popular Conference, which was held regularly until the late 1990s. (Saddam began hosting a similar conference in Baghdad.) The purpose of the conference was to unite all Muslims--Shiite and Sunni, "secular" and Islamist--under a single anti-Western banner. Only in this manner could the Islamic community force the foreign "crusaders" off of Muslim soil.

Writing about the first such conference in Foreign Affairs a few years later, Judith Miller explained its purpose was to aid Turabi's "long-standing goal of overcoming the historic rift between Sunni Muslim states, like Sudan, and a Shiite state, like Iran." The conference was also part of Turabi's attempt to "fuse formerly secular Arab nationalist movements, which have dominated Arab politics . . . with the increasingly more seductive and influential groups espousing the new Islamic rhetoric."

Ideological boxes, a common fixation within the U.S. intelligence community, were of no concern to Turabi when it came to confronting the West.

The conference ushered in Turabi's open door policy for all Arabs and Muslims and his Sudan quickly became a terrorist incubator. Representatives from almost every Middle Eastern-based terrorist group took root: Palestinian terrorist groups, Hezbollah, the Abu Nidal Organization, and various Egyptian terrorist groups included. Several of the various constituencies which would become part of what we now know as "al Qaeda," including bin Laden himself, also set up shop. Importantly, so did Iraqi (as well as Iranian) intelligence operatives.

Turabi's hospitality to all of these parties earned him the title "The Pope of Terrorism" in the European press and, in short order, his terrorist coalition began to wreak havoc. Governments all over the African continent were invaded. Egypt, Uganda, Eritrea, and Ethiopia as well as several other African nations would routinely complain of Turabi's influence over Islamist radicals within their borders. Countless bombings and assassination attempts all led back to Khartoum's conspicuous guests.

Under Turabi's watchful eye, al Qaeda began to grow and acquire allies. In 1993, at his urging, bin Laden came to an "understanding" with Saddam Hussein that the al Qaeda leader and his followers would not engage in any anti-Hussein activities. The Clinton administration later included this development in its sealed indictment of bin Laden in 1998. According to the indictment: "Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq."

THE POPE OF TERRORISM'S ROLE in forming such alliances drew the Clinton administration's attention when, in August of 1993, Sudan was placed on the U.S.'s list of "state sponsors of terrorism." The State Department's Global Patterns of Terrorism for that year recognized the Sudanese regime's active role in exporting terrorism throughout Africa and the Middle East and even raised the specter of Sudanese involvement in terrorism on American soil. The State Department's report noted that while "there is no conclusive evidence linking the Government of Sudan to any specific terrorist incident during the year, five of 15 suspects arrested this summer following the New York City bomb plot are Sudanese citizens."

The New York City bomb plot mentioned by the State Department was, of course, the first attack on the World Trade Center in February 1993. That plot nearly destroyed one of the World Trade Center's towers. One of the non-Sudanese suspects was an Iraqi-national named Abdul Rahman Yasin. He quickly fled to Iraq with the help of Saddam's regime after being, inexplicably, released by the FBI. Iraqi intelligence documents discovered since the start of the Iraq war have revealed that, upon his return to Iraq, Yasin received a monthly stipend and housing from the Iraqi government.

Turabi's relationship with Saddam would continue to blossom throughout the mid-1990s. In an account in the New York Times on December 6, 1994, Turabi described his relationship with the Iraqi dictator as "very close." He even defended the Iraqi regime's Islamic credentials. Turabi explained, "Saddam is gradually reintroducing Islam. He has restricted liquor. Koranic studies are mandatory for all students, all teachers and all Baathist party members. He knows the society is returning to Islam." He explained, "Arab governments are collapsing. They know it. . . . The Arabs are changing from below. Arab nationalism is finished and the Islamic spirit is rising in places like Saudi Arabia. This is one of the consequences of the gulf war."

Meanwhile, by 1994 bin Laden's al Qaeda had become firmly rooted in Sudan. Bin Laden's investments and Sudanese government facilities had become inextricably intertwined. Bin Laden's al Qaeda operatives worked closely with Sudanese officials and intelligence. His companies continued to improve the nation's infrastructure by building roads and a variety of business facilities. Clinton administration officials would later explain that his investments were a vital part of the Sudanese "military industrial complex."

Turabi's vision for his native country was coming to fruition.

But, what came of Turabi's "close" relationship with Saddam? Did it mean anything more by way of a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda?

As it turns out, the Clinton administration was about to confront the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda in Turabi's Sudan head on . . .

The Pope of Terrorism, Part II
Hassan al-Turabi, Sudan, and the bin Laden-Iraq connection.
by Thomas Joscelyn
07/26/2005 12:00:00 AM

Read The Pope of Terrorism, Part I

"When you start fortifying your embassies it becomes very attractive--the Americans have made themselves very attractive targets. Probably [bin Laden] would try to mobilize friends--ex-Afghan fighters from Arab countries--and try to hit back against the Americans. Anywhere."
--Hassan al-Turabi responding to the Clinton administration's decision to destroy a Sudanese factory, as quoted in "For This Islamic Tactician, Battle With U.S. Has Begun," the New York Times, August 24, 1998

TO THE WORLD'S HORROR, Hassan al-Turabi's Manichean vision was unfolding. The Gulf War schism, which fractured the Islamic community, had presented a sizable opportunity and Turabi took advantage. Traditional divisions were washed away in the tide of hatred for the common enemy: the United States and its allies.

Turabi's early efforts to forge a terrorist alliance against the common enemy in the wake of the war would bear fruit. His regime successfully exported terrorism around the globe while, at the same time, providing fertile soil for various new alliances to take shape.

Terrorists of various stripes would continue to use Sudan as both transit hub and safehaven. Sudanese-backed terrorists plotted against the "illegitimate" regimes in Uganda, Ethiopia, Egypt, and several other nations throughout Africa and the Middle East. By the late 1990s the Clinton administration was dispensing direct aid to those governments that opposed Sudan's revolution. In addition, the Sudanese government's fingerprints on plots around the world became unmistakable. Countless schemes, including an attempted assassination on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 1995, would be traced back to Sudanese soil.

Disturbingly, new evidence of Sudanese involvement in planned attacks on American soil continued to accumulate. In April 1996, for example, according to the State Department's Patterns of Global Terrorism, a diplomat at the "Sudanese U.N. Mission" was expelled for having ties to a bomb plot against the U.N. building and other targets in New York in 1993. Two Sudanese diplomats even planned on using the U.N. building to coordinate attacks on the city.

But, what about Saddam's Iraq? Was Turabi successful in forging alliances between his new "close" ally and the terrorists he hosted, including al Qaeda?

Indeed, he was.

INTELLIGENCE INCLUDED IN A SECRET MEMO from then-undersecretary for Defense Policy, Douglas Feith, to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2003 includes a summary of a debriefing of a "senior Iraqi intelligence officer." This intelligence officer told his interrogators that Turabi brokered several meetings between Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda beginning in 1992. Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's number two, and Faruq Hijazi, one of Saddam's most trusted operatives, were both at the first of these meetings.

Turabi's role in facilitating the meetings between Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda was recognized by the 9-11 Commission. The Commission's report noted that Turabi's government had arranged for "contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda." The staff report continued: "A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded." Bin Laden's request, of course, demonstrates he was not ideologically opposed to working with Saddam as many have claimed.

According to reporting from several sources, the main "senior Iraqi intelligence" officer who met with bin Laden in 1994 was, again, Faruq Hijazi. Turabi's hospitality towards Hijazi would pave the way for him to meet with bin Laden and his inner circle in Sudan and Afghanistan throughout the 1990s, including at key moments in the hostilities between the U.S. and Saddam.

Another high-level meeting was facilitated by Turabi's government in early 1995. According to an internal Iraqi intelligence services (IIS) document obtained by the New York Times, Turabi's government arranged for a meeting between the Iraqi regime and bin Laden in February 1995. At this meeting, bin Laden requested that Iraq's state-run television network broadcast anti-Saudi propaganda and that the two ally in "joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia. Saddam agreed to the first request, but the document does not indicate his response to the second. The IIS document indicates that Iraq would seek other means to maintain ties with bin Laden after his departure from Sudan.

Even after bin Laden departed Sudan in 1996, however, both al Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence remained active in the country. According to IIS documents first discovered by Mitch Potter of the Toronto Star and Inigo Gilmore of the Sunday Telegraph after the beginning of the Iraq war, the Iraqi intelligence station in Khartoum was still actively facilitating the relationship with al Qaeda in 1998. A "trusted confidant" of bin Laden's traveled, with the help of Iraqi intelligence, from Sudan to Baghdad in March 1998. He stayed in Baghdad for more that two weeks.

This meeting in Baghdad was one of many throughout the 1990s and, in particular, in 1998. Many seek to downplay the meaning of all these meetings, but it was also in 1998 that the relationship underlying these contacts would become transparent.

In August 1998 it became clear that Turabi's vision for an Iraqi alliance with al Qaeda had come to fruition. On August 7, 1998 al Qaeda launched nearly simultaneous attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing hundreds and wounding thousands. Nearly two weeks later, on August 20, the Clinton administration struck back by simultaneously destroying al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.

The strike on Afghanistan was seen as relatively ineffectual, but generated little controversy. The second target in Sudan, which was part of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, was the source of almost instantaneous controversy. The Clinton administration argued that the plant was a front for joint Iraqi-Sudanese-al Qaeda chemical weapons development efforts. This claim was hotly contested in the press.

But, the supporting evidence offered by the Clinton administration and reported in the press pointed to an Iraqi presence much greater than just one facility. Al-Shifa, it turned out, was only one of several suspected facilities where Iraqi agents supported Sudan's and al Qaeda's efforts. Turabi's support for Iraq during the Gulf War was reciprocated by Saddam's support for the Sudanese chemical weapons infrastructure.

For example, according to an account in the Associated Press, State Department deputy spokesman James Foley explained that "hundreds of Iraqi experts have worked in Sudan since the war, including in the manufacture of munitions." He further explained that Iraq and Sudan worked together on joint chemical weapons projects. Numerous press reports, statements by various Clinton administration officials, and other pieces of evidence (including the CIA's own analysis) all pointed to broad Iraqi support for Sudan's and, thus, al Qaeda's chemical weapons development efforts.

Perhaps more telling than the Clinton administration's choice of retaliatory targets, however, was the reaction by the Sudanese and Iraqi governments. While the Clinton administration was defending the strike on al-Shifa to the press, the Sudanese leadership turned to Iraq for support and began issuing not-so-thinly veiled threats of terrorist retaliation by bin Laden.

The Sudanese foreign minister was in Baghdad and met with Saddam just days after the strike on al-Shifa. Saddam did not disappoint his guest; Baghdad firmly endorsed Sudan and pledged its support. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz "stressed the need for Arab solidarity in standing up to America." Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf (aka "Baghdad Bob"), the Iraqi foreign minister, reportedly made Iraq's "resources available to support Sudan against American 'aggression.'"

On August 27, Babel, Uday Hussein's newspaper, published a startling editorial proclaiming bin Laden "an Arab and Islamic hero." Just a few days later Saddam dispatched his vice president, Taha Yasin Ramadan, to Sudan to survey the site of the strike. Sudanese television covered his visit on August 31 and Ramadan used the occasion to openly chastise the Clinton administration's "Zionist aims."

What was not shown on Sudanese television were Turabi's efforts to negotiate safehaven for bin Laden in Iraq. According to a press account in Milan's Corriere Della Sera in September and several others that followed, the Sudanese government approached Ramadan and his delegation about sheltering bin Laden in Iraq. According to some of these accounts the Iraqis agreed.

Turabi's request for an Iraqi safehaven for bin Laden came at a time when he had openly threatened terrorist retaliation against the United States. The strike on al-Shifa incensed Turabi. According to an account in the Christian Science Monitor shortly after the missile strike, he described the missile strike as an attack on Islam itself and sought to rally the Islamic world to his cause. He threatened, "This is a terrorist act against Sudan, a terrorist act . . . Islam now is entrenched, and no one can remove it by force anymore. If you use force, we can defend ourselves. If you come in peace, we welcome you; if you come to fight us, we can fight back. We are powerful."

Turabi also stressed the importance of bin Laden as a rallying point for the broader Islamic world calling him the "symbol of all anti-West forces in the world" and declaring that "[a]ll the Arab and Muslim young people, believe me, look to him as an example." He was not reserved in his estimate of how revenge would be exacted. According to an account in the New York Times he warned, "When you start fortifying your embassies it becomes very attractive--the Americans have made themselves very attractive targets . . . Probably he [Bin Laden] would try to mobilize friends--ex-Afghan fighters from Arab countries--and try to hit back against the Americans. Anywhere." He further warned that the missile strike would not defeat bin Laden but would instead "create 10,000 bin Ladens."

In an account from UPI in 2001, "a knowledgeable U.S. official" told the press outlet that Turabi sent emissaries to both Saddam and bin Laden in October 1998. "They carried Turabi's hand-written letter analyzing the Middle East situation and U.S. vulnerabilities." Turabi said that the "United States was so preoccupied by internal crisis, that it would be susceptible to a spectacular series of surprise terrorist attacks." The emissaries also discussed the use of chemical and biological weapons to be used in the attacks. This same account is given by Yossef Bodansky in his 1999 book, Bin Laden, The Man Who Declared War on America.

Two months later Saddam dispatched Faruq Hijazi, to meet bin Laden again, just days after the conclusion of Operation Desert Fox on December 21, 1998. This meeting triggered a series of reports about Turabi's role in bringing the two together. An account in Al Watan Al Arabi was typical in this regard:

Information available to these sources confirmed that bin-Ladin began to establish close ties with Iraq at least five years ago, specifically when the leader of Muslim extremists chose to reside in Sudan with the blessing and protection of Dr. Hassan al-Turabi, leader of the National Islamic Movement. These sources asserted that they received in the past few years confirmed and detailed information that cooperation between bin Ladin and Iraq entered 'an important and grave stage' through their cooperation in the field of producing chemical and biological weapons . . .

Additional open source reporting revealed that Turabi's Sudan continued to serve as a meeting place for Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda throughout 1999. After a flurry of open source reporting from late 1998 into early 1999 the media's interest went cold, however. By that time Turabi had begun to fall out of favor with his past allies in the Sudanese government; in early 2001 he was thrown in jail.

EVEN FROM JAIL, however, his role in bringing Saddam and bin Laden together was reported by the U.S. intelligence community. As the war with Iraq approached, the National Security Agency issued a report in February 2003 which said that "former National Islamic Front leader Hasan al-Turabi served as an intermediary between Saddam and bin Laden."

That former National Islamic Front leader is now freed from jail.

Chances are he is willing, once again, to bring America's enemies together against her.

Thomas Joscelyn is an economist and writer living in New York.

-------------MIM: The new face of the Muslim Brotherhood -The Muslim American Society


By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Sam Roe and Laurie Cohen
Tribune staff reporters

September 19, 2004

Over the last 40 years, small groups of devout Muslim men have gathered in homes in U.S. cities to pray, memorize the Koran and discuss events of the day.

But they also addressed their ultimate goal, one so controversial that it is a key reason they have operated in secrecy: to create Muslim states overseas and, they hope, someday in America as well.

These men are part of an underground U.S. chapter of the international Muslim Brotherhood, the world's most influential Islamic fundamentalist group and an organization with a violent past in the Middle East. But fearing persecution, they rarely identify themselves as Brotherhood members and have operated largely behind the scenes, unbeknown even to many Muslims.

Still, the U.S. Brotherhood has had a significant and ongoing impact on Islam in America, helping establish mosques, Islamic schools, summer youth camps and prominent Muslim organizations. It is a major factor, Islamic scholars say, in why many Muslim institutions in the nation have become more conservative in recent decades.

Leading the U.S. Brotherhood during much of this period was Ahmed Elkadi, an Egyptian-born surgeon and a former personal physician to Saudi Arabia's King Faisal. He headed the group from 1984 to 1994 but abruptly lost his leadership position. Now he is discussing his life and the U.S. Brotherhood for the first time.

His story, combined with details from documents and interviews, offers an unprecedented look at the Brotherhood in America: how the group recruited members, how it cloaked itself in secrecy and how it alienated many moderate Muslims.

Indeed, because of its hard-line beliefs, the U.S. Brotherhood has been an increasingly divisive force within Islam in America, fueling the often bitter struggle between moderate and conservative Muslims.

Many Muslims believe that the Brotherhood is a noble international movement that supports the true teachings of Islam and unwaveringly defends Muslims who have come under attack around the world, from Chechens to Palestinians to Iraqis. But others view it as an extreme organization that breeds intolerance and militancy.

"They have this idea that Muslims come first, not that humans come first," says Mustafa Saied, 32, a Floridian who left the U.S. Brotherhood in 1998.

While separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of American democracy, the international Brotherhood preaches that religion and politics cannot be separated and that governments eventually should be Islamic. The group also champions martyrdom and jihad, or holy war, as a means of self-defense and has provided the philosophical underpinnings for Muslim militants worldwide.

Many moderate Muslims in America are uncomfortable with the views preached at mosques influenced by the Brotherhood, scholars say. Those experts point to a 2001 study sponsored by four Muslim advocacy and religious groups that found that only a third of U.S. Muslims attend mosques.

In suburban Bridgeview, Ill., some moderates say they quit attending the Mosque Foundation because the leadership became too conservative and dominated by Brotherhood members.

Documents obtained by the Tribune and translated from Arabic show that the U.S. Brotherhood has been careful to obscure its beliefs from outsiders. One document tells leaders to be cautious when screening potential recruits. If the recruit asks whether the leader is a Brotherhood member, the leader should respond, "You may deduce the answer to that with your own intelligence."

Islamic state a long-term goal

Brotherhood members emphasize that they follow the laws of the nations in which they operate. They stress that they do not believe in overthrowing the U.S. government, but rather that they want as many people as possible to convert to Islam so that one day--perhaps generations from now--a majority of Americans will support a society governed by Islamic law. Muslims make up less than 3 percent of the U.S. population, but estimates of their number vary widely from 2 million to 7 million.

Federal authorities say they have scrutinized the U.S. Brotherhood for years. Agents currently are investigating whether people with ties to the group have raised and laundered money to finance terrorism abroad. No terrorism-related charges have been filed.

Former leader Elkadi, who has been questioned at length by federal authorities about the inner workings of the Brotherhood, says the group has served Muslims in the United States well. He personally helped establish an Islamic community in the Florida Panhandle, with a mosque, school and health clinic. And though he eventually lost it all--even his medical license--some Muslims still view him as a great Islamic leader.

"Islam is for everyone," he says. "It's good for America, good for Muslims too. . . . It's good knowledge, and good knowledge should be available to everyone."

Mohammed Mahdi Akef, head of the international Muslim Brotherhood, based in Egypt, lauds Elkadi and the activities of the U.S. Brotherhood.

"They have succeeded in saving the younger generations from melting into the American lifestyle without faith," he says. "They have saved their children."

Once one of America's most influential Muslims, Elkadi now spends most of his days in front of the TV in his two-bedroom condominium in Sterling, Va., across the Potomac River from Washington.

Earlier this year he was diagnosed with a neurological disorder that affects motor skills, speech and memory. He often has difficulty expressing himself and seldom speaks more than two sentences at a time. Sometimes, he says, he smiles for no reason other than to try to remain cheerful.

But on many days his memory is clear, and his statements about the major events of the U.S. Brotherhood have been confirmed by others associated with the group.

Elkadi, a 64-year-old with a closely trimmed white beard, says he is willing to speak about the Brotherhood because he believes he has nothing to hide. Both he and his wife, Iman, 60, say they have devoted much of their lives to the Brotherhood, and Elkadi says the reason for that is simple: "It's genetic."

Both of their fathers were early Brotherhood leaders in Egypt, where the group began in 1928 as an opposition movement to the British-backed Egyptian monarchy. Its founder and leader was schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna, who advocated a return to fundamental Islam as a way to reform Muslim societies and expel Western troops.

The Brotherhood slogan became "Allah is our goal; the Messenger is our model; the Koran is our constitution; jihad is our means; and martyrdom in the way of Allah is our aspiration."

When Egypt imprisoned and executed some Muslim Brothers in the 1950s, many members fled the country and helped spread the philosophy throughout the Arab world. The group's ideological voice became philosopher Sayyid Qutb, who abhorred Western values and believed the Koran justified violence to overthrow un-Islamic governments.

Over time, the Brotherhood gained notoriety for repeatedly attempting to overthrow the Egyptian and Syrian governments and for spawning violent groups, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian group Hamas.

Today the Brotherhood remains based in Egypt, where it officially is banned but is tolerated. The group has renounced violence and now largely organizes political protests, runs professional unions and operates charities, providing social services that the government does not. Brotherhood supporters hold 15 of the 445 seats in the Egyptian parliament.

And while Brotherhood activities vary from country to country, and chapters are officially independent, international leaders in Egypt say that all chapters are united in their beliefs and that the Egyptian office gives them advice.

In recent months Akef, the international Brotherhood leader, repeatedly has praised Palestinian and Iraqi suicide bombers, called for the destruction of Israel and asserted that the United States has no proof that Al Qaeda was to blame for the Sept. 11 attacks.

Iman Elkadi's father, Mahmoud Abu Saud, was particularly involved in the Brotherhood's beginnings in Egypt and remains well-known in the Arab world. An accomplished economist, he is widely regarded as a pioneer in Islamic banking, which requires that interest not be charged for loans.

He also was jailed repeatedly for his Brotherhood activities.

"My grandfather would tell me that if my dad didn't come home for dinner, he would send someone to check the jails," Iman Elkadi recalls.

The Elkadi and Abu Saud families were linked in marriage in 1963 after Ahmed Elkadi, then a 22-year-old preparing to go into the Egyptian military, ran into his future father-in-law at a mutual friend's office. When the young Elkadi learned that Abu Saud had an unmarried daughter, he inquired about her. The father, familiar with the young man's family and its devotion to the Brotherhood, invited him to their home.

Soon after, the families arranged for Ahmed and Iman to marry. The wedding was held in Cairo, in a grandparent's garden. Only relatives were invited, though others were keenly interested: Soon afterward, Egyptian intelligence officials called the couple in for questioning.

Iman Elkadi says, "They asked my husband, `Couldn't you find anybody else to marry except Mahmoud Abu Saud's daughter?'"

A mission in U.S.

The Elkadis arrived in the United States in 1967, settling in the small Louisiana city of Monroe, where Ahmed Elkadi continued his medical training at a local hospital. By then the Muslim Brotherhood already was operating in the United States, though secretly.

A U.S. chapter of the Brotherhood, documents and interviews show, was formed in the early 1960s after hundreds of young Muslims came to the U.S. to study, particularly at large Midwestern universities, such as Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Some belonged to the Brotherhood in their homelands and wanted to spread its ideology here.

But to protect themselves and their relatives back home from possible persecution, they publicly called themselves the Cultural Society and not the Brotherhood.

Many young Muslim professionals joined, including Elkadi. One of his daughters, Mona, recalls that when she was a teen, she often fielded phone calls from women who did not know that their husbands were in the Brotherhood and wondered where they were on a given night.

She says the husbands "put the fear of God in me about keeping this a secret. I'd get lectures from some of the men about how I was going to expose them."

Not anyone could join the Brotherhood. The group had a carefully detailed strategy on how to find and evaluate potential members, according to a Brotherhood instructional booklet for recruiters.

Leaders would scout mosques, Islamic classes and Muslim organizations for those with orthodox religious beliefs consistent with Brotherhood views, the booklet says. The leaders then would invite them to join a small prayer group, or usra, Arabic for "family." The prayer groups were a defining feature of the Brotherhood and one created by al-Banna in Egypt.

But leaders initially would not reveal the purpose of the prayer groups, and recruits were asked not to tell anyone about the meetings. If recruits asked about a particular meeting to which they were not invited, they should respond, "Make it a habit not to meddle in that which does not concern you."

Leaders were told that during prayer meetings they should focus on fundamentals, including "the primary goal of the Brotherhood: setting up the rule of God upon the Earth."

After assessing the recruits' "commitment, loyalty and obedience" to Brotherhood ideals, the leaders would invite suitable candidates to join. New members, according to the booklet, would be told that they now were part of the worldwide Brotherhood and that membership "is not a personal honor but a charge to sacrifice all that one has for the sake of raising the banner of Islam."

Mustafa Saied, the Floridian who left the Brotherhood six years ago, recalls how he was recruited in 1994 while a junior at the University of Tennessee. After Saied attended numerous prayer sessions, a fellow Muslim student took him to a quiet corner of a campus cafeteria and asked him to join.

"It was a dream, because that's what you're conditioned to do--to really love the Ikhwan," Saied says, using the Arabic term for Brothers or Brotherhood.

After he joined, he learned the names of other local members.

"I was shocked," he says. "These people had really hid the fact that they were Brotherhood."

He says he found out that the U.S. Brotherhood had a plan for achieving Islamic rule in America: It would convert Americans to Islam and elect like-minded Muslims to political office.

"They're very smart. Everyone else is gullible," Saied says. "If the Brotherhood puts up somebody for an election, Muslims would vote for him not knowing he was with the Brotherhood."

Saied says he left the group after several years because he disliked its anti-American sentiments and its support for violence in the Middle East.

"With the extreme element," he says, "you never know when that ticking time bomb will go off."

By the 1970s, Elkadi had moved to Missouri and, he says, become treasurer of the U.S. Brotherhood, collecting money from members from across the country. His wife was the unofficial bookkeeper, tracking who was behind on dues.

Members were required to pay 3 percent of their income per year, with the money going to travel, books and annual conferences, the Elkadis say. The conferences were held under the Cultural Society name, usually in large hotels and always on Memorial Day weekend. They were invitation-only, with word spread through the prayer groups. Some years, up to 1,000 people attended; every other year, elections were held.

While the U.S. Brotherhood was influential from its beginning--in 1963 it helped establish the Muslim Students Association, one of the first national Islamic groups in the U.S.--Elkadi thought the group could expand its reach.

And when he was elected president in 1984, he vowed to do just that.

Executing his strategy

Elkadi had a strategy to make America more Islamic that reflected a long-standing Brotherhood belief: First you change the person, then the family, then the community, then the nation.

By 1990, U.S. Brotherhood members had made headway on that plan by helping establish many mosques and Islamic organizations. Some of those efforts were backed financially by the ultraconservative Saudi Arabian government, which shared some of the Brotherhood's fundamentalist goals.

Elkadi himself helped create several noted Islamic organizations, including the Muslim Youth of North America, which attempted to draw thousands of high school students to Islam by sponsoring soccer teams, providing scholarships and offering a line of clothing. He served as president of the North American Islamic Trust, a group that helped build and preserve mosques.

Some of those organizations eventually would distance themselves from the Brotherhood. The Islamic Society of North America, the umbrella group for the Muslim Youth of North America and the Muslim Students Association, says Brotherhood members helped form those groups but that their overall influence has been limited.

Groups that the Brotherhood helped form printed Islamic books, many of which were distributed at mosques and on college campuses. They included Sayyid Qutb's "In the Shade of the Koran" and "Milestones," which urge jihad, martyrdom and the creation of Islamic states. Scholars came to view his writings as manifestos for Islamic militants.

"These books had questionable paradigms, especially a dichotomous division between `us' and `them,'" says Umar Faruq Abdallah, a noted Islamic scholar who heads a Muslim educational group in suburban Chicago. "It was very harmful. It helped to create a countercultural attitude in our community."

Inamul Haq, professor of religion at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill., says the U.S. Brotherhood pushed Islam in a conservative direction. "They were in a position to define American Islam. Since they were well-connected in the Middle East, they were able to bring money to build various institutions."

Without the Brotherhood, he says, "We would have seen a more American Islamic culture rather than a foreign community living in the United States."

In his own community, Elkadi practiced what he preached. After moving to Panama City, Fla., in 1979, he borrowed $2.4 million from a Luxembourg bank managed by his father-in-law, Abu Saud, the early Brotherhood leader, and built a large Islamic medical center just outside of town, real estate records show.

Called the Akbar Clinic, the two-story brick building had a surgery center, an emergency room and dental, psychiatry, nutrition and acupuncture services.

Inside the clinic, Elkadi set up a small mosque and an Islamic school. The school occupied several rooms on the second floor until the students became too loud and classes had to be moved to a trailer on clinic grounds.

In many eyes, Elkadi was a true Muslim leader.

"Everyone flocked to him whenever there was a problem," says Aly Shaaban, a Muslim leader in Panama City. "He was a father figure. He had this magnetism. You see his face and you just want to kiss his face."

A life's work in ruins

But things were beginning to unravel for Elkadi. By 1995 he had lost virtually everything he had worked for: his clinic, the school, his medical license and the presidency of the U.S. Brotherhood.

First to go was the clinic. Elkadi had fallen behind on the bills, and by 1988 creditors had won thousands of dollars in judgments against him. To prevent a sheriff's sale, the Islamic bank in Luxembourg took over the property, and eventually it was sold to a drug rehabilitation clinic.

But Elkadi faced an even more serious professional problem: Florida regulators started disciplinary action against him for performing unnecessary surgeries at a Panama City hospital and for doing major operations, including a mastectomy, at his clinic without proper precautions, such as an adequate blood supply.

Regulators determined that Elkadi had performed unneeded stomach surgery on nine patients. The Florida Board of Medicine concluded that Elkadi "exhibited a total lack of judgment" and was "not a competent physician." The board revoked his license in 1992.

At the time, Elkadi adamantly denied the allegations and accused Florida regulators of being "grossly unfair," according to filings with the state.

By the mid-1990s, his problems deepened. Not only was he forced to close his now-overcrowded and dilapidated school because of financial difficulties, he learned that Brotherhood leaders wanted him out as president.

It remains unclear why he lost his position. Current and former Brotherhood members say they do not know or that Elkadi simply was voted out of office. Elkadi and his wife say he was removed because he was not conservative enough. They say he had been pushing for women and other Islamic groups to be more involved in the Brotherhood, and some members did not like that.

"For some members, it's a very ingrown type of mentality," Iman Elkadi says. "You work only among Muslims, don't contact non-Muslims, so that your work is limited to a small circle." She says the Elkadis believed that "the message of Islam is for everybody."

Elkadi's daughter says he took this and other rejections hard. Elkadi now says he is not angry about his ouster and still loves the organization and its members. "They are good people because they follow Islam," he says.

A change of face

In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation's major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members.

Some wanted the Brotherhood to remain underground, while others thought a more public face would make the group more influential. Members from across the country drove to regional meeting sites to discuss the issue.

Former member Mustafa Saied recalls how he gathered with 40 others at a Days Inn on the Alabama-Tennessee border. Many members, he says, preferred secrecy, particularly in case U.S. authorities cracked down on Hamas supporters, including many Brotherhood members.

"They were looking at doomsday scenarios," he says.

When the leaders voted, it was decided that Brotherhood members would call themselves the Muslim American Society, or MAS, according to documents and interviews.

They agreed not to refer to themselves as the Brotherhood but to be more publicly active. They eventually created a Web site and for the first time invited the public to some conferences, which also were used to raise money. The incorporation papers would list Elkadi--just months away from his ouster--as a director.

Elkadi and Mohammed Mahdi Akef, a Brotherhood leader in Egypt and now the international head, had pushed for more openness. In fact, Akef says he helped found MAS by lobbying for the change during trips to the U.S.

"We have a religion, message, morals and principals that we want to carry to the people as God ordered us," he says. "So why should we work in secrecy?"

But U.S. members would remain guarded about their identity and beliefs.

An undated internal memo instructed MAS leaders on how to deal with inquiries about the new organization. If asked, "Are you the Muslim Brothers?" leaders should respond that they are an independent group called the Muslim American Society. "It is a self-explanatory name that does not need further explanation."

And if the topic of terrorism were raised, leaders were told to say that they were against terrorism but that jihad was among a Muslim's "divine legal rights" to be used to defend himself and his people and to spread Islam.

But MAS leaders say those documents and others obtained by the Tribune are either outdated or do not accurately reflect the views of the group's leaders.

MAS describes itself as a "charitable, religious, social, cultural and educational not-for-profit organization." It has headquarters in Alexandria, Va., and 53 chapters nationwide, including one in Bridgeview, across the street from the mosque there.

Shaker Elsayed, a top MAS official, says the organization was founded by Brotherhood members but has evolved to include Muslims from various backgrounds and ideologies.

"Ikhwan [Brotherhood] members founded MAS, but MAS went way beyond that point of conception," he says.

Now, he says, his group has no connection with the Brotherhood and disagrees with the international organization on many issues.

But he says that MAS, like the Brotherhood, believes in the teachings of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, which are "the closest reflection of how Islam should be in this life."

"I understand that some of our members may say, `Yes, we are Ikhwan,'" Elsayed says. But, he says, MAS is not administered from Egypt. He adds, "We are not your typical Ikhwan."

MAS says it has about 10,000 members and that any Muslim can join by paying $10 a month in dues.

But to be an "active" member--the highest membership class--one must complete five years of Muslim community service and education, which includes studying writings by Brotherhood ideologues al-Banna and Qutb.

There are about 1,500 active members, including many women. Elsayed says about 45 percent of those members belong to the Brotherhood.

MAS' precise connection to the Brotherhood is a sensitive issue, says Mohamed Habib, a high-ranking Brotherhood official in Cairo.

"I don't want to say MAS is an Ikhwan entity," he says. "This causes some security inconveniences for them in a post-Sept. 11 world."

Preserving Muslim identity

Elsayed says MAS does not believe in creating an Islamic state in America but supports the establishment of Islamic governments in Muslim lands. The group's goal in the United States, he says, "is to serve and develop the Muslim community and help Muslims to be the best citizens they can be of this country." That includes preserving the Muslim identity, particularly among youths.

MAS collected $2.8 million in dues and donations in 2003--more than 10 times the amount in 1997, according to Internal Revenue Service filings.

Spending often is aimed at schools, teachers and children, the filings show. The group has conducted teacher training programs, issued curriculum guides and established youth centers. It also set up Islamic American University, largely a correspondence school with an office in suburban Detroit, to train teachers and preachers.

Until 18 months ago, the university's chairman was Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prominent cleric in Qatar and a spiritual figure of the Brotherhood who has angered many in the West by praising suicide bombers in Israel and Iraq. The U.S. government has barred him from entering the country since late 1999. He says that action was taken after he praised Palestinian militants.

In the Chicago area, MAS has sponsored summer camps for teenagers. Shahzeen Karim, 19, says a camp in Bridgeview inspired her to resume covering her hair in the Islamic tradition.

"We were praying five times a day," Karim says. "It was like a proper Islamic environment. It brought me back to Islam."

At a summer camp last year in Wisconsin run by the Chicago chapter of MAS, teens received a 2-inch-thick packet of material that included a discussion of the Brotherhood's philosophy and detailed instructions on how to win converts.

Part of the Chicago chapter's Web site is devoted to teens. It includes reading materials that say Muslims have a duty to help form Islamic governments worldwide and should be prepared to take up arms to do so.

One passage states that "until the nations of the world have functionally Islamic governments, every individual who is careless or lazy in working for Islam is sinful." Another one says that Western secularism and materialism are evil and that Muslims should "pursue this evil force to its own lands" and "invade its Western heartland."

In suburban Rosemont, Ill., several thousand people attended MAS' annual conference in 2002 at the village's convention center. One speaker said, "We may all feel emotionally attached to the goal of an Islamic state" in America, but it would have to wait because of the modest Muslim population. "We mustn't cross hurdles we can't jump yet."

Federal authorities say they are scrutinizing the Brotherhood but acknowledge that they have been slow to understand the group.

In 2002, customs agents stopped Elkadi at Washington Dulles International Airport and questioned him for four hours. They wanted to know who was in the Brotherhood, where it gets its money and how the Elkadis invested their money. A month later, agents came to Elkadi's home with similar questions. He recalls that he answered every one.

Elkadi remains highly regarded in some Muslim circles. An article in 2000 in the MAS magazine praised him as a great Muslim in the ranks of al-Banna and Qutb.

He and his wife say they hope the Brotherhood succeeds. After all, they say, everyone in the Brotherhood agrees on the main issue.

"Everyone's goal is the same--to educate everyone about Islam and to follow the teachings of Islam with the hope of establishing an Islamic state," Iman Elkadi says. "Who knows whether it will happen or not, but we still have to strive for it."

- - -

Brotherhood has grown in influence

The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt more than seven decades ago, is among the most powerful political forces in the Islamic world today.

1928: The Muslim Brotherhood is formed in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna to promote a return to fundamental Islamic beliefs and practices and to fight Western colonialism in the Islamic world.

Late 1930s: The Brotherhood starts forming affiliated chapters in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria.

1948: The Brotherhood is implicated in the assassination of Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmud Nuqrashi, who had banned the group. Al-Banna denies involvement.

1949: The Egyptian government retaliates for Nuqrashi's assassination by killing al-Banna.

1954: A Brotherhood member tries to assassinate Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and fails. Nasser executes several of the group's leaders and incarcerates thousands of its followers.

1962: The Cultural Society is created as the first Brotherhood organization in the United States. Society members help establish numerous Islamic organizations, mosques and schools.

1966: Sayyid Qutb, a Brotherhood ideologue who urged Muslims to take up arms against non-Islamic governments, is executed by Nasser's regime.

1982: In Hamah, Syria, at least 10,000 people are killed by government troops suppressing an uprising by the Brotherhood.

1993: The Muslim American Society, initially based in Illinois and now in Virginia, is created to be a more public face of the Brotherhood in the U.S.

2001: The U.S. names Brotherhood member Youssef Nada and his Swissbased investment network, allegedly established with backing from the Brotherhood, as terrorist financiers. Nada denies any terrorist links.

2002: Tens of thousands of Brotherhood supporters fill the streets of Cairo during a funeral for group leader Mustafa Mashhour on Nov. 15.

2003: U.S. authorities investigating alleged terrorism funding describe Virginia businessman Soliman Biheiri as the Brotherhood's "financial toehold" in the U.S. Biheiri denies any terrorist links.

2004: The Egyptian government rounds up dozens of Brotherhood supporters, freezes members' assets and ousts one of its backers from parliament.

Tribune foreign correspondent Evan Osnos, staff reporter Stephen Franklin and Hossam el-Hamalawy contributed to this report.


TIME: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM


Graduate of Al-AzharUniversity, in Egypt, former Imam of Masjid Abu-Bakr in Tripoli, Lebanon, Currently Imam at Masjid As-Saffat in Trenton, NJ

First American Graduate of University of Qarawiyeen 's Faculty of Shariah in Morocco. Author and Translator of several Islamic works .

How did the Sunnah transform the lives of the Salaf? How can we make it work for us? Did following the Prophet – may Allah bless and grant him peace – mean something different to the Salaf than it does to us? What was the Sunnah's special mercy upon the Salaf?





TIME: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM


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