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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Ingrid Mattson - Ex Catholic convert to Islam who leads organisation on terror fund list tells Jews to beware of fundamentalist Christians

Ingrid Mattson - Ex Catholic convert to Islam who leads organisation on terror fund list tells Jews to beware of fundamentalist Christians

May 28, 2007


Islamic leader urges Jews be wary of fundamentalists

By Charles A. Radin, Globe Staff | March 14, 2007

CAMBRIDGE -- The president of the Islamic Society of North America warned last night that American Jews who ally with right-wing Christians to oppose Muslim organizations are pursuing a high-risk strategy that could backfire.

Speaking at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, at an event sponsored by the school and four Muslim student organizations, Ingrid Mattson, a Canadian-born convert from Roman Catholicism who became the Islamic society's first woman president last year, said that many American Jews have an existential fear that Muslims are anti-Israel.

Such fear leads Jews to ally with Christian fundamentalists who are supportive of Israel and critical of Islam, she said.

"Right-wing Christians are very risky allies for American Jews," Mattson said, "because they [the Christians] are really anti-Semitic. They do not like Jews" and enter into the alliance on the basis of fundamentalist beliefs that it would be desirable for all Jews to return to Israel. She suggested that fundamentalist Christians might turn against Jews or that there could be backlash from ordinary Americans against Jewish and fundamentalist Christian supporters of Israel.

Mattson, who is professor of Islamic studies and director of Islamic chaplaincy at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, said that constructive interfaith exchanges between Muslims and Jews and between Muslims and Christians are much more numerous than is generally appreciated.

Some Muslims and Jews from the Boston area have visited and talked with faculty at the seminary about how to resolve the bitter standoff between a group of Jewish organizations and the Islamic Society of Boston over the local Islamic society's efforts to build a mosque in Roxbury, she said.

MIM: Background on Ingrid Mattson:

As the first female convert head of one of the largest Muslim organisations in America Mattson's appointment as a woman and convert was deliberately calculated to put a modern and non threatening face to the Saudi backed da'wa goals of the organisation. By using her the poster girl of the Western educated female convert they are sending the message - you can be female, revert, and become influential in the Muslim movement. (Besides the obvious fact that an english speaking, North American born convert to Islam attacts more converts, Mattson is a poster girl for useful idioacy and was"groomed" by the former ISNA head Abdullah Idris, to take over the organisation in the hopes that her tokenism would garner more funding from wealthy Muslim women.)


Ingrid Mattson has served her organization well and it appears she has been groomed for leadership by two very powerful allies in the ISNA hierarchy, Abdallah Idris and Nur Abdallah, former presidents and pals from their activist days growing up in the Sudan. It was Abdallah Idris who brought Mattson into the loving embrace of ISNA in the late 1980's and it was he who could not stop himself from exploiting her gender to tug at the purse strings of generous women in order to meet ISNA's ever ambitious fund-raising targets.
If Muslims in the West are ever going to shake the ghosts of 9/11 they need to have leaders who are indigenous to the West, whether they are brown, white or black.

MIM: Excerpts from article on Mattson:

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.

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." http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0304/mowbray_2004_03_26.php3?printer_friendly

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