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Militant Islam Monitor > Weblog > Jews for Jihad? How prominent members of Jewish organisations aid and abet Islamists

Jews for Jihad? How prominent members of Jewish organisations aid and abet Islamists

May 27, 2008

Why do two officials of the the American Jewish Commitee and the vice president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago sit on the advisory board of the Catholic Theological Union's Bernardin Center together with Safaa Zazour the board president of CAIR Chicago? In 2005 Pipeline News published an article "Jews for Jihad?" and exposed the AJC's misguided interfaith efforts which included CAIR.

The head of the AJC's Middle East and Counter Terrorism division Yehudit Barsky labelled CAIR "extremist" yet two high ranking officials of the AJC Chicago, Emily Soloff and Regional Director Jeffrey Levine are listed as advisory board members of the CTU despite knowing about the radical Islamists on the board and having read Scott Alexander's, (the director of the CTU's Catholic Muslim Studies Program) justification of terrorism in the Fawaz Damra case? AJC Chicago's Honorary President and executive board member Maynard Wishner is also on the CTU advisory board. http://www.ajcchicago.org/site/c.hgKNLQOuElH/b.939173/

Dr.Michael Kotzin, vice president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago is also cognizant of the threat of radical Islam, yet he continues to serve on the CTU advisory board together with Islamists and their apologists which include the head of the CTU's Bernardin Center Scott Alexander and John Esposito, the head of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. http://www.ctu.edu/Bernardin_Center/The_People/Board_of_Advisors.html

Islamists on the board include Cherif Bassiouni, Kareem Irfan, the head of the Council of Organisations of Greater Chicago, Sayyid Syeed the president of The Islamic Society of North America and Abdul Malik Mujahid, chairman of the Council for Islamic Organisations of Greater Chicago and president of Sound Vision, an Islamist multimedia enterprise dedicated to da'wa.

ISNA was named a an unindicted co conspirator in the Holyland Foundation Hamas funding trial and is the largest Wahhabist da'wa enterprise in North America.

MIM: According to a CAIR biography Zarzour was president of the Universal School (a madrassa-see below for article by Dr.Daniel Pipes) and is Program Chairman of the ISNA Education Forum.

Prior to his law career, Mr. Zarzour was an educator for over 12 years. He taught Mathematics for three years in Louisiana and Illinois and served as a Principal of the Universal School, one of the largest PreK-12 independent Islamic Schools in the United States. During his tenure the school tripled its enrollment and became a leader among Islamic schools in North America. Mr. Zarzour continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Universal School today.

Mr. Zarzour has served in various capacities in his village including as a Zoning Commissioner, and an elected public library trustee. He was elected Commissioner of the Bridgeview Park District in 2006. In addition Mr. Zarzour actively serves on variety of non-profit boards. He is the Chairman of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Chicago, the Chairman of the Council of Islamic Schools in North America, Program Chairman of the ISNA Education Forum, Vice Chairman of Muslim Educational Resources, Information, and Training, a member of the Catholic-Muslim Education Project, member of the Board of Advisors of Play for Peace, member of the Board of Advisors of the Bernadine Center at the Catholic Theological Union, and a member of the Board of Advisors of the School of Education at St. Xavier University. http://www.cairchicago.org/board_zarzour.php

MIM: For More on Abdul Malik Mujahid see:

Abdul Malik Mujahid: CIOGC chairman publishes "Commanders of the Muslim Army" Jihad book -Council of Islamic Organisations of Greater Chicago gets funding to help Muslims become American citizens http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/414

Yusuf Islam & The Muslim Council of Britain's terrorism ties - Muslim Aid 'charity' funds Al Qaeda & sent Mujahideen to Bosnia http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/293

Sound Vision = Fun with Fundamentalism for Kids : To acheive the best of this world and of the world to come http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/228


MIM:This is the article referred to above regarding the AJC's dangerously misguided interfaith endeavors.

Jews for Jihad?
How the American Jewish Committee abets Islamism

January 19, 2005 - Washington, DC - PipeLineNews.org - What do the American Jewish Committee, and Wahhabists have in common?

They are both helping to perpetrate jihad through Da'wa [faith spreading through aggressive conversion] via the "Chicago Coalition for Interreligious Learning," a program launched by the American Jewish Committee which is aimed at "creating guidelines for teaching other faith traditions - for Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim educators."

In the 2005 newsletter, the coalition's founder and AJC board member, Esta Star proclaimed that "the group saw the endeavor as a breakthrough for Jewish, Christian and interfaith relations in Chicago, and would produce changes in how differing religions were presented in textbooks and classrooms in an effort to promote respect among the communities." - Source Link

But instead of promoting "mutual understanding" those running the AJC's misguided "Coalition for Interreligous Learning" program have allied themselves with Islamists who cynically exploit interfaith programs to spread Wahhabism and Saudi hate propaganda. The inclusion of Kazi publications and the IQRA Education Foundation in the AJC's interreligous learning initiative will enable Da'wa materials to be introduced into school curriculums as the Muslim "contribution" to this "learning program."

Both the Northbrook and Batavia Islamic Centers have a history of activities with radical Islamists including CAIR and ISNA.

Islamisation via conversion was hailed as the ultimate weapon by Yusuf al-Qaradawi who told a 1997 conference of Muslim youth that, "We will conquer Europe - we will conquer America! Not through the sword but through Da'wa." - Source Link.

Ironically it was none other then the director of the AJC's counter terrorism division, Yehudit Barsky, who labeled CAIR and ISNA, as "extremist" and warned about Islamist groups using interfaith to gain legitimacy. In a widely disseminated interview entitled - "Expert - Saudis have radicalized 80% of all US Mosques," Barsky declared that:

The Islamic Society of North America, "supports the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi regime," and that [CAIR] the Council on American Islamic Relations "[was] founded in the 1980s by pro-Hamas activists."

Barsky noted that many mainstream Muslim organisations were "pro Saudi and pro Muslim Brotherhood." She suggested that her colleagues should "proceed with caution, [since] some of the [extremist] organizations have concluded that interfaith dialogue is a good way to spread the ideology."

Barsky added:

"'Interfaith dialogue' gives such organizations a public legitimacy that their ideology would deny them if they expressed it outright...and that these organizations come to the Jewish community to talk about interfaith ,while they still teach anti-Western and anti- Christian doctrines to their followers." - Source Link

Such considerations raise troubling questions:

Why has Barsky done nothing to stop the AJC - which has just announced the launch of a new website called "Counterterrorism Watch" under her direction - from working with similarly constructed Islamist groups who are spreading Wahhabism under the auspices of the Chicago Coalition for Interreligous Learning?

Why does the AJC continue to work with radical Islamists who are affiliated with the very same organizations that their own counter terrorism "expert" has labeled as extremist?

[Editor's note: It is worth mentioning that the AJC website recently removed the interfaith links page, which listed the Center for Muslim Christian Understanding an organization which recently changed its name to the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding, in honor of their Saudi benefactor who also raised money for the families of suicide bombers.]

One would like to speculate that the link was removed because it was deemed unseemly for the AJC to list the Alwaleed Center as a partner but this seems unlikely given their other - blatantly Islamist - affiliations.

The AJC is also working with people like Dr. Scott Alexander, [please refer to the PipeLineNews.org series The Catholic Theological Union And The Limits Of Understanding] the head the Muslim Christian program at the CTU's Bernardin Center. In 2004 Alexander had planned to act as an expert witness at the terrorism trial of Fawaz Damra. He declined to appear after a controversy erupted over his justification or Damra's urging of Muslims to kill Jews "on the grounds that he was speaking as a victim."

Instead of severing their ties with the CTU and the Bernardin Center, AJC director Emily Soloff, and Jonathan Levine - the AJC's Chicago regional outreach director - joined CTU's advisory board.

Fellow Bernardin Center board members include seven representatives of radical Islamist groups such as CAIR and ISNA , including Sayid Sayeed - the General Secretary of ISNA - and John Esposito - the director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding." - Source Link.

In 2004 the head of the AJC's New York office, David Harris, lead a delegation of 100 members to meet with the terrorist Jabril Rajoub in Jerusalem. - Source Link

The Buffalo branch of the AJC recently held an 'interfaith meeting' entitled "Religious expression in the public square," at which they hosted Welton Gaddy, the director of the Interfaith Alliance, whose board members include noted Islamists Mahdi Bray of MAS and Maher Hathout of MPAC. - Source Link

The Muslim groups which the American Jewish Committee has chosen as partners in their interreligous education endeavor, offers a casebook study of how Saudi backed Islamist propagation - Da'wa - enterprises can enter the mainstream under the aegis of interfaith and become undeservedly legitimized.

Kazi Publications is an Islamist publishing house based in Chicago. Kazi's webmaster and production director, Mary Bakthiar, aka Laleh, is a living testimony to the crazy quilt that missplaced multiculturalism and interfaith produce - as an American Christian who converted to Islam after marrying an Iranian who had been dispatched to the United States to study on an Islamic missionary scholarship in 1927. [Prior to divorcing her husband, Bakthiar lived for years in Iran where she and her spouse ran the Hamdami publishing house in Teheran] - Source Link

The Kazi website states that they are "the oldest Islamic bookstore in America." Kazi offers an array of Islamist books and multimedia materials by radical theologians like Jamal Zarabozo, Al Ghazali, and Abdul Al Mawdudi - whose "Principles of the Islamic State" - stresses the necessity of the establishment of the Khalifate. Kazi also stocks videos and CD's of rabid anti-Semites such as Louis Farrakhan and Malcolm X. Source Link

The AJC's Coalition for Interreligous Learning is also working together with IQRA and the International Educational Foundation - an international source of Wahhabist propaganda which disseminates DVD's such as "Why the West is Coming to Islam," and books like "Sacred Law in Secular Lands" by Abdullah Bin Bayyah - a radical Islamist cleric who is cited as a source of spiritual inspiration by jihadist websites. Source Link

IQRA's refers to itself as an "Islamic Waqf," [Islamic trust] which means that it falls under the auspices of the North American Islamic Trust [NAIT] an arm of the Saudi government, which controls and funds 80% of all the Islamic institutions in North America to insure that Muslims can live "in a shari'a compliant way." Source Link

NAIT is one of America's largest Islamist umbrella organization; its goal is to "Islamise North America through conversion." - Source Link

A mosque partner in the AJC's Coalition for Interreligous Learning is the Batavia Islamic Center, whose vice president Mazher Ahmad, worked as the executive director of the Islamic Research Foundation, based in Bombay, which also has a branch in the United States. The aim of the IRF is "to promote "Islamic Da'wa proper presentation, understanding and appreciation of Islam, as well as removing misconceptions about Islam amongst less-aware Muslims as well as non-Muslims."

Ahmad's experience as head of an Islamic missionary organization is another example of how the AJC in Chicago is aiding Muslims with Islamic propagation by granting them legitimacy through participation in a coalition for 'interreligous learning'.

Mazher Ahmad the vice chair of the Council of World Religions [CWR], another interfaith vehicle used by Muslims to lure other faiths into contact with Islam [one member of the executive committee is Abdul Malik Muhajid, the director of Sound Vision, a radical Islamist media company directly tied to Hamas and the radical Bridgeview Mosque Foundation.]

The American Jewish Committee is inexplicably partnering with the CWR - the head of the AJC's Council for Interreligious Affairs -Rabbi David Rosen - was listed as a member of the CWR's Advisory Board Committee in 2002. His name appears directly under that of Adullah Omar Naseef, a Saudi millionaire who was cited in US government indictment for involvement in Al Qaeda funding. - Source Link

The AJC has affiliated itself with the Northbrook Islamic Center, which was "founded by Bosnian Muslims, and boasts of their commitment to interfaith activities."

"Imam Senad Effendi Agic is representative of the Bosnia-Hercegovina National Ministry of Religion in America. As imam of the Northbrook Mosque of Chicago and Chairman of the Bosnian Relief Committee of Chicago, where perhaps the most Bosnian refugees in the nation are located, Imam Senad is extremely active in helping the refugees in relocating to their new homes in the US, in collecting donations and supplies for the Muslims in the former Yugoslavia who are in dire need, and in supporting the jihad movement in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

After attending the International Islamic Unity Conference as the leader of the Bosnian Youth Mawlid Group and as a speaker, Imam Senad returned to Sarajevo, Bosnia to meet with rais al-ulema, Dr. Mustafa Ceric." - Source Link

Ceric was a pivotal figure at the Northbrook Islamic Center.

"In the 1980s, Ceric earned his Ph.D. in Islamic studies at the University of Chicago. For four years he was also the imam at the Islamic Cultural Center in Northbrook, one of the area's oldest mosques and an important gathering place for Bosnian Muslims in the United States." - Source Link

Mustafa Ceric is now the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, among other associations, he also works with the UK branch of the AMSS - The Association of Muslim Social Scientists, which is the sister organisation of the the International Institute of Islamic Thought [IIIT], a Wahhabist funded group which is being investigated for terror funding. Source Link

According to a recent Bosnian news report Mustafa Ceric also played a leading role in CIRKL, another funding front which was organised by Osama bin Laden and Sheik Abdel Rahman, that functioned as:

"...the only link between the Bosnian Muslim political leadership of the time and its wealthy Islamic benefactors...key people in the CIRKL in charge of Bosnia as Dr. Fatih al Hassanein, Hasan Cengic, Salim Sabic, Muhamed Catic, Mustafa Ceric, Husein Zivalj, and Senad Sahinpasic." - Source Link

[Editor's note: for PipeLineNews.org's analysis of Bosnian Islamist politcs see - 10 Years And Counting - Still No Exit Plan From Clinton Created, European Al-Qaeda Base.

Of additional interest regarding how organizations like the AJC have been duped in the recent past by media savvy Islamists, the international PR firm, Ruder Finn and Hill & Knowlton, Inc., of Washington, D.C, were hired by the Bosnian Muslims to spin publicity in their favor, successfully obscuring the association that the Bosnian Muslims had with the Nazis during World War II.

James Harff the director of Ruder and Finn Global Public Affairs, bragged that the firm's campaign had not only "outwitted" groups like the AJC, but had used them:

"We outwitted three big Jewish organizations - B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, and the American Jewish Congress. We suggested to them to publish an advertisement in the New York Times and to organize demonstrations outside the United Nations." - from French TV2's Jacques Merlino's interview with James Harff. The interview was published in Merlino's 1993 book "Les vérités Yougoslaves ne sont pas toutes bonnes à dire," an analysis of the PR campaign that accompanied the war.

For the record, in 1993 Ruder Finn was awarded the "Silver Medal of the Public Relations Society of America" in the category "crisis communication," relating to its work assisting Bosnia in selling the Muslim slant on the war in the Balkans to the American public.

Seemingly having learned little, more then a decade later, the AJC continues to support the Bosnian Muslim cause. In 2005 the assistant director of the AJC Melanie Maron, spoke at a rally organised by the Council of Islamic Organisations of Greater Chicago - a Saudi funded umbrella group also tied to the Muslim World League. The CIOGC Chairman Abdul Malik Mujahid , who is the CEO of Sound Vision a radical Islamist media company linked to Hamas and the IAP, also spoke at the rally. The event was hosted by a member of the Northbrook Islamic Center.]

The NIC continues to work closely with the Council on America Islamic Relations, a group which was described by the AJC's head of counterterrorism , Yehudit Barsky, as being "founded in the 1980's by pro-Hamas activists." In 2005 the NIC helped CAIR recruit elderly converts to Islam with a program entitled Building Bridges to Islam, co-sponsored by a group called Elderhostel. - Source Link

The Northbrook Islamic Center also hosted a 5 week program by the Saudi funded Nawawi Foundation, on "The Universal Precepts and Concepts of Islamic Law," a study which they hoped would "foster a deeper understanding of Islam within and beyond our community." - Source Link.

The Muslim partners in the American Jewish Committee's "Coalition for Interreligous Learning" are part and parcel of the Saudi propagation enterprise which the head of the AJC's Middle East and International Terrorism division, Yehudit Barsky, said was "...spreading anti-Western and anti-Christian teachings to their followers..."

It's time that donors to the AJC start demanding that the organisation halt their interfaith programs which are abetting jihad through Da'wa, and that AJC leaders cease their interaction with individuals and institutions tied to terrorism both in the United States and abroad.

©1999-2006 PipeLineNews.org, all rights reserved.



MIM: More on Scott Alexander Director of Catholic-Muslim Studies Program, and
Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at the CTU.

The Catholic Theological Union And The Limits Of Understanding

By - William A. Mayer & Beila Rabinowitz

CTU is in the news again.

Since the beginning of this year, unwanted media attention been directed at the Catholic Theological Union's Bernardin Center, its Muslim Studies program and the program's embattled director, Dr. Scott Alexander

Alexander has been under fire because he is increasingly being seen as building bridges and associations - under the guise of Christian/Muslim interfaith outreach - to some truly reprehensible disciples of radical [Salafi] Islam.

A bit of history:

In February, as part of an ongoing series we have been doing about militant Islam in America, we came upon the activities of Oussama Jammal and the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation in Illinois.

Oussama Jammal is the Mosque's president and Sheikh Jamal Said its Imam, or religious leader. It has a reputation for being a nerve center of Islamist organizing, recruitment and fundraising activity. As a result, it has been under law enforcement scrutiny for over a decade.

Bridgeview has a long history of funding groups like Hamas [In a February 8, 2004 article, the Chicago Tribune listed the following entities as having received substantial funding from Bridgeview: "Al-Aqsa Educational Fund, Benevolence International Foundation, Global Relief Foundation, Holy Land Foundation For Relief And Development, Islamic Association For Palestine, and the Quranic Literacy Institute"] - through a complex arrangement of financial ties provided by organizations like the Holy Land Foundation For Relief and Development [formerly the largest Muslim "charitable" foundation in the United States].

The Holy Land Foundation was shut down and had its assets frozen by the Federal government on December 4, 2001, a few months after the 911 attack.

"...the administrative record contains ample evidence that 1. HLF [Holy Land Foundation] has had financial connections to Hamas since its inception in 1989; 2. HLF leaders have been actively involved in various meetings with Hamas leaders; 3. HLF funds Hamas-controlled charitable organizations; 4. HLF provides financial support to the orphans and families of Hamas martyrs and prisoners; 5. Hamas' Jerusalem office acted on behalf of Hamas; and 6. FBI informants reliably reported that HLF funds Hamas..." - from the Dept. of Justice filing in the case of Holy Land Foundation v. Ashcroft.

On the day the doors of HLF were closed, President Bush presented the people's case straightforwardly, detailing where funds raised inside of Bridgeview ended up:

"Money raised by the Holy Land Foundation is used by Hamas to support schools and indoctrinate children to grow up into suicide bombers...Money raised by the Holy Land Foundation is also used by Hamas to recruit suicide bombers and to support their families."

It is interesting to note that not only is Jammal's Mosque located only a few feet from the now closed HLF office, but - according to the Chicago Tribune - it immediately hired the man who ran the office, Kifah Mustapha, in an apparently defiant show of continued support for the organization.

Bridgeview's Saudi trained Imam, Sheikh Jamal Said and at least one his Board members have direct ties to the terror network themselves:

"One of Sheik Jamal's fellow mosque leaders, Muhammad Salah, drew scrutiny for his Palestinian fundraising activities. In 1993, while part of the mosque's eight-member executive committee, Salah was arrested at a Gaza Strip checkpoint and accused of financing Hamas military operations. He was sent to an Israeli prison for five years. In a statement to Israeli authorities that he later retracted, Salah said a religious leader in America recruited him into the Muslim Brotherhood, which led to his involvement in Hamas...The man he named: Sheik Jamal…" – "Islamic Hardliners in the Heartland"- Chicago Tribune - February 16, 2004

Yet, despite the full knowledge of the controversial nature of Oussama Jammal and his Mosque [we discussed this in detail with Scott, before publishing the first in our series] Alexander invited Jammal to participate in CTU sponsored events.

The Catholic Theological Union, located in Chicago, is America's largest Roman Catholic school of theology and ministry. It produces more Catholic scholars than any other institution in the United States.

Given its high profile one would think that it might be more circumspect in its vetting process before bestowing its official imprimatur.

Dr. Alexander, as part of his Conversations in Faith series brought Jammal into the bosom of CTU. That occurrence, in February caused the American Jewish Committee representative to withdraw, rather than appear on the same platform as Jammal.

As we wrote previously and have since updated:

Alexander has proposed to expand the Catholic-Muslim studies program to include cooperation with the Center for Islamic Research at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem - funded by a $2 million dollar grant from the Lilly foundation. Al-Quds University is an institution known for its Hamas sympathies. Two Muslim scholars, Mustafa Abu Sway and Dr. Azzam Tamimi have been involved in the program coordination and have made presentations at program conferences.

Professor Mustafa Abu Sway is a documented Hamas activist . He came to America as a visiting Fulbright Scholar at Florida Atlantic University and was under investigation by the State Department for his association with Hamas. In May 2004 he left the US to return to his position as head of the Islamic Studies Department at Al Quds University.

Dr. Tamimi is the head of the UK based Institute for Islamic Political Thought.(IIPT) Tamimi is associated with Hamas and the militant Hizb Ut Tahrir group, which calls for the destruction of Western society and the implementation of a world wide Islamic government based on Sharia law."

Sari Nusseibeh is the president of Al-Quds, he is also the senior representative in Jerusalem of the Palestinian Authority, meaning he works for Yasser Arafat.

Nusseibeh has characterized what he euphemistically calls "martyrdom operations" as a legitimate form of resistance by Palestinians against Israel.

Witness Muhammad Farhat Nidal, an Hamas terrorist, who carried out a suicide attack on March 3, 2002 which resulted in the killing of 5 Israeli boys and the maiming of 23 others. Farhat's mother [Umm Nidal] was widely quoted in the Western press as having strongly encouraged her son to become a suicide bomber and murder Israeli's.

Nusseibeh went so far as to appear on Al-Jazeera television with Khaled Mash'al, a Hamas leader and Farhat's mother, Umm Nidal. Nusseibeh, observing - in Arabic:

"All respect is due to this mother. It is due to every Palestinian mother and every female Palestinian who is a jihad fighter on this land."

This is the face of Al-Quds University, this is the institution to which Alexander wishes to build a relationship...in the name of peace and religious toleration.

Fast forward - June, 2004.

We find Scott Alexander once again attempting to grant legitimacy to a militant Islamist, in this case Fawaz Damra, the Imam of the largest Mosque in Ohio, located in Cleveland.

Damra was convicted on June 16, 2004 in Federal Court on charges of unlawfully gaining U.S. citizenship in 1994 by lying about past associations with terrorist organizations and faces possible deportation and a prison sentence of 5 years.

An important facet of the prosecution case against Damra was a series of wiretapped conversations that Damra had with Sami Amin Al-Arian, formerly a professor at the University of Southern Florida. Arian organized two front groups, the Islamic Committee for Palestine [ICP} and the World and Islam Studies Enterprise [WISE] the purpose of which was - according to INS affidavits - funding the entry of terrorists into the United States.

Arian [aka - "Amin", "The Secretary" and "Abu Abdullah"] is currently under [a 123 page] indictment for conspiracy to commit racketeering in furtherance of the group Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ].

The type of activity Al-Arian is being charged with includes, but is not limited to - conducting and attending terror fundraising seminars, inviting known terrorist into the United States to speak at these seminars, using the Internet to further organize terror networks and post their deeds and advocacy [orally and in writing] of "death to Israel and her supporters," i.e. the United States.

Another piece of the evidence against Damra was a video clip of a fundraising speech that he made to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a major terrorist group that contained the following pitch.

"...[Muslims should be] directing all rifles at the first and last enemy of the Islamic nation, and that is the sons of monkeys and pigs, the Jews..." Fawaz Damra, 1991

Maybe you can just consider that statement to be clarifying language for this 1989 snippet also by Damra:

"...terrorism and terrorism alone is the path to liberation..."

Unbelievably, Dr. Alexander submitted in writing, the following exculpatory "expert" testimony on behalf of Damra's motives with the court.

"The rhetoric is principally used by political and religious leaders to galvanize resistance to what Palestinian Arabs consider to be the patent persecution of their people by Jewish immigrants to the Middle East…As unquestionably hate-filled and thus morally reprehensible as such language is, when Palestinians refer to Jews as 'descended from apes and swine' or encourage support for those who 'kill Jews,' they do so with the reasonably justifiable self-image of victim and persecuted, not of victimizer and persecutor."

Looking at Damra's words carefully, it's clearly more than the case of a bigot using hate speech. He is fomenting a campaign of murder based upon ethnicity, in a statement that would have done the Third Reich proud.

Furthermore, in March of this year - before Damra was convicted, US District Court judge James Gwin denied him persmission to vist the Viginian based United Association for Studies and Research.


The United Association for Studies and Research [UASR] is the American arm of Hamas:

"Fourteen miles from the U.S. Capitol, a basement-run organization with alleged ties to Hamas and al Qaeda is a crucial link in the planning of any future terrorist attacks against the United States, according to several terrorism experts who analyzed documents and other information obtained in a CNSNews.com investigation." - "Alleged Terror Threat Operates in DC Suburb" CNS News, by Scott Wheeler, July 12, 2004

One of UASR Virginia group's founders, Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, was the self-proclaimed leader of Hamas in the U.S.

Marzook was deported in 1997 and is reportedly now in Syria.

Mohammed Salah - a former employee of the Virginia group - has been identified by the DOJ as a terrorist and the New York Times reported that Salah has personally identified the UASR as the head of the political command for Hamas in the U.S.

At the last minute Alexander, mindful of his having made a serious political miscalculation in fending for Damra, pulled the apologia he had filed, under withering fire from Chicago's Jewish community - a large financial and intellectual supporter of the interfaith programs.

The fact remains that before the firestorm erupted, Alexander excused some of the vilest anti-Semitic speech imaginable under a disingenuous theory of moral equivalence, which argues that such statements can at times be justified if only they are viewed in "proper" [we must assume, terrorist] cultural context.

To bring this full circle let us excerpt from our previous series, the following refers to a telephone conversation we had with Dr. Alexander in the days immediately preceding the appearance of Oussama Jammal at one of CTU's programs.

"We inquired whether or not he [Alexander] knew much about Oussama Jammal. He responded that he had known Jammal for approximately 3 years and that he had never heard him say anything vaguely troubling, nothing anti-Semitic or pro-terror.

I asked Dr. Alexander if he was familiar with the fact the Jammal's Mosque had been under Federal scrutiny for a decade and that at one time the vestibule of the Mosque was filled with Hamas recruiting posters?

Dr. Alexander's response was alarming, he claimed that Hamas and their terrorist activity was really no different than what the "Christian evangelical right" - people like Jerry Falwell - have brought forth.

Unbelievable as it might seem, Alexander feels that conservative, evangelical Christianity is responsible for the bombing of abortion clinics - and is not morally different from groups who conduct suicide bombings against Israeli women and children.

These are outrageous, indefensible positions for a scholar to take, let alone a Catholic scholar entrusted with cultivating discourse, reason and understanding. "

A look at Alexander's track record on this matter is damning.

He has not only personally associated with individuals and groups who represent the worst elements of Islam, he has appeared at their conferences and been lionized as an academic visionary by them - small wonder when the following quote is his stock in trade - it could easily be interpreted [especially given Alexander's penchant for contextual manipulation] a thinly disguised defense of jihad.

"When nationalism is used to raise a fraction of the universal family in terms of economy, social service and military sphere then this is the nationalism that contradicts the fitra and the natural law." - Statement by Dr. Scott Alexander - MAS-ICNA Convention Dec. 25 - 28, 2003

Far worse; Dr. Alexander has actively recruited these people into CTU/Bernardin and structured the Muslim Studies' interfaith outreach programs around their militant sophistry instead of seeking to bring true moderation to the discussion of superheated matters of faith.

By his actions, Dr. Alexander has given official recognition to the enemies of Judaism, Christianity and in a larger sense the national security interests of the United States.

His actions have granted them a respectability that they could not otherwise achieve. Alexander is guilty not only of multiple instances of exceedingly poor judgment, but has shown himself to be a strident apologist for odious individuals and philosophies.

He displays a moral blindness - unless continued funding gets in the way - that is shocking and has therefore disqualified himself from any claim of academic objectivity, having long ago crossed the line into advocacy.

So far Dr. Alexander's superior, Fr. Daniel Senior C.P., has been negligent in taking any meaningful administrative action in this matter, while Alexander attempts to remain aloof, refusing to comment, apparently hoping that this will somehow blow over.

Alexander is on trial, here, as is CTU. CTU's behavior, in allowing this matter to fester is inexcusable. No apology or retraction can or will change Alexander's egregious show of bad faith. We demand his immediate dismissal.



MIM:The Bernardin Center's Board of Advisors.


The People

Board of Advisors

Bernardin Center National Advisory Board

Dr. Ghulam-Haider Aasi
American Islamic College
Chicago Dr. Javeed Akhter, M.D.
Executive Director
International Strategy and Policy Institute
Oakbrook, IL
Prof. Scott Alexander, Ph.D
Director of Catholic-Muslim Studies Program, and
Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Catholic Theological Union

Dr. Imad Y. Almanaseer, M.D.
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
Park Ridge, IL

Prof. R. Scott Appleby, Ph.D
Director, Kroc Institute, University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN

Prof. M Cherif Bassiouni, Ph.D
Professor of Law, DePaul University

Dr. Georgette Bennett, Ph.D
President, Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding
New York, NY

Marshall Bennett
Chicago Real Estate Executive, Chicago Real Estate
Northbrook, IL

Sr. Dianne Bergant, CSA
Professor of Old Testament Studies, Catholic Theological Union

Robert L. Berner, Jr., J.D.
Baker & McKenzie
Chicago Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel
Vice President for Community, Government and International Affairs
Chicago Rev. Jeremiah M. Boland
Administrator, Holy Family Parish
Chicago Thomas J. Boodell, Jr., J.D.
Boodell & Domanskis
Chicago Dr. John Borelli, Ph.D
Special Assistant to the President on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
Georgetown University
Washington, D.C. Rabbi Herbert Bronstein
Rabbi Emeritus, North Shore Congregation Israel
Glencoe, IL Rev. John M. Buchanan
Pastor, Fourth Presbyterian Church
Chicago Dr. Cynthia Campbell, Ph.D
President, McCormick Theological Seminary,
Chicago LeRoy Carlson, Jr.
President, CEO Telephone Data Systems, Inc. T.D.S., Inc.,
Chicago Dr. Donna Carroll, Ph.D
President, Dominican University,
River Forest, IL Mrs. Renée Crown
Wilmette, IL Mrs. Margaret Daley
Pathways Awareness Foundation
Chicago Rev. Stanley L. Davis, Jr.
President and CEO of Interfaith Connections
Chicago Mrs. Catherine Denny
James and Catherine Denny Foundation
Chicago James Denny
James and Catherine Denny Foundation
Chicago William J. Devers, Jr.
President, Devers Group, Inc.
Wilmette, IL Thomas J. Donnelly, J.D.
Mary J. Donnelly Foundation
Pittsburgh, PA Dr. John Esposito, Ph.D
Director, Center for Christian-Muslim Understanding, Edward A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Professor of Religion and International Affairs
Professor of Islamic Studies
Washington, DC Prof. Samuel Fleischacker, Ph.D
Professor of Philosophy,
University of Illinois, Chicago
Chicago Dr. Nancy Furey, M.D.
Internal Medicine Northwestern Mem. Hospital
Chicago Dr. Warren W. Furey, M.D.
Chief of Medicine, Mercy Hospital
Chicago Harold Gershowitz
CEO and Chairman of New Century Information Services, Inc.
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
Chicago Most Rev. Raymond Goedert
Auxiliary Bishop, Retired
Archdiocese of Chicago
Chicago Prof. Inamul Haq
Adjunct Catholic Theological Union
Department of Theology and Religion
Elmhurst College
Elmhurst, IL Dr. Shakeela Hassan, M.D.

Rev. J. Bryan Hehir
Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Secretary for Social Services and President of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Boston
Boston, MA Dr. Asad Husain
President, American Islamic College
Chicago Kareem Irfan, J.D.
Council of Islamic Organizations
Islamic Society of America
Lombard, IL Robert Jaffee
Winnetka, IL Elizabeth Kane
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Dr. Michael Kotzin, Ph.D
Executive Vice President, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
Chicago Rev. Eugene Lauer
Director, National Pastoral Life Center
New York, NY Mrs. Joan Lavezzorio
CEO, Loyola Paper
Northfield, IL

Jonathan Levine
Midwest Regional Director, American Jewish Committee
Chicago William E. Lowry, Jr.
Vice President Human Resources, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Joe Madden
President, Madden Funds
Oak Park, IL

Dr. Eugene T. McEnery, M.D.
Oak Park, IL

Sr. Joan McGuire, OP
Director, Office of Ecumenism and Inteerrelisious
Archdiocese of Chicago

Andrew McKenna, Sr.
President, Schwarz Paper Co.,
Morton Grove, IL

Newton Minow , J.D.
Sidley, Austin Brown & Wood, Bank One Plaza
Chicago Abdul Malik Mujahid
Chairman, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago

Daniel R. Murray, Esq.
Attorney, Jenner and Block

Rev. Thomas J. Nairn, OFM
Associate Professor of Ethics, Catholic Theological Union

Joan F. Neal
Vice President of United States Operations
Catholic Relief Services
Baltimore, MD Oliver Nicklin
President, First Analysis Investment Firm
Chicago Kemal Oksuz
Executive Director for the Niagra Foundation
Chicago Talat Othman
Vice President, Council of Islamic Organization
CEO, Grove Financial, Inc.
Long Grove, IL

Mrs. Margaret Paluch
Chairperson Paulch Family Foundation
Arlington Hgts., IL

Rev. John Pawlikowski,OSM
Director of Catholic-Jewish Studies Program
Professor of Ethics, Catholic Theological Union

Rev. Michael Place
Resurrection Health System

Thomas J. Reedy
President, Reedy Industries
Northfield, IL

William E. Reidy
William Reidy Associates
Winnetka, IL

Thomas Reynolds, III
Winston and Strawn
Winnetka, IL

Rev. Gary Riebe-Estrella, SVD
Academic Dean, Catholic Theological Union

Anna-Eleanor Roosevelt
Boeing World Headquarters
Chicago Rev. Robin Ryan, CP
Director of Catholics on Call, and Associate Professor of Systemic Theology, Catholic Theological Union

Mrs. Shirley Ryan
Pathways Awareness Foundation

Dr. Zaher Sahloul, M.D.
Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Specialist
Vice President, Executive Committee, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
Chicago Rabbi David Sandmel
Rabbi KAM Isaiah Israel
Professor of Jewish Studies, Catholic Theological Union

Rabbi Herman Schaalman
Rabbi Emeritus, Emmanuel Congregation
Adjunct Professor of Jewish Studies, Catholic Theological Union

Rev. Robert Schreiter,CPPS
Chair of Vatican II Theology, Catholic Theological Union

Dr. Elaine Schuster, Ph.D
Consultant to the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Sr. Katrina Schuth, OSF
Professor, St. Paul Seminary, St. Thomas University
St. Paul, MN

Mrs. Carole Segal
V.P. Civic Affairs, Crate & Barrel
Winnetka, IL

Rev. Donald Senior, CP
President, Catholic Theological Union

Norman A. Shubert
Shapiro Foundation, Gamble Foundation,

Emily Soloff
American Jewish Committee

Rev. Kevin Speiss, Pastor
Sts. Faith, Hope and Charity
Winnetka, IL

Rev. Alphonse Spilly, CPPS
Professor, St. Joseph College, Renssalaer, Indiana
Former Director, Bernardin Center
Whiting, IN

Howard L. Stone
Exec. VP American Express Tax and Business Services

Jerome Stone
Stone Container, Inc.,

Dr. Howard L. Sulkin, Ph.D
President, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies

Dr. Sayyid Syeed, Ph.D
Secretary General, Islamic Society of North America
Plainfield, IN

Mary-Frances Veeck

Msgr. Kenneth Velo
Executive Director of Catholic Collaborations, DePaul University
President, Big Shoulders Foundation
Rosemont, IL

Maynard Wishner ( MIM Note: Wishner is an Honorary President and Executive Board member of AJC Chicago.)
Attorney at Law
Wilmette, IL

Rabbi Ira S. Youdovin
Executive Vice President, Chicago Board of Rabbis

Sr. Dominga Zapata, SH
Chicago Safaa Zarzour
Board President, CAIR Chicago
Odelson and Sterk Law
Bridgeview, IL


MIM: An article by Daniel Pipes about the Universal School in Bridgeview where CAIR's Safaa Zazour was principal.

From www.danielpipes.org | Original article available at: www.danielpipes.org/article/2696

A Madrassah in Bridgeview, Illinois

by Daniel Pipes
June 20, 2005

Islamic schools constitute perhaps the least known area of Muslim institutional life in the United States, acting largely out of public view but with many signs suggesting their radicalization. When a reporter has the rare chance to interview faculty and students, especially with a photographer in tow, it's an important opportunity.

Marguerite Michaels of Time Magazine got "an unusual degree of access" to the inside of the Universal School in Bridgeview, Illinois, sixteen miles southwest of downtown Chicago, with 638 students in pre-K through 12th grades. She wrote up her impressions at "The Model School, Islamic Style" and Robert A. Davis took some striking pictures.

Unfortunately, Michaels proved clueless about the real nature of the Universal School. She portrays it as a moderate institution, but the information she herself provides points to its being a school imparting an extreme version of Islam.

Several examples concern sexuality:

  • "Casual conversation between girls and boys is discouraged at all times," she reports. "They can't socialize," so any communication between the sexes is limited to writing.

  • "Older girls must wear the hijab (light blue for middle schoolers, gray or white for high schoolers) and a calf-length navy top that resembles a raincoat." The astonishing photograph of eight covered girls playing basketball brings to mind the female Islamist revolutionaries who rose against the shah of Iran in the late 1970s. Students realize how off-putting most Americans find this apparel; a freshman, Gulrana Syed, points out how "It's kind of impossible to blend in wearing a head scarf."

  • When a high school senior, Ali Fadhli, tells about his "problems" dealing with America outside the school environment, he mostly means sexual temptation. This 18-year-old male will likely have difficulties adjusting to the mainstream of American life; he could end up isolated and perhaps violently rejecting the society around him.

Other attitudes concern the place of Muslims in the United States:

  • Until 9/11, says Safaa Zarzour, vice chairman of the school's board and its former principal, Muslims, like other immigrants, experienced a "little discrimination." Since 9/11, however, "people don't think there is any such thing as a good Muslim." One school family actually fled the United States after 9/11 for the United Arab Emirates, saying it did not feel "welcome here as Muslims." This siege mentality furthers the Islamist agenda of grievance and demanding special privileges.

  • So too does a comment of Universal's principal, Farhat Siddiqui. "We're telling our kids they're American. But the doors of opportunity have been shut since 9/11. What's the password to open them?" This is nonsense, for all evidence indicates that Muslims are flourishing socio-economically in the United States, no less after 9/11 than before it.

  • The high school senior quoted above also believes that "America" sees Muslims as the "new enemy." A student named Ryan Ahmad observes that "Americans seem to have more fun. Muslims try to be American, but we don't know how. The cultures are so different." Seeing Americans and Muslims, or more accurately, non-Muslims and Muslims, as separate populations is a key component of the Islamist project.

A preoccupation with foreign policy rounds out the picture:

  • "They are obsessed with foreign politics," says Steve Landek, the mayor of Bridgeview. "I come to talk to them about better sidewalks. They want to know how to run for Congress so they can change America's Israeli policy."

  • Assigned in English class to write about his American Dream, a 15-year-old wrote that the territories under Israeli control should be returned to the Palestinians and "the Jews should be left to suffer."

I finished Marguerite Michaels's article doubly dismayed. First, that a veteran Time journalist cannot see an American madrassah before her very eyes, replete with the alienation, resentment, supremacism, and isolation that feed the Islamist temperament. Secondly, that this "model school" quietly and openly churns out graduates hoping they will create an Islamic States of America.


Mar. 17, 2006 update: It turns out that a star of the Islamist firmament, Ingrid Mattson, was associated with the Universal School of Bridgeview, Ill. (according to her biography for a Muslim Student Association event starting today).

During her graduate studies in Chicago, Dr. Mattson was involved with the local Muslim community, serving on the board of directors of Universal School in Bridgeview.

Comment: Once again, one cannot but be impressed by the seamless quality of the Wahhabi lobby. http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2696


MIM: Board member Kareem Irfan told a Wall Street Journal journalist that beheadings are just " a primordial sense of retaliation and revenge".


In Allah's Name?
Muslims in America react to the recent beheadings.

Friday, June 25, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

"At best, it's vigilantism. At worst it's anarchy. Islam is against both." That was the reaction of Daniel McBride to the recent beheadings of South Korean Kim Sun Il and Americans Paul Johnson and Nicholas Berg. Mr. McBride, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, Fla., wants to make clear that "for these radicals to even imply that what they're doing is Islamically correct is wrong."

Many Muslims are disturbed that such acts of terrorism are being committed in the name of their religion. The Council on American-Islamic Relations launched a petition a few weeks ago that notes: "We, the undersigned Muslims wish to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror, murder, and cruelty in the name of Islam are not only destroying innocent lives, but also betraying the values of the faith they claim to represent."

Mohammad Tariq Sherwani, the director of the Muslim Center in Flushing, N.Y., signed the petition because he was concerned that "lots of times, Muslims don't speak up against violence." He expressed special sadness about the death of Paul Johnson. "That gentleman in Saudi Arabia. He was so honest. He lived there for years. He trusted the people. He was killed by the people he trusted."

Kareem Irfan, chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations in Greater Chicago, cites the "strong traditions of the prophet Muhammad, which require dealings based on compassion, tolerance and mercy, even with military engagement." He emphasizes: "With civilians, there is no possible justification [for mistreatment] in the Koran or the actions of the Prophet."

That the terrorists were chanting "God is great" while executing Nicholas Berg is particularly disturbing for Yassir Fazaga, the imam at the Orange County Islamic Foundation in Mission Viejo, Calif. "As if that gives you an OK, that what you're doing is the will of God. . . . It's a disgrace."

So why are these radicals invoking Islam? Imam Fazaga believes that, in addition to trying to add legitimacy to their actions, they are using the religious justification to recruit more members. Mr. McBride believes the radicals are trying to intimidate the enemy. "If you said to Americans, 100 guys are doing this, the Americans would say hunt them down and kill them," but now Americans think a whole religion is against them.

At bottom, though, Mr. Irfan believes that the beheadings simply demonstrate "a primordial sense of retaliation and revenge." Mr. Sherwani is careful to note that "two wrongs don't make a right." Even the prison abuse at Abu Ghraib "doesn't make it right."

These Muslim leaders agree that, along with the victims' being innocent of any crimes, their executioners had no right under Muslim law to try or punish them. Islamic law does allow capital punishment and prescribes beheading in some cases of rape or murder, but as Omar Abu-Namouf, imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, notes: "Only the authorities are entitled to impose punishment, not ordinary individuals."

This is where the issue gets more difficult for some Muslim leaders in America. "Who is qualified to set themselves up as a legitimate tribunal to cast the death penalty?" asks Rashad Sharif, the imam of the Masjid Al-Mu'minun, in Memphis, Tenn. In a world where certain governments "refuse to recognize international courts," he believes that it is hard to say who is legitimate and who is not. Indeed, Imam Sharif refuses to explicitly condemn the beheadings. "When I hear about someone cut in two pieces, I think about how we [Americans] blow up people into more pieces than can be put back together."

As disturbing as Imam Sharif's message of moral equivalence seems, it points to a larger question. Why aren't Muslim leaders who denounce the beheadings willing to speak out against others who take the law into their own hands? Like the suicide bombers in Israel, for instance?

Toward the end of our conversation, Mr. Sherwani mentions his belief that "Israel is doing the same thing to Palestinians as Hitler did to the Jews." The implication seems to be that in the face of such oppression, such a response is legitimate.

And what about the various countries, like Nigeria, that are slowly implementing Sharia, or Islamic law, which sanctions the amputation of limbs for robbery or stoning to death for adultery? Are they legitimate authorities? Mr. Sherwani can only assure me that "if there is one totally Islamic state, you will see justice."

That Islam permits some extreme punishments, says Kareem Irfan, is almost beside the point. To carry them out, he maintains, you must reach "what the Western system would consider unmeetable thresholds of evidence." Better, he says, that Muslims follow the Koran's "exhortation to first consider forgiving."

Ms. Riley's book, "God on the Quad," will be published by St. Martin's in January.


MIM: Kareem Irfan says he does not regret his $5,000contribution to The Benevolence International Foundation a "charity" directly tied to Al Qaeda and Ousama Bin Laden.


FLOCK (voice-over): This man runs one of the biggest and what had been most respected Muslim charities in the United States. But the government says Enaam Arnaout is not the picture of charity.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: In fact, funds were being used to support al Qaeda and other groups engaged in armed violence overseas.

FLOCK: This is the Benevolence International Foundation Headquarters outside Chicago. An office like this one in Bosnia yielded these pictures of the 40-year-old Syrian-born Arnaout and evidence, the government says, the charity bought rockets and mortars, notes on the founding of the al Qaeda terrorist network, and this Arab newspaper article with a picture of Arnaout and Osama bin Laden.

JOE DUFFY, ARNAOUT'S ATTORNEY: Did Mr. Arnaout know Mr. bin Laden in the 1980's? I would say yes. What was Mr. bin Laden doing in the 1980s? He was building roads and highways in Afghanistan.

FLOCK: And fighting Soviet occupation. Arnaout's lawyers say even the United States government backed bin Laden then. They claimed Arnaout has not had contact with bin Laden since, when these pictures were taken.

ASHCROFT: It is chilling that the origins of al Qaeda were discovered in a charity claiming to do good.

FLOCK: Kareem Irfan, who lives in the Chicago suburbs, has given more than $5,000 to Benevolence International over the years.

KAREEM IRFAN, COUNCIL OF ISLAMIC ORGANIZATIONS: I definitely do not regret it because I did it under the understanding that this was an outstanding institution.

FLOCK: He is not alone. Recent corporate donors through employer-matched programs, according to BIF, include Microsoft, which gave more than $10,000; UBS Warburg, $5,000; Sun Microsystems, American Express, Compaq Computers and Pepsico. How much money did they raise? CNN has obtained a copy of its year 2000 tax filing, which shows contributions of $3.6 million. A review of financial statements show hundreds of thousands sent to Bosnia, Pakistan and Chechnya in its last fiscal year.

The Justice Department is now looking at those records to determine if any of the donors knew their contributions were going to fund terrorism.

ASHCROFT: We will sort through the evidence and separate legitimate donors from those who break the law.



MIM: Press release of the CIOCG welcoming a delegation from the Wahhabist Muslim World League which is linked to Al Qaeda.

330 East Roosevelt Road, Suite G5, Lombard, IL 60148 - Ph.: 630.629.7490 ? Fax: 630.629.7492
Contact: Contact: Farhan Younus, Esq. [Chairperson, CIOGC Media Relations Committee - Ph.: 630-926-5566]

Chicago - Thursday, June 27, 2002


A delegation of internationally recognized Muslim leaders, scholars and jurists representing a cross-section of the Muslim World is planning a good-will tour of the United States under the auspices of the Muslim World League (MWL). The delegation is headed by HE Dr. Abdullah al-Turki, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, member of the Senior Ulama Commission and former minister of Islamic Affairs in Saudi Arabia.

This delegation will be visiting New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles from June 25th until July 15th, 2002. The delegation will be in Chicago from June 30, 2002 through July 2, 2002. Their objective is to meet and brief prominent leaders of the media, inter-faith communities, academia, and government agencies, based on a global perspective of critical post 9-11 issues pertaining to Muslims and Islam. The delegation is seeking cooperation in establishing peace, justice, mutual tolerance and developing bridges of understanding across faiths, societies and civilizations.

The World Muslim League, headquartered in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, is a non-governmental organization represented in a number of international organizations such as the Organization of the Islamic Conferences, where it enjoys the position of an observer member, as well as the United Nations, where it also enjoys category A observer status as a non-governmental organization with consultative status at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The MWL is also a member of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural organization (UNESCO) and the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as well as the International Supreme Council for Da'wah and Relief, where it enjoys the status of a founding member.

Members of the delegation include Dr. Ahmad Abulmagd, Commissioner for the Dialogue of Civilizations at the Arab League in Cairo, Egypt. Other esteemed members of the delegation are HE Kamil al-Shareef, former minister of Jordan and Secretary General of the International Council for Islamic Call and Relief and a founding member of the Muslim World League; Dr. Muhammad A. Bayyoumi, Professor of Sociology, Alexandria University, Egypt; Dr. Mustafa I. Siric, Grand Mufti of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and member of the Fiqh Council at the Muslim World League; Dr. Al-Sheikh Ahmad Lemo, President of the Islamic Education Endowment, Abuja, Nigeria; Dr. Salman al-Hasan al-Nadawi, president of Muslim Youth Society in India; and Dr. Jamal Badawi, President of the Islamic Media Foundation, Halifax, Canada.

This is the first time a delegation of this caliber has visited the United States for the expressed purpose of improving people to people relations, based upon a cross cultural dialogue between the people of the United States and the Muslim World.

A press conference featuring members of this esteemed panel of experts will be held at the Peninsula Hotel, 108 East Superior Street (at North Michigan Avenue), Chicago, Illinois 60611 on Monday July 1, 2002 at 10:00 a.m. Interviews with individual members of the delegation can be scheduled by contacting Farhan Younus at (630) 926-5566. END



MIM: Cherif Bassiouni an advisory board member of the Bernardin Center, called the Holyland Foundation Hamas funding trial "one of the great abuses of the American legal process". He defended convicted terrorist and head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in America Sami Al Arian complaining about what he described as:

"These overreaches and abuses by the Department of Justice, not the least of which is the case of Dr. Sami Al-Arian - who continues to linger in jail because of a vindictive prosecutorial approach against someone who was never proven to have been guilty of any terrorist-related charges ..."

The Jury is Out for HLF: Not Guilty

A prosecution that is likely to go down in the record books as one of the great abuses of the American legal process ended with a mistrial yesterday in Dallas, Texas.

The politicized case against the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), an American charity providing aid to needy families in Palestine, alleged material support for a terrorist organization.

This was so even while the government conceded that HLF only provided assistance to real charitable organizations and persons.

Yet the prosecution's "Alice in Wonderland" theory postulates that in so doing, HLF freed Hamas from its burden to fund charitable activities in Palestine, thus having more resources to direct toward terrorist activities.

The government could only build its case on overstretched assumptions and associations. It failed to prove any credible conspiratorial linkage between the Americans who operated HLF in Texas and those who operate Hamas in Palestine.

hlfAs far-fetched as the theory itself was, the evidence presented by the government to support that theory failed to connect the dots. And on Thursday, October 18, the jury returned a sealed verdict that - not surprisingly - did not include a single guilty verdict on any of the 197 charges.

However, the judge was out of town and the verdict could not be read until Monday, October 22. By then, some members of the jury apparently had misgivings, and after the verdict was read and the jury polled, three jurors contested the unanimous nature of the verdict.

The judged ordered further deliberations after which 11 of the 12 jurors concurred with the original verdict and one did not, thus causing the judge to declare a mistrial.

What is additionally outrageous in this case is the fact that the Department of Justice named 306 individuals and organizations as un-indicted co-conspirators in the case. The exhaustive list includes several major American Muslim organizations in this country.

Such intimidation and harassment leveled against American Muslims and their religious, civic and charitable organizations by this administration is yet another manifestation of the recent erosion of American constitutional freedoms.

The fear-mongering campaign opted for by many in this administration - and supported by avowedly anti-Muslim groups - has created a climate of Islamophobia that is contrary to the basic values of this otherwise tolerant country.

But it is the assault upon constitutional freedoms under the guise of terrorist-related prosecutions that is most shocking.

Since 2002, an estimated 500 cases have been brought against Muslims in America. Half of these have been dismissed as being without merit. The rest have all resulted in either acquittals or negotiated pleas on minor charges which are unrelated to the original indictment. Of the 500 cases, it is estimated that some 30 of them may have had some reasonable foundation in law.

In no other area of prosecution has the Department of Justice produced such an extraordinarily high percentage of dismissed cases and cases resulting in guilty pleas on unrelated charges. This, in itself, raises concerns that these prosecutions were informed by the fear-mongering claims of the current administration that terrorism à-la 9/11 may become an indigenous product and that American Muslims may be a new clear and present danger.

Not only is this outrageously wrong, it is un-American in every respect.

These overreaches and abuses by the Department of Justice, not the least of which is the case of Dr. Sami Al-Arian - who continues to linger in jail because of a vindictive prosecutorial approach against someone who was never proven to have been guilty of any terrorist-related charges - weakens our democracy rather than protects it.

The inclusion of 306 un-indicted co-conspirators as mentioned above is intended to put these organizations and individuals on notice that they should not stand up for their rights under the Constitution.

Obviously, these charges are also intended to dry up contributions and support for these organizations and eventually open them up to frivolous lawsuits for damages by those who have been victims of terrorism elsewhere.

The perverse nature of the un-indicted co-conspirator designation made public in the HLF case is that those so-designated cannot challenge the designation in a court of law and thus have no way to restore their reputation to its earlier standing. This is a unique situation where any person or organization can be designated "guilty by association" and stigmatized as such without legal redress.

There is no doubt that the Department of Justice in selecting that list of 306 organizations and individuals intended to accomplish such results, especially for three of the largest and most effective American Muslim organizations: The Islamic Society of North America, the North American Islamic Trust and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The situation described above requires action by Congress and by those American organizations and individuals who cherish their constitution and who believe in the American way of democracy and freedom for all.

If the present tactics of the Department of Justice continue, it will not be long before American Muslims suffer the same fate Japanese-Americans did in World War II.

Demonizing an entire minority group based on suspicion and fear-mongering was wrong then, and it is wrong now. We cannot allow such a blot on our history to be repeated.

I am confident that America's sense of decency and fair play will ultimately prevail.


M. Cherif Bassiouni
Distinguished Research Professor of Law,
DePaul University President Emeritus,
International Human Rights Law Institute

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