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Militant Islam Monitor > Weblog > Organization on Senate list of Muslim groups which "finance terrorism and perpetuate violence" invited to White House Leadership Conference

Organization on Senate list of Muslim groups which "finance terrorism and perpetuate violence" invited to White House Leadership Conference

February 23, 2005

MIM: America's 'War on Terror' and concerns for national security have suffered a major setback with the announcement that the radical Islamist ISNA, The Islamic Society of North America, has been invited to participate in a 'White House Leadership conference' scheduled for March 1st 2005.

ISNA was on a list of groups which was described by a US government officials as one of the :

"...charities and foundations, which finance terrorism and perpetuate violence. Many of these groups not only enjoy tax-exempt status, but their reputations as charities and foundations often allows them to escape scrutiny, making it easier to hide and move their funds to other groups and individuals who threaten our national security..."

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MIM: The 'mini headline' announcement on the ISNA website.

http://www.isna.net/news/miniheadlines.asp?dismode=article&artid=514

Feb 17, 2005. ISNA Director of Communications, Mohamed ElSanousi, has been invited by the White House to participate in the White House Leadership Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The conference, which will take place on March 1st, will address several issues. There will be a recap of the progress of the Intiative in 2004 and the President's Plan of Action for 2005 will be presented. A third agenda item is discussion of and feedback with regards the President's proposals for the 2006 Budget.

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This new invitation compounds the travesty which was perpetrated in 2004 when the White House requested that ISNA "provide names of particpants from the American Muslim community that would benefit from this conference' . Below MIM has posted information about some of the radical Islamist groups which ISNA working with whose names were very likely submitted as "participants who would benefit from this conference".

The former president of ISNA Muzammil Siddiqui, now the director of the Islamic Society of Orange County California aided in the conversion of Adam Gadahn, who was the Kheffiyah clad terrorist seen on an Al Qaeda video warning Americans that "blood would run in the streets".

"..The California imam who helped convert an al-Qaida suspect to Islam headed a Muslim activist group under investigation here for possible financial ties to terrorist front groups.

"Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America ,ministered to a25-year-old Muslim convert now the subject of an FBI manhunt." .."http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38715

Not only is ISNA under Senate scrutiny for ties to terrorism and on a list which "offers an authoritative guide to U.S. Islamist groups which, in the senators' words, "finance terrorism and perpetuate violence."http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/164

Siraj Wahhaj a "suspected unindicted co conspirator" in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings is also a former vice president of ISNA. Wahhaj also served as a character witness for several defendants at the trial. For more on Wahhaj see: http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/382

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MIM: A newspaper article about the group cited the findings of Steven Emerson who extensively researched ISNA's terrorism ties:

http://www.wthr.com/Global/story.asp?S=1518794&nav=DqSHJ2nO

"..Emerson, author of the bestselling "American Jihad: The terrorists Living Among Us," dedicated an entire section of his book to ISNA as a supporter of militant Islamic groups.

Emerson says ISNA's popular annual conventions, attended by thousands of Muslims, serve as gathering places for some Islamic extremists to raise money and share ideas.

"I think ISNA has been an umbrella, also a promoter of groups that have been involved in terrorism," Emerson told Eyewitness News. "I am not going to accuse ISNA of being directly involved in terrorism. I will say ISNA has sponsored extremists, racists, people who call for Jihad against the United States."

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

ISNA has provided convention booth space and helped raise money for a number of Islamic charities later linked to terrorism by the federal government – groups like the Holy Land Foundation.

The U.S. government accuses Holy Land of funneling dollars to support suicide bombings carried out by the militant group Hamas. Holy Land's assets, along with those of several other Islamic charities, are now frozen pending further investigation..."

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MIM: In addition to terrorism funding, ISNA's leaders are radical Islamists whose agenda is to Islamise the United States, a goal which is clearly stated in the 'mission statement' on the ISNA website:

"...Prophet Muhammad (saws) described Islam as a beautiful building which must be erected upon a sound foundation.

The Muslim community has worked many decades to construct the bedrock of Islam in the USA and Canada – masjids, schools, Islamic organizations. With this solid base in place, it is now time to begin building the superstructure. ISNA is an integral part of that structure at every level, and continues to be instrumental in its growth..."http://www.isna.net/donation/1000donor.asp

WHY ISNA?
"..The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is a product of the resolve of the Muslims in North America to live an Islamic way of life. In keeping with its charter, ISNA works for the pleasure of Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) to advance the cause of Islam and Muslims in North America. ISNA activities include support for better schools, stronger outreach programs, organized community centers, and other Islamic programs. ISNA serves to help foster unity among Muslims, which is vital to an Islamic way of life.."

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http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/001332.php

MIM: The vice president of ISNA, a convert called Ingrid Mattson who is also connected to the Hartford Seminary :

...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.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."

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For more on ISNA see: The Islamic Society of North America : "Solid base of Islam is in place-now it is time to start building the infrastructure".

http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/254

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MIM: The 'mini headline' announcement on the ISNA website.

http://www.isna.net/news/miniheadlines.asp?dismode=article&artid=514

Feb 17, 2005. ISNA Director of Communications, Mohamed ElSanousi, has been invited by the White House to participate in the White House Leadership Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The conference, which will take place on March 1st, will address several issues. There will be a recap of the progress of the Intiative in 2004 and the President's Plan of Action for 2005 will be presented. A third agenda item is discussion of and feedback with regards the President's proposals for the 2006 Budget.

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MIM: This press release was on an ISNA webpage ready for sending to interested parties in 2004, and describes the first White House conference which is being described as a 'recap on the progress of the 2004 initiative'. http://www.isna.net/news/miniheadlines.asp?dismode=article&artid=316

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White House Requests ISNA to Endorse Participants for National Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

Plainfield, IN : The White House invited ISNA to attend its first White House National Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to be held Tuesday, June 2004 at the Washington Hilton in Washington DC. The White House has also requested ISNA to provide names of participants from the American Muslim community that would benefit from this conference.

The conference will discuss key social service issues with faith-based and community leaders, hear from state and local officials about existing and potential partnerships with faith-based and community organizations, network with representatives from the White House, the United States Departments of Justice, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and other government officials.

For information regarding this conference contact Mohammed El-Sanousi at melsanousi@isna.net 317-839-8157 ext 228.



[More articles available at www.isna.net]

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Info on Jim Towey Director of the Office of Faith Based Initiatives

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/01/20050113-8.html

http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/fbci/

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http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2004&m=January&x=20040114155543zemogb0.8868524&t=usinfo/wf-latest.html

MIM: Letter by Senator Grassley requesting investigation by IRS into ISNA and other groups stating that their "reputations for charities and foundations often allows them to escape scrutiny, making it easier to hide and move funds to groups and individuals who threaten scrutiny"

December 22, 2003 The Honorable Mark Everson
Commissioner
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW


Washington, DC 20224

Via mail and telefax (202) 622-4733

Dear Commissioner Everson:

The purpose of this letter is to inquire about and conduct oversight on the issue of organizations, particularly tax-exempt organizations such as charities and foundations, which finance terrorism and perpetuate violence. Many of these groups not only enjoy tax-exempt status, but their reputations as charities and foundations often allows them to escape scrutiny, making it easier to hide and move their funds to other groups and individuals who threaten our national security.

This support for the machinery of terrorism not only violates the law and tax regulations, but it violates the trust that citizens have in the large majority of charities, foundations and other groups that do good works in the United States. Government officials, investigations by federal agencies and the Congress, and other reports have identified the crucial role that charities and foundations play in terror financing.

While much attention has been paid to where their money ends up, the source of their funds is equally important. Often these groups are nothing more than shell companies for the same small group of people, moving funds from one charity to the next charity to hide the trail. These groups also receive donations from foreign sources, including countries the government has identified as having a significant problem with terrorism.

The federal government and the Congress have identified several countries -- some of which, ostensibly, are our allies -- particularly in the Middle East, as a primary source of funds for charities and foundations that are under investigation or have fallen under suspicion for terrorist financing. The Senate Finance Committee retains exclusive jurisdiction over tax matters in the Senate. We have a responsibility to carry out oversight to ensure charities, foundations and other groups are abiding by the laws and regulations, to examine their source of funds, and to ensure government agencies, including the IRS, are policing them and enforcing the law efficiently and effectively.

We ask that you provide copies of all IRS materials -- including information protected by Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code -- for the attached list of charities, foundations, other tax exempt organizations, and other groups. The material should include Form 990s and Form 990 PFs, including the donors list for both types; Form 1023s, the charities' applications for tax exempt status, and any and all materials from examinations, audits and other investigations, including criminal investigations.

Pursuant to Internal Revenue Code section 6103(f)(4), Chairman Grassley hereby authorizes the following Finance Committee staff -- Dean Zerbe, John Drake, Pat Heck and Matt Stokes -- to review this information. We would appreciate receiving this material no later than Friday, February 20, 2004. Please have IRS officials contact our staff to arrange the details of delivery.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Sincerely, Charles E. Grassley
Chairman Max Baucus
Ranking Member


Attachment


Charities, Foundations, Other Tax-Exempt Organizations, and Other Groups All charities, foundations and tax-exempt organizations, groups or entities who have been designated or listed by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) from September 11, 2001 to today.

The SAAR Foundation and all members and related entities
Global Relief Foundation (GRF)
Benevolence International Foundation (BIF)
Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA)
Muslim Student Association
Islamic Association for Palestine
Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF)
Muslim World League
International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) or Internal Relief Organization(IRO)
Al Haramain Foundation
Alavi Foundation
Institute of Islamic and Arabic Science in America (IIASA)
Islamic Assembly of North American
Help the Needy
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
Islamic Foundation of America
United Association for Studies and Research (USAR)
Solidarity International and/or Solidarity USA
Kind Hearts
Islamic American Relief Agency and/or Islamic African Relief Agency
Islamic Society of North America
International Islamic Relief Organization
World Assembly of Muslim Youth
Rabita Trust
Human Appeal International Some of the charities, foundations, other tax-exempt organizations or groups listed above may be included in the first category of entities listed or designated by OFAC. You do not need to provide duplicate records for these entities.

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MIM: Dr. Daniel Pipes chronicled the schizophrenic US government approach to ISNA

http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/96

The "Islamic Society of North America" Baffles Washington. Two news items concerning the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) point to the deep inconsistency of the U.S. government vis-à-vis militant Islamic groups.

  • The mere presence of an ISNA business card in the possession of a visiting imam from Canada, Ahamad Kutty, was enough to get him detained for a day by the immigration authorities, held overnight in jail, and then refused entry to the United States.
  • Yet ISNA enjoys the privilege of being one of two Islamic organizations that endorses Muslim (such as James J. "Yousef" Yee, recently arrested on suspicions of espionage) for employment as chaplains in the armed services.

Actually, this inconsistency represents progress, as organizations like ISNA were until a few months ago viewed uncritically; now, at least, some branches of the government realize the danger they present. (September 23, 2003)

Nov. 7, 2002 update: The contradictions continue: a Pakistani source reports today that although ISNA was not invited to the White House iftar dinner on Oct. 28, it was invited on Nov. 5 to the Department of State's iftar. What exactly is going on?

Jan. 31, 2004 update: More inconsistencies:

  • A Senate committee asked the tax authorities for ISNA's paperwork on January 14, 2004, as part of its investigation into groups that "finance terrorism and perpetuate violence."
  • ISNA announced a signal success on January 31, 2004: it had convinced the Navy Chief of Chaplains, Rear Admiral Louis Iasiello, to remove from the Navy Chaplain Corps website an article by Salman Rushdie, "Yes, This is About Islam." The ISNA letter to Iasiello, a Franciscan father, condemned Rushdie as "a divisive person known for his efforts to distort Islam" and complained that "tens of articles and statements that aim at differentiating the perversion of Muslim extremists from the positions espoused by mainstream Islam" are left off of the website. When the offending article was withdrawn, ISNA responded with an appreciation of the Navy Chaplain Corps' "positive response" and commended Rear Admiral Iasiello "for taking this wise decision and recognizing the need to keep bigotry and divisive and defamatory speech out of the Naval Chaplain Corps website."

Comment: It boggles the imagination that an organization being probed by Congress for financing terrorism and perpetuating violence should have credibility enough serve as censor for the U.S. military. For anyone who wishes to protest this capitulation to militant Islamic dictates, Rear Admiral Iasiello can be reached at 703 693-5406 (no e-mail address available).

May 9, 2004 update: The beat of acceptance goes on:

  • The Islamic Development Bank (IDB), a Saudi-dominated institution, announced a gift (reported in the Arab News today) of 1.03 million Saudi riyals for the expansion and renovation of an ISNA elementary school in Ontario.
  • The White House has not just invited ISNA to attend the first National Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives next month but, according to an ISNA press release, "has also requested ISNA to provide names of participants from the American Muslim community that would benefit from this conference." This follows on the Department of the Treasury a month earlier inviting ISNA (in ISNA's words) "to be a part of the Treasury Department's standing advisory group on charities and the best practices developed by the Treasury Department to assist U.S.-based charities in reducing the likelihood that charitable funds will be diverted for violent ends."

So, a Saudi-funded organization counsels the White House on U.S. domestic issues? How interesting.

June 8, 2004 update: It appears that the U.S. government is subsidizing an Islamist organization, judging by the news today (from WTHR, the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis, near where ISNA is based) that ISNA has received two grants from the Faith Based Community Initiative totaling about $70,000 "to help train religious leaders on how to apply for federal money for social programs."

Aug. 29, 2004 update: Further confirmation of ISNA's new-found acceptability: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the State Department assisted ISNA in planning a 10-person delegation to the Sudan this month.

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Siraj Wahhaj a vice president of ISNA was listed as an alleged co conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He also served as a character witness for several of the defendents.

http://mediaguidetoislam.sfsu.edu/intheus/09a_resources.htm

Siraj Wahhaj
Imam, Masjid al-Taqwa
Brooklyn, New York
E-mail: swahhaj@aol.com
Office: 718-622-0800

Wahhaj is a prominent African American Muslim leader who became a Muslim in 1969. He was with the Nation of Islam before setting up Masjid al-Taqwa in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Wahhaj has been the vice president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) since 1997. Wahhaj's lectures at ISNA conferences are usually packed, and he is particularly popular with Muslim youth. He can speak about contemporary Muslim American issues, youth and African American history in the United States.

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MIM: This article is by Mohammed El Sanousi who was invited to be the ISNA representative at the White House Leadership conference. In it he writes that ISNA is affiliated with the Association of Muslim Social Scientists, the sister organisation of the Wahhabist International Institute of Islamic Thought which was raided by law enforcement as part of an investigation into terrorism funding. ISNA also works together with the Muslim Youth of North America, and The North American Atlantic Trust(NAIT), the Saudi group which funds 80% of the mosques and Islamic centers in the U.S. All of these groups including ISNA are under scrutiny for terrorism related funding.

http://www.learningtogive.org/religiousinstructors/phil_in_america/islam_na.asp

The 1960s brought a new generation of Muslims to America In 1963, Muslim student life in America found a new expression with the founding of the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. & Canada (MSA) at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The MSA developed chapters at campuses coast to coast, embodying its motto of unity and togetherness. The growth in chapters was facilitated by the growing numbers of Muslim students from many countries seeking higher education in the U.S.

A new Muslim American generation was taking shape and many of the graduates of American colleges and universities had outgrown the MSA. However, they still sought an organization to serve their spiritual and social needs. It was this need that led to the MSA leadership to evolve into the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in 1981. Out of ISNA, American born generation developed the Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA) which focuses on the interests and needs of the pre-college students. In 1977, ISNA established its headquarters in Plainfield, IN , close to the Indianapolis International Airport. During the following two decades the organization became an umbrella organization for many Muslim communities across North America. Today, some 300 communities and professional organization are affiliated to ISNA. Constituent organizations of ISNA include the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA), the Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers (AMSE), the Council of Islamic Schools in North America (CISNA), the MSA, and the MYNA. ISNA, in its capacity as an organization representing American Muslim citizens, is committed toward projects that will contribute toward a viable Muslim future in North America.

The North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) was created by the MSA in 1973 to oversee the development and growth of infrastructures—mosques, community centers, and schools—required by Muslim families. In 1973, NAIT founded American Trust Publications (ATP) to publish Islamic books that are geared to the needs and lives of American Muslims. Since its founding, ATP has published more than 260 titles that include both Islamic literature developed in America and the selected classical texts that relate to the needs of their community. ISNA publishes a bimonthly magazine "Islamic Horizons" with a circulation of 60,000. According to a survey conducted by "Muslims in American Public Square" sponsored by the Pew Trust in 2001, there were 7 million Muslims in America, some 3,000 Islamic centers and mosques, and 300 Islamic schools.

ISNA serves the Muslims of America by organizing an annual national convention in a major American city—the 38 th annual convention held in Chicago in 2001 brought together some 40,000 Muslims from the U.S. and Canada. Each year, ISNA also hosts specialized conferences such as Islam in America, Islamic Education Forum, Community Development Conference, Islamic Perspectives on Counseling, Islam in American Prisons, Muslim Refugees in America, Seminars on Conflict Resolution and Domestic Violence, and so forth which bring together Muslim and non-Muslim academicians and specialists in these fields.

ISNA has served as incubator of many organizations and is a leading association of Muslim organizations and individuals in North America. Serving as a platform of expression for Islam, to develop education, social services and to enhance Islamic understanding in the society at large.

Bibiliography

Contemporary American Religion (Volume 1) edited by Wade Clark Roof, Published by Macmillan Publishers 2000, pp.334.

ISNA pamphlets:

  • ISNA in 25 years
  • ISNA Commitment to a Mission
  • ISNA Services and Projects
  • From Vision to Reality
  • ISNA annual reports 2000,2001
  • www.isna.net

Learning to Give wishes to express appreciation to Dr. Dwight Burlingame, editor/author of Philanthropy in America, a Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia of Philanthropy Information, and the publisher ABC-CLIO for graciously sharing this resource information with Learning to Give. The complete encyclopedia may be purchased through ABC-CLIO.

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THE ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA (ISNA) in collaboration with THE ISLAMIC COUNCIL OF NEW ENGLAND cordially invite you and your family to: "CHALLENGES FACING THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN NORTH AMERICA Moving Forward, Strengthening Our Community" and also presenting: "Leadership & Community Development Seminar and Town Hall Meeting" (What Can ISNA Do For Me?)


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MIM: In 2004 ISNA attended the first White House Leadership conference and was asked to recommend Muslim organisations and individuals who would benefit from the intiative . The ISB is one example of the groups which ISNA is working closely with.

The terrorism linked Islamic Society of Boston presented an ISNA day which featured speakers such as Abdalla Idris Ali , who is connected the Islamic Association of Palestine/Hamas. For more on the ISB see : The ISB and the politician's red faces: http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/115

The event program also shows that Louay Safi, the former head of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists is the director of the of the ISNA Leadership Development Center. Louis Safi and the AMSS are linked to several groups which are also under investigation for ties to Al Qaeda and terrroism funding. For more on AMSS see: http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/216

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http://www.isboston.org/v3.1/viewitem.asp?MenuID=14&DocID=2275

ISNA DAY IN BOSTON, MA

THE ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA (ISNA)
in collaboration with
THE ISLAMIC COUNCIL OF NEW ENGLAND
cordially invite you and your family to:

CHALLENGES FACING THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN NORTH AMERICA
Moving Forward, Strengthening Our Community

with featured speakers:
Dr. Abdalla Idris Ali, former ISNA Pres.
Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, ISNA Secy. Gen.
Dr. Louay Safi, Exec. Dir., ISNA Leadership Development Center (ILDC)
Mr. Ahmed Elhattab, Dir. Gen., ISNA Development Foundation (IDF)

and also presenting:

Leadership & Community Development Seminar and Town Hall Meeting
(What Can ISNA Do For Me?)

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MIM: The ISB itself is embroiled in an ongoing controversy involving anti semitic statements of it's director in the Arab press and their ties to terror supporting groups. On Feb.4th 2005 the ISB posted this on their website in response to an event slated to discuss the dangers which the ISB posed to the community. http://www.isboston.org/v3.1/viewitem.asp?DocID=2964&ItemTypeID=6

"On behalf of the Islamic Society of Boston, I write this in response to the flurry of emails posted regarding the discussion tonight about the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. Temple Emanuel Israel in Newton is sponsoring an event tonight Thursday 2/3/2005 at 8 PM called ( "Does Tolerance and Diversity Go Both Ways?" Robert Spencer, Director of Jihad Watch will discuss the Boston Mosque controversy and why it should be a matter of concern for every defender of Israel and believer in universal human rights. The event is sponsored by the Temple Emanuel Israel Action Forum.)".

On Sept. 10th 2004 these two items were posted on the ISB website. http://www.isboston.org/v3.1/previewlist.asp?ItemTypeID=6&MenuID=16&ParentID=2

"...Fox25 is planning on doing an "investigative report" about the ISB... Read ISB response..."

"...In March, 2004 the Boston Herald alleged that Dr. Walid Fitaihi ( an ISB leader)had made anti-Semitic statements in some of his articles published in overseas newspapers..."

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MIM: The Muslim American Society, a group which in in the forefront of campaigning for the release of Bush assassin wannabe Omar Abu Ali, states that " Since it's inception ISNA and other associations affiliated with it have worked diligently with those who were to become founding members and the leadership of MAS towards the advancement and cause of Islam in North America". Note that at the end of the MAS 'mission statement' a separate email address is provided for "inquiries by non Muslims". For more on MAS see : http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/216

http://www.masnet.org/aboutmas.asp

What is MAS?

The Muslim American Society (MAS) is a charitable, religious, social, cultural, and educational, not-for-profit organization. It is a pioneering Islamic organization, an Islamic revival, and reform movement that uplifts the individual, family, and society.

When and where it all started?

The Muslim American Society (MAS) traces its historical roots back to the call of the Prophet Muhammad ( Peace be upon him). Its more recent roots, however, can be traced to the Islamic revival movement which evolved at the turn of the twentieth century.

This movement brought the call of Islam to Muslims throughout the globe to reestablish Islam as a total way of life. The call and the spirit of the movement reached the shores of North America with arrival of Muslim students and immigrants in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

These early pioneers and Islamic movement followers established in 1963 the Muslim Student Association (MSA) of the U.S and Canada as a rallying point in their endeavor to serve Islam and Muslims in North America. Other services and outreach organizations soon followed, such as the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the Islamic Medical Association (IMA), the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) and the Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA), to name a few.

Twenty years later, Islamic movement followers and sympathizers in North America launched the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) as an outgrowth of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) to serve the needs of the ever-growing number of indigenous and immigrant Muslims who had opted to reside permanently in North America.

Since its inception, ISNA, and other organizations affiliated with it, worked diligently with those who were to become the founding members and future leadership of MAS, towards the advancement of the cause of Islam and Muslims in North America.

Mindful of the dynamic changes that are taking place within the Muslim community and its surroundings, and keeping an eye on the future, a number of Islamic workers and Islamic movement followers decided in 1992, after a painstaking measured and tedious process of soul-searching and consultation, to launch the Muslim American Society (MAS) in order to complement the work accomplished over the last three decades, and to lay the ground for the Islamic effort needed to face the next century's challenges.

Objectives

  • To present the message of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims, and promote understanding between them,
  • To encourage the participation of Muslims in building a virtuous and moral society,
  • To offer a viable Islamic alternative to many of our society's prevailing problems,
  • To promote family values in accordance with Islamic teaching,
  • To promote the human values that Islam emphasizes: brotherhood, equality, justice, mercy, compassion, and peace, and
  • To foster unity among Muslims and Muslim organizations and encourage cooperation and coordination amongst them.

Contact Information:

P.O. Box 1896

Falls Church, VA 22041

Telephone: (703) 998-6525

FAX: (703) 998-6526

Electronic mail:

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MIM :The North Atlantic Islamic Trust is a Saudi/Wahhabist funding source which finances the majority of Islamic organisations and mosques in the US. This page "about us" shows that "NAIT provides the protection and safeguarding of the assets of ISNA/MSA (Muslim Student Association) and other communities by holding their real estate in "waqf".

http://www.nait.net/nait.html

The North American Islamic Trust was established in 1971 by the MSA of U.S. and Canada. NAIT provides protection and safeguarding for the assets of ISNA/MSA and other communities by holding their assets and real estate in "waqf." It also initiates and manages profitable business ventures in accordance with the Islamic Shari'ah; supports and subsidizes projects beneficial to the cause of Islam and Muslims. NAIT is composed of the following divisions:

Islamic Centers Division (ICD)
Established in 1981, the Islamic Centers Division (ICD) assists in the acquisition, maintenance, and development of masjids, Islamic schools, and centers throughout the United States. One of its primary functions is to help NAIT serve as a Trust (Waqf), for Islamic centers, thus offering protection and security to Muslim assets against any unavoidable legal actions.
Some of the services offered by ICD are:
1 . To provide legal counseling through its Legal Services Section (LSS), for proper transfer of ownership, zoning, and settlement of previous financial obligations, etc.
2. To offer assistance through the Islamic Centers Cooperative Fund (ICCF), in preparing materials for fundraising, assistance in obtaining insurance coverage for the real estate of the communities and it also provides short-term, interest-free loans to the Islamic centers.

American Trust Publications (ATP)
After centuries of misrepresentation by orientalists and missionaries, the demand for authentic Islamic literature in North America among Muslims and non-Muslims is very great. American Trust publications (ATP) was established in 1976 in order to meet this demand. ATP's publications focus upon the following five priority areas:
• Children's books
• Books for youth
• Books for adult readers
• Books for and about the family
• Moral and social issues confronting the Muslims in the West

Audio Visual Center (AVC)
The Audio Visual Center (AVC) was established in 1981 to provide Muslims with Islamic audiovisual materials of the highest quality and attractiveness. The largest commercial audio cassette duplication facility owned by Muslims was set up by AVC in 1983. It has a production capacity of 1.2 million cassettes per year, enabling AVC to record and produce the tapes required for Qur'anic albums and other audio programs. AVC maintains a comprehensive facility for video recording, production, and graphic arts. AVC also has an in-house printing facility to cater the printing needs of ISNA and its affiliates.

Islamic Book Service (IBS)
Established in 1965, the Islamic Book Service (IBS) is the largest Islamic Bookstore in North America and is one of the oldest operations of MSA. IBS offers a comprehensive stock of Islamic materials and it has been fully expanded to include books in several languages — all at affordable prices.
Some of the products currently offered by IBS are:
• Over 2,000 titles of books in different languages such as English and Arabic
• Qur'anic tapes by various recitors using different styles
• Islamic wall posters and slides
IBS has several outlets through Islamic centers and distributors.
Canadian Islamic Trust Foundation
Canadian Islamic Trust Foundation is a counterpart of NAIT. It was established to help in the acquisition, maintenance, and development of masjids, Islamic schools, and centers throughout Canada. The Islamic Book Service in Canada is operated through the Islamic Services of Canada

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MIM: Jihad through conversion

ISNA's agenda for Islamising the United States includes a working association with the IIIE an organisation which trains Muslims in how to recruit and convert people to Islam . The IIIE counts WAMY and ISNA among it's sponsors and cooperation groups'. The World Assembly of Muslim Youth, a Saudi organisation which is on the Senate list of Muslim organisations involved in terrorism funding.

The IIIE mission statement says their Da'wa efforts are to "reach out to the non Muslim people with the message of Islam... and train more workings in Da'wa by duplicating themselves many times over".

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http://www.iiie.net/DawahTraining/TTCDesc.html

Da'wa Training program

The Institute of Islamic Information & Education (III&E) began offering the Dawah Intensive Course (DIC) in 1997. Originally called "Train The Trainers Course", this program has been received very well, Alhamdulillah, and many Muslims have been trained in Los Angeles CA, Houston TX, Monmouth Junction NJ and Chicago areas. The III&E aspires to take the program all over North America and initiate many levels of training programs.

The Goal

The goal of this program is to train Muslim volunteer Da'wah workers who would do two things, (1) reach out to the non-Muslim people with the message of Islam, and (2) train more Da'wah workers by duplicating themselves many times over. Anti-Islam forces are extremely active in North America and are doing everything money can buy to stop the spread of Islam and, if possible, remove Islam from the West. On the other hand, Muslims are suffering from indifference and apathy and involved only with material gains and security. Those Muslims who are "active" in Islam, are limited to establishing and running masajid and Islamic schools; these are admirable activities but they do little in providing a solid foundation to the Muslim community for it to spread and prosper. The recruitment of new converts, their training and removal of mis-information, dis-information, stereotype images and mis-apprehensions from the minds of the North American masses should have equal weight and priority with other Islamic activities. The Da'wah training program of the III&E is a significant contribution towards achieving these goals.

The Syllabus

This course is equivalent of two semester courses of three credit hours each but given in 80-90 contact hours condensed in 10-18 days as explained elsewhere in this article. The course includes examinations, quizzes, speech making practice and sometimes mock sessions. Most of the course is handled in an interactive format, keeping lectures to a minimum. The course has seven units unequal in length. The unit titles are given below:

Unit 1. Fundamentals of Islam

Unit 2. Handling people

Unit 3. Presenting Islamic beliefs and practices

Unit 4. Areas of Clarification (misconceptions held by the Muslims)

Unit 5. Misconceptions about Islam and Muslims (held by the non-Muslims)

Unit 6. Comparative Religion (Christianity and Islam)Unit 7. Establishment and management of a non-profit organization in the U.S.

Special topics as seen relevant at the time of offering the course.

Resource Persons

The main faculty member in North America is Dr. M. Amir Ali, Managing Director of the III&E who is well trained and experienced in the field of Da'wah. Frequently, Br. Bashir Mundi who is very well educated and a veteran of many Da'wah training programs, joins him as a trainer. Additional persons are recruited for teaching; among them they are developer of the TTC, Sr. Aisha Lemu, and graduates Sr. Mary Ali, Br. Usama Hussein Dr. Syed Sabeel Ahmad, Br. Habib Raja and Ahmad Jalloh. In addition, Islamic scholars and leaders are requested to speak as guests. Among Islamic scholars and leaders who have spoken at TTC include Dr. Muzammal H. Siddiqui, Dr. Tajuddin B. Shu'aib, Dr. Ahmad Sakr, Dr. Assad Busool, Dr. G.H. Aasi, Br. Mukhtar Ahmad Musallati, Sr. Maria Khani, Sheikh Hamad Al-Chibli, Dr. Mohammad Rashad Khalil, Sheik Zoubeir Bouchikhi, Dr. Sultan Al-Hazmi and Sheikh Hamdan Al-Saadi. The tradition of requesting local scholars to participate in the training program will continue in the future.

Course Schedule

In the past course was conducted in many different ways, described below.

1. Once a week. The course was conducted every Saturday for eight weeks from 9A.M. to 10 P.M, providing continental breakfast, lunch and dinner with breaks for Salat and coffee. This schedule had the drawback of remembering the previous weeks material and deficiency of continuity.

2. Evening meetings. The course was conducted four evenings a week for three hours each. The meeting continued a couple of months until all the material was covered.

3. Seven days full-time. The original course was developed for this type of schedule meeting 9 A.M. to 10 P.M. with several breaks. However, for the expanded course as developed by the III&E, the time was not enough to cover the material nor enough time given for study.

4. Ten or eleven days full-time. This is the schedule that was followed July-August 2000 for conducting four program in Los Angeles CA, Houston TX, Monmouth Junction NJ and Leaf River IL. The classes were scheduled from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. daily with appropriate breaks.

Schedules (1) and (2) are suitable where teachers and students live in the same city and its vicinity where commuting is not a major problem. For those who are coming out of town this schedule is not feasible. In addition, this suffers from low attendance, maintaining motivation over a period of weeks, private and family business interference; as a result a large drop out rate has been observed. Schedules (3) and (4) suffer the disadvantage of requiring time taken from job, business or school, which only highly motivated and dedicated people would be willing to do.

Suggested Schedule

A new schedule is suggested that removes disadvantages of both of the pervious experiences while keeping the best of them. This is an Eighteen Day program. According to this schedule classes will meet twelve days during the weekdays (Monday – Friday) from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. and from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. over the weekend (Saturdays and Sundays) with necessary breaks. During this period there will be three weekends (six full-time days) and twelve evenings. The program will open on a Thursday and will continue through the third weekend and concludes on the third Sunday with a graduation ceremony.

The Fee

After conducting several programs with and without fee the III&E has learned some lessons. When this course is done free, the dropout rate is high, motivation to study and pass the course is low, absence and tardy rates are very high. When offered free, people suffer from Motivation Deficiency Syndrome (MDS). Naturally, the treatment is to make people pay a reasonable fee according to their affordability and a set fee minimum for others. It has been observed that those who receive full scholarship also suffer from some degree of MDS.

Normal one-day professional workshop fee in North America is $175 to $250 and twice that for two or three day workshops, which do not include parking and meals. Considering all the factors a fee has been set at $250.00 per person. However, this fee and other details are negotiable with sponsoring organizations.

Sponsorship

Islamic organizations, Islamic centers and masajid are requested to sponsor the program, take responsibility of organizing, publicizing and recruiting trainees. The III&E will provide resource persons (faculty) and teaching material. As of January 2001, the III&E has organized eight training sessions in various parts of the country and has rich experience to share with those who may be interested in doing Allah's work in North America.

Sponsoring / Cooperating Organizations

In the past the III&E has received cooperation and/or sponsorship of many international, national and local Islamic organizations.

International Organizations

World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, International Council for Islamic Information (ICII) of Leicester, England. The III&E is an affiliate of both of these International organization who organize TTC in many countries.

National Organizations

Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) are among cooperating organizations. The III&E is seeking the support of Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA), Al-Qur'an was-Sunnah Society of North America (QSSNA), Imam Warith Deen Muhammad's Ministry and other national groups and organizations who are interested in this work.

Local and Regional Organizations

The III&E had the support of Muslim Community Center (MCC) of Chicago, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Islamic Society of Orange County (ISOG), Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) and her North Zone Center and Islamic Society of Central Jersey (ISCJ).

Contact

Interested parties should contact the III&E by phone [773-777-7443], Fax [773-777 7199] or Email light@iiie.net and address your correspondence to Dr. M. Amir Ali, Managing Director. For more details about the III&E, visit their page www.iiie.net.

An Appeal

If you like what the III&E has to offer, you may do one or all of the following:

(1) Spread the word around by forwarding this proposal to all those on your Email list; print this message and distribute and/or post it on your Islamic center or mosque bulletin board.

(2) Send your tax-deductible donation (sadaqah and zakat) in the name of III&E and mail it to the III&E, P.O. Box 41129, Chicago, IL 60641-0129.

(3) Become a regular supporter by signing the monthly automatic donation deduction form. Request this form from the III&E or print it from the web site. Typically any amount from $10 to $100 per month is suggested. This is increasingly becoming the main source of support. The III&E is not fully sponsored or supported by international, national, regional or local organizations but by the people like you. You may persuade your friends and relative to join you in this noble effort.

(4) Organize a Da'wah seminar and fund raising event for the III&E. The III&E will help you in this area.

http://www.iiie.net/Brochures/Brochure-M03.html

The Challenge Of Daw'ah

In our age the challenges in conveying the message of Islam to non-Muslims are complex. On one hand we face a great deal of misinformation about Islam and Muslims in media, school and college text books and reference material in libraries. In addition, adversaries of Islam and Muslims and making serious efforts to defame Muslims and dis-inform people about Islam and Muslims for political, military and economic motives related to the Middle East situation and world politics. On the other hand there has been an information vacuum with regards to the correct knowledge of Islam in the West, in general and in North America in particular. When Muslims were few in the West, the situation could not be rectified by them. During the last two or three decades the Muslim population has increased many fold to the extent that Muslims have become the second largest religious group in the U.S. and in many other countries of the West. Therefore, it is a challenge to the Muslims to live up to their responsibility to fill the vacuum of correct knowledge about Islam and Muslims in the West and remove misinformation and combat disinformation.

Why Da'wah In North America

There are several solid reasons for Muslims to convey the message of Islam to the North American people.

1. It is a duty assigned by Allah

In the Qur'an Allah has placed the responsibility on the Muslim Ummah to convey the message of Islam to mankind. Allah (SWT) says in Surah Al-Baqarah:

"Thus We have appointed you a model community (ummah), that you may be witnesses against mankind, and that the Messenger may be a witness against you". Al-Qur'an 2:143

We find numerous verses in the Qur'an on the same topic. Here witnessing means to convey the message of Islam, i.e. to call people towards Allah (da'aa ilallah as in the Qur'an 41:33). Prophet Muhammad (S) completed his assignment in his life time by conveying the message to the entire Arabian Peninsula and sending letters to the heads of surrounding countries. In his Khutba of his farewell hajj he passed on the responsibility to every Muslim when he said,

"Those who are present should convey (my message) to those who are not." (Bukhari)

He did not allow us to wait until we are a perfect Islamic society before we begin to convey the message. Prophet Muhammad (S) did not wait until a few converts grew up to develop an Islamic society nor he did want us to wait. He said as given in Bukhari,

"Convey for me (to the people) even it be single ayah (verse)".

No one as an individual or as a community can delay until perfection is achieved; as soon as you have some knowledge of Islam you have a duty to convey it to those unfortunate people who know little or nothing about Islam and invite them to it.

The emphasis is on the transmission of the message of Islam to other human beings. We, the Muslims are not responsible to convert people by force or coercion, as Allah (SWT) has clearly forbidden such tactics (Qur'an 2:256). All human beings on earth have God given freedom to submit to Him (God Alone) or submit to taghut (non-God anything).

2. Preservation vs propagation of Islam

Millions of Muslims from all over the world have migrated to North America and many North Americans have accepted Islam. Many are busy developing Muslim communities at local levels. The major problem of Muslims in North America is to PRESERVE Islam in their future generations. The melting pot effect of the American society does not allow isolation of a unique community like Muslims to preserve their identity of religion and culture. The net effect is the loss of their young to the melting pot culture. The only way of preserving the identity of Islam and Muslim culture are, (a) to increase the size of the community through propagation or/and immigration until it is large enough to preserve itself, and (b) to develop Muslim neighborhoods and Muslim enclaves with all the necessary facilities for survival. It is apparent that PROPAGATION of Islam is the best way to increase the size of the community. This is the way of Prophet Muhammad (S).

3. Resource development

Development of the Muslim community and its propagation needs human and material resources. Initially, Muslims in America would have to contribute a large share of resources and bring some from Muslim countries, whenever possible. As Americans, particularly the middle class, begin to enter in the fold of Islam they will bring their own material resources and skills with them. Prophet Muhammad (S) has reportedly (Bukhari) said that among the new Muslims those who excelled (in human qualities) during the period of ignorance (jahiliyah) excel in Islam after learning Islam. It simply means that the propagation of Islam will become a self catalyzing process after some input of energy, money and skills. It cannot happen until we make an organized beginning with definite goals and keep pushing until it takes over by itself and moves on.

4. Moral and spiritual healing

Muslims are moral and spiritual physicians and in this capacity they have the responsibility of diagnosing the patients and treating them. Muslims are in the forefront of claiming that Islam has the treatment for the ills of America, however, they lack the skills and courage to present the Islamic medicine to the American society. Is it possible that a medical doctor sits among many crying and moaning patients and not offer medicine to them? Similarly, Muslims, moral and spiritual doctors are living in a sick society; they know they have medicine but do not offer it to the sick. This is either hypocrisy or a false claim. Muslims have a duty to themselves not to acquire American social, moral and spiritual diseases and they have a duty to offer the treatment of Islam to the sick.

The Islamic injunction against alcohol and intoxicants will cure Western society of liquor and drug addiction. Islam removes the demand as well as the supply of drugs of abuse; it is a balanced approach. The Islamic system of infaq, zakah and prohibition of riba (interest) will bring social justice and equity in material terms. The prohibition of fornication and adultery will remove the problems of high divorce rate, single parents and juvenile crimes. Equality of races and equality of opportunity will bring harmony among all people and prosperity to all equally. The concept of accountability to Allah Who is All Seeing, All Powerful, All Knowing, All Hearing and Just will reduce the crime rate to a low manageable level bringing peace and security for all. And so on.

5. Benefits to Muslims living in North America

Muslims living in North America know the problems they are facing in their daily lives as Muslims. Islamic holidays of Eidain (two celebrations) are not recognized and it is difficult for them to take time off for Eid prayers or even Jum'ah prayer. Due to the bad perception of Islam and Muslims in this continent, many Muslims shy away from identifying themselves as Muslims. This is, in part, a problem of personal conviction and courage, and, in part, negligible minority perception. If there are many Muslims in an organization they will support each other and will be recognized. In schools our children are sometimes ridiculed for being Muslims and they do not get special privileges for Friday prayers, food and clothing requirements for gymnasium and swimming. If there are many Americans Muslims, even as a significant minority they will bring recognition of Muslim needs at the city, county, state and national levels.

6. Benefits to Muslim Countries

Islamic revivalists in many Muslim countries are trying to establish the Islamic way of life or khilafa but they are failing due to, (a) rampant sickness and corruption, (b) lack of understanding of Islam and its requirements by the Muslim masses, (c) secular minded oppressive rulers as kings, emirs and dictators supported by the anti-Islam West including Americans, (d) the ever present hand of the Western intelligence, particularly the CIA which employs every dirty trick in its book to crush the rise of Islam under the guise of anti-fundamentalism. If Islam spreads in America and many more people understand Islam properly, there will be many Muslim senators, congressmen, journalists, businessmen, diplomats, bureaucrats and others in addition to those sympathetic to Islam, at all levels to protect the interests of Islam and Muslims. They would not allow the CIA or similar such organizations to operate in Muslim countries in an adverse manner. A few examples are the State of Israel and European countries where the CIA and similar organizations do not interfere in internal matters and allow those countries to be run as their inhabitants would like. In case of Muslim countries the CIA is involved up to its neck in conspiring against Islamic systems and the revival of Islam. The spread of Islam in the West would have a positive psychological impact on West-imitating Muslim masses in Muslim countries.

7. Tazkiah or purification of Muslims

Prophet Muhammad (S) is a role model for Muslims and Muslims in turn are required to be role models for the rest of the mankind. Muslims will realize this important duty to become role models for other people only when they begin to present Islam to others. Muslims will have to learn Islam before presenting it which will have the positive effect of purifying them. Purification (moral and spiritual) is the process of success, i.e. going to paradise as Allah (SWT) has said,

"He indeed shall be successful who purifies himself" (Al-Qur'an 87:14)

It works the way teaching works; when a new teacher begins to teach he learns himself first and he becomes more learned the more he teaches.

The Term "Dawa'h"

According to many scholars in this field the term DA'WAH applies to conveying the message of Islam to non-Muslims and inviting them to Allah. Non-practicing and lost Muslims need to be reeducated and motivated to become better Muslims; they already know Allah (SWT) and have been given the concept of TAWHEED.

The working definition of DA'WAH for the Institute (III&E) includes the following functions: (a) conveying the message of Islam to non-Muslims and inviting them to Allah, (b) making efforts to remove misinformation about Islam and Muslims from text books, reference material and media, (c) making efforts for the integration of new Muslims into the Muslim community, and (d) to develop material resources, recruit manpower (volunteer) and provide training for da'wah workers.

An Appeal To Islamic Organizations

Knowing the importance of da'wah to the non-Muslim American people, it is a duty of every Muslim and Islamic organizations to spend a significant proportion of their budget, manpower and time on da'wah. It is suggested that Islamic organizations spend 30 to 50 percent of their budget and manpower on propagation of Islam in their city and state. Individual Muslims should spend 5 to 10 percent of their disposable income and 50% of their zakah on da'wah through the fund for talif al-quloob.

The Institute

The Institute of Islamic Information & Education (III&E) was established in 1985 with the comprehensive project of conveying the message of Islam to everyone in North America. You are invited to give your helping hand to this project by giving your time, talent and money. III&E is a non-profit religious institution and all your donations are TAX EXEMPT (as allowed by IRS under certain income limits). It is suggested that you give one percent (1%) of your annual income to the Institute. You may give all your ZAKAT money to the Institute. III&E uses one hundred percent of its funds for da'wah work.

III&E publishes brochures and tracts for non-Muslims as well as Muslims. In addition, III&E has an Islamic Reading Room in Chicago where it holds classes on Islam for new Muslims and non-Muslims. III&E gives out free books and tapes to needy persons and participates in da'wah work in the prison system. III&E personnel give lectures and talks on Islam and Muslims in schools and churches on request. You may request one set of brochures and tracts by mailing a five dollar check or money order to the Institute. You may request Islamic literature in bulk quantities for distribution. Write to III&E, call or send a fax.

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MIM: This article on the III&E website exhorts "Muslims to stand up and be strong men and women!" and categorically states that "They (Westerners) will never truly approve of us, and never truly accept us. "Neither the Jews nor Christians will be satisfied until you follow their religion .So don't apologize. Especially if you are in a da'wah setting, don't be drawn into a discussion of Osama bin Laden or suicide bombers. Control the forum, direct the talk. Steer it into a discussion of the beauty and truth of Islam" The dialouges given are an example of the techniques used in Da'wa and show that what is presented as a discussion is in fact, a recitation of 'the party line' which is meant to wear down the listener with the message 'Islam is peace' despite all the indications to the contrary. http://www.iiie.net/Articles/MuslimsStandUp.html

Muslims Stand Up!

by Wael AbdelgawadZawaj.com

All praise is due to Allah, who has guided us to the religion of truth, and made us Muslims.

Fear and Terror

In the days since the World Trade Center attack, Muslims in the U.S. and around the world have fallen over one another in the rush to be the first to condemn the attack, and express sympathy for the victims. That's well and good. Such an act deserves condemnation, and as Muslims we should be compassionate by nature. We should love and respect all of Allah's creatures, and we should oppose evil in any guise.

The statements of many Islamic organizations and Muslim leaders, however, does not stop at condemnation but proceeds to apology and even shame. As the mad acts of retaliation against Muslims (and Sikhs, and Arab Christians) have begun, another emotion has been added to the mix: fear. Terror, even. Masjids in the U.S. have been abandoned, and stand empty during prayer time. A few scholars have exempted Muslim women in the West from wearing hijab in public, and told the men to shave their beards and not to wear distinctive Islamic clothing in public.

And so here we are. We have become a community of frightened sheep. An ummah of assimilationists, stripping ourselves of Islamic emblems and trying to "pass" as non-Muslims so that we will not be subjected to insults, the blows of fists, or yes, even bullets.

Stand Up!

Muslims, no matter what the disbelievers may do, this fear cannot continue. Muslims, stand up and be strong men and women! Be glad of our beautiful deen, which is the religion of Allah and the religion of truth.

Allah has said in the Holy Qur'an,

"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islám as your religion." (Qur'an 5:3)

And Allah says,

"And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My Signs for a small price; and fear Me, and Me alone." (Qur'an 2:41)

I do not wish to insult or hurt anyone. What I want is to encourage all of us in this difficult time to be strong, to remember our priorities as Muslims, and not to be afraid. Do not be discouraged. Let us hold our heads high and our shoulders straight. Let us be happy that Allah has blessed us with Islam. Let us fear Allah more than we fear the people.

A Time of Testing

Brothers and sisters, we've had it easy here in this comfortable environment of the U.S.A. and in the West. Al-Hamdulillah, we have formed our M.S.A.s, opened our Islamic centers and masjids, preached Islam, begun to develop Islamic institutions and begun to gain influence in this society. But we have become complacent and arrogant. We have become soft as kittens.

For years now I have heard some Muslims in the West proclaiming that they represent the new leadership of the Muslim ummah. They claim that the "old-world" Muslims of the East are mired in ancient conflicts and bogged down in cultural habits. This always struck me as presumptuous - the arrogance and ignorance of the young. Don't they know their history? Don't they know that these "old-world" Muslims have survived the khawarij, the crusades, the Huns, the Tatars, the black plague, the collapse of the Khilaafah, colonization, occupation, and the rule of dictators? They have been tested, and yet they have maintained their faith in the face of all opposition. Activists in the Muslim world have been arrested, imprisoned and even executed. And yet the "old-world" ummah continues to produce great Islamic thinkers, scholars and martyrs.

What tests have we suffered in the West? What persecution have we been subjected to? I have always believed that the growth of Islam in this country would be tested, and tested hard. That is Allah's way, and Allah's way does not change:

"If a wound has touched you, be sure a similar wound has touched the others. Such days (of varying fortunes) We give to men and men by turns: that Allah may know those that believe, and that He may take to Himself from your ranks Martyr-witnesses (to Truth). And Allah loves not those that do wrong." (Qur'an 3:140)

Read these verses and take heed! "that Allah may know those that believe..."

And Allah says,

"Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere." (Qur'an 2:155)

It is no longer a question of whether the test will come. It is here. Maybe it will get better, maybe it will get worse. Only Allah knows. The question is, how will we perform in this test? How will we respond?

Will we, at the first sign of trouble, close our masjids, shut our da'wah booths, cancel our Islamic events and hide like mice? Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa-billah. Our sisters in Turkey are imprisoned for wearing hijab. Our brothers in Uzbekistan are arrested and tortured for going to the masjid. Our Imams in China are executed for teaching Qur'an. Still they persevere, because to do otherwise would be to abandon their obligations to Allah and to themselves, and to let Islam die like withered fruit on the vine. To do otherwise would be to fear the people more than they fear Allah.

This is not an issue of hijabs or beards. If a Muslim sister has no other options – if she cannot be escorted, or move to a safer place - and her life or safety is in danger, then take off the hijab and be safe. No one wants to see Muslim people being killed or injured.

But as I said, it is not at heart an issue of hijabs and beards. The central issue, rather, is one of steadfastness in Allah's cause. Will we be run in fear at the first sign of danger, or will we stand up tall and strong as Muslims? Will we seek solutions to guarantee our safety, or will we simply hide? Will we reach out to the non-Muslims to educate them, or will we change our colors like chameleons and pretend to be non-Muslims? Maybe this climate of hostility will pass, or maybe not. How will we respond? What kind of people will we be?

An Opportunity

Muslims, stand up! Stop cowering. This is not the time to hide. This is the time to reach out to our non-Muslim neighbors and co-workers, not to apologize, but to educate and enlighten them about Islam. This is the time to organize multi-faith events. This is the time to write to the newspapers and magazines. Organize a donation drive for the families of the New York victims, many of whom were Muslim, by the way. Bake some cookies for the neighbors. Send a thoughtful memo at work. This is the time to open our da'wah booths, and if a few people hurl insults at us, then so be it, and if in some rare instances they attack us, then so be it. Let the strongest of us assume the most difficult positions. We defend ourselves as best we can and we deal with it. This is what it is to work for Islam. This is what it is to persevere.

Do we know that this is an opportunity in so many ways?

It is an opportunity to grow as Muslims, because when Allah wants his servants to become better, stronger and wiser believers, He tests them. There is no other way to grow. Spiritual struggle is a gift from Allah to the persevering Muslim.

It is an opportunity to engage the non-Muslims and educate them about Islam. I have seen many news stories in the last week attempting to explain to the public what Islam really is. Muslim leaders are in demand by the press. I myself was interviewed recently by the San Jose Mercury News. Even if it stems from anger and misunderstanding, the fact is that Americans suddenly want to know what Islam is, and what it wants from them. Use this opportunity to reach out to them and teach them. But we cannot do that if we are passing, dissimulating, and doing everything we can to avoid being identified as Muslims.

Don't Apologize

Dr. Harold Bursztajn is co-director of the program in psychiatry and the law at Harvard Medical School. He has profiled terrorists and often testifies as an expert witness in mass-murder trials. He recently gave an interview to abcnews.com in which he says the only way to spot anyone affiliated with the hijackers is to "beware of those who celebrate the mass murderers and those who apologize for them," perhaps indicating some sense of guilt by association.

Beware! You may think you are doing something good by apologizing, but the disbelievers will presume that you are guilty.

I make this statement once because it needs to be said only once:

We have done nothing wrong. We have nothing to apologize for. We have nothing to be ashamed of.

The World Trade Center was not attacked by Islam, it was attacked by individuals. Their religious persuasion is irrelevant. Does Christianity apologize for Timothy McVeigh? Does Christianity apologize for the Reverend Jim Jones, the KKK, Nazism, colonialism, or slavery? Christianity does not apologize for these atrocities because Christianity did not commit them, individuals committed them.

  • Don't apologize for the Taliban, because the Taliban have nothing to do with our practice of Islam in the West (see "Stop Defending" below).
  • Don't apologize for "Islamic fundamentalism," because there's nothing wrong with practicing the fundamental tenets of Islam.
  • Don't apologize for the Palestinians, because the Palestinians are our brothers and sisters who we love and who have been horribly oppressed.
  • Don't apologize for Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Libya. In every case what was done to these nations by the West is far out of proportion to any wrongs they may have committed.

This need to apologize stems from a deep inferiority complex which binds many Muslims. Most of the Muslim world was colonized by the West after the collapse of the Khilaafah, and many Muslims still harbor the inferiority complexes that are typical of colonized peoples. The hallmarks of that inferiority complex are shame of one's own religious background, despite for one's co-religionists, and pure admiration of the colonizer. The inferiority complex expresses itself in a pleading tone of voice: "See Mr. Westerner, I'm not a bad, religious Muslim like those people, I'm a good, westernized Muslim! I'm not a crazy fundamentalist, I'm a secularist like you. Pleaaaase, Mr. Westerner, approve of me..."

They will never truly approve of us, nor will they ever fully accept us. As Allah says,

"Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with you unless you follow their form of religion. Say: "The Guidance of Allah,- that is the (only) Guidance." Were you to follow their desires after the knowledge which has reached you, then wouldst you find neither protector nor helper against Allah." (Qur'an 2:120)

However, if we present an image of strength and confidence, and if we express the truth of Islam in our actions, I guarantee that even if they do not approve of us, they will respect us.

So don't apologize. Especially if you are in a da'wah setting, don't be drawn into a discussion of Osama bin Laden or suicide bombers. Control the forum, direct the talk. Steer it into a discussion of the beauty and truth of Islam:

"Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knows best, who has strayed from His Path, and who receives guidance." (Qur'an 16:125)

Control the Forum

Stop defending Islam, as if Islam is a criminal and needs a defense attorney. I realize that those who are doing this have the best of intentions, but when we continually defend a thing, people come to believe that it is culpable. When we constantly proclaim our innocence, people begin to suspect our guilt. Instead of defending Islam, promote it. Discuss the beauty of Islam, its power, and its truth. Be positive, not negative. Be self-assured, not defensive. Don't allow yourself to be drawn into protracted discussions about Osama bin Laden, or the Taliban, because these issues are irrelevant to our da'wah and our practice of Islam in the U.S..

For example, let's suppose you are staffing an Islamic booth in the free speech area at your university, or maybe you are taking a break in the lounge at your workplace. Someone comes up to you and says,

"Why do you Muslims support terrorism?"

You don't respond with denials and apologies. You bypass all of that and you say,

"Islam is a religion of peace. Everything in Islam centers around submission to God. We practice brotherhood and sisterhood, and we work on our spirituality. We believe Islam is the true religion. It promotes justice and equality for human beings everywhere."

Do you see how this statement is positive rather than negative? It is an expression of strength, not weakness.

If the person allows you to continue, you might go on to give examples of the brotherhood you have experienced in Islam, or of what Islam has done for you personally. You could talk about Salat or Sawm or Hajj, or any of the beautiful aspects of Islam.

But let's suppose the person is persistent, and he won't let the subject go. He interrupts you and says,

"What about the World Trade Center then? If you believe in peace, then why did you kill all those people?"

You say,

"Why did you bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City?"

He says,

"I didn't do that! Timothy McVeigh did it, everyone knows that."

You say,

"But he was a Christian."

He says,

"So what, that doesn't mean anything."

You say,

"Right. Just like it doesn't mean anything that the individuals who attacked the WTC might have been Muslims. It has nothing to do with the ten million Muslims who live in this country, or the billion Muslims who live around the world. This is what Islam is about..."

And then you elaborate on any Islamic subject that you like, such as the Oneness of Allah, the Prophet Muhammad, Salat, brotherhood, or Zakat.

In doing this, you are not avoiding the topic of terrorism or the Taliban or whatever, you are simply making it irrelevant to your presentation of Islam, and thereby severing the mental link between terrorism and Islam. Your da'wah booth is not a forum for a discussion on terrorism. You are there to promote Islam, and one has nothing to do with the other.

Fear Allah, not the People

It's time to come out of our houses. Fill the masjids. Invite our non-Muslim friends to Islamic events. Stop hiding. When we hide, two things happen:

1. People begin to think we have something to hide. After all, we must have done something and we feel guilty, or we wouldn't be hiding, right?

2. Bad people, those who would harm us, see it is a confirmation of our weakness, and this gives them a green light to oppress and intimidate us.

Fear Allah, not the people. The Messsenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Be mindful of Allah, you will find Him before you. Get to know Allah in prosperity and He will know you in adversity. Know that what has passed you by was not going to befall you; and that what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship." (related by Tirmidhi)

Fear Allah, not the people, because we will get only what Allah has prescribed for us and nothing more. Stand up! Be strong and morally upright. "Say: 'I believe in Allah', and thereafter be upright." (related by Muslim).

I am not saying we Muslims should not take precautions. We should have twenty-four-hour security at masjids, Islamic centers and Islamic events. Muslims should not travel alone. Sisters in hijab should be escorted whenever possible. M.S.A.s should form an escort hot line for the Muslim female students. Set up a phone tree in your community. Lock your doors, buy a cell phone, be aware of your surroundings and don't go out at night. If you are harassed, report it to [CAIR] (your local community) and to the police, and to your employer if it happens at work. Yes, we should continue with our lives and take precautions. This is a sign of strength and determination, while hiding in the house or trying to conceal one's Islamic identity is a sign of weakness and spinelessness.

Lastly, do not forget to always make du'aa to Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala. This is the most important security precaution of all. Ask Allah to keep you and your family safe, and to protect all Muslims all over the world.

Present the Beauty of Islam

The apologists and defenders expend all of their energy proclaiming what Islam is not, while never bothering to explain what Islam is.

I don't think I need to elaborate too much in this section, because we all know what is beautiful, powerful and wonderful about Islam. Present these aspects of Islam in your talks with the non-Muslims. Talk about such issues as:

  • The importance of worshipping Allah alone.
  • The forgiveness which Allah offers to all his servants.
  • Honoring all the Prophets, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).
  • The noble character of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
  • The incredible changes that Islam brought to the jahiliyy Arabs.
  • The miraculous nature and beauty of the Holy Qur'an.
  • Islam's golden history and its influence upon the modern world.
  • Brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam.
  • Islam's emphasis on justice, fairness and racial equality.
  • The importance of mercy and forgiveness in Islam.
  • Sincerity in Islam.
  • The significance of prayer, fasting, Zakat and Hajj.
  • Your personal experience with Islam and what it has done for you.

Let these issues define Islam in the minds of your listeners. Remember, don't apologize or defend. Rather, control the forum and present a beautiful picture of Islam.

And may Allah guide us to the best of deeds at all times.

Ameen.

E-mail your comments to light@iiie.net

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MIM: List of ISNA's board of directors in 2005 includes former vice president Siraj Wahaj as a 'member at large' and Basman Osman, who is listed as a chairman of NAIT. The head of the Council of Islamic Organisations of Greater Chicago, Kareem Irfan, is an ISNA chapter president. Kareem Irfan has openly admitted to contributing money to the Benevolence International Foundation, whose founder, Ernaam Arnaout, was jailed for terrorism fundraising which included ties to dirty bomber Jose Padilla in Florida, and Adhan Hassoun, who is being tried on terrorism charges. BIF was closed down for funding Al Qaeda. For more on Kareem Irfan and the CIOGC's terrorism ties see: http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/177

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http://www.isna.net/majlis/default.asp

Sheikh Muhammed Nur Abdullah
ISNA President

Ingrid Mattson
Vice President - US
Syed Imtiaz Ahmad
Vice President - Canada

ISNA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL 2004 - 2005

Muhammad Nur Abdullah, President
Ingrid Mattson, Vice President – US
Syed Imtiaz Ahmad, Vice President – Canada
Mohamed Magid Ali, East Zone Rep – US
Azhar Azeez, Central Zone Rep – US
Mohamad Rajabally, West Zone Rep – US
Syed Afaq Moin, East Zone Rep – Canada
Hatim Zaghloul, West Zone Rep – Canada
Muzammil Siddiqi, Past President

ISNA BOARD OF DIRECTORS (Majlis Ash-Shura) 2004 - 2005

Mohammad Nur Abdullah, President
Ingrid Mattson, Vice President – US
Syed Imtiaz Ahmad, Vice President – Canada
Faizul Khan, Chapter President
Faroque A. Khan, Chapter President
Sayed Gomah, Chapter President
Kareem Irfan, Chapter President
Jamal Badawi, Member at large
Khadija Haffajee, Member at large
Abdalla Idris Ali, Member at large
Siraj Wahhaj, Member at large
Muzammil Siddiqi, Member at large
Ameena Jandali, Member at large
Dr. Yusuf Ziya Kavakci, Member at large
Hadia Mubarak, President, Muslim Students Association
Bassam Osman, Chairman, North American Islamic Trust
Khurshid A. Qureshi, President, Association of Muslim Scientists & Engineers
Rafik Beekun, President, Association of Muslim Social Scientists
Parvaiz Malik, President, Islamic Medical Association of North America
M. Anwarul Haque, Chairman, Canadian Islamic Trust
Omar J. Siddiqui , Chairperson, Muslim Youth of North America
Qaiser Imam, Chairperson, Council of Islamic Schools of North America
Ilyas Ba-Yunus, Chairperson, Islamic Media Foundation

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