Militant Islam Monitor > Weblog > Jim Towey -Deputy Assistant to the President & Director of the Office of Faith -Based Initiatives spoke at radical Islamist conference in 2002
Jim Towey -Deputy Assistant to the President & Director of the Office of Faith -Based Initiatives spoke at radical Islamist conference in 2002
March 18, 2005
MIM: Jim Towey, the Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, spoke at a radical Isamist ISNA conference in 2002 and provided the group with funding which was used to further the propagation of Wahhabist Islam and teach Muslims how to write grant requests to milk the US government for money . The Islamic Society of North America reportedly received $50,000 in 2003 as reported by Accuracy in Media, and Dr.Daniel Pipes who wrote that:
"Mohamed El-sanousi, director of community outreach and communications for ISNA, told Gossett his organization received grants in 2003 and 2004 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services. The money did not save anyone from substance abuse or improve mental health, however. Instead, it went to teach other members of the Wahhabi lobby how to milk the government: "We used the grants to train Muslim community leaders in how to apply for grants to do social services," El-sanousi explained…" http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/425
MIM: The groups communications director was invited by Towey to participate in a 'follow up' "White House Leadership Conference" to partake of more of the 2 billion dollars earmarked for faith based initiatives.
The travesty of having a Muslim group which is under investigation by the Senate Finance committee for terrorism funding invited to the White House prompted the director of MIM, and William Mayer, the editor of Pipeline News, to issue a press release calling upon the White House to disinvite the Islamic Society of North America's 'director of communications' Mohammed El Sanoussi .
MIM stated that:
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. http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/459
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..."(see letter below and complete list of organisations under investigation below)
MIM: The 'mini headline' announcement on the ISNA website about the conference :
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.
MIM: In 2004 Towey (and by extension the White House) asked ISNA to "provide the names of particpants from the Muslim Community who would benefit from this conference".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'.
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 [email protected] 317-839-8157 ext 228.
MIM :William Mayer editor of Pipeline News noted in his press release that "calls to Jim Towey's office were not returned". It now appears that one of the reasons could be due to a "conflict of interests" regarding Mr.Jim Towey's aiding radical Islamists groups in obtaining government funding, which is evidenced by his speaking at an ISNA conference on a panel aptly entitled : "Faith Based Funding - Friend or Foe ?" (!)
In 2002 Jim Towey was himself a speaker at the Islamic Society of North America's Convention which was attended by scores of radical Islamic organizations and their representatives . Many of the groups at the conference are under investigation for terrorism funding .(see list below) . Among the featured speakers at the conference was Yusuf Islam, who was deported from the United States in 2004 due to terrorism funding and security concerns.
Friday, August 30, 2002 ... ISNA's Alliance for Peace and Justice Banquet is to celebrate friendship and articulate common goals and grounds. (By invitation only). ... Jim Towey. ... www.isna.net/convention/program/friday.htm - 25k - Supplemental Result - Cached - Similar pages
MIM: Ironically the title of the panel which included Towey was :"Faith based intiative: Friend or Foe?" The question appears to be rhetorical as can be seen in the person of Abdulwahab Alkabesi the moderator, who was the former deputy director of the AMC -American Muslim Committee, whose director Abdulrahman Alamoudi was jailed for 23 years on terrorism charges and a list of crimes which included the assassination of Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
MIM: Perhaps the reason that the ISNA is enjoying such a cosy relationship with the White House has to do with the fact that the 2002 convention was also seen as a recruiting grounds for Arabic and Farsi speakers. Former director Robert Mueller described the response as "extraordinary". Interested Muslims declared their interest in being translators with the added caveat "as long as they're not asking people to infiltrate their own communities".
This condition brings to mind the case of FBI special agent Gamal Abdel Hafiz , who refused to listen in on conversations in a mosque saying "a Muslim does not record another Muslim ". When co workers protested his stance, they got nowhere and went public. The result was they were disciplined and Hafiz received a plum posting in Saudi Arabia. He was investigated and subsequently reinstated despite indications of numerous illegal activities. After he returned to work he issued an ominous warning to what were "..presumably his new FBI colleagues: Some people will [be welcoming] and some people won't. And the people who won't, I will not have any mercy on them. I will have no mercy on anyone who will try to cross me again." http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1038
For more on this see: The Saga of Special Agent Gamal Abdel - Hafiz by Dr.Daniel Pipes
"...The Saga of FBI Special Agent Gamal Abdel-Hafiz.I wrote nearly a year ago about FBI Special Agent Gamal Abdel-Hafiz, documenting how he "could have a key role helping America's premier anti-terrorist force protect the United States from harm. But evidence from high-profile terrorism cases suggests that Abdel-Hafiz, an immigrant Muslim, twice refused on principle to tape-record his coreligionists, harming the investigations." The most notable piece of evidence was his statement, "A Muslim does not record another Muslim..."http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/163
http://www.altmuslim.com/news.php?id=C30_29_26 Wanted by the FBI -for a job that is One of the more unusual sights that greeted attendees at this year's ISNA convention in Washington, DC was the presence of the FBI, gathered just outside the main entrance of the nation's largest Muslim convention. No, they weren't shutting down another charity or rounding up the usual suspects. They were there to look for a few good men & women to recruit. Less than a week after September 11, FBI director Robert Mueller issued an appeal for Arabic and Farsi speakers. The response was "extraordinary", Mr Mueller recently testified. FBI hotlines shut down under the sheer weight of calls. The good news is that Muslim leaders, and many of the 30,000 convention delegates, were delighted that the FBI asked to attend the convention for the first time in the event's 39-year history. The bad news is that many delegates, especially young Muslims, expressed suspicion that the FBI wanted them only because it needed insiders to spy on other Muslims. "If they're looking for translators, then definitely," remarked one 20-something Muslim. "But as long as they're not asking people to infiltrate their own communities
MIM: The website spiritual Atlanta criticises Towey and Grover Norquist's 'best friend; Karl Rove, (who has since appointed as President Bush's chief political advisor and steward of his domestic policy) with trying to use the faith based initiatives to get black Americans to vote for Bush .
"...Orchestrating the show were the two men most responsible for keeping the money flowing: Jim Towey, director of Bush's Faith-based and Community Initiatives, and chief White House strategist Karl Rove, who makes sure faith-based grants and contracts are manipulated for maximum political effect – more Tom for the buck, so to speak..." http://www.spiritualatlanta.com/articles/bribes_p.htm
MIM:The ISNA panel on Faith Based initiative was designed to help "educate the Muslim community on the advantages and disadvantages of the faith based initiative". One can only hope that the 'disadvantages of faith based initiatives' will soon be experienced by Jim Towey, whose up close and personal relationship with radical Islamists such as those at the ISNA conference, and subsequent request that ISNA 'to provide a list of other organisations and individuals who could benefit from the funding' will be investigated by the same Senate Finance Committee which is investigating the Wahhabist groups which he is aiding and abetting with government money.
MIM:Towey's success in " Educating the Muslim American community on the advantages and disadvantages of the faith-based initiative, and get the Muslim American voice heard on this important policy issues" appears to have been quite sucessful, as can be seen from ISNA's second consecutive visit to the White House Conference on Faith Based Initiatives which took place last month and resulted in funding for ISNA to the tune of $50,000 in 2003 according to a report published in AIM - Accuracy in Media. http://www.aim.org/aim_column/2778_0_3_0_C/
It transpired that the Muslim community found that this was a fine way to use government funding to teach other Muslims how to milk the government for funding to aid the spread of Wahhabism .
Dr.Daniel Pipes in a recent blog where he cited a report by Sherrie Gossett who revealed that ISNA had received $50,000 dollars from the White House :
"…In a startling article today, "Federal Money Goes to Controversial Muslim Group," Sherrie Gossett reveals for Accuracy in Media that the Bush administration has sent $50,000 to the Islamic Society of North America, a leading organization in the Wahhabi lobby's American division.
Mohamed El-sanousi, director of community outreach and communications for ISNA, told Gossett his organization received grants in 2003 and 2004 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services. The money did not save anyone from substance abuse or improve mental health, however. Instead, it went to teach other members of the Wahhabi lobby how to milk the government: "We used the grants to train Muslim community leaders in how to apply for grants to do social services," El-sanousi explained…." http://www.danielpipes.org/
This is the press release put out by William Meyer editor of Pipeline News and the director of Militant Monitor which urged the White House to disinvite ISNA:
To: National Desk
Contact: William A. Mayer of PipeLineNews, 925-689-9492
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ --
The following was released today by William A. Mayer and Beila Rabinowitz of PipeLineNews:
Radical Muslim Group to Participate in White House Conference
By William A. Mayer & Beila Rabinowitz - PipeLineNews
Washington DC - PipeLineNews - Demonstrating the administration's sometimes spotty ability to coordinate America's war on terror -- on a government-wide basis -- the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives has invited a representative from the radical Islamist organization ISNA -- Islamic Society of North America -- to participate in a "White House Leadership conference" scheduled March 1, 2005.
The conference is a follow-up to one held the previous year where the group was encouraged to submit names of groups which "would benefit from the conference and the funding for faith based initiatives."
ISNA should not be an unknown quantity in official Washington. It appears as one of 25 Islamist organizations whose corporate tax returns were requested by Senator Grassley's Finance Committee in 2003. Also listed among those organizations is the Holy Land Foundation which was been shut down by the Department of Justice because of its direct funding of terrorism.
ISNA's radical bent is well documented, its past president, Muzamil Siddiqi supports Hamas and has made statements threatening the United States because of its support for Israel.
ISNA's former VP is Siraj Wahhaj. On February 2, 1995 Wahhaj was referred to -- by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White -- as one of the "unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators" in a 1993 plot to bomb New York City landmarks, hatched by Omar Abdel Rahman, the 'Blind Sheik' who was sentenced to life in prison.
ISNA operates hundreds of US Mosques through an "arm's length distance" relationship with the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and as such seems instrumental in channeling Saudi Wahhabist money into the country. Non-Wahhabi American Muslims estimate that fully 80 percent of US Mosques have fallen under the dominion of the Wahhabi sect.
ISNA should be considered an umbrella organization, a clearinghouse of sorts, which facilitates relationships between Islamists. ISNA is also closely allied with the Muslim Student Association, another of the groups listed on the Senate Finance Committee's IRS request.
Denoting possibly either a circling of the wagons mentality over this embarrassing breach in security, or a complete lack of concern, numerous calls to both the majority and minority sides of the Senate Finance Committee as well as Jim Towey's WH Office of Faith Based Programs have been unreturned.
President George W. Bush today announced that he has named Jim Towey to be Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Since 2002, he has served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
"Jim Towey is helping to empower the armies of compassion in America to solve some of our Nation's most pressing problems. He is a tireless servant for those in need, and I look forward to his continued counsel in a second term," stated President Bush.
Mr. Towey was a senior advisor to U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield and Florida Governor Lawton Chiles. In 1993, Governor Chiles appointed him Director of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. In 1985, Mr. Towey met Mother Teresa while visiting her home for the dying in Calcutta, India. He went on to serve as legal counsel to her for 12 years and in 1990 lived as a full-time volunteer in her home for people with AIDS in Washington, D.C. Mr. Towey received his bachelor's degree and J.D. from Florida State University. He and his wife Mary have five children.
MIM: According to this article Jim Towey attempted to rally Moonies to support the faith based initiative by "offering respectful opening remarks to Moon's Unification Church faithful."
Sept. 24, 2003 | Last December, at his three-day God and World Peace event, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon drew a notable slate of political figures, from Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., to Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., and, perhaps most notably, James Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, who offered some respectful opening remarks to Moon's Unification Church faithful. Moon followed, and called for all religions to come together in support of the Bush plan for faith-based initiatives.
MIM: President Bush addressed the White House Leadership Conference and had this to say about Jim Towey:
" I want to call attention to my friend, Jim Towey. Towey is in charge of the Faith-Based Office in the White House. His job is to answer your questions, to hold meetings such as this. His job is to answer my questions. (Laughter.) He did such a good job, he got a promotion in the White House. (Applause.) So that the man who works full-time to help others feed the hungry can feed his own five children. (Laughter.) Towey, by the way, interestingly enough -- he's probably tired of hearing me say this, but I find it an interesting comment about our society -- Jim Towey was Mother Teresa's lawyer. Think about that. (Laughter.) Maybe we're a little too litigious in America. (Laughter.)
Anyway, he did a heck of a job being a lawyer. And he's doing a fine job of judging faith-based groups by their results. And that's important for our society to do. We ought to judge faith-based groups by results, not by their religion. And that's part of the cultural change that we're working on here. (Applause.)... http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/03/20050301-4.html
MIM: Jim Towey recently hosted an "Ask the White House:" program which begs the question on how much money Wahhabists received for their 'faith based initiatives'
Jim Towey Hello to all of you. It is great to be back on "Ask the White House." I always find the questions unique and interesting and I'll do my best today to answer as many of them as I can (although I have been warned that a ton of questions have come in already). http://www.whitehouse.gov/ask/20050228.html
MIM: In the same year that he served as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Towey spoke at a conference whos guest list looked like a Who's Who directory of radical Islamist groups both in the US and the Middle East. Besides Towey the speakers included Yusuf Islam who was deported from the US last year for terrorism funding and was labelled a security risk. Another guest was Siraj Wahhaj an "unindicted alleged co- conspirator" in the 1993 World Trade Center Bombings. Towey was on a panel together with Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance. The interfaith Alliance is heavily funded by retired TV anchor Walter Cronkite who urges membership in the IA with these words "So, I ask you today to stand with The Interfaith Alliance to challenge the intolerant influence of the Religious Right in civic life." http://www.interfaithalliance.org/site/pp.asp?c=8dJIIWMCE&b=120695
Accomplishing Results: Cooperation and Conflict in Working Together
Room No. 10-12, Convention Center
Workshop: Skill Development
Achieving Success: Strategic Planning in Islamic Organizations
Speaker: Rafik Beekun
ISNA CONVENTION PROGRAM
Friday, August 30, 2002
Room: Hall B, Convention Center
Room: Hall A, Convention Center
Session 1: Inaugural Session
Special prayer (dua') for victims of 9-11
ISNA President: Muhammad Nur Abdullah
Association of Muslim Scientists & Engineers (AMSE) President: Elsayed A. Orady
Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) President: Louay Safi
Canadian Islamic Trust Foundation (CITF) Chairman: M. Anwarul Haque
Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) President: Shahid Athar
Muslim Students' Association (MSA) President: Altaf Husain
Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA) Chairperson: Hanaa Unus
North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) Chairman: Bassam Osman
American Muslim Alliance (AMA) Board Chairman: Agha Saeed
American Muslim Council (AMC) President: Yahya Basha
The Community Mosque National Jamaat: Imam Asim Abdur Rashid
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) President: Omar Ahmad
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) President: Zulfiqar Ali Shah
Muslim American Society (MAS) Leader: Warith Deen Mohammed
Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) President: Siraj Wahhaj
Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) President: Salam Al-Marayati
Muslim American Society (MAS) President: Suhail al Ganouchi
Convention Chair: Abdul Wahab
Program Chair: Syed Imtiaz Ahmad
Steering Committee Chair: Rizwan Jaka
National Council of Churches, Secretary General: Bob Edgar
Religion in American Life, President & CEO: Rabbi Robert Lennick
The National Conference for Community and Justice, President & CEO, Sanford Cloud, Jr.
National Council of Catholic Bishops,Secretariat for Ecumenical & Interreligious Affairs: John Borelli
Moderator: Sayyid M. Syeed, Secretary General
Room: Hall A, Convention Center
Session 2A: Why Muslims Declined
This session will review the development of Muslim civilization over the ages. It will examine the influence of Islam on pre-Islamic cultures. It will provide an overview of the encounter of Islam with other civilizations. It will look at the role that Muslims played in bringing vigor and vitality to societies and cultures, and how these developments may be linked to the European Renaissance. The session will also provide an understanding of the factors causing the decline of Islamic civilization, including such things as the social and cultural barriers, industrialization and modernization of societies, and aspects of cultural change, seeking answers to questions such as "What went wrong?" and "How do we put it right?"
Umar Faruq Abd-Allah
Murad W. Hofmann
Abd al Hakim Jackson
Moderator: Mohammed Shafique
Room No. 40, Convention Center
Session 2B: Personal Finances and Fiqh
This session will inform and educate regarding Islamic issues relating to money and finance.
Yusuf Talal Delorenzo
Muzammil H. Siddiqi
Moderator: Bassam Osman
Maghrib & Isha Prayers
ISNAAlliance for Peace and Justice Banquet
Room: Independence Ballroom, Grand Hyatt
Muslims in America are forging alliances with people of other faiths to fulfill their Islamic duty of promoting peace and justice. The Quran clearly commands Muslims to reach out and explore common grounds.
ISNA and its affiliates have been actively involved at different levels in building coalitions, understanding, peace and harmony. We are grateful to Allah for providing us friends, supporters, partners and allies with whom we are collectively advancing forward our common objective of peace and justice.
ISNA's Alliance for Peace and Justice Banquet is to celebrate friendship and articulate common goals and grounds. (By invitation only)
Room: Hall A, Convention Center
Session 3A: Faith as Foundation for Peace and Justice
Faith is derived from practices based on divine knowledge. For Islam, the primary sources of the divine knowledge are the verses of the Qur'an revealed to the Prophet Muhammad and his model of practices based on that divine knowledge. Faith in Islam is creative rather than redemptive. It shapes the personal lives as well as the collective affairs of the society. Islamic faith inspires one to be at peace and to seek peace. The fundamental values, of seeking truth and shaping one's actions with patience and perseverance, guide Muslims to bring peace and justice. Achieving peace remains the ultimate goal although at times peace-breaking conflicts may be unavoidable. Avoiding conflicts in seeking peace and justice is the essence of Islamic activism.
Murad W. Hofmann
Moderator: Syed Imtiaz Ahmad
Room No. 40, Convention Center
Session 3B: Faith-Based Initiative: Friend or Foe?
This session will educate the Muslim American community on the advantages and disadvantages of the faith-based initiative, and get the Muslim American voice heard on this important policy issue.
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 to avoid 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
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
Siraj Wahhaj Imam, Masjid al-Taqwa Brooklyn, New York E-mail: [email protected] 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.
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.
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.
Contemporary American Religion (Volume 1) edited by Wade Clark Roof, Published by Macmillan Publishers 2000, pp.334.
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.
MIM: ISNA is directly controlled by NAIT the North American Islamic Trust
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:
Fact Sheet: Compassion in Action: Producing Real Results for Americans Most in Need
Today's Presidential Action
Today, President Bush addressed the White House Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Leadership Conference, hailing the progress being made to help Americans most in need.
The President's Faith-Based and Community Initiative levels the playing field for some of America's most effective social service providers to compete for Federal funding to serve those most in need while retaining their religious identity. These charities are making a real difference in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.
The President's Initiative is Producing Real Results for Americans in Need. Recent data from a review of programs at the Departments of Heath and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice, Labor, Education, and Agriculture and the Agency for International Development showed:
To help Americans in need, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2004, $2 billion in competitive grants across seven Federal agencies were awarded to faith-based organizations - 10.3% of the total funding awarded through 151 programs and 17 program areas. This is up from last year when $1.17 billion was awarded in grants to faith-based groups across five agencies. In one year, HHS, HUD, Justice, Labor, and Education saw a 20% increase in the number of grants to faith-based organizations with 334 more grants awarded, and a 14% increase in the amount awarded to faith-based organizations - an increase of $164 million.
When given a level playing field, faith-based groups can compete successfully with other social service organizations. The number of first-time faith-based grantees across the same five Federal agencies was 331 in FY 2004 - representing a 20% increase from FY 2003.
Due to the President's leadership, more faith-based organizations are participating in the Federal grants process. HHS programs represented the majority of available funding included in the report. HHS saw an 88% increase in the number of awards to faith-based organizations since FY 2002 - from 483 to 908. Since FY 2002, first-time HHS grants to faith-based groups have more than doubled.
Expanding Individual Choice and Equal Treatment. The President is committed to providing individuals choice instead of shuffling them through programs where they do not recover or find jobs or housing. Under the President's direction, Federal agencies administering social services are working to identify programs that could be changed to expand individual choice, including in mentoring, housing counseling and transitional housing, after-school programs, and homeless services. President Bush is also working to ensure equal treatment for faith-based and community organizations at the state and local level where social services are funded with taxpayer dollars.
Pushing for Charitable Tax Incentives and Protection of Religious Hiring. The President has called on Congress to pass his proposals for tax incentives for charitable giving. President Bush has also called for action from Congress to extend the charitable choice provisions that prevent discrimination against faith-based organizations, protect the religious freedom of beneficiaries, and preserve religious hiring rights.
Background on the President's Compassion in Action
In communities across the United States, faith-based and community groups have a long history of assisting people in need. They continue to transform and change lives with their compassionate acts. President Bush believes local community groups can best serve Americans in need, and the Federal government should not discriminate against charitable groups of any kind in awarding Federal social service funds as long as all legal requirements are met.
As a result of the President's leadership, significant progress is being made, and the results are being seen in the lives of Americans across our country. The President's efforts to support compassion in action include:
Protecting the Religious Hiring Rights of Faith-Based Charities. For over 30 years, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has protected the right of faith-based organizations to make employment decisions based on religion. The President believes a faith-based organization should not have to give up a part of its religious identity and mission in order to receive Federal funds. President Bush has called for action from Congress to extend charitable choice provisions that prevent discrimination against faith-based organizations, protect the religious freedom of beneficiaries, and preserve religious hiring rights - provisions signed by President Clinton on four occasions. Due to the debate over protection of religious hiring, Congress has failed to reauthorize several Federal social service programs, hampering many needed reforms.
Ensuring Equal Treatment at the State and Local Level. Much progress has been made at the Federal level to ensure equal treatment of all applicants; however, the majority of Federally funded social services are administered by state and local governments. Federal agencies must ensure that state and local agencies are complying with the regulatory reforms that implement the President's Executive Order for Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-based and Community Organizations signed in December 2002 to guarantee equal treatment for faith-based and community groups. Today, 24 governors (14 Republicans and 10 Democrats) and over 115 mayors have established faith-based and community offices.
Tax Incentives Promoting Charitable Giving. Since 2001, the President has proposed tax incentives to promote charitable giving in each budget, and Congress has not passed this needed legislation that would benefit Americans most in need. The President renewed his commitment to promoting charitable giving in his FY 2006 budget, which includes food donation enhancements and provisions to permit individuals to direct a portion of their retirement accounts to a charity.
MIM: Jihad and radical Islam under the guise of faith based initiatives.
MIM: A textbook example of where the funding from the faith based intitiatives would go would be this 'Islamic Social Services Conference' which is jointly sponsored by the University of Arizona and the radical Islamist Muslim Student Association and the Council of Arab Islamic Relations . One of the speakers is Siraj Wahaj an unindicted co conspirator in the 1993 WTC bombings. Abdul Malik Muhajid's Sound Vision company promotes a radical Islamist agenda and is part of a business network which has links to terrorism funding. Note that one the sessions is intended to focus on :"...The Faith Based Initiative as a funding resource for programs to serve the Muslims..." and that "...The ISSA conference is an invaluable resource for Muslim and mainstream professionals to exchange knowledge and recommendations for best practices with this underserved oppressed community..."
Assalaamu Alaikum/Peace Be Upon You,
It is time to register for the upcoming Islamic Social Services Association Conference. The sixth annual conference theme is: "Islamic Social Services: Challenges and Opportunities." The conference is scheduled to be held in Tempe, Arizona Friday June 17- Sunday June 19.?The keynote speakers for this year's conference are Abdul Malik Mujahid of Soundvision, Chicago, Illinois and Imam Siraj Wahajj of Masjid at Taqwa, Brooklyn, New York.?
Session topics are expected to include counseling in the Muslim community, cultural competency with Indians and Pakistanis, research on Muslim opinions regarding the delivery of social services, mental health issues among Muslim refugees, addressing hunger among low income Muslims, The Faith Based Initiative as a funding resource for programs to serve the Muslims, research regarding Islamic Identity among Young American Muslims, social services with African American Muslims and ways Imams can address issues of domestic violence as well as promote Islamically sensitive social services.
Conference participants are expected to include students interested in careers in human services, volunteers, imams and other religious leaders, social workers and other human service professionals dedicated to helping to address the social service and mental health concerns of Muslims in North America.
This year's conference supporters and sponsors include: Arizona State University at the West Campus-Department of Social Work, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus-School of Social Work, National Association of Social Workers-Arizona Chapter, Muslim Student Association (MSA) ASU at the Tempe Campus, Muslim Law Students Association (MLSA) ASU at the Tempe Campus College of Law and the Council on American Islamic Relations-Arizona Chapter.
Established in 1999 the mission of ISSA is to raise awareness about the mental health and social welfare concerns experienced by Muslims in North America. ISSA does this by providing training and education to local Muslim communities as well as mainstream social work, mental health and other human service providers. ISSA is a 501C(3) non profit organization that serves as a network for social service volunteers, students, religious leaders and human service professionals addressing the challenges facing the diverse North American Muslim community. These days Muslims are facing many social problems. However, the community often does not have the finances, expertise, or understanding of ways to addresses the social problems facing its members. The ISSA conference is an invaluable resource for Muslim and mainstream professionals to exchange knowledge and recommendations for best practices with this underserved oppressed community.
To register go to the ISSA website at www.issausa.org. To become a supporter/sponsor or for more information, please contact us at [email protected] or 1-888-415-9920. We look forward to seeing you at this year's ISSA conference.