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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Chicago's Hamas Youth - How the Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium trains a generation of extremists

Chicago's Hamas Youth - How the Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium trains a generation of extremists

August 21, 2008

Chicago's Hamas Youth
By Joe Kaufman
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, August 21, 2008

During the 1990s, the Hamas infrastructure within the United States was complete. It consisted of a propagation outlet, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP); a financing wing, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF); a command center, the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR); and a defense mechanism, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Today, only the latter exists, along with a remnant of the IAP, the Mosque Foundation. Both have a presence in the Chicago area, where group and mosque are working hard to indoctrinate young Muslims into radical Islam.

In 1981, two Muslim Brotherhood entities, which later would be widely regarded as being aligned with the terrorist Hamas, were established within the Chicago area of Illinois. One, the IAP, was created as a collaboratory effort between future Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook and future Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian. Soon after the onset of the violent Palestinian Intifada against Israel, which began in 1987 and which gave birth to Hamas, the IAP became a publishing house for the Hamas charter and Hamas terror training videos.

The other entity that was created in '81 was the Mosque Foundation (MF), also known as the Bridgeview Mosque. The center was actually founded 30 years earlier, but in 1981, MF's original leaders were ousted, as the property was taken over by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). NAIT, an extremist Muslim Brotherhood offshoot, was recently named by the U.S. government as a co-conspirator for a federal trial dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas.

Both the IAP and MF were interconnected to each other, as the heads of the IAP were also leaders of the mosque. Two former National Chairmen of the IAP, Rafiq Jaber and Sabri Samirah, were Presidents of MF. Samirah, returning from a trip to Jordan in January of 2003, was refused entry into the United States, deemed a "security risk." Another of the mosque's leaders, a former MF Executive Committee member, Muhammad Salah, was sentenced to 21 months in prison for lying under oath.

Today, of the two entities, only the Mosque Foundation exists. The IAP, shortly after it was found liable for the Hamas murder of American teenager, David Boim, in December of 2004, shut down its operations. However, before it left the scene, it created what is today one of the largest Muslim organizations in the United States, CAIR.

CAIR was established in June of 1994. Its founders include Jaber, former IAP Spokesman Nihad Awad, and former IAP President Omar Ahmad. Itself, it has lost a number of representatives to conviction and deportation. And while MF lost its partner, the IAP, it discovered a new one in CAIR.

In the ‘Multimedia' section of MF's website, there is found a video celebrating the mosque's 25th anniversary. It was produced by CAIR-Chicago, a.k.a. CAIR-Illinois, board member Alif Muhammad. As well, the interviewer in the video is CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Sultan Muhammad. This is not the only project that CAIR and MF have come together for.

In the Spring of 2007, CAIR-Chicago sponsored its first Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium (MYLS) – called the Young Chicago Muslim Leadership Symposium – as a way to educate Muslim teens on how to become community activists. At the venue, kids wore shirts with the MYLS slogan: "Constructive Citizenship for a better America." But for CAIR, "better America" means a United States run by Hamas.

In 2007, MYLS was co-sponsored by the DePaul University Muslim Law Students' Association (MLSA). This year, MYLS is co-sponsored by the Mosque Foundation. Indeed, the MF logo is found on every one of MYLS' 13 web pages, which happen to all be hosted on CAIR-Chicago's website.

According to the MYLS ‘Co-Sponsors' page, "THE MOSQUE FOUNDATION provides a welcoming, worshipful environment where both men and women may pray with peace of mind and a sense of home." Yet, the Chicago Tribune paints an entirely different picture. In its February 2004 piece entitled ‘Hard-liners won battle for Bridgeview mosque,' it states, "Among the leaders at the Bridgeview mosque are men who have condemned Western culture, praised Palestinian suicide bombers and encouraged members to view society in stark terms: Muslims against the world."

One of the coarse individuals the Tribune discusses in its piece is Jamal Said, the imam of MF. Said, named a co-conspirator in the 2007 federal Hamas financing trial, is pictured shoulder to shoulder with the keynote speaker of MYLS' Spring 2008 symposium, U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison. Said also spoke at the event, as well as MF's Associate Director (and former IAP board member) Kifah Mustapha and MF's President Sahloul Mohammed.

MYLS' Summer 2008 symposium featured as speakers teacher and board member of the Zaytuna Institute, Zaid Shakir, and Chicago Sun-Times reporter Rummana Hussain. As well, CAIR-Chicago Executive Director and CAIR's National Strategic Communications Director, Ahmed Rehab, spoke. Rehab, who likes to pawn himself off as a "moderate Muslim" by wearing trendy clothes and flamboyant glasses – he even posed half-nude for photos on his personal website – donned a keffiyeh for the kids. Keffiyes, made popular during the Intifada, are head coverings or scarves which are commonly worn as symbols of Palestinian violence.

The young people that attend CAIR's and MF's MYLS functions may very well be clueless as to how they are being used to spread radical Islam. They wear the colorful shirts that they are given, they joke around with their fellow symposium-goers, and they listen and learn from community elders and spiritual leaders, unaware of the indoctrination process that is taking place all along. Eventually, they will come to know that they are part of a secret society of extremism and destruction. The big question is, at that point, will they be willing to walk away from the hate or have they already been too far gone in the process?

Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate, the founder of CAIR Watch, and the spokesman for Terror-Free Oil Initiative. http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=6ABDF705-585E-4936-9472-732F10134A65

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