Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Congressman and aspiring Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman*, has managed to thrive politically for years in spite of a long history of radical associations and problematic statements. However, words can only persuade so deeply. For many Ellison supporters, it may require images for the disturbing truth of Ellison's core convictions to resonate.
And that's just what was provided to Islamist Watch, a series of six photographs uploaded to Facebook, which we now share with you.
1. BFFs in Cairo
In September 2011 Ellison visited Cairo, where he went to several of the key sites for the Egyptian Arab Spring. His guides were two officials from the Islamist organization the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR): Ahmed Rehab, director of CAIR-Chicago; and the terrorist-supporting former director of CAIR-Tampa, Ahmed Bedier, who christened the congressman "My BFF" – or "Best Friend Forever" for those unversed in the lingo of teenage girls.
On Wednesday, February 15, 2017 the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) shared a video in support of Al Qaeda jihadist Aafia Siddiqui on one of its Facebook pages.
Siddiqui has been described by FBI Director Robert Mueller as "an al-Qaeda operative and facilitator."
She is currently serving an 86-year sentence on two counts of attempted murder. At the time of her arrest she had on her possession "handwritten notes and a computer drive containing recipes for bombs and weapons of mass destruction, instructions on how to make machines to shoot down U.S. drones, descriptions of New York City landmarks with references to a mass casualty attack, and two pounds of cyanide."
Now, we have put together a compilation of his sermons on adultery, theft and hatred of non-Muslims. He is frank about his views: stone to death adulterers; chop off the hands of thieves; lashes for people who drink; do not be intimate with "those outside your race"; and non-muslims are "foul and corrupting."
The sermons illustrate, once again, the extremism of the Islamist clerics preaching to thousands all across America.
Last week the PBS series Religion and Ethics Newsweekly only lived up to half of its name when it presented a hagiographic depiction of Omar Suleiman, instructor at the Salafist Al Maghrib Institute and founder of the Yaqeen Institute, which is advised by prominent Muslim Brotherhood intellectual Tariq Ramadan. The program featured footage of Suleiman bringing American Muslim youth to visit Syrian refugees and extoling the work of the terrorism-linked charity Helping Hand for Relief and Development.
The show's producers chose to ignore Suleiman's associations with extreme Islamist movements and instead featured a smiling imam visiting Syria with American Muslim youth and donated necessities. Suleiman is friendly and likable, with a child on his shoulders, playing soccer, delivering blankets, handing out sneakers, and introducing refugees to two-room trailer homes courtesy of Helping Hand.
Siraj Wahhaj is the Imam of the Taqwa mosque in New York. He is a prominent Islamist cleric with a long history of involvement in extremist causes.
Last week, we published a compilation of his sermons on homosexuality, in which Wahhaj condemns homosexuals as a "disease of this society" and cites the the death penalty stipulated by the Quran.
This week, we have put together a compilation of Siraj Wahhaj's comments about jihad, which are even more extreme. In the first few clips, Wahhaj is raising money for the Benevolence International Foundation, which the Treasury Department designated in 2002 as a "financier of terrorism." Its leader, Enaam Arnaout, was a close associate of Bin Laden. According to prosecutors, the Benevolence International Foundation raised funds "to support Al Qaeda and other groups engaged in armed violence overseas."
This image, evoking the Obama Hope poster, appeared during the women's march.
Among the most controversial organizers of the "women's march" on Washington earlier this month was Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, and a longtime supporter of Islamist groups, leaders and causes.
While Sarsour's progressive allies at publications like The Huffington Post sought to portray criticism of her as inspired by "Islamophobia," even the New York Times challenged the activist's support of Islamist patriarchy: "Linda Sarsour is a religiously conservative veiled Muslim woman, embracing a fundamentalist worldview requiring women to 'modestly' cover themselves, a view which has little to do with female equality and much more of a connection with the ideology of political Islam than feminism."
Next month Sarsour has a speaking engagement on her calendar that further reinforces this narrative of her valuing deceitful Islamism over authentic multicultural liberal tolerance.
Siraj Wahhaj is the Imam of the Taqwa mosque in New York. He is an Islamist preacher with a long history of involvement in extremist causes.
The U.S. Attorney for New York named him as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing. Wahhaj is a former advisory board member of the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and continues to speak regularly at CAIR events.
Now, Islamist Watch has discovered previously-unknown sermons, which reveal Wahhaj's deep-seated hatred for homosexuality. He encourages his audience to hate homosexuals, and reminds them that the Islamic punishment for homosexuality is death.
Hamza Yusuf is one of America's most prominent Muslim voices. He is the co-founder of the Zaytuna College and a popular speaker at American Muslim events across the country.
On December 24, 2016, Yusuf appeared as a star speaker at the Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention in Toronto, an annual Islamic event that draws crowds of thousands. Interviewed by the British Shi'ite journalist, Mehdi Hasan, Yusuf discussed strident anti-Semitism within the Muslim community, and attacked the "plague" of Islamism that has gripped so much of Western Islam.
Hamza Yusuf on Islamism:
Mehdi Hasan: A lot of Islamophobes say they are anti-Islam because it's Islam that's driving the violence they see, it's Islam that's behind ISIS, that terrorists are a product of the religion and then there are Muslims who say it is nothing to do with Islam, nothing to do with Islam. You have said and I quote: 'what we do not need, are more voices that veil the problem with more empty hollow and vacuous arguments that this militancy has little to do with religion. It has everything to do with religion,' you said. What did you mean by that?
Hamza Yusuf: Well I mean, I think that we, our community is in denial about certain aspects within the community and I think that denial, first of all, it prevents people from really hearing you honestly. Because once you say this has nothing to do with Islam, you just lost all of those people out there that you need to reach. That's the first thing. Once you admit that we have a problem, this is something I told the Saudi government immediately after 9/11 I told them you have to admit you have a serious problem and I think, unfortunately...
Mehdi Hasan: How did they take that?
Hamza Yusuf: They didn't they just changed the subject in that meeting, but it's a real problem because denial - it is a river in Egypt - but it is not a river in Egypt, right? So we are in a state of denial about how deep this goes and one of the problems with our religion and the Jewish religion, I can say the same about the Jewish religion, about the premodern Christian religion, all of our premodern religions have real problems in them, in terms of the modern world. And the problem with Islam is because it has one aspect of Islam, is political, these are called al-ahkam as-sultaniya [principles of government]. The political aspect of Islam is very small in any book of Sharia, but it exists like the penal code, we have qanun al-'uqubat [penal code] about these things, but the vast majority of Islam has nothing to do with politics. What's been done to Islam is it's been turned into a political ideology by a certain group within the Muslims and so what's happened, by making it a political ideology and saying it can only be practiced within the framework of a political ideology, is a major problem in our community. And then if you couple that with all of these things in our books that are problematic and you bring those out, what's happening is.. Daesh is a gross perversion but the text that they are basing... it exists.
Omar Suleiman, founder of the Yaqeen Institute and an "instructor" at the Al Maghrib Institute, is one of the most prominent clerics within American Islam.
In July 2016, Suleiman was invited to address an "interfaith service" held for the victims of the Dallas police shootings. On national television and in newspapers across the country, Suleiman could be seen sitting just a few feet behind the 43rd and 44th first couples: George and Laura Bush, and Barack and Michelle Obama.
Suleiman is treated by the media and the political establishment as a moderate cleric. In front of a Muslim audience, however, what sort of Islam does Omar Suleiman preach?
We are only two days into the annual joint convention of the Muslim-American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). Islamist Watch has previously written about the MAS-ICNA conference and its many extremist speakers, leading to Keith Ellison's withdrawal. But we weren't expecting the conference to become a propaganda event for Reccep Tayyip Erdogan.
Today, Turkish president Erdogan's daughter, Sumeyye Erdogan Bayraktar, addressed the MAS-ICNA conference, peddling the official line (for which they have little evidence) that the recent coup attempt was the work of the "Fethullah Terror Organization" (FETO), which is how the regime now refers to the followers of Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gülen.
Bayraktar called FETO more dangerous than the Islamic State: "It is easier to turn some hopeless, desperate, uneducated people into militants. They have little to lose.... FETO on the other hand takes possession of the minds and hearts of well-educated doctors, engineers, generals, scientists [because of] its highly hierarchical and closed system using the method of dissimulation." In response, she said, "Our state will defend the integrity, security and public will of our country with full vigor and force..."
ISLAMIST WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, combats the ideas and institutions of lawful Islamism in the United States and throughout the West. Arguing that "radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution," we seek to expose the Islamist organizations that currently dominate the debate, while identifying and promoting the work of moderate Muslims. Islamist Watch specifically does not deal with counterterrorism but works to establish that lawful Islamism is by and of itself a threat.