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by Sam Westrop • Tue, 18 Apr 2017, 2:46 PM
On April 14th, a three-day conference organized by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) opened in Baltimore. DNC deputy-chairman Keith Ellison was due to address the convention, but his name was withdrawn from the list of speakers just a few days before the conference started.
As one of the largest events in the American Muslim calendar, the listed speakers at the ICNA-MAS conference disappointingly included a large number of extremist clerics. Here, we detail some of the worst and provide a collection of their most extreme sermons.
Every day, Islamism occupies headlines news. And yet while these conventions receive positive coverage in the media, journalists fail to investigate the Islamist rhetoric of the clerics invited to address thousands of American Muslims from the conference stage. These preachers advocate hate, and play a key role in the growing problem of radicalization within the American Muslim community. Islamist Watch will continue to record extremist clerics and their sermons, and publish our findings as a resource for our anti-Islamist allies, the public, and even journalists -- for the day when the media eventually decides to start investigating the ideas and rhetoric that underpin the growing threat of terror and extremism.
The US Attorney for New York previously named Siraj Wahhaj one of the "unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators" in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing. During the trial of Omar Abdel Rahman, whose group was responsible for the attack, Wahhaj served as a character witness, describing Rahman as a "respected scholar" and "bold, as a strong, preacher of Islam."
Sermons uncovered by the Middle East Forum reveal that Wahhaj has a long history of inciting violence and hatred against minorities:
by David M. Swindle • Tue, 18 Apr 2017, 9:24 AM
On June 10, the Boston Islamic Seminary (BIS) will feature a program titled "Unlocking Your Potential With Suzy Ismail and Imam Siraj Wahhaj" at $35 a ticket. Who are these speakers and what does their presence reveal about this new Seminary?
Wahhaj's name is very familiar to observers of the Islamist lecture circuit. For decades Wahhaj has been a regular speaker at events put on by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society (MAS), and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). His long record of anti-gay, misogynist, anti-Western, and racist remarks are available for any to hear.
by Sam Westrop • Mon, 17 Apr 2017, 1:20 PM
On April 15, the Green Party published a briefing paper titled "Islamophobia: Another Social Construction of Racism." Across the Western world, Green parties have a long-established history of downplaying the threat of Islamism, and even working with extremists. This briefing paper is no exception.
You can read the 13 page document here. The authors get off to a bad start when they define Islamophobia as "a contrived fear or prejudice" directed at a "perceived or real Muslim threat" [our emphasis].
The paper takes a brief glance at actual anti-Muslim violence – which Islamist Watch and the Middle East Forum agree is extremely worrying – but it then quickly moves onto the problem of "attacking the Muslim faith." In the Green Party, blasphemy, it seems, is a sin.
In denying the existence of Islamism, and the threat it poses, the authors, without irony, warn the readers about the dangers of "theocratic Christian organizations." Similarly, a later section extolls "feminist" tenets of Islam, but claims that Christians work "to preserve patriarchal culture and control."
In America, the paper continues, the "struggle for equality and gender justice" is no different than the challenges faced by "women in Muslim-majority nations." Forced to cover their faces, banned from driving, or locked in a burning building because they were uncovered – Muslim women under Salafist rule might disagree.
by David M. Swindle • Fri, 14 Apr 2017, 1:00 PM
Last week saw a consequential change in leadership at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Alia Salem once seemed to have a future filled with promise at CAIR as the executive director of its Dallas-Fort Worth branch. In 2015, she won CAIR chapter of the year, an award largely in response to her role promoting the Ahmed "Clock Boy" Mohamed media incident. Here she is appearing on MSNBC with Mohamed and host Chris Hayes, a longtime editor of The Nation:
But last week, news came that Salem is now out, replaced by Iyad Alnachef, a man with his own prior history of Islamist activism. Alnachef formerly served as National Youth Director for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA,) an organization named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror finance trial and as one of "our organizations and the organizations of our friends" in an internal Muslim Brotherhood memorandum.
by Sam Westrop • Thu, 6 Apr 2017, 3:01 PM
On May 6, ICNA Relief, the charitable wing of the Islamic Circle of North America, is hosting a banquet to show off its latest project, the Amal Women's Center – a shelter for women who have suffered domestic abuse.
This noble cause is blighted, however, by the choice of speakers: two extremist preachers with a history of inciting hatred, Mikaeel Smith and Abdulhakim Ali Mohamed.
Ali Mohamed is best known as the Imam of the mosque where the terrorist Carlos Bledsoe was radicalized. In 2009, Bledsoe opened fire on a military recruitment office in Little Rock, Arkansas – killing one soldier and wounding another. As Politico notes, "When Carlos converted to Islam, he assumed the name Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, apparently taking inspiration from the imam."
In his sermons, Ali Mohamed did not hide his extremism. Americans for Peace and Tolerance has uncovered recordings in which Ali Mohamed declared: "Jews believe that everyone created on the face of the earth was only created for their service. They became as vicious as the Pharaoh, throughout history till today. ... The true evil today is the existence of one state." Elsewhere, Ali Mohamed preached: "Aren't we this near for a mass battle and war against the Jews? Aren't they gathering themselves in Palestine?"
Mikaeel Smith is a graduate of Dar ul-Uloom al-Madania, an Islamic seminary in New York state, that belongs to the Deobandi sect, a hardline South Asian movement whose offshoots include the Taliban. In an article published at Muslim Matters, Smith describes homosexuality as "evil" and like a "tumour."
by David M. Swindle • Tue, 4 Apr 2017, 4:41 PM
This Saturday, April 8, a fundraiser will take place for the terrorism-linked charity Helping Hand at the Islamic Society of Greater Harrisburg (ISGH). Among the advertised speakers is Imam Siraj Wahhaj, one of the most vocal defenders of Islamist violence and extremism in North America. See this profile of Wahhaj here at the Middle East Forum blog, which features both audio excerpts and transcriptions from his bigoted sermons.
Some of Wahhaj's most disturbing statements include such calls to violence as "And you know, brothers and sisters, you know what the punishment is, if a man is found with another man? The Prophet Mohammad said the one who does it and the one to whom it is done to, kill them both." He is also an advocate of racial bigotry, saying in a sermon, "Take not into your intimacy those outside of your race. They will not fail to corrupt you."
by David M. Swindle • Fri, 31 Mar 2017, 9:13 PM
For many years now Islamist Watch's senior research fellow David Rusin has maintained an archive of links and excerpts to stories relating to Islamism both at home and abroad. He usually adds 5-10 items each day and here are 29 of the most important picks from March that you won't want to miss:
1. John Rossomando at the Investigative Project, March 1: 'Explanatory Memorandum' Detractors Ignore Evidence About MB in America
2. John Perazzo at FrontPageMag, March 2: The Islamic Society of North America's Destructive Agenda
3. The Local, March 3: Debate rages in Sweden over Muslim Brotherhood report
4. Judith Bergman at Gatestone Institute, March 3: The West Submits to Blasphemy Laws
5. Khadija Khan at Gatestone Institute, March 8: Canada's New Blasphemy Laws
6. Deeba Abedi at Independent Journal Review, March 8: I Am A Muslim Woman - I Will Not Support The Women's March Until Its Leader Denounces Sharia Law
by David M. Swindle • Wed, 15 Mar 2017, 2:29 PM
Perhaps it's wise not to try and read too much into the fact that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has scheduled four of its local chapters' fundraising banquets – Los Angeles, Oklahoma, Cincinnati, and Cleveland -- on April Fool's Day.
Is the joke that more than 20 years after this extremist group's founding, a decade since the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial labeled it an "unindicted co-conspirator," CAIR continues to dupe both Democrats and Republicans across the country? Or that it still finds venues for its fundraising events at hotels, convention centers, and country clubs?
by Sam Westrop • Tue, 14 Mar 2017, 9:36 PM
In 2004, Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss writer and activist, was banned from entering the United States, after authorities found that between 1998 and 2002, he had given $1300 to Association de Secours Palestinien, a Swiss-based charity designated by the Treasury Department as a front group for Hamas.
But in 2010, under a new administration, the then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to lift the ban. Since then, Ramadan has become a regular visitor to our shores, frequently addressing crowds at large Islamist-run conferences across America almost every year.
Ramadan's next visit, on March 31, will feature a lecture at the newly-founded Boston Islamic Seminary, a project of the Islamic Society of Boston. The hosts and the guest are a perfect match. Both have a long history of extremist links. And both have managed to dupe much of the political establishment into treating their work as an example of moderate Islam. It is certainly not that.
by David M. Swindle • Mon, 6 Mar 2017, 9:07 PM
The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) plans to host its annual banquet at the Springfield Country Club on March 11, 2017, featuring Linda Sarsour. The Middle East Forum calls on the Springfield County Club to cancel this event and commit to not hosting CAIR events in the future. Here's why:
The FBI has banned outreach with CAIR since 2008. CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial. In 2014, the United Arab Emirates, a Muslim ally of the United States, designated CAIR a terrorist organization. The Anti-Defamation League accuses CAIR of promoting anti-Jewish sentiment. Six CAIR leaders have been arrested, convicted, or deported for terrorism-related crimes: Randall ("Ismail") Royer, Ghassan Elashi, Bassem Khafagi, Rabih Haddad, Nabil Sadoun, and Muthanna Al-Hanooti.
Linda Sarsour has a history of promoting fake hate crimes, antisemitism, and other extremist groups. She has claimed that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 2009 "underwear bomber," was a CIA provocateur. Further, Sarsour is a frequent participant and fundraiser for Al-Awda, a Palestinian group that endorses terrorism, calls for the destruction of Israel, and relays the slogan of Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."