UPDATE, December 22, 2016 - After speaking with a representative from MAS-ICNA, MEF can now confirm that Keith Ellison has withdrawn in the face of pressure by MEF and other allied organizations. We welcome Rep. Ellison's decision, but also call on him to disassociate himself from all future MAS and ICNA events, and to disavow the kind of ideology that the other conference speakers espouse.
Rep. Keith Ellison is set to speak alongside a nefarious lot of Islamic extremists this holiday season.
The Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) will hold their annual convention, the largest gathering of its kind, in Chicago from December 26th to 28th, featuring a keynote speech by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the leading candidate for Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair.
One of the chief organizers behind this year's MAS-ICNA convention is program director Ahmed Taha. On social media, Taha does not hide his extremism. His Facebook page is awash with Muslim Brotherhood insignia and expressions of support for Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist former president of Egypt now in jail on charges of terrorism, espionage, and other offenses.
Taha is a strident anti-Semite. He republishes text stating: "O Muslim, O servant of God. There is a Jew behind me, come kill him." He also posts videos that claim to expose the "Rothschild Zionism Secret Regime in America" and circulates articles claiming that Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is a "Jew" and Egypt is now "Israeli-occupied territory."
At the MAS-ICNA conference, Ellison will be sharing a platform with some of the most extreme Islamist clerics and activists from across the globe. Several dozen of the listed speakers, in fact, have expressed pro-terror, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, or homophobic rhetoric. The following are among the most notable.
Imam Mohammad Qatanani is a former member of Hamas.
Imam Mohammad Qatanani, the leader of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, is currently fighting a deportation order after federal officials found he failed to disclose a previous conviction in Israel for his membership in Hamas. According to his own lawyer, Qatanani was also a member of the student chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan.
In 2007, Qatanani prayed for the defeat of "occupation and oppression" in Iraq, Palestine, and Chechnya. He also preached that Jews and Christians "will be swiftly punished by Allah" and that Muslims should not speak badly of Sheikh Yousef Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A July 2008 N.J. Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness intelligence report about the state's Hamas network identifies Qatanani as a Hamas supporter.
Yusuf Islahi is described on the MAS-ICNA convention website as a member of the Central Advisory Council of the Indian branch of Jamaat-e-Islami, a South Asian Islamist group complicit in the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh.
According to Irfan Ahmad, Islahi claims that Jews were behind the 9/11 attacks, as part of a conspiracy to defame Islam.
Abdelfattah Mourou is co-founder of the Ennahda Movement in Tunisia, an Islamic political party that took its initial inspiration from Ayatollah Khomeini and the Muslim Brotherhood.
In an interview with Rachid Ghannouchi – another Ennahda Party leader – the Muslim Student Association News website notes that Mourou "introduced a modern, abridged and accessible edition" of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous anti-Semitic forgery.
Abdul Nasir Jangda
Abdul Nasir Jangda is a Texas-based cleric who studied at a Deobandi madrassah – Jamia Binoria in Karachi, Pakistan.
Abdul Nasir Jangda thinks sex slaves and killing apostates are just fine.
In 2009, the BBC journalist John Humphreys reported that Jamia Binoria was "brainwashing" children into supporting terrorism. In 2015, Pakistani law enforcement raided the seminary after including it on a list of madrassahs linked to terrorist organizations.
According to detailed notes published by one of his students, Jangda has defended the use of female sex slaves within Islam. He reportedly advocated the killing of apostates and adulterers, and dismisses the concept of marital rape: "The thing to understand is that the husband has his set of divinely given rights one of which is the right to have his physical desires satisfied."
Jangda also describes the Jews of Mecca as "really bad people" who were "very hateful, very spiteful," and "the enemy."
Jamal Badawi, a founding member of MAS, was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial.
Badawi describes suicide bombers and Hamas terrorists as "freedom fighters" and "martyrs." He also advocates the right of men to beat their wives if they show "disregard for [their] marital obligations."
The real Dr. Evil: Sheikh Kifah Mustapha supports stabbing Jews.
Sheikh Kifah Mustapha is an imam and director of Chicago's Bridgeview mosque. In a video introduced as evidence during the Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial in 2008, Mustapha can be heard praising Hamas terrorism, chanting: "O mother, Hamas for Jihad. Over mosques' loudspeakers, with freedom. Every day it resists with stones and the dagger. Tomorrow, with God's help, it will be with a machine gun and a rifle."
In October 2015, during the outbreak of the "stabbing intifada" in Israel, Mustapha posted several tweets supporting the attacks. Those tweets have since been deleted from his Twitter page.
Hamed Ghazali is chairman of MAS's Council on Islamic Schools. His work was mentioned explicitly on page 12 of the Muslim Brotherhood's 1991 Explanatory Memorandum as a key component of the MB's dawah (outreach) efforts, and Ghazali was listed in the MB telephone directory introduced into evidence during the Holy Land Foundation trial in 2008.
Ghazali's speech at the 2010 ICNA-MAS convention was cited by the Anti-Defamation League as an example of anti-Semitic incitement, after he claimed "Allah gave us the Jews" as an example of those who "take the wrong path."
Hamza Andreas Tzortzis
A Greek-British convert to Islam, Hamza Tzortzis is a dawah activist involved in several extreme Islamist charities. Among these, Tzortzis was a trustee of Green Crescent, a British charity, the head of which was arrested on terrorism charges in Bangladesh when an arms cache was discovered at one of its orphanages.
Hamza Tzortzis, who no longer claims that apostates should be beheaded, is a more middle-of-the-road Islamist.
Tzortzis is a leading official at the Islamic Education and Research Academy, a prominent Salafist organization that the British charity regulator recently censured for not discouraging "terrorism and/or extremist views."
In the past, Tzortzis has been associated with Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the extreme Islamist social movement. He has had to disavow a statement he once made claiming that apostates from Islam should be beheaded.
Tzortzis has also claimed: "We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom."
Omar Suleiman has been condemned by moderate Muslim activists for describing homosexuality as a "disease" and a "repugnant shameless sin." He refers to the Islamic death penalty for the "people that practiced sodomy."
In a talk titled "Fighting Zina," Suleiman claims that women who are too close with their brothers are likely to commit incest. Women, he declares, should never be alone with a man outside of her family. Further, he warns, without condemnation, that women who commit adultery risk being killed by a family member.
Suhaib Webb served as the imam of an extreme Muslim Brotherhood mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston, from 2011 to 2014. Webb hasclaimed that animosity toward Jews is understandable, believes that eye contact between the sexes is a sin, and has suggested that homosexuals are cursed. He has described secularism as a "radical, lunatic ideology."
In addition, according to FBI surveillance documents Webb spoke at a dinner in 2001 alongside the late Al Qaeda leader, Anwar Al Awlaki, to raise money for the legal defense of Jamil Abdullah Al Amin, who murdered two police officers in Georgia.
Zaid Shakir has a long history of promoting and defending violently extremist ideas. In an article titled "Muslim involvement in the American political process," Shakir wrote that Muslims should reject "the legal and political system of America," which is "sinful and constitutes open rebellion against Allah."
Zaid Shakir tells Muslims they should not have non-Muslim friends, and to wage guerrilla war to establish "shari'ah in America."
He argues that "Islam presents an absolutist political agenda, or one which doesn't lend itself to compromise," and that because Islamist involvement in politics has largely failed, Muslims should not discount violence, citing examples such as the Taliban's "armed struggle" in Afghanistan.
Shakir further warns against "seeking the help of" or "befriending" the "kuffar [unbelievers], Jews and Christians."
Ultimately, Shakir has concluded that the goal of American Muslims should be "the establishment of Islam and shari'ah in America," employing methods "ranging from non-cooperation tactics to guerrilla war can bring about favorable policies from a governmental system, or even lead to the eradication of that system."
Elsewhere, Shakir has argued that "Zionists" and the FBI were responsible for the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing, insisted that there were "glaring weaknesses and inconsistencies in the official narrative" of the 9/11 attacks, and claimed that the jihadist Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who died after attempting to shoot FBI agents, was the victim of a "self-serving racist agenda."
The U.S. Attorney for New York previously named 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."
Wahhaj has denounced gay Muslims attempting to establish a mosque in Canada: "Those brothers and sisters in Toronto must now allow those so-called Muslims to open up a house in the name of Allah ... under lesbianism and homosexuality. ... If they don't stop it ... we'll go to Toronto and we won't let them establish it. ... When we go fight them, those homosexuals are going to picket the masjid [mosque]." Wahhaj further condemns American laws for not proscribing "fornication and adultery."
Wesley Lebron warns Muslims "not to become like the Jews," who "did 9/11."
Also known as AbdurRazzaq Abu Sumayyah, Wesley Lebron is a Puerto Rican convert to Islam. He runs the New Jersey chapter of IslamInSpanish, which circulates Islamic knowledge in the Spanish language.
On Facebook, Lebron is a vociferous anti-Semite. He warns Muslims "not to become like the Jews" and posts links titled "Zionist Jew Bill Maher owned by Glenn Greenwald" and "Jews did 9/11."
Osama Abu Irshaid
Osama Abu-Irshaid is the National Director of American Muslims for Palestine. According to the ADL, "AMP promotes extreme anti-Israel views and has at times provided a platform for anti-Semitism." Irshaid previously served as the editor of Al Zaytounah, the official newspaper of the Islamic Association of Palestine (the precursor to AMP), which the U.S. government states is part of "Hamas' propaganda apparatus."
Irshaid has recently written that the terrorist group Hamas is "an army for liberation" whose fighters "rise up for the blood of martyrs."
Nouman Ali Khan
Nouman Ali Khan is the founder and CEO of Bayyinah, a religious education group. Khan has attempted to justify physical punishment for adultery and fornication, and complains that counsellors and psychologists aren't allowed to tell homosexuals that "there's something wrong with you".
Khan's Facebook page includes selfies with Zakir Naik, an Indian Islamic preacher whose NGO was recently raided and designated "unlawful" by Indian law enforcement over concerns about terror ties. Naik's extremism led him to be banned from entering the UK and Canada.
Muhammad Ratib al-Nabulsi
Muhammad Ratib al-Nabulsi says that in the fight against Israel, "all the Jewish people are combatants."
Muhammad Ratib al-Nabulsi is a Syrian cleric who frequently appears on various Arabic and Islamic television programs. Nabulsi has written that "the wicked Jews are a collection of defects and imperfections, and a hotbed of vices and evils. They are the worst enemies of God. ... God has made it a duty to fight them and wage Jihad against them so that the word of God will be supreme."
Further, Nabulsi ruled that for terrorist and suicide bombing attacks against Israel, "All the Jewish people are combatants."
Nabulsi saves some of his venom for homosexuals, declaring on Hamas's Al Aqsa TV, "Homosexuality involves a filthy place, and does not generate offspring. Homosexuality leads to the destruction of the homosexual. That is why, brothers, homosexuality carries the death penalty."
Yasmin Mogahed is an instructor at the Al Maghrib Institute. She states that a homosexual who follows through with his desires is "not just like the cattle or just like the animal, he becomes lower than the animal."
Al Maghrib founder Muhammad Alshareef warns that "Jews were cursed" and that Muslims must not "imitate them" or "take them as allies." Other Al Maghrib instructors include Abdullah Hakim Quick, who claims that AIDS is caused by the "filthy practices" of homosexuals and that the Islamic position on homosexuality is "death," and Abu Eesa Niamatullah, who has said of Jews: "They find it so easy and natural to do what they do....Look at them today, look at the way they massacre. They blow up babies like as if it's a computer game. They have no humanity, no morality, no ethics."
Ali Ardekani, best known by his stage name "Baba Ali," is an Iranian-American activist and co-founder of Ummah Films, which produces "halal" entertainment.
According to the State Department, Baba Ali founded the rap group "Soldiers of Allah," which was directly linked to Hizb ut-Tahrir, the global radical Islamist group. According to the Georgetown academic John Esposito, "Soldiers of Allah used lyrics that endorsed creating an Islamic state and that divided people into kafir (disbelievers) and Muslims, a theme that Muslim terrorists use to justify violence."
Suleiman Hani wants to have an "objective discussion" about the "Holocaust and Jews."
Suleiman Hani is a hardline cleric, who writes that "'Freedom of speech' is a facade of a tool that is used inconsistently by those in power." It is used, he claims, to stifle "objective discussion" of the "Holocaust and Jews." Those who question the Holocaust, he claims, are "labeled as Anti-Semites, or 'inciters of hate speech.'"
Hani also promotes 9/11 conspiracy theories – he notes "the very strange collapse of building 7" and "the arguments about the actual perpetrators of 9/11 (and the plethora of evidence on both sides of the debate)." He concludes that "this smokescreen of a 'war on terror' has continuously been exposed as a war on Islam multiple times."
He also warns Muslims against looking at women, claiming that "lowering your gaze" will provide "insight" – the "opposite of that is the blindness which Allah attributed to the homosexuals."
Hani frequently presents shows on Huda TV, an Islamic television station that hosts prominent extremist clerics. Huda TV's website hosts articles claiming there is a "huge conspiracy" against Muslims organised by the Jews and Christians, who are the "enemies of Islam." Hani uses his program on Huda TV to claim that the kuffar [unbelievers] will suffer the "abode of hellfire. ... This is what they gathered from their evil." He states that "the disbelievers, these are the evil people. ... they will be beaten and hammered and turned to dust and then returned back. They will be given a bed of fire, full of darkness." Those who commit adultery, Hani continues, will be "put in a pit of fire."
Abdul Malik Mujahid
Abdul Malik Mujahid is an imam and former president of the Parliament of the World's Religions. He is a vocal supporter of the late Muhammad Salah, who was accused by federal prosecutors of being a Hamas operative. In 1995, Bill Clinton designated Salah a terrorist. According to the Investigative Project, in 2004 Salah was indicted on racketeering charges, but convicted only of lying in a civil suit related to Hamas financing.
Linda Sarsour likes CIA conspiracy theories and canned photos of herself staring off camera.
Linda Sarsour is a prominent Palestinian-American Muslim activist. Sarsour has claimed that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 2009 "underwear bomber," was a CIA provocateur.
Sarsour is a regular supporter and fundraiser for Al-Awda, a pro-Palestinian group that endorses terrorism, routinely calls for the destruction of Israel, and uses the Hamas slogan, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."
One Brooklyn newspaper has reported that Sarsour's Palestinian relatives have "been arrested for supporting the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas."
Eddie Redzovic is a convert to Islam and host of The Deen Show, a popular YouTube and satellite interview show that discusses Islamic issues. The show claims to be dedicated to "clearing up the many false misconceptions about Islam and Muslims and at the same time delivering the simple Message of the 'Purpose of life' in a fun and exciting way."
Among the episodes of The Deen Show, Redzovic sympathetically interviews Enver Masud, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and author of 9/11 Unveiled and The War on Islam.
Another episode of The Deen Show featured an interview with Sheikh Alaa Edsayed, director of religious affairs for ISNA, who defends the benefits of cutting off the hands of thieves.
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