As the Democrat Convention's carefully-scripted coronation of perhaps the least qualified major party presidential candidate in recent American history builds up to its climax, few have noticed that the convention's most pregnant political message may have already been delivered before it officially started. It came in the form of a decision by Obama's campaign to feature the president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Ms. Ingrid Mattson, at an "Interfaith Gathering" of Leftist religious luminaries the day before the convention opened. In doing that, Obama and the Democrat leadership rather demonstratively bestowed their seal of approval on the largest and most important front organization of the American Muslim Brotherhood, a conspiratorial Islamist revolutionary movement dedicated, in their own words, to "a grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands." The implications of this political legitimization of a group dedicated to the destruction of our constitutional order are so profoundly disturbing that some background who exactly ISNA and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) are is in order.
The Ikhwan beachhead in America was first established by a Saudi-funded group of Muslim Brothers in 1963 at the University of Illinois that became known as the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA). This was only a year after the founding in Saudi Arabia of the main instrument for export of the violent Wahhabi/Salafi creed, the Muslim World League (MWL). The MWL, like other similar organizations that followed, were the fruit of the symbiotic nexus between Ikhwan organizational talent and Saudi financial muscle, a key synergy that is the single most important determinant of the vast inroads radical Islamism has made in the West since then. Acting according to the MB's principle of a unitary Islamic movement operating through many fronts, the MSA promptly spawned numerous Islamist professional, educational and publishing spinoffs, before founding the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) in 1973, an ingenious Saudi-funded vehicle for control of American Islam through interest-free financing and holding the title of many Muslim institutions. Finally, in 1981, the Brotherhood and its Wahhabi patrons felt the need to set up yet another instrument of control of the proliferating American Islamist networks by incorporating ISNA in Indiana as an umbrella organization of these networks. In the process, numerous front organizations that preceded ISNA by many years, including the MSA itself and NAIT, became ISNA constituent organizations.
What never changed was the unremitting hostility of the organization to fundamental American values like democracy, separation of church and state and human rights and its dedication to the ultimate objective of establishing a world-wide Islamic rule under barbaric shariah law. Under the guidance of well-known Islamist zealots like Muzamil Siddiqui, Jamal Badawi, Abdalla Idris Ali, Iqbal Unus, Ihsan Bagby and many others, ISNA has through the years aided and abetted all manner of extremist and terrorist causes, while mouthing disingenuous calls for interfaith dialog. While it has been able to fool numerous politically correct useful idiots, ISNA has been less successful with U.S. law enforcement authorities who listed it (and its affiliate NAIT) as an unindicted co-conspirator in a recent terrorism funding case. Moreover, attempts to have its name expunged from that list were tersely rejected by the U.S. government citing numerous evidentiary exhibits establishing ISNA's "intimate relationship" with the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist organizations.
ISNA is intimately involved in yet another major Islamist effort to undermine American society that has so far escaped public scrutiny. Through its affiliate NAIT, it owns and runs the IMAN shariah finance mutual fund which is part of the global financial Jihad effort aiming to legitimize a medieval doctrine that mandates violent jihad against non-Muslims and the killing of adulterers and homosexuals. Interestingly, the IMAN fund was known as the Dow Jones Islamic Fund until last March when it was revealed that the chairman of its shariah advisory board, Mufti Taqi Usmani, had long called for violence against infidels and sanctioned suicide terrorism. No less puzzling is the fact that NAIT, which owns most shares of the for-profit multi-million dollar mutual fund and on whose board Ingrid Mattson sits, does not file tax returns since it ostensibly makes less than $25,000 per year.
Perhaps the best evidence of what ISNA really stands for is provided by its own poll of the attitudes of its membership conducted in 2006. By nearly a 3 to 1 margin ISNA members believed that the U.S. government had advance knowledge of the September 11, 2001 attacks and allowed them to happen and a majority did not believe that the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks and the July 7, 2005 bombings in London were Muslim.
Despite such overwhelming evidence of ISNA's subversive nature, many are willing to give it the benefit of doubt. This is at least partly due to the fact that Ingrid Mattson is the first woman head of a major Islamic organization and is especially skillful in beating the bogus interfaith dialog drums. For the Obama campaign and more than a few others, this has by itself provided the needed proof that ISNA is a picture of moderation. Indeed, how can all the lurid tales of Islamist misogyny, gay-bashing and hate-spewing against Christians and Jews be true when ISNA now has a leader that is seemingly an emancipated and enlightened woman dedicated to multiculturalism and understanding? A fair question, it seems, until one starts digging behind the headlines. It doesn't take long to discover that far from being a new emancipated leader, Ms. Mattson is little more than a useful prop serving the Islamist agenda. Shortly after she was elected ISNA president in August 2006, the organization's secretary –general Sayyid Syeed announced that this does not change the prohibition against women leading mixed-gender prayer and that Mattson will only be allowed to lead "ritual worship for women." Mattson herself promptly opined that Muslim women are quite content with their segregated prayer space in the mosque.
Nor has she raised even the slightest objection to numerous misogynist statements by her fellow-ISNA executives and Islamist ideologues, Muzammil Siddiqui and Jamal Badawi, who have openly supported shariah restrictions on women travelling by themselves, socialization between men and women, or making friends with non-Muslims and endorsed polygamy and the husband's right to beat his wife. Or, for that matter, their implicit endorsement of the death penalty for homosexuality. Not to mention ISNA's vituperative anti-Semitism, rejection of basic American norms such as the separation of church and state and its support for the imposition of shariah law in Muslim communities in the West. It would be interesting to find out whether key democratic constituencies such as feminists and gay and lesbian groups are aware of the real agenda of this newly anointed partner of the Obama coalition for change. Just as it would be for rank and file Americans to learn that as far as ISNA's leadership is concerned American Muslims "should not melt in any pot except the Muslim Brotherhood pot."
In the interest of fairness, the Obama campaign is not the only one to uncritically buy ISNA's deceitful protestations. The Bush Administration, which has had seven years to figure it out, is even guiltier in failing to understand the deeply subversive nature of the Muslim Brotherhood networks and has often acted as a willing dupe to the Islamists. The number two man at the Pentagon, Gordon England, for instance, followed the advice of a likely Islamist plant in his office who had lied about his background, in terminating Stephen Coughlin, one of the few genuine experts in the U.S. government on shariah law. Not surprisingly, Mr. England had earlier legitimized through his presence an ISNA convention which teemed with radical Islamist speakers and messages, making himself a useful idiot par excellence in the process.
Not to be overdone, the Administration's former public diplomacy czar, Karen Hughes, whose impeccable credentials as a close personal friend of President Bush were only exceeded by her impeccable cluelessness about radical Islam, proudly declared ISNA members to be her frontline troops in public diplomacy.
The documented failure of the outgoing administration to come to terms with the existence of a well-organized Islamist fifth column in America does not make the democrats new infatuation with a key part of this fifth column any less serious. Especially because, as the party has veered sharply to the left, parts of it have increasingly embraced radical Islam as a new ally. These have ranged from the ACLU, which has openly allied itself with organizations like ISNA and CAIR, to the Greens who have lately been debating whether to engage radical Islam in a joint struggle to destroy capitalism. These feelings are fully reciprocated on the other side as the Islamists increasingly see the Left as a potential ally in its quest to undermine Western civilization and replace it with shariah rule.
Following the Democrat mid-term election victories in 2006, the Muslim Brotherhood website ikhwanweb argued that the Democrat victory will work in favor of Muslims and the Muslim Brotherhood inside and outside the U.S. and expressed the hope that the democrats will begin dealing directly with "moderate Islamists." The Democrat Convention's legitimization of Ingrid Mattson and ISNA would seem to justify such hopes further. One can only hope that the majority of patriotic democratic voters would soon start asking questions about Obama's new Islamist partners.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Alex Alexiev is a contributing editor to familysecuritymatters.org and vice-president for research at the Center for Security Policy in Wash. D.C. He is the author of a forthcoming book on shariah finance titled Jihad on Wall Street: Shariah Finance in the War Against America.