For those prepared to think the worst of the new administration, here's a chilling tidbit. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports this morning that Ingrid Mattson, the president of a pro-Hamas group, the Islamic Society of America will be among the honored speakers at the prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington on the day of the inauguration.
Mattson spoke at the Democratic National Convention and has "been the guest of honor at State Department dinners and has met with senior Pentagon officials during the Bush administration."
So what's the problem? It's just that "as recently as last July, federal prosecutors in Dallas filed court documents linking the Plainfield, Ind.-based Islamic society to the group Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization."
That is a reference to the successful prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation, the Hamas-front that raised money for the Islamist terrorist group in this country. Documents at the trial showed that Holy Land was founded by supporters of Hamas that also started up the Council on American Islamic Relations or CAIR. Both CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America were part of a general campaign to mobilize support here for Hamas. But unlike Holy Land, CAIR and the ISNA have managed to stay on the right side of the law. They have masqueraded as mainstream moderate Islamic groups to the government and the media but have not deviated from their real ideological agenda.
Having Mattson at the inauguration is a disgrace, but we can't be too hard on Obama since the Bush administration was just as willing to be fooled on this point.
Like the ISNA, CAIR has managed to persuade some in the State Department as well as some politicians (for example, Gov. Ed Rendell and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania both attended a CAIR fundraiser in Philadelphia in 2007) that they are kosher, but the federal prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation proves otherwise.
One final point about Mattson. When not representing ISNA, she is a professor of Islamic Studies at the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn. The Seminary is a longtime hotbed of anti-Zionist sentiment. Historically it was connected with the American University in Beirut and is part of the venerable and dishonorable history of mainstream Protestant groups that dabble in hatred of Israel. At the time of Israel's 50th birthday, the then president of the Seminary wrote an op-ed in the Hartford Courant saying that Israel's creation was a historic error and that American Jews should repent of their support for Zionism.
The Hartford Seminary is living proof that those Jews who ignore the threat to the Jewish people from left-wing Protestants while continuing to believe that Evangelical Christians are a danger are out of their minds.