A leading terrorism expert is outraged that one of the religious leaders who will be speaking at President Obama's inaugural prayer service today heads a group that is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terrorism money laundering case that resulted in convictions a few months ago.
Ingrid Mattson, the president of the Islamic Society of North America, will be joining ministers and rabbis offering prayers for Obama and his family during a service today at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. In May 2007, federal prosecutors listed the Islamic Society of North America as one of nearly 300 co-conspirators in a criminal case charging that the Holy Land Foundation of Richardson, Texas, funneled more than $12 million to the Palestinian terror group Hamas.
Steven Emerson is executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). He notes Ingrid Mattson is a convert to Islam, and has made statements in support of wahabism, even saying that it is innocent, peaceful, and no different than the Protestant Reformation.
"She has also made statements that refuse to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah," says Emerson. "She has made statements that essentially legitimize Osama bin Laden's actions by claiming that he would be peaceful if only he had a peaceful outlet to express his views.
"The absurdity of such views is demonstrable on its face," he continues, "and she does not deserve to be giving the inaugural address in light of the views she has expressed."
Emerson says the Obama team, like the Clinton and Bush administrations, "deliberately glossed over" Mattson's record and "refused to do their homework." He adds it is unfortunate that many ecumenical leaders have been deceived into believing that Mattson is a peaceful Islamic moderate because she has a soft voice and comes from a Caucasian background.
IPT claims Mattson will sound a "note of moderation" to the public while at the same time "secretly harboring and championing a radical agenda" that supports terrorism and denies the existence of Islamic extremism.