Recently, the Investigative Project on Terrorism exposed a bigoted rant by a speaker at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)'s recent national convention. Warith Deen Umar spun outlandish theories about Jews controlling the world, about Hurricane Katrina being a form of Allah's wrath in response to homosexuality, and argued that the Holocaust was a divine punishment of Jews for being "serially disobedient to Allah."
ISNA officials' response was disappointing. They neither apologized for inviting Umar nor specifically challenged the substance of what he had to say. Rather, they tried to portray the organization as the victim of Umar's misrepresentation, saying the program was described as offering a "blue print for world peace. Christians, Jews and Muslims have common roots; focuses on the unique position Jewish people are in to move the world toward peace."
Talk about ducking responsibility. At the convention, Umar said "So, my conclusion is that there should be more jihad. But people don't want to hear that. They're scared."
It is a message he preached in prisons and elsewhere for years. Umar's history of radicalism continues to be an issue for law enforcement today. The arrests this spring of four men who were picked up after planting what they thought were live bombs outside two synagogues in the Bronx rekindled focus on Islamic radicalism in prisons. Three of the suspects converted to Islam while serving time and were believed to be radicalized behind bars.