Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the Ground Zero mosque, is kicking off his nationwide speaking tour at the Islamic Society of North America's Diversity Forum Banquet in Detroit on January 15. He will be speaking alongside extremists like Siraj Wahhaj and Zaid Shakir, contradicting the moderate image he's trying to put forth on his tour.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) denies being an extremist organization, saying it "rejects all acts of terrorism, including those perpetrated by Hamas, Hizbullah and any other group that claims Islam as their inspiration." This statement, however, does not necessarily mean they oppose the Islamist political agenda. In fact, ISNA has been listed by the federal government as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Holy Land Foundation trial that found the charity to be guilty of financing Hamas. ISNA has tried to have this designation removed, but a judge ruled on July 1, 2009 that the government "produced ample evidence" to justify it.
The organization was founded in 1981 by the Muslim Students Association, an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, with help from Sami al-Arian, later convicted of being a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader. An FBI investigation around that time found that ISNA's conferences have "provided opportunities for the extreme fundamentalist Muslims to meet with their supporters." One of the Muslim Brotherhood's own documents written in May 1991 listed ISNA as one of its fronts.