The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) claims it works for the “betterment of the Muslim community and society at large.” It prides itself on its involvement with interfaith dialogue, stating that it serves to “connect Muslims and people of other faiths with one another in order to build mutual respect and understanding.” ISNA boasts a long list of interfaith partners, including Jewish organizations and movements.
However, this ostensible love of interfaith is not apparent in the behavior of one of ISNA’s high-ranking officials.
Pervez Nasim has worked for ISNA for a long time. He currently holds the title of “Vice-President Canada” on ISNA’s board. As with the organization he serves, Nasim has enjoyed praise for his community work. In 2001, he received a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” for “outstanding and invaluable service to the community” from Californian Representative Adam B. Schiff.
And yet, on August 19th 2018, Nasim approvingly posted a video on his social media, titled “What and Who Created ISIS,” featuring an interview with Ken O’Keefe, a prominent anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist and Holocaust denier.
In the video promoted by Nasim, O’Keefe claims that Israel benefits from ISIS terrorism. According to O’Keefe, ISIS’s true intention is to “rip apart the Middle East so that Israel can expand.” He insists this “has been admitted on so many different levels” that it is beyond debate. O’Keefe also discusses the “so called Holocaust” and angrily asks why “we can’t even talk about Jewish control of the mainstream media.” He accuses Mossad agents of knowing about the 9/11 attacks in advance, and states that the US government is“owned by the Jewish state.”
Nasim’s promotion of an anti-Semitic rant is not an isolated incident. He regularly posts videos of Israeli soldiers, writing that their actions “make Nazi soldiers look better” or “more tolerant than Zionists.” Nasim has even stated that “victims and survivors of Holocaust are fast losing sympathy” and that, unlike in Gaza, “at least in Nazi concentration camps there was plenty of water and electricity!”
Given ISNA’s dedication to interfaith dialogue, it must surely be horrified by the rhetoric of one of its most senior officials. Such anti-Semitism is sharply at odds with the values ISNA so proudly claims to profess.
And yet, when we contacted ISNA about our findings, it failed to condemn the remarks or issue any comment at all. We wonder what ISNA’s interfaith partners will make of that?