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Sep
06

Jordan Muslim Brotherhood Acknowledges Contact With U.S. Government; Claims All Contact Stopped In 2003

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Jordanian media is reporting that the political wing of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood has acknowledged a recently released U.S. State Department cable discussing a 2002 meeting it held with a representative from the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Imam Yahya Hindi but says that all contacts were stopped in 2003. According to a report in the Jordan Times:

AMMAN – The leading Islamist political group in Jordan on Monday acknowledged it maintained a level of communication with the US early last decade, but they stopped the contacts “once and for all” in 2003. Commenting on documents leaked by WikiLeaks, Islamic Action Front (IAF) Secretary General Hamzah Mansour acknowledged that the 2002 meeting referred to in the document did take place, “but we banned all kinds of contacts with the Americans a year later”. “As far as we are concerned, the US falls in the same category as Israel,” Mansour told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday. However, spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood, Jamil Abu Baker, explained that the ban applies to US authorities and officials and not to individuals and civil society institutions.  “The Islamist movement welcomes all the contact initiatives by US citizens and civil society organisations including journalists,” Abu Baker said.Posted online this week, the classified documents cover US embassy in Amman cables to Washington over issues of concern. Mansour said: “Yes we used to meet and talk to officials from the US at that time, but after the US war on Iraq in 2003, we suspended all contacts.” WikiLeaks posted a text of a cable that included full details of a meeting held between Imam Yahya Hindi, an American Islamic leader of Jordanian origin, with four of the Islamic movement’s leaders, including Mansour, IAF Shura Council President Abdul Latif Arabiyat, Abu Baker and Sa’ud Abu Mahfuz, a top executive at the group’s newspaper, Assabeel. Hindi’s visit to Jordan in 2002 had two purposes, according to the cable text, which was released six days before the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks and the subsequent “war on terrorism” launched by the US. “The primary purpose of Hindi’s visit to Jordan was to communicate his view of Muslim experience in the US post-9/11, to counter rumours and anecdotes now circulating in the region about treatment of Muslims in the US. The narrower purpose of the June 13 meeting was to step closer towards the resumption of routine contacts between the embassy and the IAF, disrupted two years ago by a series of visa issues involving prominent Muslim leaders,” the cable said. Although they said “yes” to dialogue with the US, the Islamists said “no” to agreement, according to the cable text. The US embassy declined to comment on the issue, or on the leaks.

The full cable is here.

According to his online biography, Yahya Hindi is the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, the Imam of the Islamic Society of Frederick, Frederick, MD, and is the Muslim Chaplain at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The biography also says that he is a member of the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of North America also known as the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). FCNA is affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America (FCNA) and composed of Islamic scholars associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood. FCNA grew out of the activities of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and later became affiliated with ISNA, itself an outgrowth of the MSA. FCNA maintains a relationship with other similar bodies in the global Muslim Brotherhood including the European Council for Fatwa and Research headed by Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi as well as the Islamic Fiqh Academy in Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic Action Front (IAF) is generally considered to be the political wing of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood. Tone of the important leaders of the IAF is Ishaq Farhan, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin and one of the three founders of the IAF. He is also a former education minister and senator. Mr. Farhan is listed as a director of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), founded in the U.S. in 1980 by important members of the Global Muslim Brotherhood who wished to promote the “Islamization of Knowledge.” IIIT was associated with the now defunct SAAR Foundation, a network of Islamic organizations located in Northern Virginia that was raided by the Federal government in March 2002 in connection with the financing of terrorism. In 2000, Mr. Farhan was denied entry to the U.S. after having had his visa revoked in the prior year without informing him. The New York Times reported at that time that unidentified American diplomats called Mr. Farhan a “moderating force” and that he “as kept a distance from the vociferous opposition to peaceful relations with Israel.” However, in 2003 a media report said that the IAF had “declared a jihad in favor of Iraq and Palestine if the US attacks Iraq.”

The Islamic Action Front (IAF) claim that all contacts with the U.S. government had been stopped since 2003 is demonstrably false since as the GMBDW reported in March of 2010, a representative of the IAF was scheduled to attend a conference of the Center for Islam and Democracy (CSID) along with State Department and White House officials.

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