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Jan
31

ISNA Hosts New Somali President; Meeting Included U.S. OIC Envoy And The Islamic Circle of North America

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The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has announced that it recently hosted the newly elected President of Somalia in a meeting that included U.S. government officials, notably Rashad Hussain the U.S. Envoy to the OIC, and a representative of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). According to the ISNA announcement:

On Friday, January 18, 2013, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) President Imam Mohamed Magid hosted the newly elected Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Virginia.  ISNA was delighted to have the opportunity to welcome the new President after a long period of political instability in Somalia.  His visit to Washington, DC marks the first time the U.S. government has recognized the Somali government in 20 years, and ISNA is hopeful that his leadership may indeed provide stability and peace to the country. During the meeting, President Mohamud expressed his vision for a new Somalia, sharing his hopes for its transformation.  Specifically, he appealed to the American Muslim community to help him build youth centers across the country to provide vocational training and educational programs for youth and to help guide them in a positive direction.  Imam Magid was moved by President Mohamud’s vision and agreed that priority should be given to the youth, offering to help the President realize that goal. Several other esteemed leaders also joined the meeting.  These included representatives of the U.S. government such as Farah Pandith, U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities; Rashad Hussain, U.S. Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation; and Ambassador Johnnie Carson, U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs.  Representatives of other Muslim organizations were also present, such as Naeem Baig of the Islamic Circle of North America, and Humera Khan of Muflehun Institute.  Accompanying President Mohamud were his Chief of Staff, Kamal Dahir Gutale, and Somali Foreign Minister Fowsiyo Yusuf Haji Aadan.”

A post from last September reported that international leaders were calling the election of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud “a great step forward” for Somalia. The BBC report  that was the subject of the September post described Mr. Mohamud, 56, as

…a civic activist who founded a university in Mogadishu and has worked for several national and international peace and development organizations. He has links to al-Islah, Somalia’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.’ 

A 2007 article on the  Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood  website confirms that Al-Islah is, in fact, the Somali branch of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. A Somali web portal recently described Al-Islah as follows:

Al-Islah, the internationally-recognized MB outfit, can best be described as a small organization with an elitist bent. Many of the rank- and- file members are educated and have no commonality with the average Guled or Maryam. Whereas the Egyptian MB shares the same elitist quality with its brethren in Somalia, it was nevertheless able to articulate its political and social agendas with the Egyptian masses. Al-Islah, on the other hand, has generally steered of being part of Somalia’s political process because it lacked vision, grass-roots support among the masses, and a willingness to cooperate with other–and in some cases bigger– Islamic movements in the country. For the last two decades, al-Islah has distinguished itself by telling the international community that it is not Salafi, and hence militant. The leadership has failed to define its movement other than reciting that it is not Al-Ittihad al-Islami (AIAI) or al-Shabab.

 A post from February 2009 discussed the Muslim Brotherhood ties of the previous Somali President.

 For more info on Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, go here.

For a self-description of Islah, go here.

As documented in a Hudson Institute reportISNA grew directly out of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Contrary to its claim that ISNA has a “long record of fighting hate, extremism, and bigotry, including anti-Semitism”, the organization actually has a long history of fundamentalism, anti-semitism, and support for terrorism and during the recent Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial, ISNA was named as an unindicted co-conspirator as a result of what the government called “ISNA’s and NAIT’s intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case.” Although it is true that ISNA has issued condemnations of terrorism which for the first time identified Hamas and Hezbollah by name, there is no indication that the organization has ever addressed or acknowledged its history of support for terrorism. Also, as the Hudson Institute report observes, almost all of the ISNA founders remain active in the organization and ISNA maintains close relations with all other components of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. A previous post discussed the ties between the ISNA Secretary-General, a former leader of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Chicago chapter, and an Illinois school with close links to the Mosque Foundation, itself tied to fundraising for Hamas. Despite it’s long history of association with fundamentalism, terrorism, and anti-Semitism, ISNA has been successful of late in building alliances with Jewish leaders and organizations. Former ISNA officials such as Muzammil Siddiqi, Sayyid Syeed, and Mohamed Magid have been particularly active in promoting Holocaust awareness, including participating in a trip last August to concentration camp sites in Europe. A post from October 2011 reported on a  controversial conference associated with ISNA that was accused by a critics of being sponsored by organizers who made of anti-Semitic and anti-gay remarks.

For a short time, Rashad Hussain was embroiled in controversy after the GMBDW reported both his associations with the US Muslim Brotherhood and remarks that he had made in 2004 about the prosecution of convicted terrorist Sami Al-Arian that were later deleted from the publication that reported them. Mr. Hussain at first denied remembering that he had made the remarks calling the prosecution “politically motivated persecution” but later, after an audio tape surfaced documenting the remarks, he acknowledged the comments but said that they had been “ill advised.” Mr. Hussain also admitted that he had complained to the publication about being misrepresented after the remarks were first reported but that the publication had deleted them on their own volition. The remarks did not appear to have been deleted until after Mr. Hussain had been appointed White House Counsel. (for an analysis of these events, go here). Since that time, Mr. Hussain has appeared at numerous events sponsored by the US Muslim Brotherhood including those held by the Center for the Study of Islamic and Democracy (CSID), the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals (CAMP), and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). A Hudson Institute report identifies both the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) as elements of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Previous posts have discussed the  U.S. Muslim Brotherhood ties of the other organizations.

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is a less well-known part of the Muslim Brotherhood network in the U.S., generally thought to be closely tied to the Jamaat-e-Islami organization of Southeast Asia, itself known to be allied with the Muslim Brotherhood. ICNA is particularly close to the Muslim American Society, a part of the US Muslim Brotherhood and tied to the Egyptian organization, and the two organizations have been holding joint annual conventions for many years. Previous posts have discussed ICNA ad campaigns intended to present Islam to the U.S. public. The New York campaign drew national media attention when it was reported that Siraj Wahajj, an American Islamic convert associated with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was behind the New York campaign. A post from March reported on a new ICNA educational campaign on Shari’ah (Islamic Law) . A post from August 2011 discussed a personal appeal for donations from the founder and former president of ICNA to support ICNA’s “Understanding Shari’ah” campaign.

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