The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood umbrella group owning many of the mosques in the U.S., has issued its response to the mistrial in the Holy Land terrorism financing case. Consistent with the role that ISNA plays in the U.S. Brotherhood, its response was far less harsh than the response by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), viewed by many as the “attack dog” of the Brotherhood. An ISNA press release stated:
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) applauds the hard work and diligence that the jury has put into deliberating the evidence presented in the federal prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation and other defendants. Regrettably, despite the hard work of the jury, the charges brought in this trial could not be resolved and a mistrial has been declared for the majority of the counts. Even in the face of this outcome, ISNA continues to believe in the values of fairness, justice and due process that are exhibited and reinforced through such an open, public hearing, which is based on the principle that one is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law after a fair opportunity to refute allegations and to confront all witnesses.
The statement goes on to protest the inclusion of ISNA, along with CAIR and many other U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations, on a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the case stating that “ISNA remains an independent North American institution and never was, and is not now, affiliated with or influenced by any international organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood” The statement also renounces terrorism and names Hamas and Hezbollah, something which it appears to have done for the first time in September:
To be clear, ISNA remains consistent in its rejection of terrorism and violence. ISNA rejects all acts of terrorism, including those perpetrated by Hamas, Hizbullah and any other group that claims Islam as their inspiration. ISNA has encouraged and continues to encourage a just and fair settlement of disputes between Israel, the Palestinians and their neighbors through diplomacy and other peaceful means.
Despite the moderation of the ISNA press release, the organization also posted another statement, attributed to CAIR, by M. Cherif Bassiouni, described as a Distinguished Research Professor of Law and DePaul University President Emeritus. Mr. Bassiouni’s statement was far harsher calling the Holy Land prosecution one that is ” likely to go down in the record books as one of the great abuses of the American legal process.” The statement went on to say to call the trial an example of “intimidation and harassment” and a “fear-mongering campaign” that is an “assault upon constitutional freedoms under the guise of terrorist-related prosecutions .” The statement concludes by alleging that if nothing is done, American Muslims will suffer the same fate as Japanese-Americans during World War II:
If the present tactics of the Department of Justice continue, it will not be long before American Muslims suffer the same fate Japanese-Americans did in World War II. Demonizing an entire minority group based on suspicion and fear-mongering was wrong then, and it is wrong now. We cannot allow such a blot on our history to be repeated.
The juxtaposition of a moderate statement by ISNA along with a harsh polemic by CAIR on the same website is an interesting illustration of how the various organizations in the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood play out the roles they have assigned themselves.