Despite its recent designation as a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) continues to make progress in gaining legitimacy from U.s government officials and politicians. The November-December issue of Islamic Horizons, an ISNA publication, has detailed the participation of U.S. officials in ISNA’s recent annual convention:
- Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, addressed the convention and was described as “the first senior mainstream politician to address a Muslim American convention.” He was accompanied by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH).
- America’s first Muslim Congressman gave the keynote address to the Community Service Recognition Luncheon and also appeared on a panel entitled “Issues of Faith” along with Imam Siraj Wahhaj, was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Also participating in the panel were Asma Mirza (president, MSA), and Zaki Barzinji (president, MYNA), likely relatives of Yacub Mirza and Jamal Barzinji, former officers of the now defunct SAAR Foundation still under investigation by the Justice Department in relation to terrorism financing. Ahmed Totonji, another former SAAR officer, accepted a Community Service award.
- Attendees at the President’s Reception for Dignitaries included Paul Brinkley (deputy undersecretary of defense for business transformation; director of the Task Force to Improve Business and Stability Operations in Iraq), Brian Flora (diplomat-in-residence, State Department), Daniel Sutherland (DHS Officer for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties), Hesham Islam (Special Assistant for International Affairs, Office of the Deputy secretary, U.S. Department of Defense), and officials from the departments of Defense, State, Transportation, and Justice, as well as from USAID and the Transportation Security Administration.
- Brian Flora (University of Illinois in Chicago), Mark Ward (USAID), Hesham ElGamiel (FBI), and Sana Hussain discussed the employment and internship opportunities available with the federal government. George SeUm (Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, U.S. Department of Homeland security) moderated.
- John Tuskan (Center for Mental Health Services; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), Dr. Abdul Basit (Northwestern University), and Altaf Husain spoke on how Muslims can deal with resettling Muslim refugees in America.
This appears to be the first ISNA event that has involved the participation of so many U.S. government officials.
(Source: Federal Information and News Dispatch, Inc. Islamic Horizons November 2007 – December 2007 “A FAITH IN SERVICE TO HUMANITY” SECTION: ISNA 44TH CONVENTION; Pg. 42 Vol. 36 No. 6 ISSN: 8756-2367)