The Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), two lesser-known organizations that are part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, held their six annual convention at a Chicago hotel from December 21-25. According to a local media report, the title of the conference was “Our faith. Our community and 7000 people were expected to attend. Conference activities were reported to include a “summit” with the State department and the FBI, which is closed to the media and the discussion at the conference was expected to center on “preserving the rights of Americans while protecting them from terrorism.” The report says that the MAS is trying to reach out to the community and to law enforcement about their anti-terrorism campaign and that they have moved to renew condemnation of militant attacks.
Given these themes, one of the interesting speakers expected to address the conference was Sheikh Jamial Said, Imam and director of the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview. A 2004 Chicago newspaper investigation indicated that Said was inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood, educated at a Saudi Arabian University, and noted for his sermons espousing strict Islamic fundamentalist views and critical of America as a land of disbelievers. Part of his salary was paid by the government of Saudi Arabia. There was substantial evidence of financial support for Hamas at the mosque under Sheikh Jamal’s directions and one of the mosque’s eight-member executive committee was Muhammad Salah, a Muslim Brotherhood member who was arrested in Israel in 1993 and has since been identified as a Hamas military commander.
The MAS is a less well-known part of the Muslim Brotherhood network in the U.S. that first came to national attention when the Chicago Tribune did a feature story on the group in September 2004. ICNA is also 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.
Note: Video of the conference is available here.
(Additional Source: Struggle for the soul of Islam; Hard-liners won battle for Bridgeview mosque Chicago Tribune February 8, 2004)