ISNA President Says Cites Relationship With U.S. Government As Defense Against Critics


Ingrid Mattson, the President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has cited “collaborative work with the Bush Administration” as refutation of charges that ISNA had links to Hamas as alleged by U.S prosecutors who named the group as one of the unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land terrorism financing case. According a report carried on the ISNA website:

Mattson said the Islamic Society is fighting both the substance of the government’s claim against it, as well as the legal designation of “unindicted co-conspirator” — because it allows the government to levy the accusation without publicly disclosing its proof. “There’s also no forum to publicly defend ourselves against any charge,” Mattson said. According to news reports last July, federal prosecutors said they had a “wide array” of evidence linking the groups to Hamas. But the picture the government painted of Mattson’s organization also detailed its collaborative work with the Bush administration. Mattson said members of the organization have received awards from the federal government for their work. “There’s this really bizarre quality to the whole thing because, on the one hand, many people in government value our work, ask for our advice and support and have even honored us,” Mattson said. “On the other hand, because of this one federal prosecutor’s decision to put us in this category for the trial, we have this legal stigma around our neck.”

Muslim Brotherhood affiliated organizations in the U.S., along with their defenders, often cite their relationship with government agencies as a defense against their critics.

Mattson also blamed hinted that U.S. Jewish groups were behind the “criticism” of ISNA:

Mattson said she believes the criticism of her comes from two distinct groups: those who “don’t like Muslims to be involved in or recognized in society in any way” and those who “oppose anyone in academia or the clergy who advocates in any way for Palestinians.” Her position, and the position of the society, rubs the wrong way anyone who sees the Israel-Palestinian conflict as a “zero-sum game,” she said. “We believe the pro-peace position is both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine,” Mattson said. “We advocate that American Muslim and Jewish communities should understand each other and communicate with each other.”

Documents released as part of the Holy Land Foundation terrorism Financing trial clearly show that ISNA was created as part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. ISNA has a long history of supporting and association with Islamic fundamentalism, anti-Semitism, and terrorism although recently the organization has issued condemnations of terrorism which for the first time identify Hamas and Hezbollah by name. There is no indication that the organization has ever addressed or acknowledged this history and knowledgeable sources describe Mattson as a “figurehead” within the organization.

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