The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has announced that Valerie Jarrett, a Senior Advisor and Assistant to President Obama, was the keynote speaker at the inaugural session of the organization’s annual national conference over the weekend. According to the announcement:
Valerie Jarrett was the keynote speaker on Friday at the inaugural session of the 46th Annual Convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Ms. Jarrett, who serves as a Senior Advisor and Assistant to President Obama for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, was introduced to the Convention’s participants by ISNA President Dr. Ingrid Mattson. Citing President Obama’s Cairo Speech, Ms. Jarrett acknowledged the Contribution of American Muslims to the overall development of American society and the strengthening of American institutions. She commended ISNA for addressing many critical issues in the convention: “increasing civic engagement and interfaith cooperation, protecting the rights of the disabled and elderly, addressing domestic violence, improving education and health care, expanding renewable energy, and protecting the environment.” Ms. Jarrett paid a tribute to the diligent work of Muslim Americans on behalf of the country.“As this Convention demonstrates,” she noted, “ gone are the days of describing distinct sets of ‘Muslim issues’ and American issues.’ Your work here is crucial in confronting the challenges that all Americans are facing. And you help advance the new beginning between the United State and Muslim communities around the world that the President called for in Cairo.”
A New York Times profile indicates that Mr. Jarrett was born in Iran in 1956 and educated at Stanford and University of Michigan Law School. She is a former deputy chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley, then his planning commissioner, then chairwoman of the Chicago Transit Authority. Her great-uncle is Vernon Jordan, the well-known Democratic power broker. In 1995, she left city government for the Habitat Company, which develops and manages residential properties, becoming the company’s chief executive officer. The NYT profile describes her as one of President Obama’s “most longstanding and influential tutors, navigating him through Chicago civic and political circles.”
As documented in a Hudson Institute report, ISNA grew directly out of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. The organization 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 recently ISNA 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 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.