An official of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has called accusations that ISNA is part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood “Muslim bashing” and compared use of Brotherhood documents introduced as Federal court evidence to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the notorious anti-semitic Czarist forgery. According to an article by Louay Safi, the director of the ISNA Development Center:
Muslim bashing is the new cottage industry with its own industrial barons and wide web of fear mongering bloggers ready on a moment notice to echo the noise generated at the industry’s hate mills. The buzz word at the anti-Muslim network and its far-right bloggers this weekend was my recent visit to Fort Hood. The reporting was not on the content of my presentation or the purpose of my visit, but rather over a set of fictitious affiliations and unfounded accusations. The attack focused mainly on the fact that I am a director with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an umbrella organization that represents professional Muslim organizations and Islamic centers across the United States and Canada. The buzz started from the Jihad Watch blog of Robert Spencer, the epicenter of anti-Muslim propaganda. Spencer harbors boundless hatred towards Islam and Muslims and spends his day spinning every piece of news involving Muslims that he thinks he could manipulate. On December 2, Spencer published a posting on his blog insinuating that the organization I represent is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and that ISNA is involved in “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands?” Let alone the absurdity of the claim, it is bogus and unfounded. Spencer’s evidence for making this sweeping statement is a document in Arabic dated May 19, 1991, and signed by an obscure author. The document is written as a blueprint for gaining control over several Muslim American organizations. The document named ISNA as one of the prime targets of the author ambition, and this, Spencer thinks, gives him the liberty to brand ISNA as a Brotherhood vehicle. Spencer and his ilk in the Muslim bashing industry, including Steve Emerson, does not explain how he could appropriate the fantasy of an unknown author to assert that ISNA is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamic Society of North America is an independent Muslim American organization governed by an elected council and led by an elected president. It has no affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, and has a membership that is too diverse in its religious orientation and so broad in its political views to be boxed into a singular ideological profile. ISNA has been on the forefront of working towards the integration of Muslim Americans into mainstream society, has been committed building bridges of cooperation and understanding through religious and ethnic lines, and actively engaged in interfaith dialogue and cooperation. Rather than working to eliminate and destroy the Western civilization from within, as the Muslim bashers’ favorite document alleges, ISNA members have been working on strengthening their society by serving as medical doctors, public servants, professionals, professors, social workers, chaplains, and, yes, soldiers. Spencer and other anti-Muslim hate mongers have been using the Brotherhood-linked document to defame Muslim Americans and discredit their mainstream organizations in the same way the Protocols of Zion Elders was used by anti-Semitic pundits against Jews.
However, whatever the merits of the blog and author in question, the connection between ISNA and U.S. Muslim Brotherhood were established by U.S. prosecutors as part of the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial. According to an associated document:
The evidence introduced at trial, for example, established that ISNA and NAIT were among those organizations created by the U.S.-Muslim Brotherhood. (Govt. Exh. 3- 64 (seized from the home of HAMAS leader Ismail Elbarasse); Govt. Exh. 3-3 (Muslim Brotherhood document noting that ISNA was founded by the US-Muslim Brotherhood) ; Govt. Exh. 3-85 (1991 memorandum authored by U.S.-Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council member Mohamed Akram Adlouni, recognizing ISNA and NAIT as Muslim Brotherhood organizations.) Government’s Exhibit 3-85, entitled An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal of the Group, described the Brotherhood’s strategic goal as a kind of “grand Jihad”: The Ikhwan must understand that their role in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western Civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious…. At the end of the document, the memorandum lists those Muslim Brotherhood organizations that – if they all worked together – could help accomplish this grand objective. These organizations include ISNA, NAIT, the Occupied Land Fund (OLF )(the former name of the Holy Land Foundation), the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), and others. Id. ISNA and NAIT, in fact, shared more with HLF than just a parent organization. They were intimately connected with the HLF and its assigned task of providing financial support to HAMAS.
A report by the Hudson Institute explores more fully the history of ISNA and its associations with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
It should also be noted that the author of the “Grand Jihad” document is likely Mohammad Akram Al-Adlouni who is far from the “obscure author” as characterized by Dr. Safi. Rather Al-Adlouni is Secretary-General of Al Quds International, chaired by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and co-founded by Faisal Malawi, head of the Lebanese Muslim Brotherhood and Qaradawi’s Deputy at the European Council for Fatwa and Research. As the Hudson Institute report documents, Al-Adlouni was also at one time likely a member of the Shura (leadership) Council of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.