The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has announced that its leader attended the annual dinner of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) where US envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Rashad Hussain was the keynote speaker. According to the ISNA announcement:
ISNA Secretary General, Safaa Zarzour, and ISNA Development Foundation Executive Director, Ahmed ElHattab, attended the annual dinner of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) to celebrate the impressive work of the council on behalf of Muslims in the greater Chicago area, and to invite the representatives of the 60-member strong council to the ISNA Convention and ask them to encourage their members to attend the convention as well. The ISNA convention will be held in Chicago during the period of July 2-5, 2010. The council event included an impressive list of speakers including Congressman Keith Ellison, Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Illinois Republican Minority Senate Leader Christine Radogno and several state senators and representatives from around the state. Safaa Zarzour introduced the keynote speaker Rashad Hussain, United States Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference and Deputy Associate Counsel to President Obama. In the introduction, Zarzour emphasized the example Rashad sets for members of the Muslim community both young and old in terms of hard work, achievement, and service to ones country. In turn, Rashad spoke about President Obama’s outreach to the Muslim community both abroad and in the US and urged the Muslim community to continue to do its part in combating violent extremism and building bridges with other interfaith groups and civil society organizations. “This is a wonderful event highlighting the tremendous progress the Muslim community in Chicago has made in community building,” said Ahmed ElHattab. “We are excited to have the ISNA annual convention here and are happy with the support we receive from CIOGC whenever we are in Chicago,” he added.
For a short time, Mr. Hussain was embroiled in controversy after the GMBDW reported both his associations with the US Muslim Brotherhood and remarks that he had made in 2004 about the prosecution of convicted terrorist Sami Al-Arian that were later deleted from the publication that reported them. Mr. Hussain at first denied remembering that he had made the remarks calling the prosecution “politically motivated persecution” but later, after an audio tape surfaced documenting the remarks, he acknowledged the comments but said that they had been “ill advised.” Mr. Hussain also admitted that he had complained to the publication about being misrepresented after the remarks were first reported but that the publication had deleted them on their own volition. The remarks did not appear to have been deleted until after Mr. Hussain had been appointed White House Counsel. (for an analysis of these events, go here)
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.
The CIOGC has maintained links with the US Muslim Brotherhood over the years which will not be detailed here.