The Islamic Circle of North America’s (ICNA) 2010 South Central Regional Conference last month at the University of Houston was more than just the local edition of ICNA’s yearly theme, “Save Family – Save Society.” Sessions like “Peer Pressure: Good or Bad” and “Parents and Our Responsibility” offered reasonable emphasis on issues of concern to any family. However, increasing radicalism among Muslim American youth is a concern as well, and some of the literature available at the conference stood in contradiction with the stated goal of ‘saving society.’ Books by Islamist ideologues were widely available to conference attendees, including those by the godfather of modern Sunni terror movements and a Pakistani extremist who dreams of global Islamic governance. These materials were in keeping with ICNA’s long-standing promotion of extremist Islamist literature, a trend which was documented by the Investigative Project on Terrorism in connection with the radicalization of five young Americans arrested in Pakistan last December while trying to join the fight against U.S. troops. The availability of such material indicates that, despite ICNA’s positive public image, the organization hasn’t taken promised steps to shed its ideological baggage. ICNA has its own book service, which was created to provide “Islamic literature to Muslims living in North America.” At the South Central Regional Conference, it provided the most radical titles for sale. Among them were Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi’s The Aqsa Mosque and Zionist Designs, which revisits classic anti-Semitic themes and theories reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Mawdudi was the founder of the extremist Pakistani group Jamaat-e-Islami, which advocates the Islamization of the entire globe, including non-Muslim lands and governments. Furthermore, ICNA has provided other materials by Mawdudi through its websites, which call for violent jihad as a duty for every Muslim. In one book available on ICNA’s Youth webpage, Towards Understanding Islam, he wrote:
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The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is 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. ICNA is particularly close to the Muslim American Society and the two organizations have been holding joint annual conventions for many years. Previous posts have discussed ICNA ad campaigns intended to present Islam to the U.S. public. The New York campaign drew national media attention when it was reported that Siraj Wahajj, an American Islamic convert associated with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was behind the New York campaign.