US media is reporting that a summit to discuss both the planned “Ground Zero Mosque” and its associated controversies will be held on Sunday. According to an AP report:
NEW YORK – A PROPOSED Islamic center near ground zero is slowly being embraced by some Muslims who initially were indifferent about the plan, partly in response to a sense that their faith is under attack. A summit of US Muslim organizations is scheduled to begin on Sunday in New York City to address both the project and a rise in anti-Muslim sentiments and rhetoric that has accompanied the nationwide debate over the project. It has yet to be seen whether the groups will emerge with a firm stand on the proposed community center, dubbed Park51. The primary purpose of the meeting is to talk about ways to combat religious bigotry. But Shaik Ubaid of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York, one of the groups organizing the gathering, said he has a growing sense that some American Muslims who initially had trepidation are now throwing their support behind the plan. ‘Once it became a rallying cry for extremists, we had no choice but to stand with Feisal Rauf,’ he said, referring to the New York City imam who has been leading the drive for the center.
The American Muslim reports that the summit will be held in front of the proposed site and will include the following “National Islamic Leaders Representing” virtually the entire leadership of the US Muslim Brotherhood:
- Imam Muhammad Majid; President Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
- Dr. Zahid Bukhari; President, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
- Dr. Ahmed Elbendary; President, Muslim American Society (MAS)
- Mr. Nihad Awad, Executive Director, CAIR
- Imam Siraj Wahhaj; Ameer, Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA)
- Imam Al-Tayyab Abuel Yamaan, Chairman, North American Imams Federation
- Imam Mahdi Bray; Executive Director, MAS Justice & Peace Foundation
- Mr. Haris Tarin; Director, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
- Mr. M. Salim Akhtar; Executive Director, American Muslim Taskforce (AMT)
- Mr. Muhammad Nasir; Executive Director, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
A Hudson Institute report identifies the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS),the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR, and the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) as parts of the US Muslim Brotherhood. Previous posts have discussed the ties between the Muslim Alliance of North America and the US Muslim Brotherhood. According to its website, the AMT is made up of all the major U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations including CAIR, ICNA, and MPAC.
The President of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) is Omar Shahin, best known for his role as one of a group of imams known as the “Flying Imams” removed from US Airways Flight 300, from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Phoenix, Arizona on November 20, 2006. The removal of the imams was initiated when several passengers, as well as crew, became alarmed by what they felt was suspicious behavior. The imams, along with the Muslim American Society and the Council on American-Islamic Relations brought high-profile complaints and demonstrations against the airline, saying they were removed from the airplane solely due to religious discrimination and a lawsuit in the case was settled out of court in October 2009.
In 2004, the head of the NAIF was reported to be Egyptian cleric Wagdi Ghoneim (aka Wagdy Mohamed Ghoneim, Wagdi Ghuniem) who in January 2005 agreed to be voluntarily deported from the U.S. based upon Department of Homeland Security concerns that his past speeches and participation in fund-raising activities could be supportive of terrorist organizations. Known for his anti-semitic speeches, global media have also reported that he is closely associated with Hamas. The Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that Mr. Ghoneim was added by Egyptian authorities to a list of 90 leaders of the “International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood”