A Canadian Islamic news portal has reported that President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has been co-awarded the Peacemaker 2011 Award from the Olender Foundation for what is described as his “work to counter Holocaust denial worldwide.” According to the report:
The Islamic Society of North America’s President Imam Mohamed Magid and Dr. Marshall Breger received the Peacemaker 2011 Award for their work to counter the growing Holocaust denial spreading world-wide. The award was presented at the 25th Annual Olender Foundation Awards earlier this month. The Olender Foundation aims to counter poverty and violence and to promote opportunity and equal justice. Each year the foundation honors public figures and ordinary citizens who make extraordinary contributions to society. Imam Magid has developed a strong relationship with the Jewish community, both as an ISNA leader and as the Director for the ADAMS Center. In August 2010, Imam Magid and Dr. Breger joined U.S. Special Envoy Hannah Rosenthal to lead a delegation of Muslim and Jewish leaders to the Nazi camps of Auschwitz and Dachau. The Imams shared a prayer for all the Holocaust victims and also issued a joint statement pledging “to make real the commitment of ‘never again’ and to stand united against injustice wherever it may be found in the world today.
A previous post reported on trip of eight Muslim-American clerics accompanied by US officials to the sites of the former Dachau and Auschwitz concentration camps. As that post noted, at least two of the Muslim clerics on the trip have in the past been associated with Holocaust denial and/or Holocaust deniers. In 2001 Yasir Qadhi, was embroiled in controversy centered on his remarks denying the Holocaust. According to the UK Sunday Telegraph (see Note 1):
In 2001, Qadhi described the holocaust as a hoax, claiming that “Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews” and “all this [the Holocaust]is false propaganda”. Although he later claimed he had been misled into making these statements, he more recently posted links to articles by a notorious Holocaust denier on an Islamic online forum, according to the Centre for Social Cohesion.
According to investigative research posted on the GMBDW, Dr. Siddiqi and other ISNA leaders have in the past enjoyed relationships with individuals known to have engaged in Holocaust denial activity. These individuals include:
- Dr. William Baker who was known to have had a rightwing extremist and anti-Semitic background which included serving as national chairman of Costa Mesa-based Holocaust denier Willis Carto’s Populist Party.
- Harun Yaya, the pen name of an individual identified as Adan Oknar, a well-known author of several anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial books.
- Dr. M. Amir Ali, the late founder and former President of the board of directors of the Institute of Islamic Information & Education in Chicago (IIIE) whose website was filled with extremely virulent expressions of anti-Semitism. Dr. Siddiqi, a past President of ISNA, was an early member of the board of IIIE.
None of this history appears to have been acknowledged by ISNA or its leaders.
As documented in a Hudson Institute report, ISNA grew directly out of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.The organization actually 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. In addition, a previous post discussed the ties between the ISNA Secretary-General, a former leader of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Chicago chapter, and an Illinois school with close links to the Mosque Foundation, itself tied to fundraising for Hamas.
A previous post reported that ISNA condemned the recent attempted bombing of Chicago area synagogues.