ICNA Fundraising Dinner Features John Esposito


A local media website has posted a notice and article for the Annual Supporters’ Dinner for the Bay Area Chapter of the Islamic Circle of North America. According to the notice rhe title of the dinner is Defending Religious Freedom – Understanding Shariah:

Defending Religious Freedom — Understanding Shariah ICNA is best known for their relief work, including mobile soup kitchens and women’s shelters. They also run a number of educational campaigns as in the Young Muslims Islamic Quiz and the Why Islam project. But this recent effort is in response to a disturbing trend we’ve seen in the last few years. A group I’ve come to call the ‘Anti-Muslim Brain Trust’ has been very successful in falsely claiming Islamic religious law is a threat to the United States. These bloggers and self-styled ‘experts’ argue that Shariah is a strategy by extremists to transform the United States into an Islamic state. They’ve been widely successful at this, evidenced by 13 states considering legislation banning Shariah, including a bill before the Tennessee State Senate that made the practice of Shariah punishable by 15 years in jail. ICNA’s Supporter’s Dinner in Orange County, CA last year was ever protested by an anti-Muslims mob. Their goal is to generate the sentiment that Muslims should not be part of American society, but ‘Shariah’ as these fear mongers interpret and define it is completely different from from the normative practice of actual Muslims. Many religeous communities have faced this kind of bigotry in America’s past, including similar claims made against Jews and Judaic Law, and accusations made against Catholics of duel loyalty to the Pope. ICNA has taken up the challenge of dispelling these myths about Islam and Muslims by launching their educational campaign Defending Religious Freedom – Understanding Shariah.

Read the rest here.

The notice indicates that the keynote speaker at the campaign launch event will be Georgetown academic John Esposito.

Dr. Esposito, a former U.S. State Department advisor,  has espoused views consistent with Brotherhood doctrine and during the 1990’s was known for his claims that Islamic fundamentalism was, in fact, democratic and posed no threat to the U.S. Dr. Esposito has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations including having served on the advisory board of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in the U.K. headed by Azzam Tamimi, a leader in the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood and often described as a Hamas spokesman. Dr. Esposito has also served with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi on the Steering Committee of the Circle of Tradition and Progress and enjoyed a close relationship with the United Association For Studies and Research (USAR), part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and part of the Hamas support infrastructure. In 2005, Saudi prince Alaweed bin Talal, a financial supporter of the global Muslim Brotherhood, donated $20 million to the Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown, headed by Dr. Esposito.

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, a part of the US Muslim Brotherhood and tied to the Egyptian organization, 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. A post from March reported on a new ICNA educational campaign on Shari’ah (Islamic Law) . A post from August 2011 discussed a personal appeal for donations from the founder and former president of ICNA to support ICNA’s “Understanding Shari’ah” campaign.

The Investigative Project (IP) has recently published a report on titled “ICNA Embraces America’s Favorite Salafi Preacher.” In April, IP published a report on ICNA titled “ICNA’s Radicalization Continues.” 

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