September 26, 2013 On Tuesday afternoon in New York, a group of more than 30 American Muslim leaders met with Dr. Hassan Rouhani, the newly elected President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Among the leaders present were Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America. The leaders discussed areas of concern for American Muslims in particular, including the crisis in Syria and growing sectarian tensions worldwide.
Dr. Sayyid Syeed of ISNA opened the meeting speaking about the 50 years of successful Muslim American institutional building that the leaders in the room represented. Syeed congratulated President Rouhani, and thanked him for his commitment to dialogue, while emphasizing the extensive interfaith and social justice activities of the American Muslim community.
Al-Marayati and Magid spoke about the growing concern about the atrocities in Syria, and raised the issue of Iran’s role in this turmoil. MPAC and ISNA delivered a joint letter to the Iranian president calling on Rouhani to work toward an end to the atrocities and conflict in Syria, and a post-al-Assad Syria. It also stresses the need for leadership to promote sectarian unity globally to counter divisions and violence on the rise.
In addition to the four points related to Syria, the letter also calls for a legal process to be clearly outlined for the release of political prisoners in Iran, such as Amir Hekmati, an American Marine who has been held in in Iran for more than two years.
Regarding sectarian violence, the Muslim leadership at the meeting spoke about the need for cooperation and a commitment to work together under the tenants of MPAC’s ‘Intra-faith Code of Honor,’ launched in 2007 by MPAC to address the increasing sectarian violence abroad and, most importantly, ensure that American Muslim communities are not divided or infected by international events, and ISNA’s recent ‘Washington Declaration For the Protection of Nations and Societies from the Menace of Sectarian Violence.’
To date, the Code has been adopted by more than 50 major American Muslim Sunni and Shia leaders including Imam Sayid Hassan Al-Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi of the Fiqh Council of North America, Dr. Sherman Jackson, Dr. Pervez Shah and Sh. Ahmad Saleh of the Universal Muslim Association of America, Ghalib V. Begg of the Michigan Muslim Community Council and Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University.
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A post from last month reported on an announcement at the recent ISBA conference that a unity agreement was signed between North America Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. A post from June discussed the announcement by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) that MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati spoke at a US Shia Muslim gathering about its “‘Intra-faith Code of Honor.”
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) describes itself as “an independent, open and transparent membership organization that strives to be an exemplary and unifying Islamic organization in North America by contributing to the betterment of the Muslim community and society at large. ISNA emerged out of the early U.S. Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure and documents discovered in the course of the the terrorism trial of the Holy Land Foundation confirmed that the organization was part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. ISNA was named as a Holy Land unindicted co-conspirator as a result of what the US Justice Department called the organization’s ” intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case.” In 2009, a US federal judge ruled “The Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas.” ISNA has had a long history of fundamentalism, anti-semitism, and support for terrorism. ISNA of late. Clearly considered to be “rehabilitated” by the Obama administration, ISNA has more recently issued robust condemnations of terrorism beginning with this 2008 ISNA statement that although denying culpability in the Holy Land terrorism financing case, for the first time condemned terrorism while identifying Hamas and Hezbollah by name. ISNA has also been engaged in an active program of interfaith cooperation that has included partnerships with Jewish organizations and visits to concentration camp sites in Europe. Yet despite these new efforts, ISNA continues maintain strong ties to both the US and Global Muslim Brotherhood and has failed to date to acknowledge any aspect of its actual origins or its history of fundamentalism, anti-semitism, and support for terrorism. For these reasons, the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch concludes that ISNA remains, as it always has been, an integral part of the US Muslim Brotherhood.
For a detailed analysis of ISNA and its recent history, go here.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) was established originally in 1986 as the Political Action Committee of the Islamic Center of Southern California whose leaders had backgrounds suggesting they were associated with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. A 1989 US Muslim Brotherhood document introduced as evidence in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial refers to the last name of one of the MPAC leaders, Mather Hathout, in a list of “Islamic Centers and Groups in the field.” MPAC has since developed into the political lobby arm of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and has opposed almost every counterterrorism action proposed or carried out by the U.S. government, often suggesting that the efforts were aimed at the U.S. Muslim community. MPAC has also acted to support a variety of Palestinian terrorist organizations as well as facilitating a wider range of terrorism by defending or justifying violence carried out by Islamic groups. Nevertheless, MPAC has developed particularly extensive relationships with agencies of the U.S. government including meetings with the Department of Justice and the FBI.MPAC and its leaders have made anti-Semitic statements that assert or imply an organized Jewish effort to defame and exclude U.S. Muslims from U.S. political life and has engaged in frequent and virulent demonization of Israel including describing Israeli actions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque as a “rape of the soul of the Islamic people”, asserting that the objective of Israeli actions in Gaza was “gross killings of Palestinian civilians, including women and children”, and accusing supporters of Israel of using tactics similar to Hitler’s. In December 2009, MPAC reported that “Israeli doctors had extracted human organs from dead Palestinians during the 1988 intifada and into the 1990s.” MPAC leader Salamn Al-Marayati suggested on a talk radio show on September 11, 2001 that Israel might have been behind the 911attacks.