The Investigative Project has reported on a US group known as the Syrian Emergency Taskforce (SETF) which is advising that American and other Western policymakers should not be concerned about the rise of the Islamic Front in Syria, identified as avowedly Islamist According to the IP report, the SETF has close relations with the US State Department:
Dec 20, 2013 The head of a major Syrian-American group said in a podcast earlier this month that American and other Western policymakers should not be concerned about the rise of the Islamic Front in Syria and should actively engage it.
The Islamic Front formed last month after seven Islamist rebel groups formed broke ranks with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), now the Syrian Rebel Front (SRB). The coalition’s charter clearly states that it aims to replace the Assad regime with an Islamic state and that it rejects democracy and secularism.
‘We have not seen serious engagement by the West with the biggest sort of united opposition armed element on the ground, and that’s something I think they definitely should do. That’s not to be written off,’ Syrian Emergency Taskforce Executive Director Mouaz Moustafa said in the podcast. ‘They should also be seen as the best hope against al-Qaida and the extremists in Syria and also against Hizballah and Assad.’
His group has close ties with the U.S. State Department and holds regular meetings with it and with members of Congress.
Moustafa urged his listeners not to ‘pass judgment’ on the Islamic Front based on its name alone.
Read the rest here.
According to its website, the SETF has a both a Board of Trustees and Board of Directors “consisting of Syrian American professionals from across the United States.” Of seven board members named, four are known to have a history of close ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood:
1. Jihad Qaddour
Another Syrian-Ameriecan organization website presents the following biographical information for Dr. Jihad Qaddour:
Dr. Jihad Qaddour received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1990 from Wichita State University and is currently an associate tenured professor at Illinois State University (ISU). Before Joining ISU, he held various positions in management, research, analysis and design, planning and strategic planning, and was a tenured associate professor at Mesa State College. He is the founder of Advanced Global Technology and Wind and Sunergy consulting companies and has more than 18 years of experience in renewable energy and telecommunications. Additionally, Dr. Qaddour served as Treasurer of the Muslim American Society (MAS) for 12 years and is a founding member of the Islamic Society of Wichita in Kansas.
In addition to his role as an officer of the Muslim American Society, the part of the US Muslim Brotherhood closest to the Egyptian organization, an individual with the last name Qaddour was listed on a spreadsheet from an internal U. Brotherhood document dated 12/18/88 that lists fifteen last names of the US Brotherhood Shura Council.
2. Hashem Mubarak
The above website also presents the following biographical information for Hashem Mubarak:
Dr. Mubarak was born in Damascus, Syria in 1955. He graduated with his MD from the University of Damascus in 1978. He moved to the U.S. in 1979 and completed 3 years of Internal Medicine training in Trenton, NJ. He then completed his Cardiology Fellowship at Rutgers University (now called Robertwood Johnson). He currently resides in Panama City, FL with his wife and youngest of six children….Hashem Mubarak has been practicing Cardiology in Panama City, FL since 1986. He has served as the president of the Bay County Islamic Society (BCIS) and is on the board of Life Management Center.
According to confidential information supplied to the GMBDW, the Bay City Islamic Center was part of the US Muslim Brotherhood network established in Panama City by the late and former head of the US Muslim Brotherhood Ahmed Elkadi.
3. Yahya M. Basha
The American-Arab Chamber of Commerce is posting the following bio on Dr. Yahya M. Basha (edited for brevity):
Born in Hama, Syria to a family of eleven children, Dr. Yahya M. Basha was educated in Christian Orthodox and Muslim schools and graduated from the University of Damascus, Syria, where he earned his Doctorate of Medicine. Dr. Basha came to the United States in 1972 as an intern at Mt. Carmel Mercy Hospital and completed his residency at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. In 1980, he began his own radiology practice ….In 2006 he was appointed a “Civilian Ambassador” by the U.S. State Department, traveling to the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, as part of Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes’ efforts to improve and clarify the U.S. image abroad. He is on the Advisory Board of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and is a National Advisory Board Member of the Arab American National Museum (AANM), on the Board of Governors of the Arab American Institute (AAI) in Washington, and on the Board of the National American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). Dr. Basha is also a Foundation Board Member of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in California, Board Member of the World Elijah Interfaith Academy, based in Jerusalem, on the Board of the Syrian American Congress (SAC) in Chicago, and a member of BRIDGES, a formalized working body created to bridge the gap between Arab-Americans and law enforcement. His former accolades include: Chairman of the American Muslim Council in Washington (AMC) • Advisor to the American Muslim Taskforce (AMT) • Chair of American Muslim Political Coordinating Council (AMPCC) • Board Member of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) • …Married and living with his wife and seven children in West Bloomfield, Michigan, n.
4. Bassam Estwani
A US government website provides the following information on Bassam Estwani:
He is the chairman of the board of the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, which is one of the Nation’s most active and influential mosques, located in the 11th Congressional District, which I represent. He has participated in many international conferences that focus on Islam and religious values in America. He has been instrumental in bringing members of different faith communities together to promote social justice.He has a law degree from the University of Damascus. He studied Islamic law in Damascus and at the University of Cairo. In Kuwait, Mr. Estwani participated in the publication of the Encyclopedia of Islamic Jurisprudence. In Lebanon, he established an Islamic publishing house that produced more than 200 titles in a number of different languages.
Dar Al-Hijrah is a Northern Virginia mosque closely tied to the US Muslim Brotherhood.
It should also be noted that Jihad Qaddour and Hashem Mubarak are also both members of the board of Syria Relief and Development, another US NGO said to be providing humanitarian aid to Syria.
The SETF is clearly not the only State Department group which has close ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood. The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) was founded in 1998 in what appears to have been a cooperative effort among the US Muslim Brotherhood, the US State Department and Georgetown University academic Dr. John Esposito who served during the 1990’s as a State Department “foreign affairs analyst” and who has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations.