Local media is reporting that Khizr Khan and his wife Ghazala, the parents of slain US Army Captain Humayun Khan, have appeared on stage at the 2016 national conference of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). According to a Chicago Tribune report:
September 3, 2015 The couple who lost a son in the Iraq War and were attacked by Donald Trump after their appearance at the Democratic National Convention this summer on Saturday thanked those at a national Islamic convention for their support but warned the ‘assault’ on the Muslim community won’t end with the November election.
Khizr Khan and his wife, Ghazala, whose son, Capt. Humayan Khan, was killed in 2004 in Iraq, spoke to the annual Islamic Society of North America convention in Rosemont on Saturday afternoon.
Khan praised Muslim leaders for being a voice for the community and also thanked the scholars and mentors in his life.
‘The burden of the scholar has gotten heavier because of the assault,’ Khizr Khan said. ‘Some people believe that this assault may be over, assault on my community and assault on my religion, will be over in November. Do not be mistaken. This assault is far beyond elections.’
Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, introduced the couple.
Calling the Khans ‘remarkable human beings,’ Sarsour said that Khizr Khan was ‘unapologetically Muslim’ and that ‘we as American Muslims know exactly what the U.S. Constitution says, and we expect those who are going to be the leaders of the United States of America to abide by that Constitution.’
Khizr Khan, the father of a soldier killed in Iraq, speaks at the Democratic National Convention. Sarsour also praised Ghazala Khan’s silence during the Democratic convention, something Trump raised questions about, saying that the Republican presidential candidate was blind to ‘the power, the grace of Ghazala Khan.’
‘We do not have to scream, we do not have to speak for people to know that we as Muslim women are powerful women, that we are the foundations of our communities and our institutions, and it is because of us that our communities thrive,’ Sarsour said.
Ghazala Khan spoke first, thanking everyone for the love and respect they have received.
‘I’m so grateful for all of you and all of America and all of the world,’ Ghazala Khan said. ‘I feel so close to you guys. … I have given one son and got this many back.’
In his remarks, Khizr Khan said, ‘The ink of the pen of the scholars is more sacred than the blood of the martyrs,’ and said scholars must play a large role in shaping the reaction of the Muslim community to the ‘chaos’ in American society.”
Read the rest here.
Local media reported that the Khans were introduced by US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson who also spoke at the conference. A Washington Post report described Johnson as the first sitting Cabinet secretary and the highest-ranking U.S. official to address an ISNA conference.
The Khans could hardly be faulted for speaking at an even heading by a Cabinet-level US official although that said, we consider their appearance at the conference unfortunate given the accusations still swirling around Khizr Khan. In early August, the GMBDW reported on the controversy surrounding the Khans’ appearance at the Democratic National Convention and what we consider to be the still unfounded accusations that Khizr Khan is a “Muslim Brotherhood agent.” Given those accusations, it would have seemed wiser for the Khans to have avoided an event so closely tied to the US Muslim Brotherhood. As we continue to describe ISNA:
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. 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.
The participation of DHS Secretary Johnson at the conference would appear to be a continuation of what could be described as the “mainstreaming” of ISNA by the US government. As we wrote in 2013:
…the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch has known for sometime that important elements of the US government were of the opinion that ISNA was an organization that had substantially changed in character over the years. In 2009, we met privately with an FBI official who told us that they were of the opinion that ISNA was under new leadership and that this reflected a meaningful change in the organization.
That post also reviewed the recent history of government officials appearing at ISNA events, examined what is claimed as evidence that ISNA has broken with its past, and presented other evidence that counters those claims. As we concluded:
In addition to the presence within ISNA of US Muslim Brotherhood leaders and its ongoing and close ties to both the US and Global Muslim Brotherhood, ISNA 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.
It is only necessary to examine of the ISNA conference’s plenary sessions where the Khans appeared in order to bolster this conclusion. That session was titled “Carpe Diem: A Call to Action” and featured the following speakers:
- Azar Azeez (ISNA President and with extensive ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood.)
- Tariq Ramadan (One of the best known leaders in the Global Muslim Brotherhood and grandson of the Brotherhood founder)
- Dalia Mogahed (former Obama Faith Advisor with family background likely in the Muslim Brotherhood, protege of Brotherhood supporter Dr. John Esposito)
Other featured speakers at the conference included numerous individuals tied to the US Muslim Brotherhood including the heads of all the major US Brotherhood organizations:
- Nadeem Siddiqi, President of the Muslim Amreican Society (MAS)
- Naseem Baig, President of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
- Salam Al Marayati, President of Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
- Nihad Awad, Executive Director of Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)