Part 1 Covid-19 And The Global Muslim Brotherhood: ISNA Tries To Capitalize


The GMBDW would be somewhat remiss if we failed to take at least a preliminary look at how the Global Muslim Brotherhood has been responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. An extensive survey is beyond our scope at this time but we did see some interesting developments. For example, in March the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) issued announced the formation of a “National Muslim Task Force on Covid-19”;

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), the Islamic Society of North America, American Muslim Health Professionals, Islamic Medical Association of North American, and the Fiqh Council of North America formed a National Muslim Task Force on COVID-19 on March 18, 2020. The Task Force, representing over 40 organizations, is comprised of policy experts, civic and religious leaders, public health and medical professionals. The Task Force intends to serve as a trustworthy resource for healthcare providers, religiouscommunities and their congregants by providing guidance, evidence based recommendationsand policy solutions. Since its formation, the Task Force released two critical statements (mostrecent statement can be found here) for the Muslim community to guide them through thisuncertain time. In the coming weeks, we hope to increase collaboration across other healthcareand public health organizations to effectively and proactively respond to this public health crisisand mitigate its impacts.

The ISNA statement goes on to identify the members of its steering committee:

  • Islamic Society of North America – ISNA
  • American Muslim Health Professionals – AMHP 
  • Fiqh Council on North America (FCNA) 
  • Islamic Medical Medical Association of North America – IMANA

A search of our own files revealed that the Islamic Medical Association of North America ( IMANA) was at one time identified as one of the ISNA constituent organizations and at least one President of IMANA was also an ISNA board member. Hasan Shanawani, the President of the American Muslim Health Professionals appears to have had a distinguished career but a search of our own files turned up a document indicating that at one time, he served on an IMANA Ethics committee whose advisor was Hassan Hathout, a physician and whose early history in Egypt strongly suggests he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a disciple of Brotherhood founder Hassan El Banna. Hathout would go on to come a leading figure within the US Muslim Brotherhood. Finally, the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) is an organization comprised of Islamic scholars associated with the Global Muslim Brotherhood and which is itself closely affiliated with ISNA.

Further illustrating the nature of the  National Muslim Task Force on COVID-19, on April 23 the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced that it had joined with the Task Force to issue a statement on the Covid-19 crisis. CAIR is a key part of the US Muslim Brotherhood with a history of ties to Hamas.

So what basis is there in fact for calling the new body established by ISNA and its affiliated groups a “National” Muslim Taskforce? In 2011, the GMBDW reported on a 2011 poll conducted by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, known to have been headed by Dahlia Mogahed who is close to the US Brotherhood,  in which respondents were asked: “Which national Muslim American organization, if any, do you feel most represents your interests.” According to the relevant table, ISNA scored 4% with men and 7% with women. Given these results, any claim by ISNA to represent Muslims nationally does not appear rooted in substance.

As we discussed in 2010, one of the common tactics of the US Muslim Brotherhood is to construct coalitions of its own affiliated organizations as well as inter-related groups and individuals, giving the appearance that the Brotherhood has more broad-based support than it actually enjoys. Therefore, notwithstanding any useful information provided by the Taskforce, it would seem that ISNA, a part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood, is attempting to capitalize on the Covid-19 tragedy to try and bolster its claim to represent the US Muslim community.

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 terrorism trial of the Holy Land Foundation confirmed that the organization was part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.

For more, go here.

For a detailed analysis of ISNA and its recent history, go here.

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