Some of the same individuals behind past terror tied funding operations are directing current charity efforts.
In Questionable Charity Groups Cloud Syrian Benefit we reported on Syrian songwriter/singer/activist Yahya Hawwa touring Muslim communities in America as part of a benefit to help Syrians in need. It was noted that one of the organizations sponsoring the event, Life for Relief and Development (LIFE), is one of the larger U.S. based Islamic Charities. It also has past partnerships with organizations such as Human Appeal International (HAI), a group reportedly linked to Hamas.
LIFE’s ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood originate with it’s founder and former CEO, Khalil Jassemm and his association with the late MB leader Dr. Ahmed Elkadi while residing in Panama City, FL. Elkadi’s father-in-law, Mahmoud Abu-Saud was also living in the Panama City area at the time. Abu-Saud was known for his expertise in finance and central banking and being heavily involved in the Muslim Brotherhood’s beginnings in Egypt. Abu-Saud and Elkadi worked together with the formation of several Islamic organizations including the first Islamic Center of Northwest Florida in 1986.
In 1985, Jassemm joined with Elkadi to form at least one charity, the Welfare Trust for Needy Patients, Inc in Panama City. The organization was dissolved in 1991. Jasseemm moved to California and started LIFE in 1992. LIFE was moved to Michigan in 1994. In the mid 1990s, Jasseemm maintained his ties to Elkadi while working as a visiting professor at the University of Maine, Department of Survey Engineering – Orno sponsored by Elkadi’s Institute of Islamic Medicine for Education and Research.
Jasseemm is also the author of several books relating to Islamic charities. His, “Islamic Perspective on Charity, a Comprehensive Guide for Running a Muslim Nonprofit In the U.S.” provides extensive guidance for Islamic charity officials in regards to laws governing such groups. Jasseemm is no longer listed as being affiliated with LIFE and is believed to be living in Jordan.
LIFE’s current board listing still reflects its MB influences and includes:
Dr. Gindy is a co-founder and board member of CAIR Michigan.
M. Yahia Abdul-Rahim
We’ve covered Dr. Rahim’s MB ties a number times. He is listed as the NAIT contact for the Bay County Islamic Society and is a director of the the Panama City Advanced School Corporation. In the 1992 Phone Book seized during the Holyland Foundation investigation into terrorist funding, Dr. Rahim (Y. Abdul-Raheem) was listed as the economic head of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
A lessor known document showing Rahim’s MB ties is a 1994 Florida corporate filing for the Muslim Financial Group, Inc., which was dissolved one year later. In addition to Rahim named as director, it includes Mohamed Mabrook and Jamal Nyrabeah.
Mabrook was president of Global Chemical and had been convicted in 2002 of mail and wire fraud – defrauding investors of the company. According to a 2002 Wall Street Journal report it was a bit more complicated, involving suspected ties to Saudi investments and terror groups:
One month after the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. Treasury labeled Mr. [Yassin] Qadi, who is 47 years old, a “specially designated global terrorist” and froze his assets in the U.S. and Europe. The government says that Mr. Qadi and organizations he controls move money from Saudi sources through numerous businesses and charities world-wide. Some of the money ends up in the hands of terrorists, the U.S. says. Mr. Qadi declines to comment, but through his lawyers, he denies ever knowingly doing business with terrorists or financing them. He hasn’t been prosecuted, and his attorneys are trying to persuade the Treasury of his innocence.
The article refers to Mabrook’s company …
In the mid-1990s, another company to which Mr. Qadi had ties, Abrar Investments Inc., joined with International Relief Organization [IIRO] to invest in a Chicago chemical company — a deal that is also drawing scrutiny from federal investigators.
Abrar Investments was a Stamford, Conn., company that sought “Islamically permissible investment opportunities in the United States,” according to its prospectus. The company’s name means “the do-gooders.” Mr. Qadi’s lawyers confirm he, among others, invested money in the U.S. through Abrar Investments. He was also a director of Abrar’s Malaysian corporate parent, according to records gathered by terrorism researcher Rita Katz of the nonprofit SITE Institute in Washington.
Abrar and International Relief Organization jointly invested more than $2 million in Global Chemical Corp., which said it made household- and pool-cleaning supplies. Abrar provided $250,000 itself, as well as another $345,000 that came from one of its clients, according to an affidavit by FBI agent Valerie Donahue filed in federal court in Chicago in January 1997. International Relief Organization invested more than $1 million and guaranteed Abrar Investments against any potential loss from the deal, the Donahue affidavit said. Two of International Relief’s top officials owned a total of a 20% stake in Global Chemical, according to the Donahue affidavit.
The president of Global Chemical was Mohammed Mabrook, a Libyan immigrant and Islamic activist who during his college years in Tennessee organized opposition to the secular dictatorship of Libyan Col. Moammar Gadhafi. In 1985, Mr. Mabrook, had worked for a pro-Palestinian group headed by Mr. Marzouk, the senior Hamas leader who the U.S. believes was a coinvestor with Mr. Qadi in BMI, according to a 2001 federal-court filing in Chicago.
Global Chemical kept a warehouse full of highly toxic chemicals but appeared to have few if any customers, according to the Donahue affidavit. Alarmed, the FBI asked one of the government’s senior experts on chemical weapons, Dennis J. Reutter, chief of the army’s Materiel Command Treaty Laboratory in Edgewood, Md., to look at the chemicals Global Chemical was purchasing.
The FBI included an ominous excerpt from Mr. Reutter’s Oct. 23, 1996, report in Ms. Donahue’s affidavit. The purchases, he wrote, “do not appear to be consistent with R&D for formulation of commercial cleaning products or for quality control of commercial cleaning products.” The names of the chemicals weren’t made public. His report concluded that “taken in total, the purchases appear to be more consistent with support” of a laboratory performing biochemistry or “organic synthesis.” Mr. Reutter declines to comment.
Organic synthesis is one way to describe the process used to manufacture some explosives. But U.S. law-enforcement officials in Chicago say they didn’t find direct evidence of any bomb making at Global Chemical.
Mr. Salah — the confessed Hamas operative who received funds both directly from Mr. Qadi and from the Woodridge, Ill., real-estate investment Mr. Qadi financed — also allegedly had an interest in dangerous chemicals. In the 1995 confession to Israeli authorities, which he subsequently retracted and which the FBI summarized in court filings, Mr. Salah allegedly said that while in Chicago in the early 1990s, he trained recruits to work with “basic chemical materials for the preparation of bombs and explosives,” as well as various toxins.
Qadi was one of the original investors in Bait ul Mal, Inc. (BMI), an Islamic investment firm tied to the MB. A 2003 National Review article provides additional details regarding BMI and terror funding tied to charities, including IIRO.
Court documents for U.S. vs Mabrook portray Dr. Rahim a victim of fraud committed by Mabrook indicating he invested $600,000 in the Mabrook’s chemical company. In light of Rahim’s position in MB financial matters, Yassin Qadi’s funding activities and the involvement of IIRO, the “victim” label is questionable.
Nyrabeah resided in Panama City, FL along with Dr. Rahim and Dr. Elkadi. In 1993 Nyrabeah become a director of the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) and is cited in court documents. A Canadian corporation filing also shows Nyrabeah as a listed director along with Enaam Arnaout for the Benevolence International Fund, incorporated in 2000. In 2002, Enaam Arnaout was linked by prosecutors to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. In 2002, the U.S. Government designated BIF as a “Financiers of Terrorism” for providing support to Hamas as well as Al Qaeda. Nyrabeah apparently was not charged.
Dr. Saqar’s ties to the MB can be found in the 1992 Phone Book seized during the Holy land Foundation investigation into terrorist funding. He is listed (spelled as Hani Shaker) as a member of the MB executive committee and as the “Masul” (leader) of the Administrative Office for East America.
Saqar was the former director of the Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Dublin, Ohio (NICC) until a disagreement emerged with other NICC members. Reporter Patrick Poole has written about the NICC’s former spirtual leader, Dr. Salah Sultan and his ties to Hamas and the MB. Up until recently, Saqar was president of the The Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR), a group reported by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) to be a pro Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood group.
This year LIFE is not as visible with Hawwa’s fund raising appearances.
The primary sponsoring groups are Syria Relief and Development and United Muslim Relief. Both organizations under control of individuals with strong Muslim Brotherhood affiliations.
Syria Relief and Development was formed and incorporated in Kansas in 2011. It’s 2013 filings report over $5 million in relief efforts.
The organization’s books were initially handled by Mohamad Albadawi. The Causingfitna blog has some extensive information covering Albadawi’s ties to MB organizations and the myraid of Islamic special interest groups he is involved with.
Syria Relief and Development board of directors are:
Dr. Jihad Qaddour
The organization’s founder, and a founding member of the Islamic Society of Wichita in Kansas as well as a trustee for the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF). We reported on the SETF and it’s connection to the MB in U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Likely Influenced Senate Defense Bill . The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch (GMBDW) reported that the majority of SETF board members have a history of close ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood. Qaddour also was a trustee and treasurer for the Muslim American Society (MAS) – a MB front group. The Causingfitna blog reported on Qaddour’s participation in 2013 pro MB Kansas city rally and his involvement in 2015 lobbying efforts with the U.S. Senate.
The daughter of Jihad Qaddour, she is a former board member and secretary for Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA). A 2014 report by the Clarion Project provides information linking IRUSA with Hamas and the MB. In regards to IRUSA’s parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide, the GMBDW notes :
Islamic Relief was one of the founding members of the Union of Good, a “coalition of Islamic charities that provides financial support to both the Hamas ‘social’ infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities.” The Union of Good is headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and most of the trustees and member organizations are associated with the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
The Money Jihad blog reported in September 2014 that, “New tax documents reveal that Islamic Relief USA (IR-USA), the largest Islamic charity in the United States, gave over $118,000 in grants in 2013 to entities with previous connections to terrorism.”
Dr. Hashem Mubarak
As with the previously mention Dr. Rahim, Dr. Mubarak resides in Panama City, FL and has past professional ties to the late MB leader Elkadi. He has been the past president and spokesman for the Bay County Islamic Society, Panama City, FL and still currently serves on its board. He also serves with Dr. Rahim as a board member for the Panama City Advanced School, an Islamic k-12 school. The school ties it’s historical beginnings to Dr. Elkadi.
Like Jihad Qaddour, Mubarak is a member of the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF). As noted, it has been reported that the majority of SETF board members have a history of close ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood.
A resident of Wichita for over 20 years, Alfaihhas served as the chair and activities coordinator for the Islamic Society of Wichita.
Kuziez is a past vice president and treasurer of the Muslim Students’ Association of the US and Canada (MSA). The Investigative Project on Terrorism has prepared an extensive dossier on the MSA
In May of 2013, the financial rating of Islamic Relief USA, the nation’s largest Islamic charity, was downgraded from four stars to two stars by the nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator. By October of 2013, it was announced that IR-USA’s chief executive officer, Abed Ayoub, was leaving IR-USA to take over a northern Virginia charity now known as United Muslim Relief (UMR), that had dropped its old name, “Muslims Without Borders” one day earlier.
While he was CEO of IR-USA, Ayoub presided over a period of falsely inflated growth for the well-known Islamic charity. By grossly misstating the value of deworming drugs, IR-USA gave the appearance of having over received over $160 million in donations in 2010. When it used corrected valuation techniques in 2011, IR-USA reported contributions of only $60 million. The fraudulent bookkeeping of 2001-2010 enabled IR-USA to attract larger institutional donors than it otherwise would have, along with political endorsements from top Democrats and partnerships with federal agencies. Smaller Islamic charities were some of the victims of this fraud, because federal officials have often encouraged Muslim donors to give their zakat to larger, more “trustworthy,” charities like IR-USA. During Ayoub’s final year as CEO, IR-USA donated over $100,000 to nonprofits and mosques connected with terrorism.
Ayoub’s past work with IR-USA provides possible insight as to how he will manage UMR. It should be noted that Ayoub also was was involved in the management of parent organization of IR-USA, Islamic Relief Worldwide. While with IR-USA, his 2012 bio included:
As a governance committee member of Islamic Relief Worldwide™ (IRW), Mr. Ayoub monitors the present performance of IRW and plans future aims and priorities for the international organization. He is also the chairman of a subcommittee focused on governance and improving IR partnerships.
As noted earlier, the IRW’s connection to the Union of Good establishes Muslim Brotherhood influence.
COMMENT: As reported above, charitable non-governmental organizations with MB tied leaderships have a history of diverting donated funds to non-humanitarian activities and groups – many times to support Islamic terror activities. Some of the same individuals behind past terror tied funding operations are directing current charity efforts. With the increased turmoil and questionable goals of Islamic militant groups in Syria, the above described relief efforts warrant close scrutiny.
The following opinion piece provides some interesting “food for thought” in regards to current events impacting the Middle East and Europe, particularly the flood of refugees from North Africa. In the U.S., similar concerns have been voiced regarding refugee immigrants as we reported in Resettlement: an Islamist path to the west?.
Some view these concerns as being far fetched conspiracy theories promoting bigotry and are simply dismissed as Islamophobia. Others point to the social problems affecting some European nations that have experienced an influx of Muslim immigrant populations attracted by liberal social programs.
Islam lies in wait for Europe
From: Israel Hayom
By: Dr. Ephraim Herrera, May 21, 2015
The demographic trends are clear: Europe is committing suicide. The fertility rate to maintain a country’s population, known as the replacement rate, is generally considered to be 2.1 births per woman. The average fertility rate in Europe is 1.6. In Germany and Italy, it is 1.4. To increase its population, Europe has let in immigrants, to the point that they comprise some 10 percent of the population in Spain, the U.K., the Netherlands and Germany. In Austria, their proportion is 15 percent.
A significant number of those immigrants are Muslim. They hail from the lower rungs of society in their countries of origin and decided to leave in search of a life of comfort in the West.
But the influx of millions of immigrants from Asia and Africa is more than just about their socio-economic plight. Islamic thinkers have tried to capitalize on this wave. Although these thinkers are still lying in wait, they hope they can eventually use the immigrants as a means of conquering Europe. This strategy has been propagated by Islamic theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi for the past 30 years. Qaradawi has tremendous clout in the Sunni Arab world, to the point that his rulings are considered authoritative by the Muslim Brotherhood. The strategy is terribly simple: Tap into the local Muslim community and lure its teens to the “real” Islam, then go up the rungs of power in the major parties and seize the reins of government through the democratic process.
Rest of Article: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=12655
The release of “Bin Laden’s Bookshelf” by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has refocused interest on the additional details regarding the operations and mindset of the Al Qaeda “mastermind”. The content was found during the 2011 Navy SEAL team raid of Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Portions had already been released to the public in 2012 through the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (CTC)..
This declassified/released material is described by the DNI as “a sizeable tranche of documents”. Some former U.S. government officials are hitting the talk shows saying it is only a very small portion of the documents seized – estimates of 6,000+ – others have implied far larger numbers.
Most of the initial media coverage has been focusing on the books, magazines and periodicals found – many indicating Bin Laden had sights set on western interests in the U.S., France and Germany. Not really news there.
A bit more telling are all the letters and notes. They provide unique background to Al Qaeda operations along with some insight into Bin Laden’s family relationships. These will be subject to the scrutiny of third parties to verify or challenge the English translations.
A few points of interest:
- Bin Laden remained fixated on engaging American interests and Al Qaeda had a dedicated section (external operations) to organize and execute operations against western interests. There were several references to an Al Qaeda spy network within the U.S..
- Al Qaida members from western countries, such as German Bekkay Harrach (Al Hafidh Abu Talha al Almani) were highly regarded for western recruiting operations and training. (note: It was reported that Harrach was killed in 2010 by a U.S. drone strike.)
- Bin Laden heavily monitored information released by the CTC.
- Relations with the Muslim Brotherhood were lukewarm at best. Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has been reported as being a Muslim Brotherhood member in his youth – claiming to abandon it later on. He uses several aliases and may be the “Abu Muhammad” Bin Laden writes about in this letter (date unknown – most likely late 2010/early 2011):
History taught us that the people in revolt will change the existing situation, and we at the moment should exert our efforts to guide them and to prevent their being represented by the half-solution people such as (TN: the Muslim) Brotherhood, and we hope that the next stage will be the reinstating of the rule of the Caliphate. As to the Muslim Brotherhood, we note that the young generation’s adhering to true Islam is a matter of time, as can be noticed by the Internet reply of Shaykh ((Abu Muhammad)) who is a Brotherhood member, in which he said that within the Muslim Brotherhood there are factions who now adhere to true Islam, and there is also a powerful Salafist faction within the Brotherhood.
- as with ISIS, focus on establishing an Islamic Caliphate was the priority and end goal.
- the “Arab Spring” uprisings were not viewed as wins for democracy. Bin Laden wrote that it would, “free the Muslim land from American hegemony” by toppling “tyrants”. As country leaders were removed, Al Qaeda operatives would guide a move towards the formation of an Islamic state.
- Bin Laden was critical of Al Qaeda activity that would harm other Muslims. This was conveyed in instructions regarding actions in Somolia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- Somali pirate actions were apparently Al Qaeda directed for funding, but the connection was not to be publicized:
We hope that you will send a letter to the brothers in Somalia to have them avoid declaring their solidarity with the al-Qa’ida, and to give their full attention to collecting ransommoney and hijack ships.
- Security was a major concern. Operations used compartmentalization as a safeguard. Bin Laden realized that computers and electronic communications were a major risk and he preferred to use couriers for high-level communications. He wrote:
With respect to the communication over the internet, we have no objection in communication of general messages. However, even with what the brothers had mentioned regarding al-Asrar al-Mujahidin program, the secrecy of the external work does not allow its use. I recommend confirming with the interested brothers that the external work would only be through the trusted messengers.
- Bin Laden believed classified Department of Defense information leaked through the website Wikileaks would provide Al Qaeda with important insight regarding U.S. combat strategy.
- Al Qaeda relations with Iran appeared to be conflicting. There are some indications of cooperation, but some letters include accounts of members being detained.
Nothing very revealing considering what the CTC released three years ago.
Baltimore, MD will be hosting the 40th Annual ICNA/MAS convention Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25, 2015.
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is part of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) network in the U.S., and was listed as an affiliated organization in the seized MB document, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America”. The Muslim American Society (MAS) claims to have no affiliation with the MB, but in 2004 then-Secretary General of MAS, Shaker Elsayed, was quoted as saying, “Ikhwan [Brotherhood] members founded MAS…”
This years convention is listing 26 featured speakers to include:
Imam Siraj Wahhaj – Vice President of ISNA and the Imam of Masjid Al-Taqwa in Brookyn, New York. Wahhaj has also held positions with the following Muslim Brotherhood (MB) organizations: North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the American Muslim Council (AMC) and the Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA). Wahhaj was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Naeem Baig – President of ICNA and the chairman of the American Muslim Taskforce (AMT), an umbrella body of 10 national American Muslim organizations. According to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch (GMBDW), “The AMT today is comprised of the most important U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations including the Muslim American Society (MAS). Council On American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle Of North America (ICNA), Islamic Society Of North America (ISNA), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Muslim Student Association (MSA).”
Dr. Jamal Badawi – a professor at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Badawi holds high level positions in a number of MB organizations. The GMBDW notes, “Documents released during the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial indicate that he was (and probably still is), a member of the leadership structure of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.“
Sh. Yusuf Islahi – a member of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) party of India. In 2010 the Investigative Report on Terrorism (IPT) reported that JIH supports Islamic rule over politics/the economy and has backed terrorism against American troops and in the Middle East. At the time of the report, Islahi was noted to be a member of the governing board of the JIH party of India.
Dr. Mukhtar Maghraoui – reported to be with the Islamic Center Boca Raton (ICBR) Maghraoui, is a former member of the Fiqh Council of North America – an organization comprised of Islamic scholars associated with the Global Muslim Brotherhood. A 2014 article in The Clarion Project links the ICBR to MB groups.
Sh. Abdool Rehman Khan – chairman of the Shari’ah Council of Islamic Circle of North America and a member of the Fiqh Council of North America.
Imam Suhaib Webb – Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston’s Cultural Center (ISBCC) and former education director of the Muslim American Society (MAS). His MB ties were featured in a December 2011 GMBDW report.
Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed – the GMBDW advises, “Yasmin Mogahed is also the sister of Dahlia Mogahed, formerly a Faith Advisor to US President Obama and close to Saudi-funded Georgetown Professor John Esposito, himself a long-time supporter of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. Yasmin Mogahed is a regular speaker on the Global Muslim Brotherhood speaking circuit.”
Dr. Altaf Husain – former two-term national president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), a current executive committee member of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), ISNA Vice President-US, and a board member of the Peaceful Families Project. We reported in May 2015, The Peaceful Families Project board also includes Salma Elkadi Abugideiri and Muna AbuSulayma, the daughters of two major MB leaders.
Imam Khalid Griggs– Imam of the Community Mosque of Winston-Salem, Associate Chaplain for Muslim Life at Wake Forest University, and Board Chair of the ICNA Council for Social Justice. A 2012 article in the Creeping Sharia blog highlights Griggs’ radical affiliations including being “a member of the Shura Council for the Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA), an organization co-founded and led by Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.” In Jan 2015, the Washington Times reported about a call for a Wake Forest University donor boycott until the university addressed the 2010 hiring of Griggs and his radical ties.
Dalia Mogahed – Formerly a Faith Advisor to US President Obama , The IPT notes that she is “a tenacious defender of groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).” We reported on her scheduled June 2015 video appearance at the MSA National Retreat.
Nihad Awad – National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Washington, DC.. The IPT offers a number of reports on CAIR’s link to the MB.
Nahela Alexandra Morales – leader of ICNA’s WHY-ISLAM Hispanic Outreach to Mexico.
Sr. Saadia Z. Yunus – daughter of past ICNA president (1977 – 2000), Dr. Mohammad Yunus.
Qasim Mazhar – Operations Manger for ICNA’S youth branch, Young Muslims.
The ICNA’s Young Muslims will be holding their convention, Lost in Whispers, at the same dates and location.
Some past convention highlights:
According to an IPT report, at the 2000 convention Tayyib Yunus, then leader of the Young Muslims branch and son of former ICNA president Dr. Mohammad Yunus, urged ICNA members to send their children to fight in jihad:
“The youth is very important, as parents, for us to facilitate the youth. And, we all want to see our youth to succeed to become doctors, to become engineers; but how many of you can actually say that you want to send your son to Jihad, to Chechnya ? How many of you can actually say that? [Takbir! Allahu Akbar!] How many of you can actually say that you want to send your child [He begins to sob] Takbir! Allahua Akbar! Takbir! Allahua Akbar! [He cries uncontrollably now, after a delay, he begins to speak again] How many of you can actually say that you want to send your youth to fight in Jihad or to send them to Azhar or to these Islamic Institutions to become educated?” [Emphasis added]
“To start, there is no group calling itself the “Muslim Brotherhood” in North America. Instead, a few hundred sophisticated, politically savvy and well-funded supporters in Canada have over the past 50 years created vocal and visible organizations that represent a very small part of the Muslim community.”
– Lorenzo Vidino, director of the program on extremism at George Washington University
The below article covers a presentation at a Canadian Senate committee by Lorenzo Vidino . See our comments following the article excerpt as to the disconnect we see with his message.
Beware of the Muslim Brotherhood, expert warns
From: The Ottawa Citizen
By: Ian Macleod, May 16, 2015
Authorities should be concerned about the unseen hand of the Muslim Brotherhood gripping sections of Canada’s diverse Muslim community, says a U.S. security expert.
The movement has planted its revivalist interpretation of Islam, political ideology and activism among some Muslims here and sees itself as a minder and broker between them and the rest of society, Lorenzo Vidino, who specializes in Islamism and political violence, told the Senate’s national security committee recently.
“They basically aim to be the gatekeepers to Muslim communities, that whenever politicians, governments or the media try to get the Muslim voice, if there were such a thing, they would go through them, sort of the self‑appointed leaders of Muslim communities,” he said.
Vidino is director of the program on extremism at George Washington University and author of The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West (Columbia University Press, 2010). He sees no direct links to terrorism among the group’s western supporters. In fact, some work to prevent violent radicalization, he said.
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: The headline is certainly sound advice, but …..
With that said, the article claims that the Muslim Brotherhood does not actually exist as a group in North America. The cited expert, Lorenzo Vidino, advises that the threat comes from “an informal network where you have strong links based on personal and financial connections, and at the end of the day what matters the most: ideology. They all embrace a certain world view.”
Vidino makes a point of downplaying the threat posed, seeing no direct links to terrorism by western supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood .
This certainly conflicts with well documented past terror funding investigations such as Global Chemical/International Islamic Relief Organization, Benevolence International Foundation , SAAR, and the Holy Land Foundation – all tied to Muslim Brotherhood interests.
Even if fundraising is not considered a direct link, Vidino appears to have overlooked the testimony he provided before the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, subcommittee on Terrorism, HUMINT, Analysis, and Counterintelligence on April 13, 2011:
In the United States, argue pessimists, someone like Abdurahman Alamoudi exemplifies this approach. In 1990, upon finishing his graduate studies in Boston, Alamoudi settled in Washington D.C., where he co-founded the American Muslim Council (AMC), a small but influential Muslim Brotherhood-linked lobbying group. Alamoudi soon became a staple of Washington life, establishing good relationships with both Republican and Democratic administrations and even managing to lobby Congress to host, for the first time in history, the opening invocation from an Islamic leader. The Department of Defense put Alamoudi in the powerful position of training and vetting the imams who attend to the religious needs of American Muslims serving in the military. His organization was praised by the FBI as “the most mainstream Muslim group in the United States,” and the State Department appointed him as a goodwill ambassador.
Washington’s establishment considered Alamoudi a successful, representative and moderate Muslim leader who could be a spokesman for the American Muslim community. In 2003, however, this veneer collapsed. An investigation triggered by a routine customs control at London’s Heathrow Airport showed that Alamoudi was involved in a murky al Qaeda-linked plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah. Alamoudi later pled guilty to all charges and is now serving a 23-year sentence. Wiretaps and recordings that emerged after his arrest showed that Alamoudi had consistently praised al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah in private and in various public gatherings. Although the height of Alamoudi’s fall make his case unique, critics argue that Alamoudi’s ability in advancing his agenda while displaying a moderate façade when interacting with Western elites is hardly an exception but rather the Brothers’ standard modus operandi.
For most, being involved in an Al Qaeda plot to assassinate someone would certainly be a direct link to terrorism.
In regards to a Muslim Brotherhood presence in North America – or lack there of – the Ottawa Citizen article continues with …
To start, there is no group calling itself the “Muslim Brotherhood” in North America. Instead, a few hundred sophisticated, politically savvy and well-funded supporters in Canada have over the past 50 years created vocal and visible organizations that represent a very small part of the Muslim community. They exert a disproportional influence over mosques, schools and spaces where Muslims come together, said Vidino.
This is a concept Vidino had pushed in a 2011 brief, “The Global Muslim Brotherhood: Myth or Reality“. Relying on information provided by Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt and the Middle East he wrote:
Entities belonging to the “global Muslim Brotherhood” work according to a common vision but in complete operational independence. There are consultations and constant communication, but each is free to pursue its goals as it deems appropriate. Therefore the global Muslim Brotherhood is today most properly identified not as a group or even a loose federation, but simply as an ideological movement, in which different branches choose their own tactics to achieve their short-term goals in complete independence.
This claim ignores the documentation discovered during the Holy Land Foundation investigation that included an organizational phonebook and the Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America , a portion of which reads (we added the bold/underlined):
One: The Memorandum is derived from:
1 – The general strategic goal of the Group in America which was approved by the Shura Council and the Organizational Conference for the year [I987] is “Enablement of Islam in North America, meaning: establishing an effective and a stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood which adopts Muslims’ causes domestically and globally, and which works to expand the observant Muslim base, aims at unifying and directing Muslims’ efforts, presents Islam as a civilization alternative, and supports the global Islamic State wherever it is”.
The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch countered the conclusions in Vidino’s 2011 brief with:
Vidino cites no actual evidence for the assertion that the Global Muslim Brotherhood is simply an “ideological movement” whose entities have “complete operational independence.” Even more concerning is that he does cite various proclamations from Brotherhood sources such as self-described foreign minister Youssef Nada or the Muslim Brotherhood website, all of which would have us believe that the Global Muslim Brotherhood is nothing more than “a common way of thinking.” However, it should not have to be repeated that the Brotherhood is, at it heart, a covert organization and their are few reasons to accept and many reasons not to accept their statements about themselves at face value. Where actual evidence exists, it points to a far more sophisticated organizational structure than admitted to by the Muslim Brotherhood itself.
We concur with the Ottawa Citizen headline – not so much the body of the article.
RELATED INTEREST: Report raises concerns of Muslim Brotherhood’s links to Canadian groups – (5/2014)
The Muslim Students Association (MSA) will be holding it’s National Leadership Retreat (NLR), June 2-7 2015 at Camp Lindenmere in Henryville, PA
MSA’s Facebook page states that the NLR is a “critical platform that” will:
- Provide participants with personal development opportunities
- Allow participants to network with other activists and MSA Officers from different parts of the nation. This network will become a critical resource of support that participants can use beyond the Retreat for their personal and institutional development
- Create opportunities to exchange best practices, challenges and solutions participants might be experiencing on the local level
- Connect local MSA activists and officers with the new vision, mission and leadership of MSA National
Scheduled speakers include:
Dr. Altaf Hussain – former two-term national president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA National), a current executive committee member of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), chair of the Leadership Development Committee of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Peaceful Families Project – dedicated to the prevention of domestic violence. Dr. Hussain was recently elected the Vice President of ISNA in 2014.
Dalia Mogahed (by video) – chairman and CEO of Mogahed Consulting, a Washington, D.C.-based executive coaching and consulting firm specializing in Muslim societies and the Middle East. She is former executive director of and senior analyst for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where she led the analysis of surveys of Muslims worldwide, including in the U.S. and Europe. With John L. Esposito, Ph.D., she is coauthor of the book “Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think.”
Corey Saylor – legislative director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Shaykh Yahya Rhodus – frequent Islamic teacher and lecturer. Past instructor at Zaytuna Institute.
Ehsan Zaffar – a senior adviser at the Department of Homeland Security where he advises the Office of the Secretary on civil rights and civil liberties issues. He teaches courses at the intersection of national security, homeland security and civil rights/civil liberties.
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: The Muslim Students Association (MAS) was formed in 1963 by members of the Muslim Brotherhood which explains the backgrounds for most of the speakers.
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- Salma Elkadi Abugideiri, the daughter of the late Ahmed Elkadi – former leader of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (1984-94).
- Muna AbuSulayma, former general secretary of the charitable foundation of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and daughter of global Muslim Brotherhood leader Dr. AbdulHamid Abu Sulayman.
- Imam Magid, Imam of All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia and served as the President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
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Dalia Mogahed’s affiliation with the MB is not as clear. The Global Muslim Daily Watch notes:
Dahlia Mogahed was born in Egypt and lived in the U.S. since the age of 5. She is the daughter of Elsayed Mogahed, an Egyptian immigrant who is a former engineering scientist at the University of Wisconsin and director of the Islamic Center of Madison (ICM). The website of the ICM links mainly to U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations and Souheil Ghannouchi, the President of the Muslim American Society (MAS), close to the Egyptian Brotherhood, was ICM Imam and President for several years.
Mogahed has been a vocal supporter of other MB front groups and other Islamists according to a 2010 Investigative Project report.
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Corey Saylor has been with CAIR for over ten years. CAIR’s ties to the the MB was firmly established through documents seized during the Holy Land Foundation investigation regarding terrorist funding.
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Dept. of Homeland Security representative Ehsan Zaffar is a frequent speaker at Muslim and Arab-American focused events.
The Middle East Forum has started a new site, Jihad Intel, claiming to provide information/intelligence on Islamic terrorist groups. The Middle East Forum was founded by Daniel Pipes and is currently listed as the groups president. Related sites include Campus Watch and Islamist Watch.
From Jihad Intel:
About Jihad Intel
Jihad Intel educates law enforcement and the general public with intelligence on radical Islam and Islamic terrorist groups. We provide local and state police with tools to connect the dots before major terrorist incidents and to solve cold cases.
The Database: Identifying Islamic Terrorist Organizations
There are countless Islamic terrorist organizations and new ones form continually. Each have their own identifying symbols. Most recruit globally on social media. In cities across the West, recruits are undergoing radicalization – some have received training overseas and are plotting terror attacks.
Recruits of radical Islamic groups are often under the radar, but they leave a trail of identifying clues.
Jihad Intel has established a database of objective identifiers of over 125 Islamic terrorist groups – emblems, flags, headbands, graffiti, social media tags and other symbols used to radicalize locals and incite moderate Muslims to violence.
Knowledge of these identifiers is critical for police officers on daily patrol and searches.
Designated Terrorist Organizations
Jihad Intel considers an Islamic organization to be terrorist if a Western country has designated the organization as such.
Jihad Intel provides background information on each terrorist organization, including a list of Western countries which have designated the organization as terrorist. Jihad Intel does list a number of newer organizations that have yet to be designated as terrorist by a Western country; in those cases, the lack of Western designation is noted.
The most common designators of terrorist groups are:
On April 23, 2014 we originally reported that the The Safe Spaces initiative included the concept of “Providing for an area that is off-limits to law enforcement unless the Muslim community grants permission“.
The Muslim community has to realize that a lot of the responsibility lies with them to cooperate with law enforcement
– Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.)
King: Muslim Groups Complain About Harassment, Surveillance When Asked to Help Fight ISIS
By Bridget Johnson, May 11, 2015
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) charged that all U.S. Muslim groups are doing is “complain about the fact that they’re being harassed and they’re being surveilled” as they need to step forward and help stop jihadi recruitment on U.S. soil.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a brief statement Friday that the group “engaged with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson during two separate meetings focused on the Obama administration’s new countering violent extremism (CVE) program in New York.”
“CAIR officials met previously with the secretary on the same issue in both Minneapolis and Los Angeles.”
King said a source in the meeting told him Johnson was “asking for them to step forward and be more cooperative” as they complained about harassment.
“Well, if we keep that attitude up, we’re going to get nowhere. The Muslim community has to realize that a lot of the responsibility lies with them to cooperate with law enforcement,” King said this morning on MSNBC.
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: We highlighted the new CVE program when it was rolled out with a DOJ announcement in September 2014. In February 2015, CAIR stated that the “CVE is not an effective use of public resources ” so the observed lack of cooperation should not be surprising.
The push by Islamic groups in the the U.S. has been towards the MPACs Safe Spaces program announced last year. Safe Spaces places an emphasis on two key points:
- the mosque/Muslim community makes the determination of threat levels and when law enforcement is allowed to be involved.
- the sanctity of the mosque is a priority
In other words, the interests of the mosque and its community apparently take precendence. This view was expressed by Salam Al-Marayati, president of MPAC who wrote in 2014:
Safe spaces are needed so that government informants and extremist recruiters are prevented from violating the sanctity of the mosque. In essence, we want to enhance both a spiritual safety and public safety.
As we indicated in “Islamist damage control – Safe Spaces revisited“, the Safe Spaces Initiative can be tied into several front groups for the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) such as CAIR and the Muslim American Society (MAS). The author of the “Safe Spaces Tool Kit” is Alejandro J. Beutel – the lead face in MPAC’s organized effort to move U.S. law enforcement towards a community oriented policing model that effectively allows the Muslim community to exercise considerable control and influence. He was a junior fellow with the Minaret of Freedom Institute. According to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, “The Minaret of Freedom Institute [is] a lesser known group tied to the U.S Brotherhood and whose leadership includes Omar Altalib, likely a relative of Hisham Altalib, one of the original leaders of IIIT and the SAAR Foundation“.
MPAC reported that during a June 2014 meeting of American Muslim and Syrian leaders in Chicago, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson applauded the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) for launching its community-based Safe Spaces Initiative.
RELATED: In 2011 CAIR-California promoted a conference titled, ““FBI Raids and Grand Jury Subpoenas: Know Your Rights and Defend Our Communities.” According to a Fox news report:
… the website of CAIR’s California chapter, features a sinister-looking FBI agent with the headlines “Build a Wall of Resistance” and “Don’t Talk to the FBI.” The poster was designed in the late 1970s or early 1980s and has been reproduced by various groups and activists since then in response to alleged harassment by the FBI and to protest grand jury subpoenas.
Either Islam will reform, or it will be in constant conflict with the West until one side or the other gives up.
– Jonathan Keiler
In a May 9, 2015 American Thinker blog post, Jonathan Keiler writes that Islam needs to reform and drop taboos that place it at odds with Western culture:
Pamela Geller’s “draw Mohammed” contest in Texas was provocative, but the problem is not with Geller or the contest organizers, it is with Muslims who insist that they were provoked because it violated a Muslim taboo against representational art. Muslims should not have been provoked by a contest that was about free speech. In the West free speech and activities that are offensive but don’t infringe the rights of others, are not only tolerated, but often celebrated. They are part of the fundamental fabric of society.
Muslims are entitled to their taboos; every religion has them. Religious taboos emerge, evolve, change or dissipate over time, and Islam is no exception to this process. Islam began without an accepted taboo requiring women to veil themselves, the practice becoming widespread only after the conquest of Mesopotamia. And over time, and depending on place, that taboo has waxed and waned.
Art has always been a part of religion, and beliefs about art within religions are not static. Western Christian iconography changed dramatically over time as Christianity grew from a small Jewish cult to an imperial faith. Byzantium celebrated icons, broke them, and celebrated again. In Buddhism, as the faith moved along the Silk Roads from India to China, Buddha changed from an aesthetic priest into a chubby party animal.
COMMENT/ANAYLSIS: Keiler further points out that the common trend of taking a politically correct apologist stance with Islam needs to stop:
Western pundits and politicians ought to do what they can to encourage reform, not hinder it by parroting Islamist positions in an attempt to assuage Muslims. This not only leads to moral absurdities — like blaming the victims of the terror attack in Texas instead of the perpetrators and their sympathizers — but it gives Muslims little reason to reform their religion.
We agree. Appeasing Islamists only bolsters their influence within Muslim communities, lessening chances for meaningful reform. As we pointed out in a follow-up to the Garland terror attack, this type of stance is simply a “win” for Islamists in using fear and intimidation to silence those that oppose them.
Related article by Keiler: An Islamic Reformation?, Jan 19, 2015