“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)
In short, the history/background of the leadership of the Islamic Society of Boston makes it fairly clear why there might be some radical elements roaming the hallways.
Islamic Society of Boston Condemns Claims that Alleged ISIS Cohort Attended Mosque
They’re refuting a recent New York Post report that said Ahmad Abousamra prayed in Cambridge regularly.
From: Boston Magazine / Boston Daily
By: Steve Annear, September 8, 2014 5:43 pm
A Cambridge mosque is denying claims made by the New York Post that a man from Massachusetts who allegedly has ties to the Islamic extremist group ISIS, the same organization responsible for the beheading of a New England journalist who went missing in Syria in 2012, ever attended their religious quarters.
The Islamic Society of Boston said in a statement that the Post’s recent story claiming that Ahmad Abousamra, a Boston College graduate from Stoughton, who is reportedly linked to the Islamic State, was a “regular worshipper” at their mosque, along with others tied to terrorist activity, was full of “half-truths,” and the newspaper never reached out to them for comment or verification of the facts.
“We would like to now clarify this issue,” the center said in their statement. “According to our records, Ahmad Abousamra never came to or had any relationship with our mosque.”
The Post also said in their report, titled “Boston Bomber’s Mosque Tied to ISIS,” that at one time Abousamra’s father held a prominent position with the Muslim organization that runs the mosque, another claim the ISB denied.
“His father was never appointed to any leadership or board position at the mosque,” the ISB said.
A recent ABC News report shed light on the possibility that Abousamra, who is wanted by the FBI, has been running social media campaigns for ISIS, helping to promote or create videos of the beheadings of American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley as the terrorist cell continues to expand its territory overseas.
The New York Post article cited above, wrote:
Now it can be revealed that another regular worshipper at the Islamic Society mosque was Ahmad Abousamra, who is now the top propagandist for ISIS.
Abousamra’s father, a prominent doctor, even sat on the board of directors of the Muslim organization that runs the mosque. He stepped down after the FBI began questioning his son.
The FBI suspects Abousamra now operates ISIS’s sophisticated media wing promoting the group’s beheadings and other atrocities through slick videos posted on the Internet. The brutally effective English-language propaganda campaign has helped attract thousands of Western jihadists, including at least 300 Americans.
The FBI says Abousamra, 32, traveled to Pakistan and Yemen to train to kill Americans while enrolled at Boston colleges. He justified murdering civilians because “they paid taxes to support the government and were kufar [nonbelievers],” Boston FBI Agent Andrew Nambu testified in an affidavit.
The interest in Abousamra and his Boston ties came from an ABC report that stated the FBI suspected him of joining ISIS and using his computer skills to spread the group’s propaganda on social media.
The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) gained media attention in the wake of the 2013 Boston Bombing when it was reported that one of the bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had been removed from the mosque after he created a disturbance three months prior to the bombings during prayers. The New York Post article notes that worshipers at the Islamic Society have included:
- Abdurahman Alamoudi, the mosque’s founder and first president, who in 2004 was sentenced to 23 years in prison for plotting terrorism. In 2005, the Treasury Department issued a statement saying Alamoudi raised money for al Qaeda in the US.
- Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT scientist-turned-al Qaeda agent, who in 2010 was sentenced to 86 years in prison for planning a New York chemical attack. Known as “Lady al Qaeda,” she is related to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. ISIS has tried to trade her release for journalist hostages.
- Tarek Mehanna, who in 2012 got 17 years in prison for conspiring to use automatic weapons to murder shoppers in a suburban Boston mall.
- Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a mosque trustee and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader banned from the US after issuing a fatwa that called for the killing of US soldiers.
- Jamal Badawi, another former trustee who in 2007 was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a plan to funnel more than $12 million to Palestinian suicide bombers.
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: As was previously pointed out in Boston Has Jihadi Terror History, since 1993 the Boston area is no stranger to Islamic jihadi activity. This has ranged from fundraising to being the jumping off spot for the 9/11 attacks. The ISB, according to the Boston Mag article, said they can’t be held accountable for people passing through and stopping to pray at the Cambridge mosque, since Muslims are required to pray five times a day, and the facility is “open to all people.” A valid point, but it doesn’t explain away the Islamist influences that have impacted the ISB since it’s inception – it’s founding and management by U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) operatives.
The ISB was incorporated in Massachusetts by Abdurahman Alamoudi in 1982. A prominent member of the MB, Alamoudi focused on MB funding operations. The ISB most likely acted as the base of operations, a focal point for MB financial operations in the north eastern United States. In the mid-1990s, the arrest and deportation of Mousa Abu Marzook resulted in Alamoudi coordinating Middle East financial support activities in addition to his U.S. based operations – answering directly to the MB economic director, Panama City Dr. Yahia Rahim.
In 2002, MB leadership directed Dr. Osama M. Kandil to Boston to assist Alamoudi. Kandil was part of MB leader Dr. Ahmed Elkadi‘s core group out of Panama City, FL. Prior to moving to Boston, Kandil had been involved in the Safa/SAAR group of charities out of Virginia that federal investigators had tied into terrorist funding. When he arrived in Boston, Kandil was appointed president of the ISB. During their time at ISB, Alamoudi and Kandil were also listed as directors of the Taibah International Aid Association, a Muslim charity. In 2004 Taibah International was designated by the U.S. Treasure Department as a terrorist entity for funding al Qaeda
In short, the history/background of the leadership of the Islamic Society of Boston makes it fairly clear why there might be some radical elements roaming the hallways.
… that Muslims actually discovered America.
The Pluralism Project of Harvard University was started in 1991,with the stated mission, “… to help Americans engage with the realities of religious diversity through research, outreach, and the active dissemination of resources.” It tends to focus on interfaith and non-Christian religions, featuring a sizeable amount of research and information pertaining to Islam. A section titled, “The First American Muslims” includes:
The historical roots of Islam in America are complex and contested. Some historians argue that Muslim explorers may have come to this continent long before Christopher Columbus, with the earliest estimates dating to the 12th century. Many contend that Muslims played a vital part in numerous European expeditions to the Americas, both as mapmakers and as guides: Estevancio of Azamor, a Moroccan guide who landed in Florida in 1539, is often cited as the first documented Muslim in America. By the late 1700s, historical records indicate the presence of “Moors” living in South Carolina, many of whom were expelled from their homeland under edict of the Spanish Crown.
It appears the Pluralism Project did not find it very contested. Its Islam in America timeline shows:
1178 CE Muslims Sail to America
A Chinese source known as the Sung Document records that Muslim sailors journeyed to a land known as Mu-Lan-Pi, which some Muslims identify as the American continent. This document is mentioned in the publication The Khotan Amirs, 1933.
1300s CE African Muslims to the New World
According to some scholars, Abu Bakari, a king of the Muslim state of Mali in West Africa, initiated a series of sea voyages to North America beginning in the early 1300s. About the same time, Mandingo Muslims from Mali and other parts of West Africa are said to have arrived in the Gulf of Mexico and traveled up the Mississippi River to explore the interior of the North American continent.
The listed sources are vague and the authenticity of the Sung Document is in question. While these claims are repeatedly listed on a number of Islamist websites as “proof” that Muslims actually discovered America, it is rather odd to have them included in a publication from a mainstream academic research group associated with Harvard.
So why claim Muslim’s discovered America? It could simply be a pride issue or an attempt to bolster Muslim history. Research author Frederick William Dame believes the motive is a bit more complex and states in The Muslim Discovery of America:
… this assertion is important for Muslims because in conjunction with the relevant verses from the Koran and quotes from Mohammed it establishes the claim of Muslims that Allah intended America to be Islamic.
Dame’s claim may certainly apply to the material posted by the Pluralism Project. At the end of the posted timeline is a thank you to Fareed Numan and the American Muslim Council for assistance in compiling it. The list in it’s original format, was written by Numan in 1992 while he was working as a research analyst for the American Muslim Council.
The American Muslim Council was founded in 1990 by Abdurahman Alamoudi – a leader of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. From the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch:
The Hudson report goes on to explain how Alamoudi played a role in important U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations such as the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) before going on to form the American Muslim Council (AMC) which would play a leading role in U.S. Brotherhood affairs:
ISNA announced in November 1987 that it had formed is own PAC (ISNA-PAC), with Abdurahman Alamoudi as the “leading force” of the ISNA-PAC. Alamoudi had been the ISNA regional representative for the Washington, DC, metropolitan area (and was previously president of MSA and executive assistant to the president of SAAR). He would later go on to form the American Muslim Council (AMC) with Elkadi’s father-in-law Abu-Saud in July 1990. The AMC was designed to encourage Muslims to become involved in politics and other civic activities. Alamoudi immediately began serving as the group’s director.
The AMC largely disappeared after Alamoudi’s conviction.
Pushing the notion that “Allah intended America to be Islamic” certainly fits within the ideology of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and having a Muslim Brotherhood organization assist in compiling the timeline should raise some questions. Whether those questions fell on deaf ears, or were even voiced, is another matter. Harvard University, home to the Pluralism Project, is also home to The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program (AISP). The program was established after Harvard received $20 million from the Prince Talal in 2005. We referred to Prince Talal’s interest in Universities and associations with the Muslim Brotherhood in this report about a new Islamic Studies Center at the University of Florida.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Alamoudi’s conviction was for illegal finance transactions with Libya and implicated in a plot to kill a Saudi prince. In 2012, Alamoudi provided sworn testimony that the Muslim American Society (MAS) was created as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in America and had also stated, “”Everyone knows that MAS is the Muslim Brotherhood”
Another page of the Pluralism Project site that drew our attention was Islam in America Post 9/11. The theme is heavy on Muslim victimhood and almost seems to have been written through the offices of CAIR or MPAC. One section the sacrifices historical fact in favor of promoting a positive Muslim image reads:
Muslim organizations and individuals suddenly came under scrutiny. Several prominent and trusted American Muslim charities such as the Holy Land Foundation and the Global Relief Foundation were shut down by the American government, charged with having ties to terrorists. Muslim Student Associations on college campuses across the country came under secret surveillance by American police. Muslims continue to be singled out by federal security. The FBI continues to closely monitor Muslim communities at mosques.
There was nothing “sudden” about the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) and Global Relief Foundation. HLF was being investigated by the FBI since 1994 concerning it’s ties to Hamas. Global Relief was being investigated over a year prior to 9/11. From a January 6, 2000 FBI memo:
Although the majority of GRF funding goes toward legitimate relief operations, a significant percentage is diverted to fund extremist causes. Among the terrorist groups known to have links to GRF are the Algerian Armed Islamic Group, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Gama’at Al Islamyia, and the Kashmiri Harakat Al Jihad El Islam, as well as the Al Qaeda organization of Usama Bin Laden. . . . In the past, GRF support to terrorists and other transnational mujahideen fighters has taken the form of purchase and shipment of large quantities of sophisticated communications equipment, provision of humanitarian cover documentation to suspected terrorists and fund-raising for terrorist groups under the cover of humanitarian relief.