|ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA (ISNA)|
|P.O. Box 38
Established in 1963 by the by the Saudi-funded Muslim Students’ Association of the U.S. and Canada, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)calls itself the largest Muslim organization on the continent. Its annual convention draws more attendees — usually over 30,000 — than any other Muslim gathering in the Western Hemisphere. ISNA’s mission is to function as “an association of Muslim organizations and individuals that provides a common platform for presenting Islam, supporting Muslim communities, developing educational, social and outreach programs and fostering good relations with other religious communities, and civic and service organizations.” ISNA devotes much of its energy to providing Wahhabi theological indoctrination materials to some 1,100 of the approximately 2,500 mosques in
North America. Many of these mosques were recently built with Saudi money and are required, by their Saudi benefactors, to strictly follow the dictates of Wahhabi imams – an edict that affects the tone and content of the sermons given in the mosques, the selection of books and periodicals that may be read in mosque libraries or sold in mosque bookshops, and the policies governing the exclusion or suppression of dissenters from the congregations. Through its affiliate, the North American Islamic Trust — a Saudi government-backed organization created to fund Islamist enterprises in
North America — the Saudi-subsidized ISNA reportedly holds the mortgages of between 50 and 79 percent of all mosques in the U.S. and Canada. Thus the organization can exercise ultimate authority over the mosques and their teachings.
Writes Kaukab Siddique, the editor of New Trend, an Islamic periodical of extremist views that is nonetheless opposed to Wahhabi domination of American Islam: “ISNA controls most mosques in
According to terrorism expert Steven Emerson, ISNA “is a radical group hiding under a false veneer of moderation”; “convenes annual conferences where Islamist militants have been given a platform to incite violence and promote hatred” (For instance, al Qaeda supporter and PLO official Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi was invited to speak at an ISNA conference); has held fundraisers for terrorists (After Hamas leader Mousa Marzook was arrested and eventually deported in 1997, ISNA raised money for his defense); has condemned the U.S. government’s post-9/11 seizure of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad financial assets; and publishes a bi-monthly magazine, Islamic Horizons, that “often champions militant Islamist doctrine.” Adds Emerson: “I think ISNA has been an umbrella, also a promoter of groups that have been involved in terrorism. I am not going to accuse the ISNA of being directly involved in terrorism. I will say ISNA has sponsored extremists, racists, people who call for Jihad against the
WTHR, an Indianapolis television station located close to ISNA’s Plainfield, Indiana headquarters, said it had found “about a dozen charities, organizations and individuals under federal scrutiny for possible ties to terrorism that are in some way linked to ISNA.”
In December 2003, U.S. Senators Charles Grassley and Max Baucus listed ISNA as one of 25 American Muslim organizations that “finance terrorism and perpetuate violence.” ISNA is known to have permitted the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (and a number of other Islamic charities with terror connections) to set up booths at its conventions, and in some cases has helped raise money for them.
Upon learning of the arrest of Sami Al-Arian, the
Washington, DC. But several months earlier (on October 28, 2000), Siddiqi had publicly stated: ”
America has to learn, if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come. Please, all Americans. Do you remember that? If you continue doing injustice, and tolerate injustice, the wrath of God will come.”
ISNA was a signatory to a February 20, 2002 document, composed by C. Clark Kissinger’s revolutionary communist group Refuse & Resist, condemning military tribunals and the detention of immigrants apprehended in connection with post-9/11 terrorism investigations. In ISNA’s estimation, the Patriot Act constitutes an assault on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans and ought to be repealed.
ISNA endorses the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride Coalition, which seeks to secure amnesty and civil liberties protections for illegal aliens, and policy reforms that diminish or eliminate restrictions on future immigration.
ISNA chose not to endorse or participate in the May 14, 2005 “Free Muslims March Against Terror,” an event whose purpose was to “send a message to the terrorists and extremists that their days are numbered . . . [and to send] a message to the people of the Middle East, the Muslim world and all people who seek freedom, democracy and peaceful coexistence that we support them.”Former ISNA President, Sheikh Mohammed Nur Abdullah, who immigrated to the U.S. from Sudan in 1978, received a B.A. degree in Sharia, or Islamic Law, from the Islamic University in Medina, and a Masters degree in Sharia from the
The organization’s current President is Ingrid Mattson, professor of Islamic Studies at the
Other notable ISNA members include Jamal A. Badawi, Ihsan Bagby, Muzammil Siddiqi, and Abdullah Idris Ali. Hadia Mubarak, former President of the Muslim Students’ Association, sits on ISNA’s Board of Directors. Muslim Youth of North America Chairman Omar J. Siddiqui is also a member of the ISNA Board.
In July 2006, ISNA Secretary General Sayyid M. Syeed joined Sojourners leader Jim Wallis and National Council of Churches General Secretary Robert Edgar in opposing any U.S. military action against Iran’s nuclear weapons program — instead advocating “direct negotiations” with