Muslim Students Association (MSA)

Clarion Project
Article Source: Clarion Project

Article Source: Clarion Project

A 2007 NYPD report listed the Muslim Students Association as a "radicalization incubator."

The Muslim Students Association (MSA) says it “strives to facilitate networking, educating, and empowering the students of today to be citizens of tomorrow’s community.”[3] It has approximately 600 chapters, including 150 affiliated with MSA National, in North America.[4]

MSA was created by Muslim Brotherhood members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in January 1963.[5] It was essentially “an arm of the Saudi-funded, Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Muslim World League.”[6]

A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo, which describes its “work in America as a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within,” lists the MSA as “one of our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” Most groups affiliated with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood grew out of MSA. It is currently listed as a “constituent organization” of the Islamic Society of North America.[7]

The New York Times described the original MSA chapters as “basically little slices of Saudi Arabia.” The group was largely financed from Saudi Arabia and the country was not criticized at events. Chapters discriminated against women, held meetings in Arabic and “advocated theological and political positions derived from radical Islamist organizations.”[8]

In the 1980s, U.S. Muslim Brotherhood official Zaid Naman said “the most important resolution the [Brotherhood] Group might have taken was who was going to be a member of the MSA’s executive committee.” He said that in the 1960s, the Brotherhood required members to “be active in the general activism in the MSA, a person who attends its general conferences or participating in its executive committees, whether local or central …”[9]

In 1972, Jamal Barzinji was the president of MSA. FBI documents from 1988 reported that he had been identified as a Muslim Brotherhood operative.[10] In 2003, his home was raided because, in the words of U.S. Customs Service Special Agent David Kane, Barzinji “is not only closely associated with PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad]…but also with Hamas.”[11] In 2011, it was reported that the Justice Department stopped a planned indictment of Barzinji.[12] Barzinji played a leading role in establishing multiple U.S. Brotherhood entities.

From 1982 to 1983, MSA’s national president was Abdurrahman Alamoudi. He was convicted on terrorism-related charges in 2004 and has admitted to being a secret Muslim Brotherhood operative. He wrote from his prison cell, “I am, I hope, still a member of the Muslim Brotherhood organization in the USA.”[13]

A 1987 FBI memo states: “The leadership of NAIT, [North American Islamic Trust] MSA and other Muslim groups are inter-related, with many leaders and members of NAIT having been identified as supporters of the Islamic Revolution as advocated by the Government of Iran (GOI). Their support of JIHAD (holy war) in the U.S. has been evidenced by the financial and organizational support provided through NAIT from Middle East countries to Muslims residing in the U.S. and Canada.”[14]

The Investigative Project on Terrorism explains, “Through conferences and events, publications, websites and other activities, MSA has disseminated and promoted militant Islamic ideologies on college and university campuses throughout North America.”[15] A 2007 NYPD report listed MSA as a “radicalization incubator.”[16]

There are many examples of MSA chapters booking Islamist speakers. Its members, often top officials, have become engaged in radical and terrorist activity. However, MSA’s large size and decentralization leads to a diversified membership.

“It would be grossly unfair to tar the tens of thousands of MSA members across the country as terrorist supporters or would-be terrorists solely for their participation in the organization and the actions of these MSA leaders. Despite the historic extremism of the group’s national leadership, some chapters have been outspoken in their demand for a moderate, non-violent form of Islam,” writes terrorism analyst Patrick Poole.[17]

Abdel Malik Ali leads ‘pledge of allegiance’ at MSA event:
“Jihad is my spirit… I will die to establish Islam”

MSA West? 13th Annual Conference UCLA (January 16 2011)


[1] Physical address according to Guidestar, https://www.guidestar.org/organizations/35-1170105/muslim-students-association-u-s-canada.aspx

[2] Mailing address as of February 2, 2013. As seen on the MSA National Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/msanational/info.

[3] “About Us,” MSA website, https://msanational.org/about-us/

[4] “Muslims Students Association,” Investigative Project on Terrorism, July 9, 2008. https://www.investigativeproject.org/profile/166

[5] Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Sam Roe and Laurie Cohen. “A Rare Look at Secretive Brotherhood in America,” Chicago Tribune, September 19, 2004. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/chi-0409190261sep19,0,4605917,full.story

[6] Poole, Patrick. “The Muslim Student Association’s Terror Problem,” PJ Media, August 20, 2010. https://pjmedia.com/blog/the-muslim-student-associations-terror-problem/

[7] “About Us: Constituent Organizations,” Islamic Society of North America website, https://www.isna.net/home.aspx.

[8] MacFarquhar, Neil. “For Muslim Students, a Debate on Inclusion,” New York Times, February 21, 2008. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/21/education/21muslim.html?pagewanted=print&_r=0

[9] Introduced into evidence during the trial of the Holy Land Foundation.

[10] Forgotten Investigation, Emails Offer Insight into IIIT Probe,” IPT News, August 3, 2008. https://www.investigativeproject.org/737/forgotten-investigation-emails-offer-insight-into-iiit-probe. The original FBI file can be read at: https://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/459.pdf

[11] “(Proposed Redacted) Affidavit in Support of Application for Search Warrant (October 2003),” David Kane, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. https://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/case_docs/891.pdf

[12] Poole, Patrick. “Holder’s DOJ Scuttled More Terror-Related Prosecutions,” PJ Media, April 28, 2011. https://pjmedia.com/blog/pjm-exclusive-holders-doj-scuttled-more-terror-related-prosecutions/?singlepage=true

[13] “Jihad in America: The Grand Deception,” SAE Productions.

[14] Emerson, Steven. “New Disclosures Tighten ISNA-Muslim Brotherhood Bonds,” IPT News, July 22, 2008. https://www.investigativeproject.org/730/new-disclosures-tighten-isna-muslim-brotherhood-bonds. Original FBI document can be viewed at: https://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/148.pdf

[15] “Muslims Students Association,” Investigative Project on Terrorism, July 9, 2008. https://www.investigativeproject.org/profile/166

[16] Silber, Mitchell D. and Arvin Bhatt. “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,” New York Police Department Intelligence Division, 2007. https://www.nypdshield.org/public/SiteFiles/documents/NYPD_Report-Radicalization_in_the_West.pdf

[17] Poole, 2010.