On November 22-25, activists with links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas will come together at the Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort in Illinois for American Muslims for Palestine’s (AMP) Conference for Palestine in the U.S.: A Movement United. The event also highlights the Islamists’ success in forging interfaith partnerships with Reverend Donald Wagner of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding as one of the speakers.
American Muslims for Palestine isn’t just about Palestinian statehood. It’s about the elimination of Israel. Michael Rubin points out that “Its home page depicts the conference logo—a map of Palestine made from birds showing the Palestinian state encompassing all of Israel. So much for the two-state solution.”
AMP conferences promote Islamist thought. In 2004, its chairman, Hatem Bazian, praised the “uprising in Iraq” (which was against U.S. soldiers) and the “intifada in Palestine” and said an American intifada is needed to “change fundamentally the political dynamics here.” He boasted, “They’re gonna say some Palestinian [is] being too radical – well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet.”
In June, Bazian described the U.S. as a racist country that tries to get “darker people [to] fight our war.” He teaches that the “military-industrial complex” is promoting “Islamophobia” and is persecuting Muslim leadership in the U.S. in order to build support for wars against Muslims overseas.
AMP board member Osama Abu Irshaid, another speaker at the conference, describes the firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas as a form of “legitimate resistance.” He used to be the editor of an Arabic publication made by the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, which the American Muslim Brotherhood’s internal documents identify as having been one of its fronts set up to support Hamas.
Another board member is Salah Sarsour. His brother was arrested by Israel in 1998 and informed his interrogators that Salah was financing Hamas through the Islamic Association for Palestine and the Holy Land Foundation. The latter was shut down by the U.S. government and five of its officials were convicting of funding terrorism. He even said that Sarsour transferred funds to a Hamas military commander.
The conference, which has Turkish Airlines as a sponsor, features some of the top Brotherhood-linked speakers, including:
Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The federal government named CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial, listing it among “individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee.” Awad declared his support for Hamas in 1994. In 2004, he refused to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah, instead choosing to call them “liberation movements.”
Safaa Zarzour, the Secretary-General of the Islamic Society of North America. Like CAIR, it was designated an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial and was listed by the government as a Muslim Brotherhood entity. FBI investigators identified ISNA as a Brotherhood front as far back as 1987. A 1991 American Muslim Brotherhood document also lists it as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.”
Jamal Badawi, who is listed in an American Muslim Brotherhood directory from 1992 and is a listed unindicted co-conspirator for his fundraising on behalf of the Holy Land Foundation. He is a founder of the Muslim American Society, a Brotherhood front. In 1999, he justified suicide bombings, saying, “So when an act of heroism like that is required to save others, it is self-sacrifice, you cannot really call it suicide.” In February 2009, he criticized the West for describing “martyrs” from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip as terrorists. In March 2010, he said Islam justifies the “combative jihad” of Palestinians.
Jamal Said, the imam of the Mosque Foundation. He was also designated an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial and is listed as a member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee. In 2000, he asked attendees at an Islamic Association for Palestine event to “pay for the family of a martyr.” In 2009, he said, “We need to raise our children to know the martyrs of Gaza.”
Amin al-Ali, the imam of the Islamic Community Center of Illinois. Its website promotes books by Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood; Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, a powerful pro-Hamas Brotherhood cleric; and Abul Ala Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami. Tellingly, these books are listed under the section of suggested texts about “Islamic movement and training.”
Othman Atta, the executive director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. He criticizes the labeling of Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups and an FBI memo from November 2001 states that some members of his mosque were fundraising for the Holy Land Foundation. He condemns Palestinian attacks on “innocent civilians” but says “it’s within the right of an occupied people to resist their occupiers.”
Shaker Elsayed, the imam of Dar al-Hijrah, a mosque with a long history of extremism. In 2004, he said that the teachings of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Brotherhood, are the “closest reflection of how Islam should be in this life.” In 2002, he said that suicide bombers are “unfairly named” and that jihad requires Muslims to fight “with every tool that they can get in their hand.” A 2002 Customs and Border Patrol document said the mosque is “operating as a front for Hamas operatives in the U.S.”
Muslims aren’t the only ones that AMP seeks to influence. Reverend Donald Wagner of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding will be speaking. On October 13, AMP took part in an event called “Jews in Solidarity with Palestinians.” The 2010 conference featured Archbishop Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, who blasted the “racist Occupation” and praised Palestinians held in Israeli prisons “because they resisted, because they struggled, because they waged jihad…”
On November 22-25, the Prairie State will be home to an event designed to serve the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas agenda. And it will be done with the help of an evangelical activist and sponsors like Turkish Airlines contributing as much as $15,000.
This is what the Brotherhood was talking about when its documents called for “sabotaging” the West by “their hands and the hands of the believers.”
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.
This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.