CAIR, ISNA Praise Radical, Further Exposing Their Own Extremism

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America, two supposedly “moderate” groups identified by the U.S. Justice Department as Muslim Brotherhood entities, are mourning radical Islamic preacher Dr. Ali Mazrui in light of his passing on October 12. Their statements point to his deep involvement in their organizations.


Dr. Ali Mazrui's Extremist Ideology

In 2007, Mazrui preached that the U.S. “empire” is a threat to Islam and Muslims must retaliate politically, economically and violently. A reporter at his lecture paraphrased him as saying:

“The U.S. today is an empire with no counter power as once offered by the U.S.S.R.. He enumerated four ways this empire can be minimized: reduce dependency on the U.S., as the Europeans are doing; make Americans pay the price when they misuse their power, as in oil embargos or the insurgency in Iraq; rely on the effect of countervailing powers, such as China and India; and—Mazrui’s preferred solution—have American democracy control the empire.” [emphasis mine]

The line is bold is an explicit endorsement of attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

The reporter summarized his comments on the 9/11 attacks as, “Turning to the Sept. 11, 2001 assaults on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, Dr. Mazrui said the targets were economic and military—no religious symbol was attacked.”

The write-up gives the impression that Mazrui legitimized the 9/11 attacks, but it is uncertain without an exact quote. 

In 2004, he reportedly was a guest speaker for an Al-Qaeda-linked organization in South Africa named the International Center for the Propagation of Islam. Its founder had personal contact with Osama Bin Laden.

According to his Binghamton University obituary, Mazrui was on the board of directors of the American Muslim Council led by Abdurrahman Alamoudi. When speaking privately, Alamoudi preached extremism such as “destroy America” and advocated deception. When speaking publicly, Alamoudi condemned terrorism and positioned himself as a moderate.

Alamoudi was a public supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. In 2004, Alamoudi pled guilty to terrorism-related charges. He was secretly fundraising for Al-Qaeda and was involved in a secret Libyan regime plot to work with Al-Qaeda terrorists to kill the king of Saudi Arabia. Alamoudi later admitted that he was a member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.

According to the obituary, Mazrui was president of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists. A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo identifies the group as one of its fronts. The memo says the goal of this overall network is to wage a “kind of grand jihad…in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”

Mazrui’s Association of Muslim Social Scientists once had a General Secretary who was a spokesman for Al-Muhajiroun, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, named Kamran Bokhari. He arranged speaking engagements for the extremely radical Anjem Choudhary, who is currently an open supporter of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The Association that Mazrui once led was also very closely linked to the International Institute of Islamic Thought, another identified Muslim Brotherhood front with a history of extremism. It was also the subject of a terrorism-financing investigation after the 9/11 attacks.

In 2006, Mazrui spoke at a spoke at a fundraiser for the legal defense of Sami al-Arian, a convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist. He said that al-Arian was innocent and a “victim of prejudice and of popular ill will.” Even if Mazrui genuinely believed al-Arian hadn’t done anything illegal, al-Arian’s recorded extremist comments like “Death to Israel” were known. And yet Mazrui continued to embrace him.

Mazrui was associated with the Muslims of the Americas, the North American branch of an anti-American and anti-Semitic militant group based in Pakistan named Jamaat ul-Fuqra. A dozen U.S. and Canadian Muslim groups have endorsed the Clarion Project’s initiative to get ul-Fuqra designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

In 2011, Mazrui spoke for the group’s interfaith front, the United Muslim Christian Forum. Its website claimed that the 9/11 attacks were a Jewish conspiracy.

Mazrui frequently preached about an international Jewish/Zionist conspiracy against Islam using anti-Semitic themes that like are modernized claims of the nefarious Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

In 2002, Mazrui spoke at the 2002 convention of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a group with Muslim Brotherhood origins.

He preached:

“There is also suspicion that some members of the Bush administration in collusion with Israel are more than ready to plunge the Middle East into turmoil in the hope that the final outcome would be to the territorial advantage of Israel and the strategic advantage of the United States. All this is part of the emerging external sadism of the United States, a readiness to hurt others abroad."

In 2007, MPAC promoted an event with “acclaimed scholar” Mazrui with an interfaith group called the Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative. MPAC has not issued a statement reacting to Mazrui’s death.

In 2002, he wrote an article arguing that Israel is a “threat to American democracy.” He depicted suicide bombers and terrorists like Al-Qaeda and Hamas essentially as freedom fighters against Western oppression.

He said that Israel shouldn’t have been created in 1948 and compared it to Nazi Germany for pursing a “final solution for the Palestinian problem:”

“Israeli neo-Nazism reversed the scale of genetic values favored by German Nazis. Both forms of extremism exaggerated the impact of the Jewish factor. The Nazis thought that the Jewish impact was negative. The Israeli extremists erred the other way… As for the trend towards militarization, Israel has indeed become the most efficient war machine since Nazi Germany.”

When Hillary Clinton rejected American Islamist radicals during her Senate campaign in 2000, Mazrui attributed it to “pressure from pro-Israeli anti-Muslim New Yorkers.”

Mazrui claims he was interrogated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Department of Homeland Security and immigration and customs officers for seven hours in 2003 about whether he had links to terrorism. He was detained at Miami International Airport on the way back from Trinidad and Tobago.

Based on the information here, it’s easy to see why the U.S. government was so concerned and it is probable that it had classified intelligence that is still not publicly available.


Dr. Mazrui's Troubling Ties to “Moderate” CAIR and ISNA

In CAIR’s October 13 statement, Executive Director Nihad Awad (who recently publicly endorsed sharia governance) said, “Dr. Mazrui was a force in helping shape many American Muslim institutions, including as a member of CAIR’s board of advisors. His wisdom and scholarship will be missed.”

Likewise, CAIR National Board Chair Roula Allouch called him “a key intellectual bridge-builder in North America and worldwide.” The statement said that Mazrui spoke at CAIR events.

ISNA’s October 14 statement includes praise from ISNA President Azhar Azeez who, like Awad, recently endorsed sharia governance. Azeez described him as a “towering intellectual and academic who contributed greatly to Islamic and African studies.”

Sayyid Syeed, ISNA’s National Director of the Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances, was recorded in 2006 saying, “Our job is to change the Constitution of America.” His statement on Mazrui’s death acknowledges that ISNA birthed other Brotherhood-linked groups with extremist histories, including the International Institute of Islamic Thought:

“When Dr. Mazrui took the Chair in SUNY Binghamton, we invited him to Washington DC and introduced him to the work of ISNA and its various offshoots like AMSS [Association of Muslim Social Scientists], IIIT, MSA [Muslim Students Association], etc.

I spent the day with him in familiarizing with our work. He very much appreciated the accomplishments and then made himself available to address our various events and write for [ISNA] and other publications…ISNA provided him a stage and a vibrant forum” [emphasis mine].

Similarly, Asad Ba-Yunus, a member of ISNA’s board of directors, said, “Dr. Ali Mazrui was my professor for four classes, mentor, and friend to my late father and myself.” His father was the first president of ISNA.

The Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, also praised Mazrui and said he “will always be remembered with appreciation.” The Turkish government, led by the AK Party, is a sponsor of Islamist terrorists and radicals.

CAIR, ISNA and the Turkish government aren’t just mourning the death of someone they knew personally. They are endorsing him as a teacher and upholding him as an example for Muslims. Their statements do not put any distance between Mazrui’s long history of radicalism and their own views.

His views were not hidden, yet these “moderates” repeatedly upheld him and gave him a platform to spread his extremism. Even today, they boast of doing so. These are not the actions of true Muslim moderates.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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