Major evangelical leaders are teaming up with Islamist activists for the Spreading Peace Convocation at a church in Maryland on October 22. Messages of interfaith tolerance against bigotry are always welcome, but attendees should be aware of the incendiary records of the Islamists who will use this platform as proof of their "moderate" credentials.
One of the main speakers is Mohamed Magid, former President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and current head imam of the ADAMS Center of Virginia. The Justice Department identified ISNA as an entity of the Muslim Brotherhood when it designated ISNA in a terrorism-financing trial. One of ISNA's fellow components in the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network was successfully prosecuted for financing Hamas.
Magid is currently listed (with a different spelling of his name) as one of the experts of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA), a hardline Islamist group whose extremism is not hidden. Magid also is a signatory to a letter that received positive media coverage for condemning the Islamic State but endorses all kinds of radicalism, such as sharia governance, rebuilding the caliphate and jihad against perceived oppressors of Muslims.
Another listed speaker is Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, who is described as the most influential Muslim-American but also endorsed the aforementioned letter. He also has a history of inflammatory preaching and founded Zaytuna College with other extremists. At one Zaytuna event, Yusuf called for prohibiting speech that "mocks" religion because of the dangers that free speech allegedly creates. What he was calling for was moving the U.S. towards compliance with Islamist blasphemy laws.
And yet another is "Suhail Webb," presumably referring to Suhaib Webb of the Islamic Society of Boston's sister mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. According to its own website, the Cultural Center is run by the Boston branch of the Muslim American Society. Federal prosecutors confirmed in 2008 that Muslim American Society was “founded as the overt of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”
The Islamic Society of Boston has a radical history that includes being founded by an admitted U.S. Muslim Brotherhood member, Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who was convicted on charges related to terrorism-financing. He also vocally supported Hamas and Hezbollah.
The organization’s second mosque in Roxbury, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, also listed the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, Yousef al-Qaradawi, as an official. In addition to fundraising for the mosque, Qaradawi is ferociously radical and supports Hamas. The Treasury Department blacklisted a network of charities he oversaw for financing Hamas.
Americans for Peace and Tolerance have more documentation of the mosque’s extremism here and here. The ideology was so extreme at the mosque that one Muslim activist, Sheikh Ahmed Mansour, said, “Their writings and teachings were fanatical. I left and refused to go back to pray. I left Egypt to escape the Muslim Brotherhood, but I had found it there.”
Webb also says Muslims should refuse to work with the FBI unless the FBI restores its relationship with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. The FBI severed ties with due to evidence tying it to Hamas.
He also condemned secularism as a “radical, lunatic ideology…we’re talking about the loss of holy power in politics. It’s very difficult to find any place in the world now that is ruled by someone who is ruling by divine authority.” He said that only the Islam of Prophet Mohammed’s era is equipped for political rule today.
Two of them evangelical leaders are Pastor Bob Roberts of Northwood Church in Texas and Pastor Joel Hunter of Northland Church in Florida. Hunter sits on the boards of the National Association of Evangelicals and the World Evangelical Alliance. The two previously went on an interfaith trip to Iran to meet with regime-approved clerics and came back regurgitating its propaganda. Roberts also had a major Islamist-filled interfaith event in Texas and Hunter has his own unsettling history of political activism on issues related to Islamism and the Middle East.
Other Christian leaders include Pastor David Anderson of Bridgeway Community Church, Dr. Rick Love of Peace Catalyst International and Pastor John Jenkins of First Baptist Church Glenarden, who is hosting the event.
The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood's own documents show the network was instructed to embrace interfaith allies for political purposes. One such file is a 1991 memo that describes its "work in America as a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers."
When the Brotherhood says "their hands," they are referring to non-Muslim hands in the U.S. It then tells its network to "possess a mastery of the art of 'coalitions,' the art of 'absorption,' and the principles of 'cooperation." It then lists ISNA as the very first component of this network—yes, the same ISNA that was led by one of the event's main speakers.
Islamists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood affiliates, work with interfaith partners to develop political alliances, broaden their platform and solidify their status as the "moderate" Muslim-American leadership.
They then use this platform to deflect legitimate concern about Islamism, manipulating it to defame their critics. Radical groups like the Muslim Brotherhood tar opponents with the "Islamophobe" label that they even slap onto their fellow non-Islamist Muslims.
These interfaith partners are deployed to accuse opponents of being anti-Muslim bigots, even holding church events to warn of their baneful influence. They are also utilized for undermining Christian support for Israel and protesting counter-terrorism investigations and policies.
Constructive interfaith dialogue requires knowledge and honesty. Participants should be aware of their partners’ histories and views and, when it comes to Muslim involvement, be as inclusive as possible to make sure that the anti-Islamist Muslims who often struggle for a platform are not left out.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.