Media coverage of the U.S. State Department's decision to comply with Egypt's request not to meet with a Muslim Brotherhood delegation this month missed an important point: That delegation included a former official from the Canadian wing of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and he has connections to several other Canadian Islamist groups.
The Muslim Brotherhood delegation visited the U.S. to advocate against the Egyptian government. The Brotherhood announced a new violent phase in January shortly after its representatives met with State Department officials. Brotherhood media outlets are calling for acts of violence in Egypt and against the interests of countries that are friendly towards President El-Sisi.
Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy writes that the Brotherhood delegation included Wael Haddara, a Canadian who served as a senior campaign adviser to former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood's official candidate.
Haddara claims he is not a member of the Brotherhood but the group's followers often play a game of semantics with what it means to be a "member." He says he was a media advisor to Morsi before he launched his presidential campaign.
Haddara was on the board of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, formerly known as CAIR-Canada. CAIR is a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and was banned as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates last year. Two other directors besides Haddara are known Muslim Brotherhood supporters. He left CAIR-Canada/NCCM in 2012 to work for Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
CAIR-Canada changed its name in 2013 and tried to make the organization sound like it is unrelated to CAIR in America. However, the group’s own documents prove the association of the two groups. For example, CAIR's press releases have referred to its “office in Canada,” and a 2003 affidavit by CAIR-CAN’s chairperson said CAIR “has direct control over the character and quality of all activities of [CAIR-CAN] including the use of its trademark and trade name.”
Haddara was also the president of the Muslim Association of Canada. The Point de Bascule blog, a website that closely monitors Muslim Brotherhood activity in Canada, found that the Muslim Association of Canada's website openly stated it was pursuing the Brotherhood agenda in 2005.
"[Muslim Association of Canada] adopts and strives to implement Islam … as understood in its contemporary context by the late Imam, Hassan Albanna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. MAC regards this ideology as the best representation of Islam," the website said.
Haddara was also a founding director of the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy. He was a board member of that group until 2002. It was audited two years later in 2004 and became a designated terrorist entity in 2014. The Canadian government says it gave $14.6 million worth of aid to Hamas between 2005 and 2009.
The radical Saudi-funded Muslim World League also listed Haddara as a scholar from 2004 to 2008. Terrorism expert Andrew McCarthy describes the Muslim World League as “the Muslim Brotherhood’s principal vehicle for the international propagation of Islamic supremacist ideology.”
Haddara is one of four known Muslim Brotherhood supporters who have served as CAIR-Canada officials. Others include :
Current CAIR-Canada/NCCM board member Khadija Haffajee simultaneously served as an official with the Islamic Society of North America, which the U.S. Justice Department says is a Muslim Brotherhood entity.
The Canadian chapter of ISNA lost its charitable status last year because of evidence that it was illegally funding entities in Pakistan linked to Hamas. ISNA in the U.S. claims it is independent from the ISNA operation in Canada, but they share the same name and four of the same official affiliates, showing an intertwined structure.
During the time that Haffajee was on the editorial advisory board of ISNA's Islamic Horizons magazine, it published an issue in 1999 with Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna on the cover and the heading, "A Martyr of Our Times."
The article, published under Haffajee’s supervision, described him as a “true guide” and “martyr of da’wah who offered the Eternal Message.” The author, Osman Abdel-Magid Ahmed, recalls meeting al-Banna when he was 13 years old and being “mesmerized” with his “describing the gallantry of the mujahideen in Palestine and their martyrdom.”
It portrays al-Banna as pro-democratic but, while he approved of elections, he wanted democracy to be within the limited confines of sharia. The article says he “chided the government, the parliamentarians and the ulema to implement Islamic laws in the country.”
Al-Banna preached that “it was unjustified that laws governing the Muslim people should contradict the teachings of Islam and the rules enshrined in these two sources,” specifically sharia’s standards on penal, civil and commercial law.
The ISNA article implied that it wants to assume al-Banna’s mantle, stating: “It is hard to imagine that we will easily find someone to fill al-Banna’s place, but at least a collective leadership should emerge to take on that task.”
Prominent Islamist Jamal Badawi was a CAIR-Canada/NCCM board member from 2001 to 2013, if not earlier. He is a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, an Islamist radical group led by Shiekh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and a financier of Hamas.
In 2004, Badawi said regarding al-Banna: “More than any other individual, he has epitomized twentieth century Islamic thought and ideology.” He said the Brotherhood founder has been his “most inspirational” scholar.
Badawi writes on his website that the separation of church and state in Christianity "does not mean that this separation is universal or that it has to be imposed on Islam. Islam has its own system and the whole notion doesn’t apply where it may have applied in the case of the West." He concludes, "The evidence is overwhelming that we cannot separate religion from State in Islam."
He preaches that Muslims are required to pursue sharia governance. He writes, "The Qu'ran is full of indications that are direct, indirect, explicit, implicit that show that without any shred of doubt that the establishment of Islamic order or rule is mandatory that Muslims must establish."
A fourth official, former CAIR-CAN Chair Sheema Khan, has promoted Brotherhood spiritual leader and Hamas financier Yousef al-Qaradawi as a “renowned Muslim scholar.”
The involvement of Muslim Brotherhood figures and Hamas supporters in CAIR-Canada is further proof that CAIR is not the moderate Muslim-American leadership it purports to be.
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.