A group in Arizona connected to two major Muslim-American organizations is praising the Muslim Brotherhood as a “great Islamic movement.” This find helps expose a web of interconnected groups in the state that support the Islamist cause.
The website of the Muslim American Society's Arizona chapter praises the Muslim Brotherhood as “a great Islamic movement” even though the group’s stated purpose is to wage jihad in order to institute sharia-based governance. The website also quotes Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Brotherhood.
In 2008, federal prosecutors said that the Muslim American Society (MAS) “was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” This was confirmed by Abdurrahman Alamoudi, a convicted terrorist and admitted U.S. Muslim Brotherhood member, who said in 2012, “Everyone knows that MAS is the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The implications of this find are about more than MAS, though.
This MAS chapter shares an address with Masjid Es-Salaam, a mosque in the city of Chandler, Arizonia. According to the Salatomatic.com website, MAS-AZ isn’t only based out of the mosque — it is actually “operated” by the chapter. This is supported by a photo of a sign on the mosque that identifies it as a “MAS Community & Youth Center.”
The mosque also houses the headquarters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Arizona chapter. The U.S. government identified the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity in 2007 when it designated the organization as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism-financing trial.
The basing of CAIR-AZ at the MAS-linked mosque is further evidence that CAIR is indeed a Muslim Brotherhood entity. In fact, Clarion also found that the Facebook page of CAIR-AZ’s chairman, Anas Hlayhel, has “liked” the Muslim Brotherhood’s current spiritual leader, Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi.
Hlayhel is the leader of yet another group in Arizona, a mosque named the Islamic Center of North East Valley in Scottsdale. That’s a total of four organizations in one network. They appear to be separate, but they are all inter-connected, with three of them sharing the same address.
This web is a microcosm of how the Islamist network, especially the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, operates. Related organizations have their own paperwork and names in order to craft an image of independence. In actuality, they are all parts of the same machine. They share personnel, addresses, resources and pursue the same agenda.
Federal prosecutors saw this in 2008 during the prosecution of Sabri Benkhahla on terrorism charges. When Benkhahla was defended by CAIR and MAS, prosecutors pointed out in a court filing that they “omit reference to a shared background that limits their membership to those of a particular political bent, and undercuts their credibility.”
This article isn’t just about Arizona. It’s about the modus operandi of the Islamists and their skilled use of layering to hide their common roots.
Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.