‘Moderate’ Muslim Orgs. Line Up Radicals for Conference

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One of the largest Islamist gatherings happened in Baltimore over Memorial Day Weekend at the annual joint convention of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the  Muslim American Society (MAS).

Below is a partial list of the speakers included:

Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Like ISNA, CAIR was branded an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation. During the trial, the Justice Department said CAIR is an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, a secret body set up to support Hamas. A 1994 Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Committee meeting agenda organized a discussion to “future suggestions to develop the work of” CAIR.

Awad publicly supported the terrorist group Hamas as far back as 1994 and referred to Hamas as well as Hezbollah as “liberation movements” in an Arabic interview with Al-Jazeera in 2004. The FBI monitored his emails from 2006 to 2008.


Imam Siraj Wahhaj, whose history of extremist and anti-American incitement is almost too long to review. For example, in 1992, he said, “If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a Caliphate. If we were united and strong, we’d elect our own emir and give allegiance to him. Take my word, if eight million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us.”

His rhetoric became more cautious after the 9/11 attacks. In 2011, he preached, “The trap we fall into is having a premature discussion about Sharia when we are not there yet.” In November, the New York Police Department disclosed frightening information about his mosque’s activity to defend its intelligence-gathering practices.


Naeem Baig, President of ICNA. Under his leadership, ICNA has gone to bat for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and pressured the U.S. government to stop the Bangladeshi government's crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami, the Islamist parent group of ICNA. It was particularly upset over the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami leader for war crimes.

Baig is a signatory to the anti-ISIS letter that endorses the caliphate, Sharia governance and jihad against Israel and accused oppressors of Muslims. His group published a radical teaching guide for its members in 2009.


Sheikh Yusuf Islahi, whose biography boasts that he's been a member of the Indian branch of Jamaat-e-Islami since he was 25 years old and is a five-term member of its Central Advisory Committee. Islahi is the "chief patron" of ICNA's "Why Islam" campaign. He and the Jamaat-e-Islami he helps lead have a history of anti-Americanism and support for violent jihad.


Sheikh Mohammad Qatanani, the imam of the Hamas-linked Islamic Center of Passaic County. He was arrested and convicted by Israel in 1993 for being a member of Hamas and the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood.

The Department of Homeland Security seeks his deportation because of his terrorist links and decision not to disclose his conviction on his green card application.

“It is certainly suspicious when a person who has been convicted of being a member of, and providing services, to Hamas, who has personal ties to a Hamas militant leader, and a Hamas fundraiser also sends undisclosed cash to the West Bank,” a 2008 court filing by Homeland Security explains.

In Arabic lectures between 2007 and 2009, he prayed for the defeat of “occupation and oppression” in Iraq, Palestine and Chechnya, inferring the U.S., Israel and Russia. He also said it is permissible for Muslims to donate to the families of suicide bombers and that Muslims should not criticize Yousef al-Qaradawi, the pro-terrorism spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatanani has also said that the U.S. needs to limit its free speech to stop “hate” speech towards Islam.


Jamal Badawi, formerly listed on ISNA’s website as a member of its Board of Directors, is personally listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial and is a founder of the Muslim American Society, another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. His name is listed as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood official in an internal document from 1992.

Badawi’s history includes endorsing suicide bombings and “combative jihad” and praising Hamas as “martyrs.” He is also close to Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi.


Sheikh Abdool Rehman Khan is the chairman of ICNA's Sharia Council and a member of the Fiqh Council of North America, which is dominated by Islamist radicals.  He used to be a scholar for the Islamic Foundation but was apparently fired, based on an online petition demanding his reinstatement.


Sheikh Omar Suleiman, a member of the ICNA Sharia Council. His bio states that he studied under Sheikh Salah As-Sawy and Dr. Hatem al-Haj. These are two Salafist clerics that lead the very radical Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America. The closest the organization can bring itself to foreswearing violent jihad is to oppose it because “the Islamic community does not possess the strength to engage in offensive jihad at this time [emphasis added].”


Imam Suhaib Webb is the former leader of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, whose teachings are largely based on Islamists like Muslim Brotherhoof spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi and Sayyid Qutb, the Brotherhood cleric who influenced Osama Bin Laden as well as the Pakistani Islamist group, Jamaat-e-Islami. 

Webb 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.


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.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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