Prominent U.S. Muslim Group Sheds Moderate Image

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is swinging behind the Islamist onslaught against Michigan Governor Rick Snyder after he asserted Israel’s right to exist at ISNA’s convention.

The Clarion Project originally brought attention to Gov. Snyder’s ill-advised decision to speak at the ISNA conference and defend ISNA as a moderate group.

ISNA is a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity with an extremist history. Its speaker lineup is full of Islamists with a history of radicalism and ISNA’s Fiqh Council is similarly dominated by Islamists.

ISNA was labeled an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, another Brotherhood front found guilty of financing Hamas. In 2009, a federal judge upheld the designation of ISNA as an unindicted co-conspirator and noted that the Holy Land Foundation “operated from within ISNA.” Some of the Foundation’s funding to Hamas was routed through ISNA.

Snyder praised ISNA, even specifically complimenting its radical convention program. The Islamist orientation of ISNA is apparent in its ferocious reaction to Gov. Snyder’s single line acknowledging that he believes Israel has a right to exist.

ISNA’s action alert condemns his “insensitive remarks” and states:

“Unfortunately, near the end of his welcome remarks, Snyder unexpectedly affirmed Israel’s right to exist without any mention of Palestinian human rights. This was especially offensive in light of the recent massive deaths in Gaza due to Israel’s military campaign.”

As I wrote yesterday, only radicals who believe that Israel should be destroyed would find this offensive.

Some of ISNA’s allies are even spinning Snyder’s remark as an attack on the entire Muslim community; an outrageous charge considering he repeatedly praised Muslim-Americans, complimented ISNA itself, and never came anywhere near attacking Muslims.

The wording of ISNA’s action alert is also telling.

Blame for the casualties in Gaza is completely on Israel. It is implied that Hamas is the victim. There is no mention of how Hamas has hurt Palestinians by provoking conflict by firing hundreds of into Israel and using human shields.

ISNA says it rejects all acts of terrorism “including those perpetrated by Hamas,” but it parrots the Hamas narrative that frames the group’s terrorism as resistance. ISNA is an entity of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group of which Hamas is also a branch. ISNA shares Hamas’s opposition to Israel’s right to exist.

It is also revealing when you consider the speakers that ISNA has not condemned—or even criticized—and instead repeatedly invites back. Far from “rejecting” the terrorism of Hamas, many of ISNA’s speakers are pro-Hamas and have even explicitly endorsed its terrorism.

In fact, CAIR chapter leader Zahra Billoo spoke six times at ISNA’s convention this year. ISNA promoted her as “one of the most remarkable young Muslim leaders and activists who are elevating Muslim American culture in the new millennium.” She supports Hamas, the elimination of Israel and recently suggested that fallen U.S. soldiers shouldn’t be honored on Memorial Day.

Yet, in ISNA’s Islamist world, all of that radicalism is acceptable and Gov. Snyder’s one statement in support of Israel’s right to exist is deplorable. The contrast shreds ISNA’s “moderate” image to pieces.

ISNA is partially reacting to Islamists concerned that the organization has gone too far in its moderate presentation. Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder, cancelled his booked appearance at the convention and publicly admonished ISNA.

In its public response, ISNA President Mohamed Magid wrote:

 “I would like to say that ISNA would like to be that platform where we can agree to disagree and to represent different points of view, unity but not uniformity. Many times I had heard speakers at ISNA conventions and conferences whose opinions I disagreed with but who I had encouraged to be invited back to address the community because we had to understand each others' different points of view.”

Apparently, ISNA is willing to embrace “different points of view” as long as they don’t include Israel’s right to exist.

ISNA was put in a position where it had to choose between fulfilling its words about accepting different opinions and maintaining its Islamist credentials. It chose the Islamist cause.


Ryan Mauro is’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on Fox News.

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