Members of Congress in Letter to DOJ: Don't Co-Sponsor Radical Conference
by Steven Emerson
August 29, 2007
Two members of Congress have asked the Department of Justice to withdraw its sponsorship in a weekend conference organized by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
U.S. Reps. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., and Sue Myrick, R-NC, say ISNA's roots in the Muslim Brotherhood and activities in support of HAMAS – designated by the U.S. as a terrorist group – should disqualify ISNA from DOJ outreach efforts to the Muslim community.
"In light of the threat that our nation, and the world in general, is currently facing from radical Jihadists, and because of the President's commitment to fighting the War on Terror on all fronts, we believe it is a grave mistake to provide legitimacy to an organization with extremist origins, leadership and a radical agenda," the representatives wrote in a letter dated Tuesday to the Attorney General's office.
It continued, "Establishing a partnership with ISNA is exactly the wrong approach at this critical juncture in history, setting a precedent that radical Jihadists should be the conduit between the U.S. government and the American Muslim population, and we urge you to reconsider your decision to establish an official relationship with ISNA."
ISNA is an unindicted co-conspirator in the ongoing terrorist financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) and five of its officials in Dallas. In the letter, Hoekstra and Myrick noted that, shortly after the co-conspirator list was made public, DOJ canceled a June 27 event that was to feature a high ranking ISNA official.
Newsweek reported about that cancellation on Aug. 8, saying officials were concerned that "it could create a new embarrassment for the embattled attorney general."
On Monday, the Washington Times broke the news that the Justice Department was among the sponsors of this weekend's ISNA convention. The story quoted unnamed DOJ officials who said they were outraged at the sponsorship, especially since it comes as the HLF trial continues. In addition, the Times notes, one convention session is on "the threat and reality of U.S.-sponsored torture."
Evidence submitted in the Dallas federal courtroom shows that ISNA was established in 1980 by American members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a religious order founded in Egypt that seeks to establish an Islamic Empire governed by Shari`ah, or Islamic law, that would eventually encompass the entire world. The letter correctly noted that the Muslim Brotherhood has provided the ideological underpinnings for almost all modern Sunni Islamic terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and Hamas.
Other evidence shows that ISNA used a financial subsidiary, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), to divert funds to top Hamas official Musa Abu Marzook, his wife, as well as Hamas-run institutions such as the Islamic University of Gaza, and the Islamic Center of Gaza, which was founded by Hamas' late co-founder and spiritual leader, Ahmed Yassin.
ISNA's support for Marzook during his detention in the U.S. drew thanks from Marzook himself. This came in June 1997; more than two years after the U.S. designated HAMAS a terrorist organization, making any transactions with it or support for it illegal. Marzook was arrested and detained in 1996 after Israel requested his extradition. He wrote that efforts by ISNA and other U.S. groups, including several members of the Brotherhood's Palestine Committee, had "consoled" him.