Introducing the Muslim American Society
September 18, 2007
When understanding the modern Muslim Brotherhood in America, one of the first organizations to look at is the Muslim American Society (MAS). Founded in 1993, MAS has surpassed the Muslim Students Association and the Islamic Society of North America to become the strongest arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. MAS compliments the more-visible Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in their quest to undermine government efforts against terrorism, and pursue the aims of the extremist groups that created them.
As revealed in a groundbreaking 2004 article in the Chicago Tribune, in the early 1990's, Muslim Brotherhood leaders sought to establish a more prominent and visible organ in the United States. Out of this desire came MAS. The founders and leaders of MAS were instructed to avoid openly admitting to any affiliation with the Brotherhood, but a founding board member of MAS, Ahmad Elkadi, has admitted that he was the head of the Brotherhood in the United States from 1984 to 1994 and the head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Akef, claims to have played a role in the founding of MAS.
But what is the Brotherhood and what are its goals in this country? The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic revivalist movement founded in 1928 in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna. It aims to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate under the harsh code of Shariah (Islamic law) and eventually expand it until it governs the world. Almost every major Sunni terrorist organization, including al Qaeda, is derived from the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood established its first North American base in 1963: the Muslim Students Association (MSA). Within 20 years, MSA had spawned other organizations that, in turn, spawned more organizations – all of which advanced the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, including MAS.
What exactly was that agenda? A 1991 internal Brotherhood memo, entitled "An Explanatory Memorandum for the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America," tells us. This memo was released as evidence for the terrorist financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) in Dallas, Texas. Under a bolded subheading that reads, "Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America," the memo states:
The process of settlement is a "Civilization-Jihadist Process" with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim's destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal.
To advance this agenda, MAS engages in broad grassroots education in the Muslim American community, disseminating extremist tracts, such as the works of Sayyid Qutb. Qutb, a Muslim Brotherhood luminary hanged by the Egyptian government in the late 1960s, wrote works that openly called for the overthrow of secular governments and a brutal campaign of offensive jihad that could only end when the entire world was under the authority of Islam. In fact, Qutb was the focus of an article in the September 2002 issue of the MAS publication, The American Muslim. The piece, entitled, "Sayed Qutub: The Alive Martyr," praised the extremist, claiming that he would "live in eternal happiness in the heaven he deserves." His life was described as "one full of righteousness, happiness, giving, and dedication to Islam." This praise is troubling, considering Qutb's role in promoting the militant ideology that directly inspired Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
MAS was mentioned in another internal Brotherhood memo, also released during the HLF trial. This memo called for "[t]he activation of the role of (MAS) to educate the brothers in all work centers, mosques, and organizations on the necessity of stopping any contacts with the Zionist organizations and the rejection of future contacts."
This is not the only work MAS carries out in the Muslim community. MAS has also sponsored and run a host of conferences that often promote extremism, conspiracy theories, and intolerance. Speakers at these conferences have included prominent radical figures, such as Sami Al-Arian (who later pleaded guilty to supporting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad). Books by Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, videotapes with titles such as "European Warriors of Islam" and "Women of Hizballah," as well as CDs and other audio recordings on the subjects of jihad and martyrdom have been found at MAS conferences.
At a 2002 MAS convention in Chicago, Dr. Laura Drake, former editor of the Middle East Affairs Journal, spoke passionately about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
So now the occupiers are whining to the US that they are being hit back, that they are getting burned once in a while, that the settlers are being set aflame. Let them burn, I say let them burn.
In addition to spreading extremism in the Muslim American community, MAS also wages a constant campaign to paint U.S. government efforts to combat and prevent terrorism as part of a "racist" "war against Islam." This charge is led by Mahdi Bray, who directs MAS' Orwellian-named Freedom Foundation. Bray makes it a point to defend almost everyone charged with and convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related crimes, no matter how strong the evidence is against them. He routinely accuses the government of the worst kind of malice, racism, and discrimination in defense of charities that have been accused of financing terrorist, young men plotting terrorist attacks in the U.S., and even colleagues of his in the Muslim Brotherhood movement charged with crimes. One colleague defended by Bray throughout his trial was Abdulrahman Alamoudi of the American Muslim Council, beside whom Bray stood during a 2002 rally in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC cheering in support for Hamas and Hizballah. Alamoudi was sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2004 for violating sanctions with Libya and engaging in a plot to assassinate then-Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.
In order to expose the truth about MAS, we at the Investigative Project on Terrorism have assembled this 42-page comprehensive profile. We hope that the information in this profile compels you – the public – to ask uncomfortable questions about this and other organizations like it that work radically against the interests of the United States.