Groups and Networks
The Islamic Society of North America
Updated October 4, 2009
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the largest and most influential Muslim advocacy group in the United States. Its annual conference draws tens of thousands of people and, in 2009, was honored with a speech by Valerie Jarrett, a top advisor to President Barack Obama.
President Ingrid Mattson is Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Hartford Seminary and active in interfaith dialogue.
ISNA has a troubling history, however, and its leadership ranks beyond Mattson include people who date back to the group's foundation by Muslim Brotherhood members. The organization grew out of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), which also was founded by Brotherhood members.
The Brotherhood is an 80-year-old Egyptian movement that seeks to spread Shariah, or Islamic law, far and wide.
Federal prosecutors included ISNA on a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Hamas-financing prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). ISNA is listed among "individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the US Muslim Brotherhood." The trial ended with guilty verdicts on 108 counts in November 2008.
Its conferences have featured rhetoric in support of terrorist groups and other radicalism. This continued at the 2009 convention, where panelists expressed extreme anti-Semitism and support for the terrorist group Hizballah.
Read the IPT's full report on ISNA's radical side here.