On Sunday, Ingrid Mattson, the President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), participated in a "public interfaith service of Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists" at the opening of this week's Democratic National Convention. While there is nothing wrong with a "public interfaith service" in and of itself, the invited guests and speakers can raise legitimate questions about the motives and mindset of the organizers. Mattson's presence does just that.
Reporting on Mattson's appearance, the website for the Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera stated:
Dr Ingrid Mattson, director of the MacDonald Centre for the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations in the US state of Connecticut, told the crowd it "saddened" her that "so much out there is being done because of my religion", but took pains to stress both the work of the US Muslim community with local officials to combat extremism and the support she had from leaders of other faiths.
Aside from reaching out to a handful of naïve Jews and Christians for "interfaith" dialogue, constantly whining about "Islamophobia" and claiming that the U.S. government's "war against terror" is, in fact, a "war against Islam," one wonders just what ISNA has done to "combat extremism."
Mattson's organization, ISNA, is currently an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest Hamas-fundraising case in U.S. history, against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). In petitioning the federal district court in Dallas to remove itself unindicted co-conspirator status, ISNA's attorneys conceded substantial financial ties to top-Hamas operatives, claiming merely that such documentary evidence dated back to the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, before Hamas was officially designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
Whatever the dates of those financial transactions, they included money transfers to top Hamas official Musa Abu Marzook, as we have previously reported:
Exhibits entered into evidence a few days ago at the HLF trial include an expense voucher from the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), an ISNA subsidiary, made out for $10,000 in the name of Musa Abu Marzook, as well as a check drawn on a NAIT account in the same amount made out to Marzook. Another check for $10,000 on the same account was made out to Marzook's wife, Nadia Elashi. Another check for $30,000 was made out to the Islamic University of Gaza (and has Shukri Abu Baker/OLF written on the memo line), a school long known to be controlled by HAMAS, and which counted such notables as former HAMAS leader Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantissi and current HAMAS leader Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahar as professors, and the recently deposed HAMAS Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is a former dean of the University.
Adding to that, ISNA's on the record, public support for Hamas continued even after the group was designated as a terrorist entity by the U.S. government. Again, as we have reported:
In the November/December 1995 issue, almost a full year after HAMAS was officially designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization, Islamic Horizons published an article titled, "Muslim Leader Hostage to Israeli Interests." That leader was Marzook, characterized by ISNA as:
[a] member of the political wing of Hamas, disliked by the Zionist entity for its Islamic orientation, continues to be held hostage in the U.S. at the whims of his Zionist accusers.
And in the September/October 1997 issues, two and a half years after the designation of Hamas as a terrorist group, Islamic Horizons published an article describing Marzook as:
[j]ailed without trial in New York for-months for alleged ties to organizations seeking Palestinian rights.
That hard core Hamas apologia is straight out of the mouth of an organization which now claims, on the front page of its website, in a press release titled, "Setting the Record Straight," that ISNA "has never supported any terrorist organization." Of course, they refer to Hamas as disliked by the "Zionist Entity" merely for its "Islamic orientation" and that a top Hamas leader was held in prison in the U.S. at the "whims of" Zionists. That very Hamas leader proceeded to thank ISNA for its support. That "thank you" was more than two years after Hamas was designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.
In "Setting the Record Straight," ISNA also denies its longstanding, well documented ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. At least in its court filing, ISNA assumes the authenticity of the documents and then proceeds to claim that they are too old or dated to matter. But on its web page, ISNA fails to address those documents at all. Rather, ISNA has reverted to its tried and true method of complete denial and claiming it is the victim of a "fear" campaign by individuals "whose malicious bias against Muslim Americans and their organizations is well-known." It is certainly much easier to claim that than to address the facts, which ISNA is well aware would be an extremely problematic endeavor.
No one should worry that its magazine praised and defended a Hamas leader, and that the very same Hamas leader publicly thanked ISNA, or that there are documented financial transfers to that same Hamas leader. The ISNA leadership is "moderate," and to prove it, they participate in "public interfaith services."
Meanwhile, we reported in July that ISNA's library page on its website contained genocidal language against Jews:
Book 41, Number 6985:
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.
Since then, that webpage has been curiously scrubbed from ISNA's site, but it is still available on the web archive. Perhaps ISNA will figure out a way to have it removed from there as well.
But this point should be made clear: one month before ISNA's president participated at an "interfaith" service to kick off the Democratic National Convention, her organization's website contained the line: "The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them." That has been on ISNA's website for years. That is all you need to know about ISNA's "interfaith" bona fides. If only the organizers of the Democratic National Convention cared about such sentiments.