ISNA PresidentIngrid Mattson
A radical Muslim group that was an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas has an extensive relationship with the Obama administration
Last week, President Obama's top adviser on counter-terrorism, John Brennan, came under fire for controversial remarks he made in a speech to Muslim law students at New York University. The event was sponsored by the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA.
The delegation discussed a request for an executive order ending "torture."ISNA is known for its enforcement of Saudi-style Islam in mosques throughout the U.S. It was named by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in its case against the Holy Land Foundation in Texas, which was found guilty in 2008 of raising money for the Hamas terrorist organization. Last year, Holy Land founders were given life sentences for "funneling $12 million to Hamas.The Obama White House has deep ties to ISNA.The relationship began even before Obama took office. One week before last year's presidential inauguration, Sayyid Syeed, national director of the ISNA Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances, was part of a delegation that met with the directors of Obama's transition team.
ISNA President Ingrid Mattson represented American Muslims at Obama's inauguration, where she offered a prayer during the televised event.
Mattson also represented ISNA at Obama's Ramadan dinner at the White House.
Last June, Obama's top aide, Valerie Jarrett, invited Mattson to work on the White House Council on Women and Girls, which Jarrett leads.
In July, the Justice Department sponsored an information booth at an ISNA bazaar in Washington, D.C. Also that month, Jarrett addressed ISNA's 46th annual convention. According to the White House, Jarrett attended as part of Obama's outreach to Muslims.
ISNA was named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document – "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America" – as one of the Brotherhood's likeminded "organizations of our friends" who shared the common goal of destroying America and turning it into a Muslim nation, according to Discover the Networks.
Islam scholar Stephen Schwartz describes ISNA as "one of the chief conduits through which the radical Saudi form of Islam passes into the United States."
According to terrorism expert Steven Emerson, ISNA "is a radical group hiding under a false veneer of moderation" that publishes a bi-monthly magazine, Islamic Horizons, that "often champions militant Islamist doctrine." The group also "convenes annual conferences where Islamist militants have been given a platform to incite violence and promote hatred," states Emerson. Emerson cites an ISNA conference in which al-Qaida supporter and PLO official Yusuf Al Qaradhawi was invited to speak.
Emerson further reports that in September 2002, a full year after 9/11, "speakers at ISNA's annual conference still refused to acknowledge Bin Laden's role in the terrorist attacks."
Also, ISNA has held fundraisers for terrorists, notes Discover the Networks. After Hamas leader Mousa Marzook was arrested and eventually deported in 1997, ISNA raised money for his defense. The group also has condemned the U.S. government's post-9/11 seizure of Hamas' and Palestinian Islamic Jihad's financial assets.