Saturday, January 17, 2009

ISNA, Hamas, Dr. Ingrid Mattson, and Obama's Inauguration

"Obama prayer leader from group US linked to Hamas" was The Associated Press headline tonight, telling that the Islamic Society of North America's president, Dr. Ingrid Mattson, would be speaking at a prayer service.

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) press release says she'll be praying.

"linked to Hamas" ??

ISNA is one of about 300 co-conspirators in a federal case involving the Holy Land Foundation of Richardson, Texas. Federal prosecutors say that the HLF funneled over $12,000,000 to Hamas.

I'm not terribly surprised to see ISNA in the list of co-conspirators. ISNA bills itself as an umbrella organization for all Muslims in North America. The Holy Land Foundation is a Muslim organization, and a big one. It would be a little odd if ISNA and HLF didn't write to each other once in a while.

That scary term "co-conspirator" aside, it looks like federal law enforcement is being thorough, compiling a list of who might, possibly, be involved in funding terrorists, and letting the judicial process sort out who's actively involved, and who's not.

ISNA's Been Through This Before

Around five years ago, ISNA was one of the groups being investigated for possible connections to terrorist activities. They were cleared. My guess is that they'll be cleared this time, too.

ISNA isn't exactly a bland, unaligned, organization. They've got definite views: ISNA condemned bombings in London, too.

It looks like ISNA is another well-meaning advocacy group, with an arguably dubious taste in associates.

ISNA and Wahhabi Islam

ISNA apparently promotes the Wahhabi brand of Islam, although they don't go out of their way to advertise it. And no wonder: That's the brand of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia, where prominent clerics declare that women should use one eye at a time if they must go outside, and that Mickey Mouse is an agent of Satan.

And, for all of ISNA's talk of being an open forum for ideas, Wahhabi leaders in America don't seem to like people questioning their beliefs or position.

Remember, though: Although ISNA seems to promote Wahhabi Islam, not all followers of Wahhabi Islam in America necessarily belong to ISNA.

The Obama Administration: ISNA's Big Break

ISNA's president has been chosen as one of the people to pray at an inaugural function.

Since Obama's inaugural promises to be a huge event, covered with an enthusiasm equal only to what's lavished on the Super Bowl and American Idol, this is ISNA's chance to shine. If the organization has smart leaders and a competent public relations staff, they'll come out smelling like a rose.

My guess is that they'll avoid complaining loudly about " 'Islamophobia,' expressed in racial profiling and hate crimes" and being 'publicly branded as criminals' for a few months, at least.

Good Enough for Obama, Good Enough for the Blogroll

I was a little surprised to see that ISNA wasn't on the blogroll here. I've corrected that oversight.

In the news: More-or-less related posts: Background:
Update: (January 19, 2009)

More, at "ISNA, Hamas, Obama's Inaugural, and the Usual Suspects" (January 19, 2009)

1Considering what's been going on in the Middle East for the last few decades, I couldn't help not the rather precise wording: "All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden) in Islam."

All you have to do is say that whoever gets killed is an enemy of Islam, and that enemies of Islam aren't really civilians, and anything goes. Still, I'm impressed that ISNA went this far, agreeing with the Fiqh Council of North America's cautious Fatwa.


Brigid said...

psst. Hi, Dad. You might want to go over this again. I noticed quite a few typos.

Brian H. Gill said...


And one huge error - which is about to disappear.


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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.