Monday, January 19, 2009

ISNA, Hamas, Obama's Inaugural, and the Usual Suspects

ISNA's president will be speaking, or maybe praying, at Obama's prayer service. She's a Muslim. And head of a group "With Ties to Hamas." The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is, in fact, named as a co-conspirator by federal prosecutors, in a terrorism-funding trial in Texas. So are about 300 others.

ISNA's president may not be Obama's best choice of guest: but it's his party.

ISNA, Hamas, Muslim Terrorists, and other Usual Suspects

Post titles are juicy as ever, like "Muslim With Ties to Hamas to Address Inaugural Prayer Service" in NewsBusters (January 18, 2009). That "ties to Hamas" post doesn't get around to mentioning what those ties actually are.

"CAIR and ISNA named as part of criminal conspiracy in Hamas funding case -link to U.S. government indictment" ( (June 4, 2007)), did mention that "...Prosecutors applied the label of "unindicted co-conspirator" to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, and the North American Islamic Trust in connection with a trial planned in Texas next month for five officials of a defunct charity, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development...."

Being an "unindicted co-conspirator," one of about 300 at that, is a somewhat remote connection to Hamas - particularly before a verdict has been reached. ISNA may bear watching, but as I wrote before, "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."

It's Obama's Party: Why Complain?

There will be complaints about Gene Robinson's role in the inauguration ceremonies because he's gay, and massive demonstrations (about a hundred people at one) against Rick Warren's presence, because he's against homosexual marriage.

Much closer to the topic of this blog, a Muslim, ISNA's president, "With Ties to Hamas," will be speaking and/or praying at a prayer service. My guess is that ISNA's president is there because she's president of the largest Muslim organization in the country.

Besides, why complain? It's Obama's bash, and he apparently wants ISNA.

In one way, I'm a little impressed with the anti-ISNA commentary I've read. So far, nobody that I've read has said that this is proof that Obama is really a Muslim terrorist. That said, the 'ISNA is linked to Hamas' posts seem to miss what's important. Using association, proven or not, to a list of Bad Guys is what I'll call "Usual Suspect Syndrome."

ISNA, Hamas, and the Usual Suspect Syndrome

Many people have a collection of 'usual suspects' - people or organizations that are The Bad Guys. Any connection with them, no matter how slight or irrelevant, makes a person or organization one The Bad Guys, too.

I think this may be what's happening with ISNA and Hamas and Obama's prayer service.

I also think that focusing on the (unproven) link between ISNA and Hamas:
  • Makes criticism of ISNA look
    • 'Islamphpobic'
    • Like a knee-jerk response
  • Misses what I see as real concerns about ISNA and its current leadership

ISNA, Wahhabi Islam, and Muslims Against Sharia

I'll let Muslims Against Sharia make their own points: See "The National Prayer Service and the Wahhabi Lobby" (Muslims Against Sharia (January 19, 2009)).

I'm more concerned about the ISNA-Wahhabi connection, than unproven links to Hamas. First, because ISNA's ties to Hamas are unproven. Second, because even if ISNA was knowingly helping to fund Hamas, it was doing so indirectly: while it seems possible that ISNA is directly involved in establishing Wahhabi Islam in America, while presenting itself as a 'centrist' organization.

But, I haven't researched the ISNA-Wahhabi situation, and don't want to show signs of "Usual Suspect Syndrome" myself.

ISNA to Obama: Stop American Torture!

I do know that the current ISNA president has the sort of views which made me very uncomfortable with Barack Obama the candidate, and uneasy about the President Obama we'll have, starting Tuesday.

For example, she thinks that America tortures people: "...We have lost the support of allied nations for our policies and we have lost the good will of many ordinary people across the world that now sees us as hypocrites...." ("ISNA JOINS IN ASKING PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA TO ISSUE AN EXECUTIVE ORDER BANNING TORTURE" (ISNA (January 14, 2009)).

I've been dubious about accusations of America's "torture" of prisoners. Particularly since I found out what waterboarding actually was. And, although I think that America's concern for individual rights is admirable: I also realize that there's a war on, and that causing passing discomfort or unease to a terrorist might, possibly, be justified.

As to the "many ordinary people across the world that now sees us as hypocrites" - I don't see that changing, no matter what. America seems to be on quite a few Usual Suspects lists: and will be, as long as this country has the 'arrogance' to remove dictators, help people rebuild their nations, and do so even if the French government didn't give permission.

Related post: News and views:


Brigid said...

Gosh! I'm part Irish and I visited Ireland! I have ties to the IRA! Nooooooo!

*commence eye rolling now*

Anonymous said...


You being retarded has nothing to do with you being Irish.

Anonymous said...

All I got to say is make sure you wear your sneakers and loose fitting clothes.
It's just a matter of time before America has internal terrorist troubles.

I wear my sneakers to hurdle over some cabbage heads in the subway during my daily commute. All it takes is one trojan horse and our ports aren't safe at all. Anything can come in by way of ships via our harbors.
I keep my eye on the door at all times and even that might not be enough.

Brian H. Gill said...

Muslims Against Sharia,

What gives you the idea that Brigid is retarded?

Brian H. Gill said...

Jeunelle Foster,

Actually, America has had internal terrorist troubles. The most notable example is the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995. Timothy McVeigh and others were found guilty of that attack.

Anonymous said...

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski,

Her comment.

Brian H. Gill said...

Muslims Against Sharia,

I see.


Brigid is an artist, my daughter, and has, I will grant, a rather informal way of expressing herself.

She is not "retarded." Unless you are using "retarded" in it's schoolyard taunt sense, as in "you dropped the ball, retard!"

She was clearly showing the ludicrous nature of The Associated Press's, and others, implied claims about the president of ISNA, by comparing that situation to a hypothetical case of her being accused of ties with the IRA, on the basis of her trip to Ireland.

I respectfully suggest that, if this is how you treat your friends, they will have to be very long-suffering.

Anonymous said...

OK, maybe retarded was not the proper term. However she so arrogantly displayed her ignorance, it was not uncalled for.

While Ingrid Mattson may not have direct ties to Hamas per se, some of ISNA's high-ranking members do. There is not dispute that ISNA is a front group for Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas is being touted as a Palestinian branch of MB. MB is not on the list of FTOs, some of its branches are. Same goes for the IRA. IRA is not on the list, but Real IRA is. Ingrid Mattson has ties to MB not because she is a Muslim, but because she is a president of the MB branch. Ridiculing this notion but saying: "I'm part Irish and I visited Ireland! I have ties to the IRA!" is ... retarded, in a schoolyard taunt sense.

Radical Muslims in America spend tens of millions of dollars every year to paint themselves as moderates. And it obviously works; they get to become a part of the inauguration. Comments by your daughter, however insignificant they may seem, play a role in whitewashing radical Islam. I suggest you explain to her what's at stake. We cannot afford to have another ignorant Westerner jumping on "Sharia is acceptable" bandwagon.

Brian H. Gill said...

I posted my views of the "retarded" dialog in this post's comments in "Retard! Or, How Not to Make Your Point (January 20, 2009).

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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.