If you live near Baltimore, Houston, Atlanta or Rochester and want to see a Sharia-promoting show, you’re in luck. The Islamic Circle of North America and Muslim American Society, two groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, have announced four conferences featuring rock stars of the Islamist movement.
ICNA is identified as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends” in a once-secret 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo. It explicitly states the network’s “work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within…”
The organization is a derivative of the Jamaat-e-Islami group in Pakistan. One of ICNA’s former leaders, Ashrafuzzaman Khan, was recently sentenced to death in Bangladesh for his involvement in Jamaat-e-Islami’s war crimes. Unsurprisingly, ICNA is upset at the ruling.
The 2010 ICNA handbook advocates a gradualist strategy that culminates in a “united Islamic state, governed by an elected khalifah in accordance with the laws of shari’ah (Islamic law).” The Islamist leaders that the handbook looks to for guidance include the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Brotherhood’s current spiritual leader and the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami.
MAS was “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America,” according to federal prosecutors in a 2008 case. Last year, a former U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leader testified that “everyone knows that the MAS is the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Both groups have held rallies to protest the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi in Egypt.
Houston is the first stop on the ICNA-MAS Sharia tour. From November 29 to December 1, they will be holding their joint South Central Convention at a JW Marriott Hotel. The overall theme is, “Blueprint for a Lasting Legacy.”
One of the speakers is Imam Khalid Griggs, the chairman of the ICNA Council for Social Justice. Former CIA case officer Clare Lopez found out that he used to be involved with the Islamic Party of North America, a group that explicitly preaches “a revolutionary Islam.” Its inspirers include Khomeini, Qutb, Qaddafi and Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami.
Another speaker is Sheikh Omar Suleiman. According to his bio, he studied under Sheikh Salah As-Sawy and Dr. Hatem al-Haj. These are two Salafist clerics that lead the very radical Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America. The closest the organization can bring itself to foreswearing violent jihad is to oppose it because “the Islamic community does not possess the strength to engage in offensive jihad at this time [emphasis added].”
On November 30, ICNA is holding its first conference in upstate New York at Rochester Riverside Convention Center, themed as “Islam: The Pursuit of Happiness.”
Speakers include the notorious Imam Siraj Wahhaj, whose version of “pursuing happiness” includes violent jihad and replacing Western democracy with Sharia Law.
Wahhaj has an undeniable, documented record of extremism that would make any genuinely “moderate” Muslim group sprint away from him. He’s had to tame down his anti-Americanism and support for violent jihad and theocracy in the post-9/11 atmosphere, but that doesn’t mean his beliefs have changed.
At the 2011 ICNA-MAS national convention, he advised Muslims to avoid talking to non-Muslims about Sharia because “we are not there yet.” More recently, the NYPD revealed that it had evidence that the security team at Wahhaj’s mosque was involved in illegal weapons trafficking, anti-police martial arts training and paintball trips described as preparation for jihad. Of course, Wahhaj and his allies accuse the NYPD of “racial profiling.”
Another speaker in Rochester is Jamal Barzinji, one of the founding fathers of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network. His home was raided in 2003 because he “is not only closely associated with PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad]…but also with Hamas.” The Justice Department reportedly cancelled a planned indictment of him in 2011.
If you live in the Atlanta area, you can get your dose of Islamist indoctrination at the joint ICNA-MAS Southeast Annual Convention on December 27-29 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. Its preachers include the aforementioned Wahhaj, Suleiman, Griggs and many others.
ICNA and MAS also announced that their 39th annual convention will be held on May 24-26 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland. Its speakers have not been decided yet but if the convention’s past content is any indication, then be ready for some subtle and not-so-subtle Islamist preaching.
As mentioned above, the 2011 convention included Wahhaj’s message to avoid conversations about Sharia for the time being. His recommendation was similar to another speaker at the 2002 convention who said, “We may all feel emotionally attached to the goal of an Islamic state…[but] we mustn’t cross hurdles we can’t jump yet.”
At last year’s convention, radical cleric Zaid Shakir preached that the U.S. Constitution had failed and Islam (meaning Sharia) provides a superior model of governance because it denies equality. He said:
“Secularism says we keep religion out. Why? Because if we have religion and religion is the basis of membership in the community, we can’t have perfect equality. We can’t have perfect equality. If Islam is the basis, the kafir won’t be equal with the Muslim. The Christian or the Jew will be a dhimmi. They won’t be equal with the Muslim.”
The Islamists are going on tour but if you miss them this time around, don’t worry—they won’t be retiring anytime soon.
The Institute on Religion and Democracy contributed to this article.