In its ongoing quest to win the hearts and minds of Muslims in America, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has asked its employees to volunteer to man an information booth at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention in Washington over the July 4 weekend. According to an internal email that Pajamas Media obtained and published, the Division is seeking staff members to “hand out literature and answer basic questions.” This is, says the e-mail, a “unique opportunity.”
And what could be wrong with this? After all, two administrations now have made outreach to Muslim moderates a significant element of their counterterror strategy — this will, we are told, marginalize the Islamic jihadists who try to portray counterterror efforts as “anti-Islamic.” One of the many problems with this strategy, however, is that State and Justice Department officials, along with the FBI and other agencies, have never shown any great ability to be able to determine reliably who is a genuine moderate Muslim and who isn’t. The influence and access to the highest levels of government that Abdurrahman Alamoudi of the American Muslim Council, now serving a 23-year prison sentence on jihad terror financing charges, is only the most notorious case in point among many instances of misguided contact and cooperation between Islamic supremacists and U.S. government agencies.
And now the Justice Department’s outreach to the Islamic Society of North America is the latest manifestation of this misguided policy. In 2007, ISNA was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) terror funding case. The Holy Land Foundation, once the nation’s largest Islamic charity, was ultimately found guilty of funneling millions of dollars in charitable contributions to the jihad terror group Hamas.
In July 2008, ISNA, along with the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) protested its designation as an unindicted co-conspirator, alleging that this classification was merely part of a larger attempt by government and law enforcement to “disparage” and “vilify” Muslims. This earned them a stinging rebuke from federal prosecutors: “During last year’s trial, numerous exhibits were entered into evidence establishing both ISNA’s and NAIT’s intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case. They were intimately connected with the HLF and its assigned task of providing financial support to HAMAS….That ISNA and NAIT appeared in these documents and share a common history with these defendants is a reflection of the evidence, not any attempt to ‘disparage’ or ‘vilify.’”
ISNA’s “intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood” ought to raise the concerns of every free American, not just the Justice Department. After all, the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States is dedicated — in its own words — to “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
That’s from an internal Brotherhood document captured by law enforcement and released during the Holy Land Foundation trial: “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America.” This memorandum concludes with an extraordinarily revealing “list of our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” Among these organizations is listed the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
Is this really a group with which the Justice Department wants to work? It is possible that their outreach to ISNA is a manifestation of the old Godfather adage, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” but if so, that is well hidden under layer after layer of departmental naivete and apparent unawareness of the full scope and dimension of the domestic jihad threat.
This has even happened before. In August 2007, the Justice Department scheduled and then hastily canceled a “Muslim outreach” event to which ISNA had been invited and at which then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was going to speak, after news got out of ISNA’s unindicted co-conspirator status. Even with the change in administrations, the institutional memory ought not to be so short as to allow DOJ staffers to work the ISNA convention next weekend. At a certain point, we have to stop playing into the hands of our enemies.