and a cover for anti-Semitism and extremism' -
Muslim-American Organizations' Anti-Radicalization Effort 'A Sham'
New York, NY, January 11, 2010 ... As the number of American Muslim
extremists allegedly involved in terror plots in the U.S. and abroad
continues to grow, major Muslim-American organizations have publicly
acknowledged the existence of a problem in their community and vowed to
tackle it head on.
But the initial effort to root out radicalization - announced by a few
of these groups in the wake of the arrests in Pakistan of five
Muslim-American students from Virginia for allegedly attempting to join
a terrorist group - has proven to be a sham and a cover for
anti-Semitism and extremism, according to the Anti-Defamation League
The Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North
America (ICNA) held a major community convention in Chicago in December
2009 where the convention chair called for an Islam "clean and clear of
But the convention, which had been specifically identified by MAS and
the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as the venue to begin
the effort to combat radicalization, failed to seriously address the
problem. In fact, it provided a platform for extremist views, according
to ADL. The Chicago convention, which attracted more than 1,000
participants, served as a forum for religious scholars and political
activists to rail against Jews, call for the eradication of the state of
Israel and accuse the United States government as waging a war against
Muslims at home and abroad.
"It is shocking that this conference, identified by some major
Muslim-American groups as the venue to start the process of reform at a
time of growing attacks and threats by American Muslim extremists, was a
sham and nothing more than a cover for the dissemination of hateful
anti-American and anti-Israel views and anti-Semitism," said Abraham H.
Foxman, ADL National Director. "The fact that it provided a platform
for extremist views calls into question the sincerity of the effort to
serve as a legitimate counterbalance to radicalization. No legitimate
blueprint for change can emerge from a convention permeated by messages
conveying hatred of Jews, the denial of Israel's right to exist and the
idea that the U.S. is at war with Islam."
ADL pointed to numerous troubling speeches and other developments
during the annual convention of the Muslim American Society (MAS) and
the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) held December 23-27:
* Religious scholars and political activists railed against Jews from
both a political and theological standpoint. Rafiq Jaber, former
President of the Islamic Association of Palestine, a Hamas-affiliated
anti-Semitic propaganda organization, described Jews to the audience as
"the worst kind of people," who came to Jerusalem "with false
* Hamed Ghazali, Chairman of the MAS Council of Islamic Schools and
professor at the Islamic American University in Michigan, told the
audience in Arabic that "Allah gave us the Jews" as the primary
historical and religious example of those who "take the wrong path."
* Other speakers argued that the eradication of the state of Israel is
a religious duty. Sheikh Raghib Al Serjani, an author and physician
from Egypt, declared in Arabic, "It is the duty for all Muslims to
liberate all of Palestine from the North to the South, from Al Quds to
the sea, it's a duty for all Muslims to liberate one complete full land
of Palestine... It's not just about liberating Al Quds. It's all
* Materials sold at the convention included books and CDs by radical
anti-Semitic sheikhs such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a leading Muslim
Brotherhood ideologue based in Qatar who is known for his support of
terrorist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah; and Anwar
al-Awlaki, a U.S. born Muslim cleric based in Yemen who has encouraged
American Muslims to attack non-Muslims and Western targets.
* Another theme repeated throughout the convention was the notion that
the U.S. government is attacking Islam as a religion. According to
several speakers, the American government targets Muslims in the U.S.
through its policies and Muslims abroad through its wars.
Even from the inception of the convention, serious questions arose as
the organizers sought to draw participants by advertising two known
anti-Semitic extremists from abroad as keynote speakers: Zaghloul Al
Najjar, an Egyptian cleric who has described Jews as "devils in human
form," and Ra'ed Salah, leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic
Movement in Israel, who served jail time for financing Hamas. Neither
of the advertised speakers attended the convention.
In 2009 alone, an alarming number of American Muslim extremists were
charged, convicted or sentenced on terrorism charges, including terror
plots in the U.S. and abroad. From the shootings at Fort Hood and at an
Army recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas to plots in New York,
Chicago, Massachusetts and elsewhere, the suspects were fueled by an
extremist ideology that demonizes America, Israel and Jews.