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The New York Times Finds Some Moderate Muslims

Posted By Robert Spencer On August 5, 2010 @ 12:10 am In FrontPage | 16 Comments

The recent New York Times Sunday trumpeted this MPAC video as a rebuttal of Islamic “militants,” although it is long on vague generalities but (surprise, surprise) short on Qur’anic specifics, which are the only thing, could they be produced, that might actually induce an Islamic supremacist or jihadist to reconsider his position.

And that’s the best that can be said about it. Among the Islamic leaders it features is Suhaib Webb of the Muslim American Society. The Muslim American Society is the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. The Muslim Brotherhood’s own website carries the Chicago Tribune expose that identifies the MAS as the Brotherhood’s arm in the U.S.: “In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation’s major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members.” So reported the Tribune in 2004, in an article that is now reproduced on the Muslim Brotherhood’s English-language website, Ikhwanweb.

Why is the MAS connection with the Muslim Brotherhood significant? The Muslim Brothers “must understand that their work in America is 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.” So wrote Mohamed Akram in “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” May 22, 1991.

On the video, after Webb comes Maher Hathout, who trots out another familiar dodge, complaining about people quoting the Qur’an without knowing the Arabic or the context, as if “slay the pagans wherever you find them” (9:5) somehow becomes “establish religious dialogue” in the Arabic or “in context.” If so many Muslims weren’t murdering people in explicit obedience to verses like this one from the Qur’an, Hathout might have a case here; but they are, and he doesn’t. Hathout also, according to Steve Emerson, “has called Israel a nation of butchers and accused the United States of state terrorism; he has justified the actions of Hizbollah and defended terrorist financiers.”

According to Discover the Networks, Hathout “has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and espouses the radical brand of Islam known as Wahhabism.”

Ihsan Bagby follows Hathout, and says unequivocally: “we cannot kill innocent people.” He does not, of course, define who is innocent, thus leaving the door open for jihadists like Anjem Chaudary and others who say that no non-Muslim is innocent. Bagby himself once said this about Muslims in America: “Ultimately we can never be full citizens of this country, because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.”

Mohamad Magid comes next. He is the Imam and Executive Director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia. In 2004 Ben Johnson reported this in FrontPage: “The chairman of ADAMS is Ahmad Totonji, an Iraqi-born citizen of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a key target of Operation Green Quest. Totonji was also named as a defendant in a $1 trillion lawsuit filed by more than 600 relatives of people who died in the 9/11 attacks. He acted as a co-founder and officer of the Saudi-founded/Saudi-funded (and now defunct) SAAR Trust. Additionally, he served as Vice President of the Safa Group and the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT). Officials have linked the non-profit IIIT to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.” The IIIT is also linked with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Then comes Zaid Shakir, former Muslim chaplain at Yale University. He has said, according to Daniel Pipes, that “Muslims cannot accept the legitimacy of the existing American order, since it ‘is against the orders and ordainments of Allah.’ ‘[T]he orientation of the Quran,’ he adds, ‘pushes us in the exact opposite direction.’”

Others in the video include Jamal Badawi (who owes me a million dollars), an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas terror funding case.

Hamza Yusuf also appears. He has made many antisemitic and anti-American statements, and most famously said two days before 9/11: “This country [America] unfortunately has a great, a great tribulation coming to it. And much of it is already here, yet people are too to illiterate to read the writing on the wall.”

And finally there is Yassir Qadhi, anointed by Ground Zero mega-mosque Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf as a “Muslim leader of tomorrow, who has said: “Hitler never intended to destroy the Jews… The Hoax of the Holocaust — I advise you to read this book, you’ll want to write this down — The Hoax of the Holocaust, a very good book. All of this is false propaganda…”

These are the spokesmen that the New York Times thinks are “rebutting” the “militants.” Pardon me if I decline the Kool-Aid.

Yet Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, director of the Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, seems to have imbibed it deeply. He said of the video: “It can be a powerful outlet. It is the kind of thing that, formatwise, is matching what’s being done by the jihadist groups.” The Times went on to say that Gartenstein-Ross “said that some of the scholars in the video were politically controversial but had credibility among many Muslims because they were not seen as ‘sell-outs.’ ‘Some would argue that they might be more effective than those perceived as more establishment figures.’”

“Politically controversial”? No kidding, really? This kind of analysis is on the level of saying that Osama bin Laden is a “polarizing” figure, but “more effective” than establishment types.

The Times article also quotes Edina Lekovic, director of policy and programming for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Islamic advocacy group responsible for the video. Edina Lekovic is the MPAC flack whom Steve Emerson caught lying on national television, denying she was editor of a Muslim student publication that praised Osama bin Laden as a great mujahid. Emerson produced copies of the rag showing Lekovic’s name on the masthead as editor on the very same page on which the praise for Osama appeared.

Score another for the keen analysts at the New York Times.


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