Exposed Islamist Group Scrambles

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) held a press conference on December 6 about “right-wing extremists” in response to my article originally published here criticizing the All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena for hosting its convention. MPAC founder and senior adviser Maher Hathout admitted to having been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but said the relationship ended when he moved to the U.S. and he is on the side of the Egyptian opposition to Mohammed Morsi.

The press conference’s speakers relentlessly bashed the raising of legitimate concerns about MPAC as “Islamophobia,” hate-mongering and bigotry. The Center for American Progress report “Fear Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” was made available for attendees. Rector Ed Bacon said the church received dozens of hate-filled emails, resulting in sympathetic media coverage.

“Kudos to All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena and MPAC for the promotional savvy to exploit a handful of negative emails into a major media story showcasing their supposed victimhood,” said Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, which sponsored the original article. His organization was the only one directly attacked in the press conference.

Maher Hathout said that he is “very proud” of his work with the Muslim Brotherhood “student movement” against Nasser and British, but never dealt with any organization outside the U.S. since coming to the country about 40 years ago. In our debate the day prior, MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati repeatedly slammed mentions of a Brotherhood connection to his group as “lies” rooted in hatred. When I challenged MPAC to take an active stand against the Brotherhood, Al-Marayati said it was a “ridiculous suggestion” and “it’s not worth our time.”

Hathout said that he is against the anti-democratic “trend” in Egypt and is on the side of the opposition.  He still took a soft view of the Brotherhood, saying its “work is changing” and its critics “freeze a point in history and think this is the whole story.”

MPAC was created to advance the Brotherhood ideology. The late Hassan Hathout, former MPAC President and Maher’s brother, said that they came to the U.S. to start the “Islamic Movement” inspired by Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Brotherhood. He described himself as a “close disciple” of al-Banna. A 1989 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Financial Committee document talks about working with someone named Hathout “in the field,” demonstrating that the Brotherhood had ties to at least one of the Hathout brothers after they arrived. MPAC has long collaborated with known U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities, as identified in the Brotherhood’s own documents, FBI investigators and the federal government during the trial of the Holy Land Foundation.

The privately expressed views of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood match the publicly expressed views of Hassan Hathout. A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood document says, “its work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” In 1997, Hathout said the U.S. needs the “Islamic Movement” because “If you look objectively you will see that this current civilization harbors in its body the seeds of its own destruction.”

Maher Hathout says he did not continue working with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood after he came to the U.S., but the Brotherhood is more than a political party. It is a movement based on Islamist ideology. In 1997, he praised Hassan al-Banna and two other Brotherhood-allied Islamists, Rashid Ghannouchi and Hasan al-Turabi, as “reformists.” Remember that when MPAC boasts that it is a voice of “reform.” Ghannouchi spoke at an MPAC event in 2011. Hathout is the spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California, which still suggests Brotherhood texts on Islamic law on its website.

A 2004 investigation into the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood by the Chicago Tribune makes this point. An official with the Muslim American Society admitted that it was created by the Muslim Brotherhood, but explained that it “went way beyond that point of conception.” It is not administrated by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood but it follows its teachings. “We are not your typical Ikhwan [Brotherhood],” he explained.

This Islamist influence is apparent in MPAC’s history. In 1998, Maher Hathout said of Hezbollah: “I disagree with them on other issues, but on the issue of fighting to liberate their land and attacking only armed forces, this is legitimate, that is an American value — freedom and liberty.” In 1999, Salam al-Marayati said Hezbollah engages in “legitimate resistance.”

In June 1999, an MPAC position paper said Hezbollah’s bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon “was not in a strict sense, a terrorist operation. It was a military operation, producing no civilian casualties—exactly the kind of attack that Americans might have lauded had it been directed against Washington’s enemies.”

In 2003, MPAC opposed designating Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups, stating

It is clear that the terrorist threat to the U.S. emanates from Al-Qaeda and not Palestinian groups. There is no evidence that Palestinian groups designated as terrorist organizations have any connections to Al-Qaeda. Yet the preoccupation with these groups raises the question as to whether targeting Palestinian groups serves true national security interests or is based on political considerations.

To be fair, MPAC has condemned specific acts of violence by these groups and Hathout said in a radio interview that he disagrees with Morsi’s power grab and said dictatorship is the “imminent” threat to Egypt. However, he said he has a “sense of respect for the party [Muslim Brotherhood]” and believes Morsi is “sincere” and “smart.”

Islamists sometimes disagree over tactics. Al-Azhar University, an institution that endorsed the Reliance of the Traveler as an authority on Sharia Law, feels Morsi has gone too far. Nonetheless, MPAC’s criticism of these tactics is like a drop in the ocean of ferocious condemnations of Israel and “Islamophobes” that stand against Islamism, even when the so-called bigot is a devout Muslim like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser.

MPAC repeatedly says that it is only seeking peace-making and good will between faiths. Al-Marayati even said that he doesn’t seek conversions to Islam because there are “more than enough Muslims.” However, Al-Marayati stated a political objective at the press conference. He said they want the U.S. government to be an “honest broker” for peace in the Middle East. A common refrain of MPAC and other anti-Israel groups is that the U.S. is unfair to the Palestinian and, more broadly, Arab side. MPAC seeks to broaden its interfaith coalition so it can undermine support for Israel and push back against their critics.

It is encouraging that Maher Hathout took a stand against Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and finally addressed the very reasonable concerns about his Muslim Brotherhood past. The Brotherhood, though, is just the biggest component of the Islamist ideology. MPAC and its leaders continued to promote that ideology after arriving in the U.S. True reform will only come when the preaching of Islamists like Hassan al-Banna is challenged and not upheld as the “reformists” Muslims should follow.

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  • AdinaK

    Ahhh…..MPAC….this blogger exposed them many op-eds ago, but most recently several weeks ago –

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel –

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Excellent read AdinaK………………….William

    • tuffone3

      That America "harbors in its body the seeds of its own destruction" is true. Howeverislam is not the cure, Jesus is.

  • David R

    Another sampling of hypocrisy…and if you look at the pic you'll notice a clown wearing a roman collar. Be very wary of these clerics because historically the Vatican and its disciples (pro-Vatican denominations) have always been behind world turmoil to their profit. Behind the disguised piousness lies the agenda of power-grabbing and the love of money.
    Besides Satan himself, the Roman Catholic Church and its derivitives are among the worst God and Jew-haters on the planet, and hopefully soon will be exposed for what they are.

    • Western Canadian

      Hey, Abdul!! May I call you Abdul?? Thanks. Your post is utter drivel. First sentence, denominations other than catholic have been known to where the ‘dog collar’, rather odd that you didn’t know that. Your weird crack about being behind world turmoil etc, sounds like what nut-bars usually say when they lie about jews…. ANd as for the worst God and jew-haters….. sounds more like islam, than anything else. By the way, I have no use for the catholic church, but have even less for screaming nut-bars.

    • Western Canadian

      Hey, Abdul!! May I call you Abdul?? Thanks. Your post is utter drivel. First sentence, denominations other than catholic have been known to wear the ‘dog collar’, rather odd that you didn’t know that. Your weird crack about being behind world turmoil etc, sounds like what nut-bars usually say when they lie about jews…. And as for the worst God and jew-haters….. sounds more like islam, than anything else. By the way, I have no use for the catholic church, but have even less for screaming nut-bars.

    • Roger

      All that must be very comforting to the Byzantine Empire, knowing that it wasn't the muslims causing problems for them.

      There is only one group that has as it's core teachings things like 'jizya tax' and 'al taqiyya' and it's not the Catholics.

  • David R

    Usually that's what rats do when exposed t light…they scramble!

  • Ghostwriter

    Uh,David R,I thought that this sort of Catholic bashing went out with the 19th Century or could I be wrong?

  • Stuart Parsons

    I believe some leopards can change their spots, but with Muslims it can only be confirmed when they aposatatize, renounce Allah and curse his false 'Prophet and Messeger.'

    • Roger

      Those suray 9 mandates don't leave a lot of wiggle room.

  • garyfouse

    Both Marayati and Hathout have received and refused to sign the Freedom Pledge letter from Former Muslims United asking them to sign a pledge that apostates in the US not be harmed.

  • VaGentleman

    Andrew C. McCarthy has analyzed the deceitfulness of the Muslim Brotherhood for years. See his book, Willful Blindness, as well as his weekly columns in National Review On Line. I presently have little sympathy for the people of Egypt or others who discover the true intentions of the Brotherhood and cry "we wuz robbed / deceived." Their ultimate goal has always been – and will always be – the estruction of the West and the imposition of Shiria by whatever means possible.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    All Muslim groups and associations have a sinister underbelly that eventually will be
    exposed if watched long enough. Collectively if they forced the World to kneel they
    would work out their dominance in more bloodshed than ever. At the root it is all about
    power and how they can use Islam for the ends of subjugating all of mankind. Eventually
    unless eliminated by a sane World they will be led by the most ruthless and opressive
    indvidual ever known. Until they move forward in violence ignorant Westerners will
    be dulled into inaction by leftist familiars, it may be though that their vile affectations
    will be sufficient to alarm and forewarn civilized societies to reject, defend against and
    eliminate their threat in our time. No Muslim group is benign………………William

  • White Hunter

    The most accurate way to view islam is as an incredibly destructive, invasive non-native species, like the Burmese pythons that slither through the Everglades, the kudzu weed that covers and suffocates trees, houses, and even telephone poles throughout the South, the water hyacinth that chokes our waterways, the snakehead fish that now infest the Potomac, dutch elm disease, the gypsy moth, and thousands of others (yes, okay, you can add the smallpox brought here from Europe, which wiped out the Indians, if you like). All of them eventually kill their indigenous hosts. The difference is that most of these others were brought here and released by accident or carelessness; not so mohammedanism, which we have suicidally welcomed with open arms and refuse to recognize as the lethal danger it is to our values, our culture, our form of government, and our lives.

  • SherylG

    Ryan would find a jihadist, Islamist, and terrorist under every rock because thatcis what he wants to find. Ryan is a scare monger. It used to be Jews and Catholics that received such treatment. The newest scapegoat is the American Muslim. Shame on him and all if his cohorts.

    • secularslut

      SherylG = closeted Muslim