Radical Imam Siraj Wahhaj isn’t who comes to mind when you think of interfaith partnerships, but two of his associates have served at the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. The two are colleagues of Wahhaj and they lead their own Islamist groups, one of which even used to go by the name of International Muslim Brotherhood.
Wahhaj’s notable quotes include, “America is the most wicked government on the face of the planet Earth” and “If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.” He is also listed as “unindicted person who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Wahhaj is the Amir of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA). Two of its Shura Council members have served on the board of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. The Interfaith Center boasts that in 2010 it “served nearly 10,000 individuals, partnered with more than 150 local religious congregations and institutions and two dozen civic and service organizations…”
MANA Shura Council member Anwar Muhaimin is on the Interfaith Center’s board of directors and is one of its founders. He is also a member of the Interfaith Center’s Religious Leaders Council of Philadelphia, which organized the inaugural prayer services for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Muhaimin currently leads the Quba Institute, previously called the International Muslim Brotherhood.
Although Muhaimin was educated in Saudi Arabia, he says he is not a Salafist and that his group is not affiliated with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. However, its website has said that it’s been long partnered with the Muslim Students Association, a group that a 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo lists as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” More alarmingly, the Quba Institute’s former website said that Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood cleric Hasan al-Turabi was “instrumental in contributing instruction.” Al-Turabi has been called the “The Pope of Terrorism.”
Other supporters of the Quba Institute/International Muslim Brotherhood include Abdul-Hamid Abu Sulayman, former rector of the Islamic University of Malaysia and Medhat Hassanein, former Egyptian Finance Minister. The website used to acknowledge that they and al-Turabi “added their voices and their efforts to replenish and support International Muslim Brotherhood’s educational agenda.”
The former website of Muhaimin’s organization also said it rejects “’jihad al-saif’ (armed warfare) under one condition: unless in the context of self-defense or guarding the sacred, holy lands of Islam.”
MANA Shura Council member Kenny Gamble, now known as Luqman Abdul-Haqq, was one of the Interfaith Center’s founding board of directors. His United Muslim Movement actually merged with Muhaimin’s International Muslim Brotherhood in 1998 for a period of time. Gamble has been accused of trying to create Muslim enclaves.
Gamble’s organization says it is “dedicated to the full implementation of the Qur’an and the Sunnah…” Gamle was originally a member of the Nation of Islam. That is no longer the case, but he still collaborates with Louis Farrakhan’s radical organization.
Joe Kaufman discovered that an organization called the Jawala Scouts was registered to the same address as Gamble’s group and Gamble appeared to be its email contact. Photos show young Muslim boys dressed in military fatigue learning combat skills. The Scouts was started in 2005 by a group called the Sankore Institute of Islamic-African Studies International. As the Clarion Project reported in April, the organization’s website instructs Muslims to engage in “litigation jihad” to bring America into greater compliance with Sharia Law.
The group’s leader is undeniably anti-American and the FBI raided its offices in 2006. In 2010, Sankore’s leader condemned the “the pseudo-religion redefined by the pacifist ‘imams’ who deny the obligation of jihad and who have deluded their followers into the fruitless activity of supporting democratic constitutional government.”
The problem of Islamist interfaith engagement goes beyond Philadelphia.
The Council on-American Islamic Relations honors its interfaith partners at its fundraising banquets which often have radicals as speakers. The Islamic Circle of North America celebrates the friendships of churches as evidence that it’s moderate. The Presbyterian Church (USA) uses Islamist groups in interfaith studies.
These relationships have led to many Christian and Jewish organizations becoming political allies of groups linked to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. They join their campaigns and church leaders endorse their causes. There are church events about “Islamophobia” that attack these groups’ critics as bigots. In another case, an interfaith event was used to teach Christians that U.S. involvement in oppression is to blame for terrorism. On foreign policy, the Islamists’ non-Muslim allies rail against Israel and protest Israel’s alliance with the U.S.
This platform helps increase these groups’ political influence to the point where they are courted by the White House to build support for their policy agenda and offer advice. Other non-Islamist Muslim groups are left out in the cold.
This is what the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood envisioned when it instructed followers to “possess a mastery of the art of ‘coalitions’, the art of ‘absorption’ and the principles of ‘cooperation.’”
This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
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