Joe Kaufman is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative. He was the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives (Florida-CD23).
On August 14, 2021, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck the southern coast of Haiti, taking the lives of thousands and damaging or destroying over 130,000 buildings. Photographs on social media depict a man wearing a yellow vest peering at the rubble. On the vest is the logo of Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD), the overseas division of ICNA. On one of the pics is a reference to a web page on the HHRD site devoted to raising money in the name of the earthquake. It would seem this group has good intentions, yet it is merely a façade meant to conceal ICNA’s radical history and foundation in terror and to benefit off and exploit a disaster.
ICNA or the Islamic Circle of North America is the American arm of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), a South Asian Islamist movement with numerous links to terrorism. JI’s former militant wing, al-Badr, was responsible for many of the massacres that took place during the 1971 genocide against the citizens of what is now known as Bangladesh. One of al-Badr’s death squad commanders, Ashrafuz Zaman Khan, has served in leadership positions at ICNA for decades. While Khan is yet to be punished for his alleged crimes (He was sentenced to death in absentia in November 2013), ICNA has publicly condemned the execution of Khan’s al-Badr colleagues.
Since November 2000, ICNA has formally partnered with JI’s Al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF) for a variety of overseas projects. In August 2006, AKF listed ICNA as its top donor, at the same time AKF took a delegation to the Damascus, Syria home of then-Hamas leader, Khaled Mashal, to hand him $100,000 for terrorist acts against Israel. On ICNA’s website, ICNA tries to confuse people and clean its hands of this subject, as well as with the matter of Ashrafuz Zaman Khan, while defaming this author with outright lies and “Islamophobia” smears. However, news of this was directly on JI’s website, and this author has reported on it and shown proof of it for years.
ICNA has a dawah (Islamic outreach) wing, Why Islam (WI), that utilizes its website to promote domestic violence against women. Posted on the site is a text, Gender Equity in Islam, that appallingly tells men that, if they “fear disloyalty” from their wives, it is a valid response to “beat them.” Not long ago, the site featured a message board, where forum moderators made posts deriding Jews and in favor of Hamas and Israel’s destruction. One WI moderator, Marwan, in response to a story about an Indian restaurant called “Hitler’s Cross” that was adorned with Nazi symbols, crudely joked, “Nazi restaurant… I wonder if they have kosher meals.”
Other ICNA representatives have epitomized this same level of extremism. The Chief Operating Officer of ICNA Relief USA is Abdul Rauf Khan. Khan is an avid fan of Louis Farrakhan and has used his social media to target Jews and gays. In July 2014, Khan promoted on Facebook an anti-Semitic video labeling comedian talk show host Bill Maher, “Zionist Jew Bill Maher.” Syed Ammar Ahmed is the Government Affairs Coordinator at ICNA Relief USA. In February 2010, following a debate he participated in at a school, Ahmed wrote, “I hate white people,” called himself a “terrorist,” and joked that he “should have threatened to blow up the school.”
Web viewers, who go to HHRD’s Haiti page, will notice that assisting the group with earthquake fundraising is Siraj Wahhaj, the imam of Brooklyn, New York’s Masjid At-Taqwa. Wahhaj was named an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He has been linked to the bomb-maker of the attack, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, and during the bombing trial, he was a character witness for the spiritual leader of the attack, “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, whom he has openly praised. With Wahhaj, ICNA is seeking help for the destruction in Haiti from someone alleged to have been involved in the destruction of the Twin Towers.
This is the reality of ICNA, and of course, there is so much more that this author could have included but chose not to in the name of brevity, like ICNA’s past involvement in al-Qaeda-related financing, ICNA’s promotion of different terrorist organizations on its website, and ICNA’s relationship to a Hamas web designer.
But despite the group’s association with terror and bigotry, ICNA still has some fooled, including FEMA, which provides the group with massive amounts of federal funding paid for by US taxpayers. And remember, this funding takes place as ICNA continues to harbor a death squad leader and continues to promote domestic violence against women.
ICNA has been in existence for over five decades. We must ask ourselves what it will take for people, especially those in positions of power, to see ICNA’s reality and what it will take to get ICNA shut down.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.