If you need proof that radical Islam is spread across the country, look no further than Iowa’s Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids, whose extremism is plain for all to see online. One of its most notable attendees is Bill Aossey, a Muslim Youth Camps of America (MYCA) official and president of Midamar Corporation, a leading supplier of Halal foods that was given a loan guarantee of $1.75 million as part of the stimulus package. On August 13, 2010, Aossey sat at President Obama’s table in the White House to enjoy an Iftar meal.
The Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids (ICCR) was built in early 1962 with the assistance of Khalil al-Rauef, a close friend of the Saudi Royal Family who reportedly shared a common interest in Arabian horses with Eleanor Roosevelt. The publication of the Saudi state ARAMCO oil company states, “Nobody remaining in the Cedar Rapids Muslim community remembers just why al-Rauef settled there.” It is assumed that he was drawn to the success of the Muslim community.
Al-Rauef paved the way for Saudi King Faisal to donate $45,000 to the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids in 1974. The government of Kuwait followed suit, donating $6,000. The government of Libya provided Korans. It is unclear if this happened under Qaddafi’s tenure.
The ICCR’s website happily tells the story of how Muslims from across the world came to America from all sorts of backgrounds in the early 1950s. It mentions “moderate groups like” the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate in Kuwait named Islah; the Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan and the Muslim Brotherhood of Sudan. The website praises how “radical groups banned in many Muslim countries” like “Jihad” (presumably the Egyptian Islamic Jihad), Takfir al-Hijra (an Al-Qaeda affiliate) and Hezbollah were able to come to the U.S. In the past, the website linked to Al-Haramain, a Saudi charity that fundraised for Al-Qaeda.
“Here they are able to forge links with students of other nations providing the nucleus for an international network of leaders committed to the creation of an Islamic state, or an Islamic world order,” the ICCR website states.
The mosque blames “ultra-conservative Christians” for causing terrorism. It claims that Islamic extremists “become a kind of mirror image of their Christian counterparts.” It says that “Many of them are being turned by their American experience into anti-Western, anti-Christian Islamic revivalists.” The ICCR teaches that the “root of the problem is the perception of many resident Muslims that the nation as a whole is prejudiced against them.” Disturbingly, a school for children up to nine years old named My Iman Montessori is located within the ICCR.
The ICCR engages in political activism. On January 2, 2008, the Muslim American Society (MAS) and two other unnamed groups held a class at ICCR to prepare Muslims to participate in the Iowa caucus. The MAS is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. The MAS official involved, Miriam Amer, is now the leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Iowa chapter.
She said at the time, “If we can get even one-half of one percent of the Muslims in this state [to] participate in the caucus—with some even serving as precinct captains—we can insure that the proposed planks will become adopted at the state conventions, and help to shape U.S. policy in the future.” In the MAS website’s post on the event, she is quoted urging Muslims to “take part in a historic event that can tip the balance of power in this country.”
Houses of worship cannot campaign on behalf of a political party. The ICCR and MSA were aware of this mentioned that Amer has worked with both parties. It was still obvious that they were trying to get Iowa Muslims to turn out for the Democratic caucus and later, the Democratic presidential candidate. It noted that 44% of Republican voters in the Iowa caucus are evangelicals and said, “Overall, the GOP candidates have basically ignored the immigrant and Muslim vote this time around, opting instead to focus on the Conservative Christian vote.”
One of the ICCR’s most prominent attendees is Bill Aossey, who founded the Midamar Corporation in 1972 that provides Halal foods around the world. His maternal grandfather came to Iowa in 1888 as the first documented Muslim settler in the state. His father helped found the “Mother Mosque” of Cedar Rapids, the oldest standing mosque in the U.S., and the ICCR. In 1963, Aossey became the first Muslim to enter the Peace Corps.
Aossey sat on the board of directors of the American Muslim Council. Its former executive director is the notorious Abdurahman Alamoudi. He is a supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah and is in jail on terrorism-related charges. Another former executive director, Eric Erfan Vickers, suggested that the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia over Palestine, Texas was a judgment from Allah.
Midamar Corporation is a sponsor of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Islamic Circle of North America and Muslim American Society. All are Muslim Brotherhood fronts. The first two were labeled by the federal government as “unindicted co-conspirators” in the Holy Land Foundation trial. The government presented evidence tying them to Hamas. In 2002 Aossey spoke at the Muslim Students Association’s Iowa conference alongside Siraj Wahhaj. In 2003, he spoke again for the event, along with Nihad Awad.
Despite these facts, Aossey sat at President Obama’s table for the August 13, 2010 Iftar dinner at the White House.[i] He said they did not discuss political matters. Midamar received a $1.75 million Small Business Administration loan guarantee as part of the stimulus.[ii]
Aossey is a representative of the Muslim Youth Camps of America. The organization had been leasing a 114-acre site at Coralville Lake from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to build one of its Muslim youth camps. On April 26, Aossey sent an email to inform the military that MYCA would not be renewing the lease.
There are other Islamist organizations worth mentioning in the Cedar Rapids area. On September 4, the Council on American-Islamic Relations opened up a new office in the city, according to its Facebook page. The coordinator of the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Iowa chapter, Shams Ghoneim, resides a little over 30 miles away in Iowa City. She is a critic of anti-Islamist Muslim activist Zuhdi Jasser. After he spoke at the University of Iowa, she wrote that “The Shariah issue is fake, as no credible American Muslim is advocating it…Contrary to Jasser’s allegation, Islam has never advocated theocracy.”
CAIR, ISNA and the other prominent Muslim-American organizations tied to the Muslim Brotherhood say they are committed to fighting extremism. If that is so, they should take a stand against the teachings of the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids.
This article has been updated to correct a typographical error in the date Bill Aossey’s grandmother came to Iowa.
[i] “Iowa Mosque Teaches More About Coexistence of Christianity, Islam.” Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City), September 11, 2010.
[ii] Gravelle, Steve. “Stimulus: Funding Flows Through Existing Programs,” The Gazette (Cedar Rapids), June 26, 2010.
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