Since Ilhan Omar was elected US Representative, she has participated at various functions for the South Asian terror-linked Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), including ICNA national conferences. This has become a matter of controversy, because, while many in the Muslim community appreciate Omar’s strong anti-India, anti-Israel and even anti-Jewish stances, other Muslims have voiced their offense at her overt embrace of LGBTQ. One of the offended, Miami-based Imam Fadi Kablawi has gone on the attack against both Omar and ICNA, for inviting her. It is a case of radical Muslims condemning their fellow Islamists for not being radical enough.
For 30-plus years, ICNA has harbored death squad leader Ashrafuzzaman Khan, who allegedly murdered 18 people while participating in the 1971 Bangladesh genocide. ICNA has promoted Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FiF), a banned front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the terrorist group responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. ICNA partners with and has donated to the Al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF), a Pakistani charity that openly finances Hamas. In October 2000, along with links to various terrorist websites, ICNA told its followers to provide “material support” to “fellow Chechnyan Muslims,” while providing a link to an al-Qaeda financing/recruitment site.
Every year, ICNA holds annual conventions, along with the equally radical Muslim American Society (MAS). This year’s event is taking place, this month, in Baltimore, Maryland.
The convention website lists a number of female speaker participants for 2023. One is the Executive Director for the San Francisco chapter of CAIR, Zahra Billoo, who, in September 2019, was thrown off the Board of Directors of the group Women’s March for her antisemitism. Billoo has written that “one amazing reason to get married” is to “raise fighters” to attack Israel. She has referred to US troops as “scum.” She proudly announced on her blog that her younger brother, Ahmed, was quoted in an article voicing his support for suicide bombings. She wrote that she, herself, contemplated suicide, after viewing a pro-Israel ad on a San Francisco train.
A female who did not make it onto this year’s convention roster, though, was US Representative Ilhan Omar. This may come as a surprise to some, as since becoming Congresswoman, ICNA has welcomed her with open arms, much for her being Muslim and out of appreciation for her seemingly bigoted stances towards India and Israel. She has called India’s attempt to exert her sovereignty over Kashmir and root out terrorists operating in Kashmir, whose Hindu population has been decimated by Muslim militants, a “Hindu nationalism project.” And she has claimed US lawmakers have dual loyalty to Israel. She said, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” (i.e. bribery).
Omar, however, has increasingly received criticism from Islamists for her strong embrace of the LGBTQ community. ICNA President Mohsin Ansari, this past January, discussed the subject on The Mad Mamluks podcast, whose co-host said Omar had at times “mocked the Sharia.” On the show, Ansari spoke self-congratulatory about how the 2022 ICNA-MAS Convention included “several sessions… against LGBT” and how, during his introduction to Omar’s speech, he took a not-so-subtle jab at her, stating that “all those immoral things, which people are trying to make it acceptable in our society, ICNA stands against them.”
Ansari’s words were in stark contrast to his adoring introduction of Ilhan Omar, just one year earlier, at the 2021 ICNA-MAS Southeast Virtual Conference. There, he stated, “This sister of Islam, this American Muslim woman made all us proud …[S]he stood up for her faith. She stood up for her beliefs. She stood up against the bullying of a very powerful man, [former President Trump]… [P]lease give a warm welcome, all prayers, all the praises for our sister… On behalf of ICNA, as the President of ICNA, I welcome you sister, and I hope we will continue to support you, and I hope you will continue to be as brazen as you have been, and may Allah bless you.”
The equivocation and duplicity of Ansari caught the attention of North Miami Islamic Center (NMIC) imam Fadi Kablawi, someone who has been tagged by the FBI as being a member of ISIS. This past March, Kablawi went on a verbal assault against Ansari and Omar, calling the two “trash,” “knuckleheads” and “liars.” He said, in part, “Someone sent me a video, yesterday… a short video of the President of ICNA and how he’s bragging about Ilhan Omar – how she’s a great representation of Islam… Your version of Islam… You’re both trash to me – seriously trash… Those people are worse enemies to people like us than the kuffar (disbelievers).”
Kablawi, who has scolded Omar before for her support of transgenders, often targets LGBTQ. During an August 2021 sermon, Kablawi pondered why Allah has not destroyed all gays. He said, “When Allah tortured Lot, they knew that what they were doing is wrong… So you want to tell me the gays of today are better? Yet, Allah is not destroying them. The only explanation I know… is because we Muslims are here. So based on that, all gays and all lesbians in America should be standing outside this masjid to give us appreciation. But we don’t want it. Stay away from me.” In this same speech, Kablawi blamed women for rapes committed against them.
In determining their levels of fanaticism, it must be understood that Muslim extremists adhere to an ideological template. Israel, India and Muslim nations, who establish a relationship with Israel, are common targets. Factions embattled and derided by such individuals, include Jews, Hindus, Christians, homosexuals and women. Fellow Muslims, who exhibit extremism themselves but who fail to follow completely the Islamist precepts regarding Sharia, are frequently attacked and shunned.
Such is the case with regard to Fadi Kablawi’s condemnation of the national President of ICNA, a group with links to overseas terror, and Ilhan Omar, an anti-Semitic lawmaker. Mohsin Ansari’s morality ‘disclaimer,’ after having pandered to Omar previously, failed to appease the imam.
For Kablawi, who has admitted the FBI believes him to have had involvement with ISIS, any ounce of support for LGBTQ or their patrons is tantamount to Islamic heresy. In his eyes, ICNA and Omar are not radical enough. In reality, though, each of these entities – Kablawi, Ansari, ICNA and Omar – all play a role in Muslim fanaticism and need to be exposed for the bigotry they epitomize and disseminate.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.