On August 16, 2017, the United States Department of State designated Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), the organization that owned the Pakistani compound where US Navy Seals shot and killed Osama bin Laden, a terrorist organization. Imagine the embarrassment and potential danger, then, when less than one month following the designation, soldiers from the US Army National Guard – dressed in full military gear – were served food by members of an American group related to HM, outside a radical mosque. It was a serious mistake that could only result in legitimization of terror and bigotry, and it should never happen again.
On September 5, 2017, the Islamic Society of Triplex (IST), a mosque located in Beaumont, Texas, less than an hour and a half’s drive from Houston, handed out dinners to members of the US Army National Guard. The troops were in the area dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which had hit Southeast Texas very hard. To many, this might seem like a generous gift provided to our nation’s finest, who were hard at work assisting those devastated by the storm. However, when one considers who this mosque is affiliated with, they will find that this was no gift at all.
IST is an affiliate of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that was co-founded by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian and was named a co-conspirator by the US Justice Department, in 2007 and 2008, for two federal trials dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. In December 2015, IST made the news, when it forced its imam, Nidal Alsayyed, to resign, after he had publicly endorsed President Donald Trump’s travel ban from a number of Muslim majority countries.
Participating in the dinner giveaway were two leaders of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). This includes the newly elected President of ICNA, Javaid Siddiqi, who was sporting a bright yellow ICNA Relief shirt while serving the food. ICNA has many well-documented ties to terrorism.
ICNA was founded in September 1968 as the American affiliate of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), South Asia’s largest Islamist group. Jamaat’s militant wing, Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) aka Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HuM), owned the Pakistani compound where Osama bin Laden was living and eventually killed in.
This past August, HM was added to the US State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO). In the press release announcing the designation, the following is stated: “Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014, explosives attack in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which injured 17 people.”
In June, prior to a meeting between US President Trump and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the US declared HM’s leader, Mohammad Yusuf Shah aka Syed Salahuddin, a “global terrorist.” Shah is not just the head of HM; he is also the head of the terrorist umbrella group in which HM is a member, United Jihad Council (UJC) or Muttahida Jihad Council (MJC). Other members of UJC include Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), both of which are also on the State Department’s terror list, and ten other militant groups. 13 in all.
ICNA, itself, has used the internet to promote terror organizations, including Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and ICNA has been associated with death squad leaders and terrorist financing.
In November 2013, a war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh sentenced former ICNA Secretary General Ashrafuzzaman Khan (Ashrafuz Zaman Khan) to death by hanging for the murder of 18 people described as prominent intellectuals, during the country’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. Khan had served as a death squad leader for the then-paramilitary wing of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), al-Badr. Apart from Secretary General, Khan has also acted as National Vice President of ICNA, and the same year of his death sentence, Khan served as President of ICNA’s New York chapter.
In August 2006, ICNA Relief was the top donor and partner to Pakistani JI charity Al Khidmat Foundation (AKF), at the same time AKF took a delegation to Damascus, Syria to hand deliver $100,000 to then-global Hamas leader Khaled Mashal at his residence. Mashal thanked the group and said Hamas would continue to wage “jihad” (war) on the “Zionist yoke” (Israel). ICNA Relief continues to work directly with AKF overseas. One recent ICNA sponsored event, held outside AKF’s Nowshera, Pakistan office, featured two live goats being slaughtered on the ground by a disheveled man in a sweat-drenched shirt, while children watched and participated and touched and posed with the bloody carcasses.
In January 2000, ICNA’s Message International published a series of six articles on Muslim icons of the past, under the banner “Great Leaders of Last 100 Years.” One of ICNA’s “great leaders” was Iran’s deceased dictator Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The Khomeini piece, which describes him as a man “destined to be more than a great authority on Ja’fari jurisprudence (Shia law),” was written by University of California, Berkeley (UCB) Professor Hamid Algar. In March 1999, Algar was reprimanded by UCB for telling a group of Armenian students, who were commemorating the Armenian Genocide which took 1.5 million lives, that the genocide never took place but that he wished it had and that he thinks Armenians deserve to be massacred.
Besides ICNA’s President, the other ICNA leader at the September mosque dinner giveaway – also sporting the yellow ICNA Relief shirt – was Assistant Executive Director of ICNA Relief and Secretary of ICNA Florida and ICNA Relief Florida, Abdul Rauf Khan. Khan has used social media to post videos dedicated to Nation of Islam leader and anti-Jewish bigot Louis Farrakhan and Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood. He has been photographed wearing Muslim Brotherhood garb, himself. Khan also posted a link on his Facebook page to an anti-Semitic video labeling comedian talk show host Bill Maher, “Zionist Jew Bill Maher.”
Following the mosque dinner, photos from the event were placed on both ICNA and the mosque’s Facebook pages. Amongst the photos were ‘group shots’ of ICNA and mosque goers posing with US soldiers dressed in fatigues. Essentially, our troops were used as embarrassing photo ops for radical Muslim institutions.
It is clear that ‘political correctness’ and fear of being labelled ‘bigot’ would make it difficult for the US military to decline ICNA and IST’s calculated show of ‘generosity,’ but allowing the military to be used as propaganda fodder to further these groups’ Islamist agendas is unconscionable and dangerous.
Given ICNA’s association to those who commit terrorism and those who fund it; given ICNA’s own promotion of terrorist organizations; given ICNA’s support for ruthless dictators and those who spout virulent anti-Semitism; and given ICNA’s sponsorship of animal slaughter that is inappropriate, unclean and unhealthy by anyone’s standards; the United States military should declare ICNA ‘off limits’ to their members.
Suffice to say, our military should never accept anything nor have any dealings with ICNA or IST. Doing so only serves to legitimize their extremist exploits and make their malignant motives and actions appear benign.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.
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