The Muslim Students Association (MSA), the Muslim Brotherhood-related group found in educational institutions across America, will be holding its MSA East Conference at the University of Pennsylvania, this month. Speaking at the event will be Siraj Wahhaj, a Brooklyn, New York imam who was named a party to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Also speaking will be the Mayor of Philadelphia Jim Kenney. Why would the mayor of a major American city wish to be affiliated with such extremists? Are the mayor and his staff purposefully ignoring the backgrounds of these individuals or are they so inept that they just don’t know?
The MSA was established, in January 1963, by members of the hardline Muslim Brotherhood. Since then, the MSA has been a breeding ground for future high-profile terrorists, including convicted al-Qaeda operative Aafia Siddiqui and convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian. Today, MSA chapters are found in most, if not all, of the leading universities throughout the United States and Canada. The chapters are bunched into five regions set up by MSA National, referred to as “zones.” In the US, there are East, West and Central Zones.
On October 29th, MSA East will be holding its annual conference, at the University of Pennsylvania (UP), co-sponsored by MSA National, Penn MSA, and the Muslim Life Program. The event, titled ‘Trailblazers and Torch Holders,’ features well-known extremist lecturers, which is nothing new for the UP MSA chapter that once drew protests for bringing notorious anti-Semite William Baker to speak. Baker is the ex-Chairman of the Populist Party, a white supremacist group founded by Holocaust denier Willis Carto that comprised of neo-Nazis and former leaders of the Ku Klux Klan. Baker was alleged to be a neo-Nazi, himself.
One of the advertised speakers for the MSA East conference is Siraj Wahhaj, the imam of Masjid At-Taqwa, an Islamic center located in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Wahhaj began his existence as a Muslim within the Nation of Islam (NOI), where he took classes from rabid anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, who at the time was supervisor of NOI New York operations. Later, Wahhaj would maintain strong ties with Farrakhan, by giving speeches at NOI events and helping Farrakhan to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, whilst showering Farrakhan – a man who lauded Adolf Hitler – with glowing admiration.
In February 1995, along with Osama bin Laden and others, Wahhaj was named by the US government an “unindicted co-conspirator” related to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, al-Qaeda’s precursor to 9/11. Wahhaj had been linked to the bomb-maker of the attack, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, and during the trial, he was a character witness for the spiritual leader of the attack, the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, whom Wahhaj has openly praised. In one of his sermons, Wahhaj infamously stated about America, “In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing. And the only thing that will remain will be Islam.”
Another promoted speaker at the conference is Suhaib Webb. For years, Webb was associated with the Muslim American Society (MAS), which, like the MSA, was launched by Brotherhood operatives. He worked at a MAS office and led a MAS-affiliated mosque. Two days prior to the 9/11 attacks, Webb partook in an event held in Irvine, California with now-deceased al-Qaeda icon Anwar al-Awlaki, who was also linked to MAS and believed to have been close with two of the 9/11 hijackers. In April 2013, Webb was removed as a participant at an interfaith service honoring the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing by then-Governor Deval Patrick’s office.
This past September, Webb honored Yusuf al-Qaradawi, deceased spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of Palestinian suicide bombings, praising him for “standing for positions, when many have folded to pressure.” In May 2019, Webb posted a photo on Facebook of himself arm-in-arm with Monzer Talib, a self-avowed member of Hamas, calling Talib “a special man” and his “mentor.” The next month, Talib wrote that Jews in Israel “should be relocated to Germany.” Webb has referred to Siraj Wahhaj as “an illuminating light” and has crudely described oppressed Taliban women wearing burkas as “getting [their] swag on.”
The speakers at this month’s MSA East event are controversial to say the least. Their involvement with terror-related individuals and groups is both disturbing and dangerous. What is most disturbing, though, is the fact that the Mayor of Philadelphia Jim Kenney is being promoted by the MSA as being a speaker, as well. In fact, Mayor Kenney’s photo is shown first on the event flyer. Question: Why would the mayor agree to speak at or allow his photo to be used for a function organized by and featuring such fanatics?
Since taking office, Mayor Kenney has been an apologist for radical Islam. In July 2015, when Mohammad Abdulazeez, who the FBI said was inspired by terrorist propaganda, shot and killed four US Marines and a sailor at a Chattanooga, Tennessee Navy reserve facility, his response was that Islam is “a peaceful, charitable religion.” And in January 2016, when Edward Archer, who had pledged allegiance to ISIS, shot a Philadelphia police officer at point blank range, while dressed in Muslim garb, and declared he did it “in the name of Islam” and due to what is written in the Quran, Kenney said it had nothing to do with “being a Muslim or the Islamic faith.”
This past November, Mayor Kenney hosted a Palestinian Day of Solidarity, outside City Hall, where he spoke amidst Palestinian flags and presented the organizers with a proclamation recognizing the day. The sponsors for the event were the City of Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Philastine Relief Fund, a non-profit charity whose spokesmen do not recognize Israel’s existence.
The head of the fund is Mazen Khalil. On Facebook, Khalil: promoted an anti-Semitic video of white supremacist David Duke lamenting Jewish “control” of banks, media and government; clicked ‘like’ for the statement, “Oh Allah, grant victory to our brothers in Palestine, liberate them from the hands of the Jews…”; and lauded ex-terrorist residents of the West Bank town Silwad, Hamas bosses Khaled Mashal and Ibrahim Hamed and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade sniper Thaer Hamad, who infamously killed ten Israelis. Khalil too was contact for a Mayor Kenney event at a MAS mosque, where a video later surfaced of Muslim kids singing about “chopping off heads.”
It is clear that Mayor Jim Kenney has embraced an extreme element of the Muslim community and, at the same time, runs interference for its most fanatical members. His scheduled appearance at the upcoming MSA event, at the University of Pennsylvania, is more proof of this. In light of the above information, people are encouraged to call the mayor’s office and respectfully and politely request he cancel his participation. Being mayor of the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ does not include helping the Muslim Brotherhood spread their toxic messages of anti-Semitic incitement and hatred for America and the West.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.