Jewish-Muslim Relations, That Other MJAC

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) has become a partner with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in forming a new interfaith group; the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council.

While we, here at the real MJAC, agree that it is important and in everybody's best interests to form ties with people and groups outside of the Jewish community, sometimes it's important to do some research. Some groups are better to work with than others.

As Newsweek reported back in 2007:

But after the invites went out, aides to Gonzales suddenly became alarmed that it could create a new embarrassment for the embattled attorney general. The reason: one of the featured speakers was a prominent Northern Virginia imam who serves as vice president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which had just been branded by federal prosecutors in court papers as a U.S. branch of the Muslim Brotherhood--the international movement, based in Egypt, dedicated to the creation of a worldwide Islamic caliphate. ISNA, which has not been charged with any crime, was among more than a hundred organizations and individuals who were listed in late May as "unindicted co-conspirators" in the prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation--the Texas-based group now on trial in Dallas for allegedly conspiring to funnel funds to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

From The Investigative Project on Terrorism:

Another ISNA speaker, John Morrow, who teaches at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana and directs the Covenants of the Prophet Foundation, launched into conspiratorial rhetoric accusing the U.S. of using the CIA to support jihadi groups with the intent of spreading anti-Muslim hatred.

"How do you ensure that the public continues to support the War on Terror, which is really a war on Islam and Muslims?" Morrow asked. "By means of terrorist attacks, by means of false flag operations, that way the eternal endless war of the globalist totalitarian fascists continues unabated to the pleasure of big brother, or as we know him in Islam, the one-eyed liar.

"The philosophy is clear. Keep the focus on fear."


The ISNA convention also featured hatred of Israel.

Several speakers promoted the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that aims to isolate Israel. Sarsour proudly proclaimed that the prominence she received due to her involvement in the Women's March in January gave her a better platform to discuss the BDS movement.

"I have been able to have our country reckon with this conversation about what does it mean for a Muslim or a Palestinian American to be part of the resistance and to be working with allies who are now taking up the cause of BDS and supporting the Palestinian people," Sarsour said. "So, what I am saying to you is don't be afraid to be the center of controversy."

Billoo repeatedly referred to the Jewish state as "apartheid Israel."

McGoldrick attacked the Muslim Leadership Institute (MLI), which "invites North American Muslims to explore how Jews understand Judaism, Israel, and Jewish peoplehood." MLI brings people to "occupied Palestine," McGoldrick said, indicating he had no interest in recognizing its legitimacy. He condemned MLI for teaching Muslims about Zionism in a positive manner and for instructing them about Judaism in "so-called Israel."

This kind of hateful rhetoric is a staple at ISNA conferences. In 2009, a speaker lamented Jewish "control of the world."

In 1993, ISNA signed a declaration calling Israel's creation a crime. "To recognize the legitimacy of that crime is a crime in itself and any agreement which involves such recognition is unjust and untenable. The League of Ulama in Palestine declared on Sept. 14 '93 that no one has the authority to concede the rights of the Islamic Ummah in Palestine."

I think we can agree that any group that promotes conspiracy theories, hates Israel, supports BDS, and features Linda Sarsour as a speaker, probably doesn't think much of Jews in general, and is probably hostile toward Jews, no matter what kind of public face they present.

Within ISNA, it seems that rigorous thought control is enforced. Journalist, Wajahat Ali ran afoul of that thought control and was disinvited from speaking at ISNA's upcoming Labor Day convention.

On Wednesday, journalist and commentator Wajahat Ali announced on social media that the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA, had disinvited him from speaking at their upcoming annual convention in Houston on Labor Day Weekend for his recent work with Israel.

In a letter, Altaf Husain, vice president of ISNA, writes that the organizers reached a decision not to include Ali as a speaker for his "recent work," specifically citing that "other than our creed as Muslims, there is perhaps nothing more exemplary and unifying than our community's support for the Palestinian people of all faith traditions, in their struggle against occupation and dispossession."

Husain did not return a request for comment.

Ali's recent work includes traveling to Israel and filming a documentary with The Atlantic by speaking to Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank.

In 2014, Ali participated in the Muslim Leadership Initiative, or MLI, as part of the Shalom Hartman Institute, a program that "invites North American Muslims to explore how Jews understand Judaism, Israel, and Jewish peoplehood."

Ali told the Washington Examiner that ISNA didn't give him an explicit reason for being disinvited, but believes it has to do with him speaking directly to Israeli Jews about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how to resolve it.

Reading his Atlantic piece, it's obvious he's no friend to Israel, but at least he seems to be honest in his feelings. Apparently his willingness to talk to Zionist Jews gained him enemies at ISNA. Maybe he didn't demonstrate a deep enough hatred to satisfy ISNA leaders?

How much is the AJC willing to overlook in order to promote interfaith outreach? Surely there are other Muslim groups who aren't steeped in anti-Semitism that the AJC could team up with. Does the ISNA truly accept the AJC as an equal partner? Or is the AJC merely a useful tool to be pulled out when accusations surface? - "What? How can we be anti-Semitic? Some of our best friends are Jews!"

Hey, AJC! Be careful. Don't let yourselves be used.