Backgrounder: Islamic Circle of North America
ICNA and MAS
Posted: July 17, 2009
ICNA is closely aligned with the Muslim American Society (MAS), with which it holds annual conventions drawing thousands of participants each year. MAS has a similarly troubling history of associations with radical organizations and individuals who promote terrorism and anti-Semitism, and reject Israel's right to exist.
At their joint convention in Rosemont, Illinois, from December 23-27, 2010, several speakers made anti-Semitic and conspiratorial remarks, portraying Jews as a privileged group with undue power. During a panel about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East sponsored by the anti-Israel group American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Osama Abuirshaid, an AMP board member, said that the Jewish community is "revered in this country [the United States]" and spoke of "the Israel lobby" and its influence on the U.S. government. Abuirshaid asked, "How influential is this lobby in Washington? This establishment is as committed to Israel as it is to America." Another speaker, Othman Atta, who often presents at AMP events, lambasted Judaism, saying, "Theft, detention, denial of rights…this is all done in the name of the Jewish religion."
One year earlier, the 2009 ICNA-MAS convention in Chicago served as a forum for religious scholars and political activists to rail against Jews, call for the eradication of the state of Israel and accuse the United States government as waging a war against Muslims at home and abroad.
The 2004 ICNA-MAS Annual Conference in Chicago featured several members of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), an organization described by the U.S. government as part of "Hamas' propaganda apparatus," including Mohammad al Hanooti, IAP's first president. Salah Soltan, the founder and former president of the Islamic American University (IAU) in Michigan, whose chairman is Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, also attended the ICNA-MAS annual conference that year.
At an ICNA-MAS strategic planning meeting in Chicago in June 2001, Zulfiqar Ali Shah, ICNA's president at the time, stated: "If we are unable to stop the Jews now, their next stop is Yathrib [Saudi Arabia], where the Jews used to live until their expulsion by Prophet Muhammad. That's the pinnacle of their motives."
ICNA and MAS have also drawn closer in recent years to the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA), which is the North American branch of a radical anti-Semitic and anti-American Pakistani organization, Tanzeem-e-Islami. IONA distributes anti-Semitic literature, including a book, The Prohibition of Riba, that blames the Jews for spreading usury in order to advance various conspiracies against humanity.
Dr. Talat Sultan, head of ICNA between 2002 and 2006, gave a keynote speech at IONA's 2004 conference in Detroit. According to the San Francisco branch of ICNA, IONA has also endorsed the "WhyIslam" campaign.