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Backgrounder: Islamic Circle of North America RULE WhyIslam

Posted: July 17, 2009

Ideology and Dissemination of Extremist Materials

ICNA has organized and funded "WhyIslam," a national advertisement campaign which it claims seeks to educate the public about Islam and to "clarify many of the misconceptions" about the religion.  However, the campaign's Web site for years provided links to external sites that promote anti-Semitism, anti-Christian teachings and hatred of Israel.


  • From July 2000 through September 2003, the WhyIslam site provided a link to the "It Is Truth" Web site dedicated to disseminating the statements and fatwas of Sheikh Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani, who was classified in 2004 as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S. government for supplying weapons to Al Qaeda. In 2009, al-Zindani made a public plea for millions of Muslim men to fight against Israel.

  • From October 2003 through March 2007, the WhyIslam site provided a link to the "Islam Q&A" Web site of the anti-Semitic and anti-Christian teachings of Sheikh Muhammad Al-Munajjid. The site includes Al-Munajjid's religious ruling in which he says, "The Jews…infiltrated Freemasonry and reached high positions within it…and subjugated them [the Masons] to their own aims. One of the clearest indications of their intense desire to conceal their plans to destroy religions and provoke political revolutions is what it says in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion."

  • From November 2003 through the end of 2009, the WhyIslam site provided a link to an anti-Semitic and extreme anti-Israel Web site called "Jews for Allah." The site aims to convert Jews to Islam and includes the article, "Islam: A Religion of Terror?" which says: "It is the Jewish influenced media of the West which has portrayed Islam to be something that it is not … Whilst trying to destroy Islam through this instrument of the media, the Jews clearly try to portray an image of themselves as being the oppressed people…" 

  • From January 2006 through the end of 2009, "IslamOnline," a Web-based publication connected to Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, was accessible through WhyIslam.  The publication promotes anti-Israel terrorist groups, has referred to Zionism as a "cancer" and has repeatedly claimed that the close ties between the U.S. and Israel demonstrate their mutual desire to oppress Muslims.  In January 2008, "IslamOnline" published a poem in its Arts and Culture section that gave graphic instructions on how to behead someone.

  • From January 2006 through the end of 2009, WhyIslam linked to the Web site of Harun Yahya, an anti-Semitic Turkish writer whose articles demonize Jews who support Israel as "godless" and blames them for committing atrocities.  One article penned by Yahya quotes French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy and another cites Yahya's own book titled The Holocaust Deception.

The WhyIslam campaign, created by the New York and New Jersey chapters of ICNA, has had extensive reach in cities across the U.S. The campaign ran advertisements on approximately 30 buses in Seattle from September through November 2008; on more than 140 municipal buses in San Francisco and four billboards in the Bay Area in February 2009; on 1,000 subway cars in September 2008 and hundreds of buses in September 2009 in New York; and on approximately 50 municipal buses in June 2009 in the Washington, D.C. metro area on. Twenty-four billboards went up in 18 different cities in the U.S., including Tampa, Portland and Houston.


The WhyIslam campaign has been widely embraced by others in the Muslim American community. Among the groups the San Francisco branch of ICNA lists on its Web site as endorsing the campaign are the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) San Francisco chapter and 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.


WhyIslam claims to have network of volunteers that have established direct contact with prison inmates through correspondence. It also places advertisements in community newspapers and distributes promotional materials at community booths in malls.  

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