The main plaintiff in the Hawaii case blocking President Trump’s revised temporary travel ban is an imam with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The irony is hard to miss: Trump has talked about declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, and now it is a Brotherhood-backed imam who is playing a key role in blocking his executive order on immigration.
Imam Ismail Elshikh, 39, leads the largest mosque in Hawaii and claims he is suffering “irreparable harm” from the president’s executive order, which places a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from six countries.
One of those six countries is Syria. Elshikh’s mother in law is Syrian and would not be able to visit her family in Hawaii for 90 days if Trump’s ban were allowed to go into effect.
Hawaii’s Obama-appointed federal judge, Derrick Watson, made sure the ban did not go into effect, striking it down Wednesday while buying Hawaii’s claim that it amounts to a “Muslim ban.” The state’s attorney general, along with co-plaintiff Elshikh, claims the ban would irreparably harm the state’s tourism industry and its Muslim families.
According to the lawsuit:
“Plaintiffs allege that the Executive Order subjects portions of the State’s population, including Dr. Elshikh and his family, to discrimination in violation of both the Constitution and the INA, denying them their right, among other things, to associate with family members overseas on the basis of their religion and national origin. The State purports that the Executive Order has injured its institutions, economy, and sovereign interest in maintaining the separation between church and state.”
The vast majority of Hawaii’s roughly 5,000 Muslims attend Elshikh’s mosque, the Muslim Association of Hawaii, which is located in a residential area of Manoa, Honolulu. The mosque, despite its ties to what many believe is an extremist and subversive organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, may now hold the key to whether the Trump travel ban passes muster in the federal court system.
Elshikh was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, the home base of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose stated goal is to spread Shariah law throughout the world.
Elshikh is living in the U.S. on a green card, which gives him permanent legal status.
The proof that his mosque is affiliated with the Brotherhood is found in the court records for Honolulu County, which lists the deed holder as the North American Islamic Trust.
John Guandolo, a former FBI counter-terrorism specialist and now private consultant to law enforcement at Understanding the Threat, said all mosques under the “Muslim Association of” moniker are typically affiliated with the Brotherhood.
But the clincher in this case is that the mosque property is traced to NAIT, “confirming it is a Muslim Brotherhood organization,” Guandolo told WND in an email.
The Trump administration has said it is considering banning the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. by including it on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.
Meet Ismail Elshikh, plaintiff in Hawaii’s lawsuit against Trump travel ban
NAIT is one of more than 200 unindicted co-conspirators named in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism-financing trial of 2007-08 in Dallas, Texas. The organization has direct ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, as documented by the FBI in evidence presented at the trial. (See Sec. VII, Page 8 of court document.)
NAIT is a financial subsidiary of the Islamic Society of North America and holds the deed to more than 325 mosques in 42 U.S. states that are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Discover the Networks.
“Because NAIT controls the purse strings of these many properties, it can exercise ultimate authority over what they teach and what activities they conduct. Specifically, the Trust seeks to ensure that the institutions under its financial influence promote the principles of Sharia law and Wahhabism,” according to Discover the Networks.
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 in Cairo, Egypt, by Hassan al-Banna. It has been banned by Egypt’s current regime, as well as in Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.
A bill in Congress, the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015-16, has been languishing in committee since November 2015. House Speaker Paul Ryan has not advanced the bill or done anything to promote it.
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Several members of the Trump administration have said they favor declaring the Brotherhood a terrorism organization, but so far that has not happened. One high-level Trump adviser, Mike Flynn, said he was in favor of banning the Brotherhood before he was forced to resign for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, described the Brotherhood as “an agent of radical Islam” during his Senate confirmation hearing.
Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton told Breitbart News last month that the U.S. should declare the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
“The fact is, the Brotherhood is a front for terrorism,” he said. “A number of Arab majority-Muslim countries, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have already designated it as a terrorist organization. I’ve had Muslim leaders from the Middle East say to me, ‘Are you people blind to what’s going on right in front of you and the role that the Brotherhood performs, really on an international basis?’”
But instead of banning the Brotherhood, the U.S. is letting a Brotherhood-backed imam dictate U.S. refugee and visa policy, Guandolo said.
Judge Watson, who was a Harvard law classmate of Barack Obama’s, issued an injunction halting Trump’s executive order from going into effect, agreeing with Hawaii’s claim that the temporary ban, 90 days on visa travelers and 120 days for refugees, would irreparably harm the state’s tourism industry and its Muslim families.
As for refugees, Hawaii takes very few. Of the 49 states participating in the federal refugee resettlement program, only Mississippi has taken in fewer refugees than Hawaii since 2002. Only 127 refugees have been sent to Hawaii since 2002, and nearly zero have been Muslims from the six nations on Trump’s list. The vast majority sent to Hawaii have been from Burma and Vietnam.
The six nations on Trump’s list for a 90-day moratorium on visas and a 120-day pause on refugee resettlement are Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia.
Of the 127 refugees Hawaii has taken since the State Department started keeping online records in 2002, only one refugee has been from a country on Trump’s list, Iran, according to the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center database.
“There was one refugee from Iran who went to Hawaii and that probably was a Christian. That is the majority of what we are taking from Iran are Christians,” said Ann Corcoran, editor of Refugee Resettlement Watch, which has been tracking resettlements in the U.S. for the past 10 years. “The biggest group were from Burma and Vietnam, and there were none from Africa, so what we have in Hawaii are a bunch of hypocrites whining about ‘irreparable harm’ from pausing refugee resettlement when, in fact, they take hardly any refugees and almost no Muslim refugees.”
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