President Obama's faith adviser, Eboo Patel, spoke this past weekend at the main event of a three-day convention held by the Muslim Students Association, or MSA, a controversial group founded by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Patel appeared on a panel alongside Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the notorious founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Siraj Wahhaj, who was named as a possible co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Wahhaj has also defended the convicted WTC bomb plotters and has urged the Islamic takeover of America.
The MSA event was part of a larger weekend convention in which several U.S. Islamic groups held a series of speaking engagements. The convention was arranged by the Islamic Society of North America, itself an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas.
Patel was featured on a panel at what was billed as the "main session" of both the MSA and ISNA conventions. The session was titled "I took the Road Less Traveled by, and that has made all the Difference."
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A description of the panel on the ISNA website states, "We live in a society in which immersion is encouraged and in which we are often confronted with evil. Muslims have always been challenged, but Islam is a guiding star that can help us overcome these challenges as we strive to remain faithful. We must remain confident and unified as we make our short journey through this life. And sometimes, we must be 'strangers.'"
Panel participants with Patel were Ramadan, Wahhaj and Islamic author Yasir Qadhi.
Ramadan's maternal grandfather was Hasan al-Banna, who in 1928 founded the Muslim Brotherhood. Osama bin Laden routinely referred to al-Banna in al-Qaida doctrine. Ramadan's father, Said Ramadan, led the Brotherhood throughout the 1950s and then was exiled from Egypt to Switzerland.
Wahhaj is an African American convert to Islam via the Nation of Islam.
He repeatedly has urged the U.S. to accept Islamic law. Discover the Networks notes Wahhaj in 1991 predicted America will fall unless it "accepts the Islamic agenda."
The next year, he stated, "Hear what I'm telling you well. The Americans are not your friends ... The Canadians are not your friends. ... The Europeans are not your friends. Your friend is Allah, the Messenger and those who believe."
Also, in a 1992 address to an audience of Muslims in New Jersey, Wahhaj expressed his desire to replace the U.S. government with an Islamic caliphate.
"If we were united and strong," Wahhaj said, "we'd elect our own emir (leader) and give allegiance to him. ... [T]ake my word, if 6-8 million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us."
In 1995, Wahhaj was named by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White as a possible co-conspirator to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He objected to that designation, noting in his defense that he had eaten "dinner with Secretary of State [Madeleine] Albright – after the list" of co-conspirators had been released.
Discover the Networks notes in the summer of 1999, Wahhaj testified as a character witness for convicted terror mastermind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman. Wahhaj stated, on the record, that he considered it an honor to have had an opportunity to host Abdel-Rahman at his mosque, describing the latter as a "respected scholar ... bold ... [and] a strong preacher of Islam."
'Burn down master's house'
Both the ISNA and the MSA, meanwhile, have sordid histories of their own.
The MSA was established mainly by members of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1963. In January, Amir Abdel Malik-Ali, keynote speaker at the MSA's West Regional Conference, recited the MSA "pledge of allegiance," which is a direct adoption of the Muslim Brotherhood's own credo.
The MSA pledge states: "Allah is my lord. Islam is my life. The Koran is my guide. The Sunna is my practice. Jihad is my spirit. Righteousness is my character. Paradise is my goal. I enjoin what is right. I forbid what is wrong. I will fight against oppression. And I will die to establish Islam."
WND previously attended an MSA event at which violence against the U.S. was urged by speakers.
"We are not Americans," shouted one speaker, Muhammad Faheed, at QueensboroughCommunity College in 2003. "We are Muslims. [The U.S.] is going to deport and attack us! It is us versus them! Truth against falsehood! The colonizers and masters against the oppressed, and we will burn down the master's house!"
The MSA in 1981 founded the Islamic Society of North America.
ISNA was named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document – "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America" – as one of the Brotherhood's likeminded "organizations of our friends" who shared the common goal of destroying America and turning it into a Muslim nation, according to Discover the Networks.
In December 2003, U.S. Sens. Charles Grassley and Max Baucus of the Senate Committee on Finance listed ISNA as one of 25 American Muslim organizations that "finance terrorism and perpetuate violence."
The U.S. government released a list of approximately 300 unindicted co-conspirators" and "joint venturers" in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development trial, the largest terrorist financing scheme in American history, in which the groups were accused of raising money for Hamas.
Islam scholar Stephen Schwartz describes ISNA as "one of the chief conduits through which the radical Saudi form of Islam passes into the United States."
According to terrorism expert Steven Emerson, ISNA "is a radical group hiding under a false veneer of moderation" that publishes a bimonthly magazine, Islamic Horizons, that "often champions militant Islamist doctrine." The group also "convenes annual conferences where Islamist militants have been given a platform to incite violence and promote hatred," states Emerson. Emerson cites an ISNA conference in which Muslim Brotherhood official Yusuf Al Qaradhawi was invited to speak.
In February, Obama named Patel, a Chicago Muslim, to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Patel is the founder and executive director of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, which says it promotes pluralism by teaming people of different faiths on service projects.
U.S. 'ideal place for renewal of Islam'
Patel is himself tied to ISNA, having spoken and several ISNA events, including the convention this past weekend.
Patel is listed on ISNA's official speakers bureau.
Based on his own comments, Patel apparently is a member of ISNA. Upon the August 2007 election of the group's president, Ingrid Mattson, Patel told USA Today, "I'm proud to have her elected as my president."
Another ISNA speaker is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the controversial Muslim leader behind the plan to build the Islamic center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero.
As WND reported, Patel has close ties to Rauf. The two have been documented together discussing America as "the ideal place for a renewal of Islam."
Rauf wrote a book in 2004 that had two different titles, one in English and the second in Arabic. In the U.S., his book was called "What's right with America is what's right with Islam."
The same book, published in Arabic, bore the name "The Call From the WTC Rubble: Islamic Da'wah From the Heart of America Post-Sept. 11."
It has emerged that the Arabic edition of Rauf's book was produced, with Feisal's cooperation, by ISNA.
Rauf, meanwhile, wrote the afterword to Patel's 2006 book "Building the Interfaith Youth Movement: Beyond Dialogue to Action."
Patel is listed as one of 15 "Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow" on the website of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, which is led by Rauf.
In Patel's 2007 book "Saving Each Other, Saving Ourselves," he recounts discussing with Rauf the future of Islam in the U.S.
Rauf "understood the vision immediately and suggested that I visit him and his wife, Daisy Khan, at their home the following evening," Patel recalled.
Khan founded the society with her husband and has aided him in his plans for the mosque near Ground Zero.
"The living room of their apartment on the Upper West Side was set up like a mosque, with prayer rugs stretched from wall to wall," wrote Patel in his book.
Continued Patel: "I arrived at dusk, prayed the maghrib prayer with Daisy and Imam Feisal and then talked with them about how America, with its unique combination of religious devotion and religious diversity, was the ideal place for a renewal of Islam."
"In the twentieth century, Catholicism and Judaism underwent profound transformations in America," Rauf observed. "I think, this century, in America, Islam will do the same."
Patel boasts of a "critical mass" of Muslims in the U.S.
"Islam is a religion that has always been revitalized by its migration," he wrote. "America is a nation that has been constantly rejuvenated by immigrants. There is now a critical mass of Muslims in America."
'Myths' of American justice, equality
Patel, meanwhile, has been caught in a series of controversial remarks about the U.S.
WND reported Patel declared that everything he was taught about Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson and American "fairness" and "equality" was wrong.
WND also reported Patel blasted what he called the "myths" of America – describing them as beliefs that the country is "a land of freedom and equality and justice."
Patel has talked about "rage" he felt against the U.S. after claiming to experience prejudice in the country.
Patel stated the faith movement gave him a "way to have a radical view of the world – radical equality, radical peace, radical possibility – that is love-based, not anger-based."
He wrote that had he been around in the 1960s, he may have joined William Ayers' anti-American Weather Underground terrorist group, as WND reported.
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott