NEW YORK – In her address to a black church convention Thursday night, Hillary Clinton discussed at length her Christian faith and her upbringing in the Methodist Church.
What she didn’t mention, however, was the close connection of her home church and denomination to an organization named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing case in American history, the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA.
The United Methodist Church is an active partner in Shoulder to Shoulder, an interfaith organization founded in November 2010 in response to the controversy that raged in New York City over building a mosque a few blocks from Ground Zero, the World Trade Center site hit by the 9/11 terrorist attack.
On its website, Foundry United Methodist Church says its members “seek to be an inclusive congregation” that make “especially sure that people who feel excluded elsewhere are welcomed and invited to be an integral part of our congregation.”
In a statement issued at the formation of Shoulder to Shoulder in September 2010, a group of 40 religious leaders held a press conference in Washington, D.C., announcing a “new era of interfaith cooperation.”
As religious leaders in this great country, we have come together in our nation’s capital to denounce categorically the derision, misinformation and outright bigotry being directed against America’s Muslim community. We bear a sacred responsibility to honor America’s varied faith traditions and to promote a culture of mutual respect and the assurance of religious freedom for all. In advance of the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, we announce a new era of interfaith cooperation.
The United Methodist Church, claiming today some 8 million members in the United States and Canada, was created in 1968 when the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church united to form a new denomination.
The ISNA Interfaith Partners webpage notes ISNA’s office in Washington is housed in the United Methodist Building, facilitating the two organizations working together on a number of interfaith initiatives, including Shoulder to Shoulder.
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FBI Director James Comey also is a member of the United Methodist Church. He taught Sunday school at Reveille United Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia.
White House ties to ISNA
ISNA, on its website, features a photograph of Clinton with national religious leaders in January 2013 on the occasion of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East, NILI.
The leaders issued a statement titled “Twilight Has Fallen on Hope for Israeli-Palestinian Peace” urging the Obama administration to pursue a two-state solution through the creation of an autonomous Palestinian state.
As WND reported, DHS Director Jeh Johnson addressed the ISNA annual conference in Chicago on the topic of Muslim empowerment in the United States.
Johnson was the first sitting Cabinet secretary and the highest-ranking U.S. official to address an ISNA conference.
“President Obama has made it a priority for his administration to build bridges to American Muslim communities,” Johnson said in his prepared remarks.
“You have heard us, before multiple audiences of different political stripes, refuse to bend to the political pressure to call terrorism ‘Islamic’ extremism,” he continued. “We know that ISIL, though it claims the banner of Islam, occupies no part of your religion – a religion founded on peace.”
Johnson stressed that after he leaves DHS, he hopes ISNA will always regard it “as your Department of Homeland Security, aligned in interest with you for peace, the safety of your family, and the protection of your homeland.”
“I hope you will always regard our new Office for Community Partnerships as your partner,” he said.
Also speaking at the ISNA conference in Chicago were Ghazala and Khizr Khan, the gold star parents who clashed with Donald Trump over their remarks about him to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.
Muslim Brotherhood ties to ISNA
WND published a report in 2014 linking Indian-born Muslim Farah Pandith to Clinton aide Huma Abedin through their involvement in the Muslim Brotherhood and their ties to the Muslim Brotherhood-supported ISNA.
Prior to becoming a member of the White House staff, Pandith served as director for Middle East Regional Initiatives for the National Security Council in the White House, responsible for coordinating U.S. policy on Muslim outreach, a position she held from 2004 to 2007.
In March 2006, Pandith helped organize a conference in Belgium called “Muslim Communities Participating in Society: A Belgian-U.S. Dialogue” that brought together with their Belgian counterparts several U.S. Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations, including ISNA; the Council on American Islamic Relations, CAIR; the Muslim Public Affairs Council, MPAC; and the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada, MSA.
Abedin served on the board of the Muslim Student Association at George Washington University in 1997, a year after she was hired to work on Clinton’s staff.
In 1981, the MSA founded the Islamic Society of Boston in conjunction with Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was subsequently convicted to federal prison for 23 years for providing funding to terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, with the guidance of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Before he was sentenced to federal prison for terrorist activities, Alamoudi served as an Islamic-affairs adviser and State Department “goodwill ambassador” to Muslim nations under former President Bill Clinton. He met with senior Clinton and Bush administration officials in his capacity as the head of the American Muslim Council.
The Islamic Society of Boston is where Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev worshiped.
On Sept. 15, 2009, Secretary of State Clinton presided over a State Department ceremony in which Pandith was sworn in on the Quran to her new position as State Department special representative to Muslim communities.
On Sept. 19, 2009, Pandith spoke at a White House Iftar dinner held to honor her appointment as Clinton’s representative.
At about the 3:00 mark of her speech, Pandith made reference to Abedin, explaining it was the 13th Iftar dinner “shared” by both Abedin and Clinton.
Later in the speech, Pandith pointed to Clinton as being responsible for breaking new ground by beginning Iftar dinner Eid celebrations, starting in 1999.
Clinton later corrected Pandith, saying the practice started in 1996, the same year that Abedin first joined Clinton’s Senate staff.
‘INSA: Agent of Jihad in America’
In July 2015, Mark Christian, M.D. wrote a commentary piece in WND, identifying ISNA as an “agent of jihad in the United States.”
Christian was born and raised a devout Sunni Muslim, with strong ties to the Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood but later converted to Christianity. He is the founder of the Global Faith Institute.
Christian argued ISNA is a tightly run organization whose mission is to subvert Christian doctrine and American law to bring about Islamic supremacy over North America.
“Of course, this isn’t the politically correct assessment; it isn’t even my assessment – it comes from the leaders of the organization itself,” Christian observed.
He cited Muzzamil Sidiqi, ISNA president from 1996-2000, who said Islam is concerned with “political matters,” and “Allah’s rules have to be established in all lands”:
“It is true that Islam stands for the sovereignty of Allah ‘subhanahu wa ta’ala’ and Allah’s rules are not limited to the acts of worship, they also include social, economic and political matters. By participating in a non-Islamic system, one cannot rule by that which Allah has commanded. But things do not change overnight. Changes come through patience, wisdom and hard work. I believe that as Muslims we should participate in the system to safeguard our interests and try to bring gradual change for the right cause, the cause of truth and justice. We must not forget that Allah’s rules have to be established in all lands, and all our efforts should lead to that direction.” (emphasis by WND author)
Siddiqi is a current member of the Fiqh Council, an association of Muslims who interpret Islamic law on the North American continent. They issue rulings, settling disputes and answering questions regarding Islam that for a Muslim in America, akin to a Supreme Court.
ISNA’s current president, Imam Mohamed Magid, was appointed in 2011 to serve on the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism Working Group.
In addition to his DHS work, Magid has served with the National Security Council and has been a member of the FBI’s Muslim, Sikh and Arab Advisory Board.
David Horowitz’s Discover the Networks notes that in response to pressure from Magid and his fellow lobbyists, DHS carefully erased from its “Countering Violent Extremism” curriculum any suggestion that Muslim terrorism drew its inspiration from the laws and doctrines of Islam. In 2012, the FBI purged some 700 documents and 300 presentations from its training materials and lesson plans.
ISNA’s director of Leadership Development, Louay Safi, served for several years as one of two endorsing agents for the Pentagon’s Muslim military chaplain program, taught Islam to American troops deploying to Afghanistan to Iraq in 2009.