Jeh Johnson spoke at the annual Islamic Society of America event telling participants, ‘Your story is the quintessential American story.’
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson spoke at the annual Islamic Society of America (ISNA) conference over the weekend, in what the Washington Post called an “impassioned speech” to empower ISNA’s participants.
ISNA is a group with Muslim Brotherhood origins and an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing trial. In fact, the Holy Land Foundation was based within the ISNA building. ISNA also deposited checks into its account that were made out to the “Palestinian Mujahadeen [jihadi fighters],” the name used at the time for Hamas’s military wing. The funding was transferred to the Holy Land Foundation.
The ISNA conference that Johnson spoke at included extremist speakers, as it has done in previous years. This year’s speakers included Jamal Badawi, a founder of another Brotherhood entity, theMuslim American Society. Badawi has praised the terrorist organization Hamas, preached in support of “combative jihad” and was personally listed in a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood directory.
Another conference speaker was Nihad Awad, found and executive director of the Council on Islamic American Relations (CAIR),another U.S. Brotherhood entity and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land terror financing case.
Johnson told conference participants, “Your story is the quintessential American story,” and was described by the Post as the “highest-ranking U.S. official to address an ISNA conference.”
However, the Post’s description of Johnson is misleading as President Obama himself addressed the 2013 ISNA convention in which he praised the group for its partnership with his administration. That convention also featured a roster of speakers including many extremists.
One of Obama’s senior advisers, Valerie Jarrett, also spoke at ISNA’s 2009 convention.
The Obama administration’s close relationship with ISNA is about more than photo ops and press releases. It is about policy formulation. The input of ISNA to the administration is so treasured that government officials coached the organization on how to engage the White House.
Instead of working with anti-Islamist Muslims, the Obama administration continues to embrace Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups.
Interestingly, according to a 2011 Gallup poll, only 4% of Muslim-American males and 7% of females chose ISNA as the organization that most represents their interests. Other Islamist groups like CAIR garnered similar small affiliations in the poll.
A generous interpretation of the Obama administration’s’ outreach to Islamist groups is that the administration feels that, since they represent mainstream Muslim thought, then it’s better to have them on our side rather than against us.
This thinking is flawed on two accounts: First, because the numbers do not support this thesis as shown by the above-cited Gallup Poll, and two, because the raison d’etre of Islamists is the implementation of Islam on a political level – i.e. sharia governance.
Islamists will only work “with” Western governments to use democratic principles to implement their political goals. There is no ultimate “with us” when it comes to Islamism, as sharia is antithetical to democratic principles (free speech, freedom of religion, etc.)
The way to integrate the Muslim community in America and counter radicalization is to discredit the Islamist ideology, not promote and empower it by giving it a platform and sending high-ranking government officials to legitimize it.
For a complete look at the Islamic Society of America (ISNA), see Clarion Project’s profile on the organization by clicking here.
Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org