US Islamic Groups Scrutinized in Critical New Report

By Fred Lucas | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

( - Last month, a federal grand jury indicted the Islamic African Relief Agency and five of its officials for allegedly sending millions of dollars to Iraq while denying known connections to terrorists.

First raided by the FBI in 2004, it is one of a few Muslim organizations to be shut down since 9/11 for alleged terror ties. This included the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and the International Association for Palestine (IAP), both accused of being front groups for the Middle Eastern terror group, Hamas.

But other Muslim organizations with alleged terror ties are still operating throughout the United States, according to Judicial Watch. The Washington-based conservative watchdog group has released a report detailing documented controversial links.

The report examines the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and the Muslim American Society (MAS).

The groups were mentioned in a 2001 Judicial Watch report, along with the other groups that have since been shut down.

"While the U.S. government finally has taken action against some of the groups identified by Judicial Watch, others are still functioning," the report said. "The federal government is aware of their presence and the damage they pose to our national security. The question is: Why are they still in operation?"

The North American Islamic Trust owns more than half of the nation's mosques, and the organization has been accused of being a funnel for Saudi and other gulf money to spread an extreme brand of Islam inside the United States "from southern California to South Carolina," the report said.

It also criticized CAIR, the largest Muslim group in North America, which reportedly got seed money from the Holy Land Foundation and is an "outgrowth" of the IAP. Both the Holy Land Foundation and the IAP have been shut down for documented terror links.

Despite CAIR's questionable past, the federal government works closely with the group in sensitivity training and various outreach programs, as Cybercast News Service reported in January.

CAIR, which calls itself a civil rights organization, says it condemns terror and violence and goes out of its way to help federal government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

According to Judicial Watch, ISNA promotes extreme Wahhabi ideology in 1,200 mosques across the country. It has helped turn the federal prison system into a recruiting area for al Qaeda, the report alleges.

Nonetheless, in 2005, the White House invited ISNA representatives to participate in the Office of Faith Based and Community Representatives' White House Leadership Conference.

ISNA representative Mohammad Elsanousi on Wednesday denied the charges and said he would have an official spokesman contact Cybercast News Service. No call was received by the end of the day.

Judicial Watch calls the MAS a front organization for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian-based Islamist network that has called for "achieving Islamic rule in America ... to convert Americans to Islam and elect like-minded Muslims to political office."

Mahdi Bray, executive director of MAS, denied any link.

"We don't have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood," he told Cybercast News Service on Wednesday. "We are an American Muslim organization. We've done work with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. We don't take our marching orders from Egypt or anywhere else."

Bray also addressed the criticism of the Minnesota chapter of MAS for a short-lived policy by the Minneapolis Transportation Authority that allowed Muslim cab drivers to not transport someone carrying alcohol. Bray said the national organization stepped in to oppose the policy and noted that he suggested: "If that conflicts with your faith, look for another job."

Judicial Watch, Bray stated, is like other critics that tend to lump all Muslims together.

"You have the blogosphere and this group of people who use the same talking points, and they recycle these talking points," he said.

The Judicial Watch report referenced mainstream media sources such as Newsweek, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and the Christian Science Monitor, and relied heavily on information from conservative media sources such as Front Page Magazine and books and articles by critics of the Muslim groups.

"This report carefully documents connections between so-called Muslim charities in the U.S. and the terrorists who murder innocents," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

He said the report sheds light on why the government should be more aggressive in probing the non-profit groups.

"The federal government should no longer coddle terrorist front groups in the name of political correctness," he said. "Any organization that funds terror should be shut down immediately."

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