Written by John F. McManus
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) held a national convention over the Labor Day weekend at Detroit’s Cobi Center. Formed in 1982, ISNA functions as an umbrella organization for several other Muslim groups, and is the largest Islamist organization in the United States with a sizable multi-million dollar headquarters in Plainfield, Indiana, an Indianapolis suburb.
ISNA has been the subject of several U.S. government investigations. In 2009, Federal District Judge Jorge Solis stated that, in a trial of various Muslim entities, the U.S. government had “produced ample evidence to establish ties between ISNA and other Muslim organizations with the terror group Hamas.
Even though the largest concentration of Muslims in America resides in the Detroit area, ISNA’s annual convention met this year for the first time ever in Michigan. As its custom calls for, the group’s officials invited the governor of the host state to address the gathering. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, accepted the invite and did appear. Even though he heaped praise on the group and on Muslims generally, he managed to cause a furor by simply affirming Israel’s right to exist. ISNA leaders immediately requested its members to send messages of protest to Governor Snyder. Their insistence that theirs is a mainstream association worthy of respect becomes a bit ludicrous once its reaction to a single sentence in the governor’s speech is noted.
The convention’s keynote speaker this year was former President Jimmy Carter. He began the first of his two presentations by urging all to “give generously to ISNA.” Stating that he was “proud to be with you,” Carter spoke mostly of the work of his own Georgia-based Carter Center but closed with praise for the “this great organization” and added that “the principles of Allah will benefit the whole world.” Over 800 convention attendees warmly applauded our nation’s 39th President who seems to have not yet heard of the escalating and very bloody Muslim-led terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, India and elsewhere.
Critics of ISNA claim that the organization is allied to Egypt’s radical Muslim Brotherhood and also to the equally radical Wahhabi strain of Islam emanating from Saudi Arabia. Investigative journalist and Islam watcher Steven Emerson has accused ISNA of links to terrorism. In 2013, Canadian authorities took action against the group known as ISNA-Canada after uncovering evidence of its links to terrorism.
Credible reports note that radical Muslims from the West (from England, France, elsewhere, and even some from the United States) have sped to Iraq and Syria to join the forces of ISIS. Shouldn’t heaping praise and supplying dignity to a Muslim organization whose claims to be peace loving lose credibility when one factors in its history and its severe reaction to Governor Snyder’s single remark about Israel?
Jimmy Carter should know better than to try to seem important by consorting with ISNA. So should Governor Rick Snyder.