Democratic presidential candidate Barak Obama’s appearance before a large evangelical congregation in Orange County over the weekend underscored an evident imperative of his campaign: Emphasize his Christian faith and put to rest insistent rumors that he secretly adheres to the Islamic creed of his father and youth.
The effort to minimize any grounds for fearing Obama has an abiding, if covert, attachment to Islam has prompted him to risk offending Muslims in order to avoid off-message controversies and photo ops. It is, therefore, curious in the extreme that he is giving a prominent role at next week’s Democratic convention to a leader of an organization identified by the Department of Justice as a Muslim Brotherhood front organization and an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism financing conspiracy.
Dr. Ingrid Mattson is the president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization created by the radical, Saudi-financed Muslim Students Association. She will represent the Muslim community at the first-ever interfaith prayer service at a Democratic nominating convention.
Now, we know from the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial that ISNA is one of many Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups operating in America. We also know from a Brotherhood document entered into evidence in that case (which is currently being retried after the first prosecution resulted in a mistrial) that, "The work [of Brotherhood members] in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within, and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions."
The question is why would Barak Obama’s campaign – which has prevented Muslim women wearing headcoverings from being in the background of photographs with the candidate and which recently fired a Muslim-outreach coordinator who had ties to another unindicted HLF co-conspirator – allowed itself to be put in such company?
Presumably, the response will be one heard from the Bush administration: ISNA is a large, "mainstream" Muslim-American organization that is an appropriate vehicle for outreach to that community. In fact, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England and former Under Secretaries of State Nick Burns and Karen Hughes are among the senior U.S. government officials who have lavished praise on the group and legitimated ISNA by meeting with Dr. Mattson and others.
The difference is that, for whatever reason, Sen. Obama clearly is exercising care about his public associations with Muslims. Given that, one would think that he would want, in particular, to avoid any actions that could be described as a "third term" for a Bush administration that has repeatedly embraced and allowed itself to be influenced by Muslim Brotherhood fronts.
Certainly, such would seem to be the message of Sen. Obama’s cashiering of Mazen Asbahi, his campaign’s erstwhile Muslim coordinator. The problem was not simply that Asbahi had served on a board with Jamal Said, who the government chose not to indict but nonetheless implicated in the HLF racketeering conspiracy in support of the terrorist group, Hamas.
It was that the board on which Messrs. Asbahi and Said served was for a company owned by yet another Saudi-funded, Brotherhood front and un-indicted coconspirator: the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). The company, Allied Asset Advisors, is, as the Wall Street Journal put it: "a subsidiary of the North American Islamic Trust…which is supported financially by the government of Saudi Arabia, holds title to many mosques in the U.S. and promotes a conservative brand of Islam compatible with the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and also akin to the fundamentalist style predominant in Saudi Arabia." NAIT is, in other words, a powerful instrument in the Islamists’ campaign to dominate and radicalize the Muslim community in America. ISNA’s Dr. Mattson is an ex officio member of the NAIT board of directors.
Another problem for Sen. Obama would have been that Allied Asset Advisors is one of a growing number of companies that engages in Shariah-Compliant Finance (SCF). This practice ostensibly eschews investments involving interest, pork, gambling and other activities considered impure by authoritative Shariah advisors. Far from being just one of many religious-based "socially responsible" investing options, however, SCF is a vehicle for legitimating the Islamists’ repressive, totalitarian Shariah code and establishing its seditious tenet that Muslims here will not be governed by the U.S. Constitution and laws.
Whatever the reasons for the Democratic presidential candidate’s sensitivities about the Islamic faith, he has an obligation to make clear his attitude towards the Muslim Brotherhood, its mission in America and his willingness to be associated with its front organizations. It is still the case that most Muslims in this country do not want any part of Shariah law. It behooves Sen. Obama to make known now whether he is willing to embrace those who do, and his true attitude towards their ambition to impose the Islamists’ barbaric code here through such subterfuges as Shariah-Compliant Finance.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is President of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for the Washington Times.