The Crescent Report

February 11, 2010

Once Again, Imagination Trumps Reality in the Perpetual Rightist “Terrorist” Hunt

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 4:36 pm
Yea! Yea! Yea! Another Islamophobic attack; this time ISNA’s the target. When will these guys ever learn; you can call a horse a mule but it doesn’t make it one. Check out the pseudo journalism below.
Imam Mahdi Bray

Here is the piece:

Once Again, Imagination Trumps Reality in the Perpetual Rightist “Terrorist” Hunt

WASHINGTON, DC (MASNET) Feb. 11, 2010 – In an article written by Brooks Egerton of the Dallas Morning News on Sunday, February 7th, yet another national Muslim organization was smeared by the press as a collaborator with “extremism”.

But this time, it was not CAIR, MAS or ICNA that felt the displeasure of the press. It was the Islamic Society of North America-arguably, the one national Muslim organization that has spent decades building conciliatory relations with U.S. government institutions.

The article by Egerton focuses suspicion on Louay Safi, an ISNA leader who has worked as an instructor hired by the Camber Corporation, a Huntsville, Alabama-based military subcontractor hired to provide instruction for military personnel in matters related to the ideological underpinnings of “radical” Islam.

But here is where it gets interesting.  The article then connects Mr. Safi’s views about the Ft. Hood slayings to his relationship with ISNA, and then connects ISNA to being an “unindicted co-conspirator” named in the Holy Land Foundation case, and then, connected ISNA to alleged affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is then implied to be part and parcel of the global Jihad against America.

Louay Safi commented that violent actions can be related to the “systematic demonization of marginalized groups.”

So, the convoluted logic goes, Louay Safi must be an apologist for terrorism, with links to organizations and individuals with suspicious leanings. If A is related to B, and B to C, and C has a talk with D, and D spoke at a conference on a panel with E, then A and E must be running partners as well.

The transitive law of equality works well in a Geometry class. But not so well in the relational world of politics.  If that were so, any southern Republican politician who ever accepted a dollar from a person who had attended a Klan rally would be, themselves, indictable as a supporter of a violent, racist, domestic, terrorist group.

Much of this article by Books Egerton is based on the supposition that major Muslim leaders in America-even those considered “moderates”-are part of an Islamic network that maintains ties with organizations condemned as “anti-American” or radical.  Even when the assertion is challenged by high-ranking government officials who claim otherwise, it is sufficient for some to simply suggest that people like Louay Safi cannot be trusted.

But the attack on the credibility of Safi and ISNA do not come from objective and unbiased sources: it originates from people like Zuhdi Jasser, a self-styled Muslim “leader” who claims that Safi represents a “separatist” Muslim mindset, and Congresswoman Sue Myrick of North Carolina, who is waging her own personal, and very public war against the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other reputable Muslim organizations. Myrick, if you remember, excoriated CAIR in a 2009 closed press conference that referred to Muslim congressional interns as spies.  The press conference subsequently was denounced and categorized by many of her Congressional colleagues as un-American.

Other members of the pro-Israel and U.S. intelligence communities (or really, community) are also quoted in the article, which mentions a conversation that Safi had with Dr. Sami Al-Arian some years ago as an incident that triggered scrutiny of Safi.

The article, however, does not mention the fact that Dr. Al-Arian was never convicted of any terrorism-related crime, and that he languished for more than six years in prison only because he refused to be a government informant.

This entire matter would sound like an interesting work of fiction in which every Muslim organization in America-except, perhaps, that of Mr. Jasser- has some deep antipathy towards the country, or worse, active engagement in plots to undermine it.  However, this hostility does not exist, any more that there is some real, sinister organizational plot to replace the U.S. constitution with the Shar’ia.

These attacks often emerge from an ideological orientation that views Muslims as mostly enemies of the state-and the opinions of these proponents of anti-Islam are taken as statements of fact that are often accepted without any vetting, or analysis, or deeper examination.

But can a person who receives money by equating anti-terrorism with anti-Islam, make meaningful distinctions between the different ideological positions held by diverse Muslims in the country?

Clearly, there are Muslims in the world who have violent antipathy toward the United States. But the leaders of ISNA, and particularly, Louay Safi, are hardly among them.  This nation, which needs all the legitimate friends that it can get in the Muslim world, does not benefit in the least by casting aspersions on Muslims who are clearly law-abiding and loyal Americans.

President Obama has said that America is not, and never will be, at war with Islam. This is, hopefully, an assertion that the American press might well keep in mind before they print negative opinions about Muslims that masquerade as hard, incontrovertible facts.

Ibrahim Ramey
MAS Freedom Civil & Human Rights Director

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