Islamic Circle of North America
Logo of the Islamic Circle of North America
|Type||Islamic North American grassroots umbrella organization|
|Purpose||To seek the pleasure of Allah through the struggle of Iqamat-ud-Deen [establishment of the Islamic system of life] as spelled out in the Qur'an and the Sunnah of [Muhammad]|
|Headquarters||166-26 89th Avenue, Queens, New York, USA|
It is an offshoot of the Muslim Students' Association (MSA), was founded by immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, and its members are primarily of South Asian descent, primarily Pakistanis and Indians.
It is smaller and more conservative than the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), holding separate sessions at its national conventions for women. In 2002 it allowed a woman to address its annual convention for the first time. Its headquarters are in Jamaica, New York, and includes classrooms, a reading room, and a small mosque, and it has offices in Detroit, Michigan, and Oakville, Ontario.
In 1971, a number of South Asian MSA members who had been involved in Islamic movements in their home countries, particularly Jamaat-e-Islami, developed an Islamic study circle (halaqa), in Montreal which became the predecessor of ICNA. The "Sisters Wing," its women's group, was established in 1979.
According to ICNA, its goal "shall be to seek the pleasure of Allah through the struggle of Iqamat-ud-Deen establishment of the Islamic system of life as spelled out in the Qur'an and the Sunnah of Muhammad."
- invite mankind to the understanding of the Creator by using all means of communications.
- motivate Muslims to perform their duty of being witnesses unto mankind by their words and deeds.
- organize those who agree to work for this cause in the discipline of ICNA.
- offer educational and training opportunities to increase Islamic knowledge, to enhance character, and to develop skills for all those who are associated with ICNA.
- oppose immorality and oppression in all forms, and support efforts for civil liberties and socio-economic justice in the society.
- strengthen the bond of humanity by serving all those in need with special focus on neighborhood across North America.
- cooperate with other organizations for the implementation of this program and unity in the ummah.
The Message International (formerly "Tahreek"), begun in 1989, is ICNA's bi-monthly publication.
Its major Dawah activities include a toll-free number for non-Muslims (1-877-WhyIslam), and dawah: field trips, distribution of Islamic literature, through mosques, by mail, through media, in prisons, campus support, flyers online, and through email. WhyIslam.org is an ICNA program. Since Why Islam? was launched in April 2000, its website has been used to propagate a better understanding of Islam for the general public.
As of 2002, a dozen mosques were affiliated with ICNA.
ICNA's annual convention is one of the largest gatherings of American Muslims in the United States, drawing thousands of people. It is co-sponsored by the Muslim American Society. The 2007 ICNA-MAS convention, the 32nd annual convention, was reportedly attended by over 13,000 people. The 38th Annual ICNA-MAS Convention was attended by 18,000 people in attendance at the Hartford Convention Center, which was themed “Islam: The Pursuit of Happiness”, broke all previous records.
ICNA has participated in interfaith dialogue with the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
As of January 2013, current ICNA's president is Naeem Baig.
ICNA seeks to promote Islam and the Islamic way of life in the United States. They are active on the issues of War in Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Initially ICNA was composed of Muslim Americans of Indo-Pakistani descent who had split from ISNA.
According to Hossein Nasr, ICNA has been influenced by the ideals of Mawdudi of Pakistan, and is structured similar to the Jamaat-e-Islami, which Mawdudi founded. However, he states that it is a separate entity from Jamaat-e-Islami. John Esposito wrote in 2004 that it had links to Jamaat-e-Islami.[page needed]
ICNA strongly condemned the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt and immediately called for punishment to the fullest extext of the law for anyone who engages in terrorism. In 2011, ICNA welcomed President Barack Obama's counter-terrorism initiatives.
In July 2002 Anwar al-Awlaki, believed to be a senior talent recruiter and motivator for al-Qaeda who had contact with three of the 9/11 hijackers, the Fort Hood shooter, and the Christmas Day bombing suspect (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab), spoke at a joint ICNA/MAS convention in Baltimore with Siraj Wahhaj. In fact, ICNA maintains that until 2007, many American Muslims enthusiastically listened to lectures by al-Awlaki. It also maintains that at that time al-Awlaki was "level headed."
Anwar al-Awlaki was not accused at the time of having any links to extremism, terrorism, or violence. After evidence was brought against al-Awlaki in 2010, the ICNA Shariah Council strongly denounced al-Awlaki's views, actions, and connections to terrorism, repudiating his ideology as a "call of hate" and called upon American Muslims to reject al-Awlaki's views.
Steven Emerson and his Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) have accused ICNA of militant Islamic fundamentalism, and of supporting terrorist attacks. Training guides advocate waging jihad to establish sharia in the West.
In 2009 and 2010, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) accused the ICNA of inviting extremist and anti-semitic speakers to its conferences that serve as platforms for extremist views. ICNA responded to ADL's allegations by saying that its conferences have always been held under the objective of rejecting extremism. ICNA's statement also supported the defence of human rights for Jewish and Israeli people, but demanded the defence of human rights for Palestinians as well.
In 2013, the Dhaka based International War Crimes Tribunal found Ashrafuz Zaman Khan, former president of the group's New York chapter, together with Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin in absentia, guilty of abducting, torturing and murdering nine Dhaka University teachers, six journalists and three doctors during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971. The presiding judge of the tribunal said the prosecution proved all the 11 charges against the two 'beyond reasonable doubt' and ordered that both Ashraf and Mueen-Uddin be 'hanged by the neck till they are dead'.  His name was removed from the ICNA-New York web page on October, 2013 but he remains listed as the northeastern contact for the North American Imam's Federation. 
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- Ryan Mauro (April 1, 2014). "'Mainstream' Muslim Org. Puts Out Jihadi Educational Guide".
- Backgrounder: Islamic Circle of North America, Anti-Defamation League, July 17, 2009 (Updated: January 18, 2011).
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