Muslim American Society
|Headquarters||Falls Church, Virginia|
According to its website, the society is a “dynamic charitable, religious, social, cultural, and educational, organization” with over 50 chapters across the United States. Over the past two decades, the organization has evolved into “a nationally recognized grassroots movement” that strives to promote active involvement of U.S. Muslims in communities across the U.S.
MAS has instructed its members to evade questions about the group's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and to define jihad as a "divine legal right" of Muslims to be used for defense and the spread of Islam. MAS leaders have said that these views are not now held by MAS leaders.
Towards this end, and often in cooperation with other organizations, MAS provides opportunities to engage U.S. Muslims to participate into a variety of social experiences including community service, interfaith and youth programs, civic and political activism.
MAS’ mission is to better the individual-in-society by imparting Islamic knowledge that would “move people to strive for God consciousness, liberty and justice” towards a “virtuous and just American society.”
In 2016, at a point when representative Keith Ellison was the leading contender to become Chair of the Democratic National Committee, it was discovered that in a speech at a 2010 Muslim American Society fundraiser, Ellison had asserted that United States foreign policy is "governed by" Israel.
Publications and projects
The Muslim American Society advertises on its website a number of publications produced by MAS’ prominent members and affiliates or deemed essential for the educational purposes.
Among the publications currently sponsored by MAS are:
- the second edition of Sincerity: The Essential Quality, a book on the value of that virtue originally authored by the Egyptian Sunni preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi translated and published in 2007 by MAS Youth;
- al-Ma’thurat, a short book compiled by the founding father of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Hasan al-Banna consisting of supplications and Qur'anic verses based on the authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.
MAS also promotes several projects:
- the video series “InTheShadeOfRamadan.tv” produced by MAS Youth on a yearly basis featuring “educational and motivational reflections on the month of Ramadan;"
- an online community of American Muslim women, “GrowMama.com,” providing “a supportive, friendly, and non-judgmental space for women to share experiences, support one another, grow in their spirituality, and inspire each other;”
- “40HadithNawawi.com,” a comprehensive compilation of hadith that attempt to convey the real essence of Islam;
- “MAS Immigration Justice Clinic” (MAS IJC), providing a variety of services in the legal field.
MAS says that it helps students to “properly understand, recite, and memorize the Quran” through its Quran Institute.
Muslim Brotherhood’s role
Evidence confirms MAS’ former affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.[dead link] In an account published by the Chicago Tribune in 2004, Shaker Elsayed, a top MAS official, admitted that the organization was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members, but also said that MAS now has no connection with them and disagree with them on many issues.
Legal proceedings related to the trials of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), eventually designated by the U.S. authorities as a terrorist front providing material support to Hamas reinforced the case for MAS’ affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood. FBI agent Laura Burns, who was involved in the HLF investigation, testified that a phonebook found at the home of an unindicted co-conspirator and former assistant to Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook, Ismail Elbarrasse, included the names of the three founding incorporators of the Muslim American Society among the contact information of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the United States. The founders of the Muslim American Society were, in fact, Ahmad Elkadi, Jamal Badawi, and Omar Soubani.
MAS has acknowledged in the past its Muslim Brotherhood foundations, as affirmed by the 2004 statements of then Secretary General of MAS Shaker Elsayed, who famously declared: “Ikhwan [Brotherhood] members founded MAS…”
Ahmed-Ullah, Roe and Cohen also claimed that Muslim Brotherhood leaders both in the U.S. and in Egypt campaigned for the founding of the Muslim American Society in the early 1990s. According to the authors, the goal of the organization was to promote the same ideological goals as the Muslim Brotherhood, namely the reformation of American society through the spread of Islam towards the final establishment of Islamic rule on American soil.
Moreover, the connection between MAS and the Muslim Brotherhood was definitively corroborated by Abdurrahman Alamoudi, an influential lobbyist and fundraiser, once advisor to Bill Clinton’s administration who pleaded guilty in 2004 to charges including engaging in illegal financial transactions with the Libyan government and facilitating a Libyan plot to assassinate then-Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. Alamoudi testified in court in 2012 that MAS was a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
More in general, MAS overtly advertises on its website publications authored and/or promoted by prominent Muslim Brotherhood figures, such as the well-known scholar and radical preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi and the founder of the movement Hasan al-Banna, which are reputed to be essential readings for training purposes.
In fact, in an article published by the Counterterrorism Blog in 2007 Mohamed Habib, a Cairo-based senior Muslim Brotherhood official, reportedly ascribed the reasons for MAS’ simultaneously espousing the Muslim Brotherhood ideology and distancing itself from the global movement to “security inconveniences” experienced by the organization after 9/11 in the U.S.
MAS has participated in interfaith dialogue with the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
Alleged Terrorism ties
In November 2014 MAS was designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates, with 84 other organizations which included Al Qaida, Daesh, the Muslim Brotherhood and its regional and local affiliates, and other regional and international groups. MAS, CAIR and similar European groups were listed due to their Muslim Brotherhood ties.
Jamal Balawi, one of the three MAS founders, is listed among the “unindicted co-conspirators” in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a charity for which he allegedly fundraised. Balawi also notoriously endorsed “combative jihad” and suicide bombings, and publicly celebrated Hamas terrorists as “martyrs.” A former MAS Communications Director, Randall Royer, was arrested in 2003 by federal agents and charged of conspiring with Lashkar-i-Taibi (Army of the Righteous), a Pakistani Wahhabi terrorist group to engage in terrorist operations in Chechnya, Kashmir and elsewhere. Royer was a member of the “Virginia Jihad Network,” a network of jihadists centered in North Virginia, and he acknowledged supporting several members of that circle to access Lashkar-i-Taibi training camps.
Finally, a significant number of advertisers in MAS publication The American Muslim, which often contain references to suicide bombings as martyr operations, were later uncovered by the U.S. authorities to be involved in terror financing. It is worth mentioning in particular:
- Global Relief Foundation, which had its assets frozen in 2002 for providing funding to al-Qaeda;
- KindHearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development, which the U.S. authorities qualified has “the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving;”
- Islamic African Relief Agency, now Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA), which the U.S. Treasury qualified as a specially designated global terrorist organization for its support of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the Taliban in 2004.
- The North American Muslim resource guide: Muslim community life in the United States and Canada, Mohamed Nimer, Taylor & Francis, 2002, ISBN 0415937280.
- Washington Post: "Why the U.A.E. is calling 2 American groups terrorists" By Adam Taylor November 17, 2014
- UAE addresses root causes of terror, Gulf News, Samir Salama, 16 Nov 2014
- "About The Muslim American Society". Muslim American Society. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America, Brigitte Gabriel, Macmillan, 2008, ISBN 0312358385.
- They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It, Brigitte Gabriel, Macmillan, 2008, ISBN 0312383630.
- "A rare look at secretive Brotherhood in America" http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/chi-0409190261sep19,0,7534398,print.story Archived February 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- ."A rare look at secretive Brotherhood in America" http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/chi-0409190261sep19,0,7534398,print.story Archived February 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- Cillizza, Chris (4 December 2016). "Keith Ellison's coronation as DNC Chair is over". Washington Post. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
- "MAS Projects". Muslim American Society. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- "MAS Immigrant Justice Center". MAS Immigrant Justice Center. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- "Quran Institute". Muslim American Society. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- "A rare look at secretive Brotherhood in America". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2016-01-08. Cite error: Invalid
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- "Counterterrorism Blog: Counterterrorism Blog Expert, Matthew Levitt, Takes the Stand in Dallas HAMAS Trial". counterterrorismblog.org. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- USA vs Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, et al, 3:04-CR-240-G (TX ND), List of Unindicted Co-Conspirators and Joint Ventures
- "1992 Phone Directory" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- "The Boston Globe's Paean To Boston's Jihad Enablers". Center for Security Policy. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- "Counterterrorism Blog: Muslim Brotherhood Phonebook Confirms that MAS is Brotherhood's Baby". counterterrorismblog.org. Retrieved 2016-01-08.[permanent dead link]
- "Muslim American Society, Retrieved 2007-10-21". Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
- "UAE Includes 2 US Muslim Groups on Terror List". Voice of America. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
Nafeesa Syeed (17 November 2014). "Two U.S. Islamic Groups Called Terrorist by U.A.E." Bloomberg. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- "UAE Cabinet approves list of designated terrorist organisations, groups". WAM Emirates News Agency. November 15, 2014. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016.
- Perry Chiaramonte (17 November 2014). "US group CAIR named terrorist organization by United Arab Emirates". Fox News. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- February 2009, lecture on "Understanding Jihad and Martyrdom," Chebucto Mosque in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
- "#225: 04-09-04 RANDALL TODD ROYER AND IBRAHIM AHMED AL-HAMDI SENTENCED FOR PARTICIPATION IN VIRGINIA JIHAD NETWORK". www.justice.gov. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- American Muslim, June 2002, pp. 37-38; American Muslim, June 2002, pp. 31-32; American Muslim, September 2001, p. 36; American Muslim, July 2003, p. 21.
- American Muslim, January 2001 and December 2001.
- "Treasury Department Statement Regarding the Designation of the Global Relief Foundation". www.treasury.gov. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- American Muslim, November 2002, May 2003, July 2003, August/September 2003, November/December 2003, January 2004, December 2004/January 2005, April/May 2005, January/February 2006.
- "Treasury Freezes Assets of Organization Tied to Hamas". www.treasury.gov. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- "Treasury Designates Global Network, Senior Officials of IARA for Supporting bin Laden, Others". www.treasury.gov. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- American Muslim, January 2001, September 2001, December 2001, March 2002, November 2002, May 2003, July 2003.