This framework rejects core tenets of American constitutional republicanism: for example, individual liberty, freedom of conscience, freedom to govern ourselves irrespective of any theocratic code, equality of men and women, equality of Muslims and non-Muslims, and economic liberty, including the uses of private property (in Islam, owners hold property only as a custodians for the umma, the universal Muslim nation, and are beholden to the Islamic state regarding its use). Sharia prohibits the preaching of creeds other than Islam, the renunciation of Islam, any actions that divide the umma, and homosexuality. Its penalties are draconian, including savagely executed death sentences for apostates, homosexuals, and adulterers.
The purpose of dawa, like the purpose of jihad, is to implement, spread, and defend sharia. Scholar Robert Spencer incisively refers to dawa practices as “stealth jihad,” the advancement of the sharia agenda through means other than violence and agents other than terrorists. These include extortion, cultivation of sympathizers in the media and the universities, exploitation of our legal system and tradition of religious liberty, infiltration of our political system, and fundraising. This is why Yusuf Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the world’s most influential Islamic cleric, boldly promises that Islam will “conquer America” and “conquer Europe” through dawa.
In considering Imam Rauf and his Ground Zero project, Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood are extremely important. Like most Muslims, Rauf regards Qaradawi as a guide, and referred to him in 2001 as “the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world today.” And indeed he is: a prominent, Qatar-based scholar whose weekly Al Jazeera program on the subject of sharia is viewed by millions and whose cyber-venture, Islam Online, is accessed by millions more, including Muslims in the United States. Not surprisingly, his rabble-rousing was a prime cause of the deadly global rioting by Muslims when an obscure Danish newspaper published cartoon depictions of Mohammed.
Qaradawi regards the United States as the enemy of Islam. He has urged that Muslims “fight the American military if we can, and if we cannot, we should fight the U.S. economically and politically.” In 2004, he issued a fatwa (an edict based on sharia) calling for Muslims to kill Americans in Iraq. A leading champion of Hamas, he has issued similar approvals of suicide bombings in Israel. Moreover, as recounted in Matthew Levitt’s history of Hamas
, Qaradawi has decreed that Muslims must donate money to “support Palestinians fighting occupation. . . . If we can’t carry out acts of jihad ourselves, we at least should support and prop up the mujahideen
[i.e., Islamic raiders or warriors] financially and morally.”
Qaradawi’s support for Hamas is only natural. Since that organization’s 1987 founding, it has been the top Muslim Brotherhood priority to underwrite Hamas’s jihadist onslaught against the Jewish state. Toward that end, the Muslim Brotherhood mobilized the Islamist infrastructure in the United States.
The original building block of that infrastructure was the Muslim Students Association (MSA), established in the early Sixties to groom young Muslims in the Brotherhood’s ideology — promoting sharia, Islamic supremacism, and a worldwide caliphate. As Andrew Bostom elaborated in a New York Post op-ed on Friday, Imam Rauf, too, is steeped in this ideology.
In 1981, after two decades of churning out activists from its North American chapters (which now number over 600), the Brotherhood merged the MSA into ISNA. In its own words, ISNA was conceived as an umbrella organization “to advance the cause of Islam and service Muslims in North America so as to enable them to adopt Islam as a complete way of life.” That same year, the Brotherhood created IIIT as a Washington-area Islamic think tank dedicated to what it describes as “the Islamicization of knowledge.”
After Hamas was created, the top Brotherhood operative in the United States, Mousa Abu Marzook — who actually ran Hamas from his Virginia home for several years in the early Nineties — founded the Islamic Association for Palestine to boost Hamas’s support. One of his co-founders was Sami al-Arian, then a student and Muslim Brotherhood member, later a top U.S. operative of the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which he helped guide from his perch as a professor at the University of South Florida. In 2006, al-Arian was convicted on terrorism charges.