Politics & Policy

MacFarquhar Strikes Again

This time with a dubious defense of the "higher religiousity."

Another New York Times article by Neil MacFarquhar on an Islamist group in America means another complete whitewash.

In his latest effort (Abandon Stereotypes, Muslims in America Say) in what has become a disturbing trend, MacFarquhar covered the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention over Labor Day Weekend. In his article, MacFarquhar not only gives a free pass to Islamists, but at the same time dismisses legitimate criticism of the Department of Justice’s presence at the conference (which seems especially inappropriate, and newsworthy, when it is considered that ISNA has been named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the ongoing Hamas fundraising trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF)).

In the process, MacFarquhar completely ignores damning information about ISNA that came out during trial, including such things as its foundations in the Muslim Brotherhood, and its multiple financial contributions to Hamas through its subsidiary, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT).

Furthermore, the article is tantamount to a hit piece against Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Rep. Sue Myrick. MacFarquhar allows ISNA keynote speaker, Rep. Keith Ellison, to attack his colleagues for a letter they wrote challenging the DOJ’s decision to officially participate in the ISNA conference. According to the Times, Ellison characterized the letter as “ill informed and typical of bigoted attacks that other minorities have suffered.” Yet Hoekstra and Myrick never criticized Islam or minorities. Rather, they criticized ISNA as an organization, a particular Muslim Brotherhood front group with a long and documented history of support for terrorism. And this, of course, is the very reason ISNA ended up on the list of un-indicted co-conspirators in the HLF trial in the first place.

MacFarquhar and Ellison have themselves conspired to engage in one of the Islamists’ oldest tricks in the book, and a favorite of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), conflating radical organizations with the entire religion of Islam, which is dishonest in the extreme, and only serves to hurt decent American Muslims.

For Ellison to make these outrageous slurs on the heels of speaking at a Muslim Brotherhood conference, and after previously speaking at a MAS-ICNA conference, notorious for its ultra-radical and violent (just a sampling) speakers and platforms, is even more egregious.

What is even more galling is when Islamist groups raise the red herring of “racism,” then claim it is the fault of others, never acknowledging that most acts of terrorism today are carried out by Muslims. As Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, the general manager of Saudi-based satellite news channel, Al-Arabiya, eloquently and sadly wrote, “It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims.” In fact, ISNA and other Islamist “advocacy” and “civil rights” groups claim the term “Islamic terrorism” is racist in and of itself.

But MacFarquhar does not stop there. He writes, “Zaid Shakir, an African-American imam with rock star status among young Muslims, described how on a recent road trip from Michigan to Washington he heard comments on talk radio from people who were ‘making stuff up about Islam.’” Yes, this same “rock star,” who, at a different ISNA conference in Texas this past June told a Muslim audience: “We Muslims are weak because we don’t have planes and trains and bombs and nuclear weapons and the Kaafar [infidel] are strong because they have all that in abundance.”

At a Muslim Students Association convention in Chicago, Ill., in September 2005, Shakir denied altogether any threat from Islamic terrorists, claiming, “…there’s a whole myth that, you know, global Islamic terrorism is a threat to our civilization. That’s garbage… a handful of irresponsible terrorists aren’t going to threaten anybody.”

At the 2005 Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention in Canada, which had stoked controversy the previous year for inviting a noted neo-Nazi to speak (who had also incidentally spoken at several CAIR-sponsored events), Shakir said of America:

And the finger of blame will be pointed at all of those real or imagined terrorists scattered all over the world, and no mirror will be held up to see the terrorism that is being inflicted and has been inflicted on the people of the world because of the policies of the United States of America.


Rock star, indeed.

Yet MacFarquhar is not done. Near the end of the article, he quotes Khurrum Wahid, whom he describes merely as “a prominent Muslim defense lawyer,” to assist his claim: “Are they (the Department of Justice) going to continue to say that the higher degree of religiosity you have the higher likelihood that you are a threat, because that’s the message they’ve sent.” That is the thanks that the DOJ gets for showing up as an official participant at an ISNA conference.

Meanwhile, what MacFarquhar obscures, is that Wahid is a CAIR legal adviser and former CAIR-Florida civil-rights director who has never met or observed a Muslim who is a terrorist, nor a Muslim that he wouldn’t represent. His infamous client roster includes Omar Ahmed Abu Ali, the former “valedictorian” of the borthern Virginia-based Islamic Saudi Academy, convicted of conspiring to assassinate President Bush and providing material support to al Qaeda and sentenced to 30 years in prison, as well as Dr. Rafiq Sabir, convicted of conspiring to provide material support for Al Qaeda and pledging a loyalty oath to the terrorist group.

I guess loyalty oaths to Al Qaeda and planning to assassinate the President of the United States constitute a “higher degree of religiosity.”

– Steve Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.


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Jack Phillips has a right to free speech, which includes freedom from compelled speech.