White House Plays Down its Muslim Brotherhood Dinner Guests
by THE GLOBAL MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD DAILY REPORT
August 19, 2011
Arab media is reporting on the ongoing financial difficulties reportedly facing the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). According to an Arab News report:
ARAB NEWS Published: Aug 16, 2011 00:28 Updated: Aug 16, 2011 00:28 RIYADH: The World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) said that its ambitious overseas expansion program had got stuck due to financial constraints. “The World Assembly of Muslim Youth has failed to open offices in more than 10 countries that had invited the aid organization to serve the needy people in those countries,” said Saleh S. Al-Wohaibi, WAMY’s secretary-general. Al-Wohaibi called on the Gulf countries to “donate more” to Islamic aid organizations such as WAMY. He pointed out that “the Saudi government contributes only one percent of WAMY’s operating expenses.” The WAMY chief said the charity had failed to fund its flagship welfare programs in different countries, especially in the aftermath of the economic recession and the resulting cuts in donors’ support. This left WAMY under heavy financial pressure, he added. The WAMY chief was speaking on the occasion of WAMY’s ninth annual dialogue and iftar party in Riyadh. Japanese Ambassador Shigeru Endo and Argentine Ambassador Jaime Sergio Cerda were the keynote speakers. Ibrahim Al-Ghofaili, a local businessman, addressed the audience on behalf of the businessmen. The WAMY dialogue was attended by about 600 guests this year, including 21 ambassadors and 73 other foreign diplomats besides 170 businessmen, donors and social workers. Asked about the plan to expand WAMY’s operations, Al-Wohaibi said the charity had decided to go slow on overseas expansion plans. He said WAMY currently had 36 offices in Saudi Arabia and about 40 chapters abroad. This Islamic organization, he said, had been solely dependent on donations given by individuals and philanthropic bodies of the Kingdom. WAMY has emerged as a major social and educational aid agency with 39,000 orphans under its sponsorship program across the world. About 2,800 scholarships have been granted to poor students in several countries so far. This is in addition to the relief efforts carried out by WAMY in the Kingdom and abroad. Al-Wohaibi singled out the example of its relief operation in the Horn of Africa. “The response of the international community to the drought in that region is far from satisfactory at the moment,” he said.
An earlier post reported on the participation of WAMY in a planned meeting of Muslim NGO’s to discuss the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa.
Muslim Brothers were instrumental in the founding of WAMY and the organization continues to enjoy close relations with the global Muslim Brotherhood. U.S. government agencies and officials have argued that WAMY has helped spread Islamic extremism around the world as well as sponsoring terrorism in places such as Bosnia, Israel, and India. Numerous previous posts have discussed WAMY’s activities throughout the world. Previous posts have discussed the organizations apparent recent financial difficulties.
- WAMY Part OF Muslim NGO Meeting On Horn Of Africa
- WAMY Leaders Says Western Operations Downsized
- WAMY Holds Summer Camps Throughout The World
- WAMY Chief Says Steep Budget Shortfall To HInder Operations
- WAMY To Hold Youth Camps In Eighty Countries
According to a press release, the organization United for Change will host a conference on the anniversary of 911 titled “United We Stand: One Nation, One Destiny” to “shed light on the threat of anti-Muslim sentiment.” According to the release:
WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On September 10, the organization United for Change will host a conference titled “United We Stand: One Nation, One Destiny” to shed light on the threat of anti-Muslim sentiment and how to move the nation forward as a positive force in the world. The program will center on mercy and compassion as the core themes of the Islamic message, and how to translate them into constructive action for all Americans. Leading scholars and activists will take part in lectures that address the growing acceptance of anti-Muslim incivility in the West and how to foster an environment of unity in face of division. The day’s events will also include a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11 and the Norway attacks, and conference organizers will encourage attendees to participate in a 9/11 Unity Walk the following day. ”As Muslims, we wish to use this program to declare in a clear and unambiguous voice, we will not allow the spirit of our times to rob us of our compassion. We will not allow the distortions of our religious teachings, and the baseless caricaturing of our community to lead us to respond to the challenges of our day in a merciless fashion,” said Imam Zaid Shakir, Chairman of United for Change. ”[9/11] has affected the destiny of Muslims, who lost people that day. This event has become a symbol for the demonization of Muslims and for saying that they are violent. What better time to say that we are above these accusations?”
The press release indicates that the following individuals will be speaking at the conference (descriptions provided by the announcement)
· Karen Armstrong, English author of comparative religion
· Dr. Tariq Ramadan, leading Islamic intellectual
· Dr. John Esposito, Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University
· Hamza Yusuf, co-founder of Zaytuna College
· Anya Cordell, Jewish activist
· Dr. Merve Kavakci-Islam, Turkish Parliamentarian
· Yasir Qadhi, leading American Muslim scholar;
Tariq Ramadan is perhaps best described as an independent power center within the global Brotherhood with sufficient stature as the son of Said Ramadan, and the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood to challenge positions taken by important Brotherhood leaders. His statements and writings have been extensively analyzed and he has been accused by critics of promoting anti-Semitism and fundamentalism, albeit by subtle means. On the other hand, his supporters promote him as as example of an Islamic reformer who is in the forefront of developing a “Euro Islam.” Ramadan is currently professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Theology and senior research fellow at St. Antony’s College (Oxford), Dohisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and at the Lokahi Foundation (London). Previous posts discussed his dismissal from his positions as an adviser on integration for the city of Rotterdam and from a Dutch University over his role as a talk show host on Iranian TV. A ban on Ramadan traveling to the US was liftedin January 2010 and several posts have discussed his recent visits to the US where he appeared at various US Muslim Brotherhood venues including giving the keynote at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago annual banquet in April 2010. He was scheduled to give the keynote address at the 16th annual CAIR banquet in October.
Dr. Esposito has espoused views consistent with Brotherhood doctrine and during the 1990′s was known for his claims that Islamic fundamentalism was, in fact, democratic and posed no threat to the U.S. Dr. Esposito has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations including having served on the advisory boards of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in the U.K, enjoyed a close relationship with the United Association for Studies and Research in the U.S., and has served with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi on the Steering Committee of the Circle of Tradition and Progress. In 2005, Saudi prince Alaweed bin Talal, a financial supporter of the global Muslim Brotherhood donated $20 million to the Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown, headed by Dr. Esposito.
A report from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on the 2010 Gaza flotilla describes Dr. Merve Kavakci as follows:
Another individual with ties to both Mr. Erbakan and ISNA is Merve Safa KavakçÄ±, a Turkish politician who was elected as a Virtue Party deputy for Istanbul on April 18, 1999. Ms. Kavakci has been a frequent speaker at ISNA events and her father, Dr. Yusuf Zaia Kavakci, who has praised Muslim Brotherhood ideologues such as the Sudanese Hassan Turabi and Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, was elected in 1997 to the “Shura” or leadership council of ISNA.
The late Necmettin Erbakan has been described as the founder of the Turkish Islamist movement and close to the Global Muslim Brotherhood while Islamic Society of North America is an important part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
In 2001 Yasir Qadhi, was embroiled in controversy centered on his remarks denying the Holocaust. According to the UK Sunday Telegraph (see Note 1), Qadhi described the holocaust as a hoax, claiming that “Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews” and “all this [the Holocaust] is false propaganda”. Although he later claimed he had been misled into making these statements, he more recently posted links to articles by a notorious Holocaust denier on an Islamic online forum, according to the Centre for Social Cohesion.
United For Change describes itself as follows:
United For Change began as a result of a recent trip to Mali.
…United For Change is dedicated to helping to bring about a world where the loftiest principles of Islam are actualized as the basis for Muslim unity as well as focused, purposeful work directed towards the alleviation of human suffering that is directly attributable to human neglect, insensitivity and wantonness. United For Change exists to facilitate the unity of Muslim organizations in North America to address through collective action monumental tasks that are larger than the human and material resources of any individual group. Through this effort we aim to foster greater unity, cooperation and goodwill between participating groups and organizations and to be a source of compassion, empathy and relief for impoverished and marginalized communities both here in North America and abroad.
The current speaker’s list for United For Change features numerous individuals tied to the U.S. and Global Muslim Brotherhood including Tariq Ramadan, John Esposito, Merve Kavakci-Islam, and Yasir Qadhi all discussed above, as well as
· Imam Siraj Wahhaj (American Islamic convert tied to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing)
· Sherman Jackson (Islamic Society of North America)
· Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini (Fiqh Council of North America)
· Altaf Hussain (Muslim Student Association, Muslim Alliance of North America)
· Mohammed Magid (Islamic Society of North America)
An earlier post discussed the Global Muslim Brotherhood ties of United For Change co-founder and former board Asthma Mirza. The same post describes a 2010 United For Change conference in Montreal which was expected to feature many Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
A Hudson Institute report provides detailed information on the ties of many of the organizations and individuals to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
(note 1: The Sunday Telegraph (London) January 3, 2010 “special investigation; Bomber’s mentor invited to spread hate in Britain; Banned extremist addressed young audiences at universities and mosques seven times in three years)
- CAIR Says Republican Debaters Displayed Anti-Muslim Sentiment
- CAIR Leader Tells Iranian TV Anti-Muslim Sentiment Generated By “Muslim Bashers”
- Imam Who Made Anti-Semitic/Anti-Gay Remarks To Speak In Sweden
- Former U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Figure Makes Anti-American And Anti-Semitic Comments On Egyptian TV
- Annual UK “Global Peace and Unity” Event Features Items Glorifying Terrorism And Anti-Israel Rabbis
U.S. is media is reporting that the White House’s published guess list for this year’s Ramadan dinner left off the names of attendees representing U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups. According to a report by the Daily Caller:
The White House’s published guest list for this year’s Ramadan Iftar dinner was much shorter than previous years’ roster. It excluded the names of several controversial advocates who have attended the event in the past, including some who The Daily Caller can confirm did attend on Wednesday night. “It was a squeaky clean list,” said Durriya Badani, director of the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, an annual event organized by the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center and the Qatari government. The guests on the published list are “not controversial at all,” said Badani, whose name is on the list the White House provided to reporters. “It was a lot more low-key … It was a more intimate event this year,” said Haris Tarin, the Washington director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, whose invitation was kept off the published list. “I have no idea why they didn’t publish [MPAC’s invite] … I’m going to learn about that a little bit more,” he told The Daily Caller. Mohamed Magid also attended but did not appear on the White House’s publish list. Magid is imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque in Northern Virginia and the current president of the Islamic Society of North America. Along with MPAC, Magid’s two organizations have drawn criticism from a loose network of online critics who claim they are sympathetic to Islamist groups. Whether intentional or not, the shorter list limited the risk of a political embarrassment for the White House because it downplayed the attendance of several ideological Islamist groups, including MPAC, said Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a pro-Western Muslim group. But the White House also failed to invite any of the 25 pro-liberty American Muslim groups and individuals in Jasser’s American Islamic Leadership Coalition, he said. Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the month of Ramadan. At last year’s event, President Obama publicly endorsed the planned construction of a mosque at the Ground Zero site in New York City. But Obama avoided controversial topics in his short speech Wednesday night. The president lauded American Muslims who reacted to the 9/11 attack. “How do we honor these patriots, those who died and those who served? … The answer is the same as it was ten Septembers ago. We must be the America they lived for, … An America that doesn’t simply tolerate people of different backgrounds and beliefs, but an America where we are enriched by our diversity.” The public guest list did include ambassadors from Muslim-majority democratic countries, such as Iraq and Bangladesh, as well as the ambassador of Israel, roughly 20 percent of whose population is Muslim. Also included were numerous ambassadors from Islamic countries that do not accept democracy or welcome non-Islamic religions. These included Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and both Yemen and Bahrain, whose governments have violently suppressed public demonstrations this year. Obama, Jasser complained, “has not been clear on what America stands for, on the freedom agenda in the Middle East, [so] he ends up at an Iftar dinner that panders to ambassadors” who oppose American’s vision of freedom, Jasser said.”
A Hudson Institue report identifies ISNA and MPAC as important parts of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
- U.S. Muslim Brotherhood In Attendance At White House Ramadan Dinner
- U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Participates In U.S. Government Iftar Events
- MPAC Attends White House Meeting To Announce Obama Supreme Court Nominee
- US Muslim Brotherhood Support Obama Remarks On Ground Zero Mosque
- Rashad Hussain White House Role
Egyptian media is reporting that the political coalition between Islamists and secularists in Egypt and led by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood may be on the verge of collapse. According to a report in Al-Masry Al-Youm:
The Democratic Alliance for Egypt, a massive political coalition formed in early June to heal the rift between Islamists and secularists, may be on the verge of falling apart, with ideological differences proving too large to overcome. The alliance, which groups together 28 political parties across the political spectrum, has recently witnessed internal feuds, causing some parties to pull out and leaving others contemplating the same. “In fact, this is not an alliance – it is like a car driven by the Muslim Brotherhood and ridden by some other people,” said Mohamed Menza, a co-founder of Egypt Freedom Party, a secular social democratic party under the umbrella of the alliance. This alliance was created to be a platform on which Islamists and secularists could reach a consensus over the identity of the state in the post-Mubarak era. In late June, the coalition issued a document expressing all parties’ commitment to establishing a civil state based on equality, democracy and the rule of law. Allied parties were also expected to coordinate their electoral plans and strategies ahead of the November parliamentary polls.
It should be noted that the Muslim Brotherhood today has become a global network and that the Egyptian mother branch is not necessarily the most important part of the movement. Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi, close to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, is often referred to by the GMBDR as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide.
- Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood To Join Liberal Party In Electoral Coalition
- Muslim Brotherhood Joins 13 Party Coalition To Work For New Parliament
- Hamas Political Leader Says “People In Egypt And Tunisia Have Given Us Back Our Lives
- Muslim Brotherhood In Yemen Part Of “Cross-Ideological Inter-Party Coalition”
- RECOMMENDED READING: “Among the Muslim Brothers, The Contradictory Faces Of Political Islam In Post-Mubarak Egypt.”