Yes, there was a militant Muslim organization in Knoxville, Tennessee, that was helping fund jihad in Bosnia and Chechnya in the 1990s, but it’s no longer active. See? Nothing to be concerned about at all. KnoxNews reports that “a former member of a secretive Islamic fundamentalist organization in Knoxville helped funnel money to militant fighters in Bosnia and Chechnya during the 1990s, but local Muslims said Tuesday the group is no longer active.” (Thanks to Nicolei.)
“Mustafa Saied, a former University of Tennessee student and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, told the Wall Street Journal in a story published Tuesday that money raised at the Annoor Mosque ostensibly for poor civilians actually went to Muslim warriors.”
In Onward Muslim Soldiers I explore the thought of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan Al-Banna, as well as that of one of its greatest exponents, Sayyid Qutb. I also details its ties to Hamas and other modern-day terrorist groups.
“Knoxville Muslims raised $6,000 to pay for tents, Saied told the paper, but in 1995 a representative of the Benevolence International Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit, told him a portion of the money was diverted to fighters in Bosnia and Chechnya. FBI Special Agent James Van Pelt of the Knoxville office said he isn’t aware of any criminal prosecution of any people or groups arising from the activities described in the article. ‘If something like that would happen today, the person could be guilty of (giving) material support to terrorists,’ Van Pelt said.
“The foundation’s leader pleaded guilty in 2002 to buying supplies for fighters in the two countries. The U.S. Treasury Department alleged the group also had ties to al-Qaeda, though the charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement.
The paper reported that Saied was part of an active group of Muslim Brotherhood members in Knoxville before he left the campus in 1996, a few credits short of graduating. The Muslim Brotherhood is an international fundamentalist political group.
“Rosalind Gwynne, faculty adviser to the UT chapter of the Muslim Student Association said she was surprised to find out the Muslim Brotherhood had been active on campus. There can be as many as 300 students in the association at any one time, and the mix can vary from year to year, she said. Knoxville’s mainstream Muslims said they weren’t aware of the group’s presence here either. ‘I’ve lived here for 30 years, and this is the first time I ever heard about it,’ said Hanan Ayesh, a founder of the Annoor Academy, a Muslim school.
“Most of those involved in the Muslim Brotherhood here were foreign students who get involved in Islamic politics before moving back to their countries of origin, said Mostafa Alsharif, a lifelong Knoxvillian. ‘The majority of Muslims in the United States couldn’t care less about the Muslim Brotherhood. They’re going to stay in the United States. There’s no need to be affiliated with something like that,’ Alsharif said. Alsharif said the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t active here anymore. ‘It’s not the reality of what’s happening in Knoxville today at all,’ he said.
“The lengthy Wall Street Journal article detailed Saied’s activities in Knoxville nearly a decade ago. Now an adherent of a less strident form of Islam, Saied is an executive at a Florida environmental-testing firm. Said’s tale offers a glimpse into how secretive organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood operate in the United States. ‘Anti-American sentiment is usually reserved for closed-door discussions or expressed in languages that most Americans don’t understand,’ Saied told Wall Street Journal reporter Paul M. Barrett. ‘While such rhetoric has been drastically reduced since 9/11, it is still prevalent enough to be a cause for concern.'”
Calling CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper: Ibrahim, my friend, what is CAIR doing to counter such rhetoric?
“Saied told Barrett he and other fundamentalist Muslims would meet once a week to drink tea and eat sweets while discussing fundamentalist Islam in secret. Saied said the Knoxville chapter viewed violence as something ‘we don’t do here, unless necessary.’
“Saied told Barrett he feels guilty about his years as an extremist and is applying for U.S. citizenship. He worries, according to the article, that areas of ‘venomous hatred toward Western society’ persist on some campuses and in certain Islamic communities.”
Islamic communities aren’t alone on this one. There is a great deal of venomous hatred toward Western society on college campuses among non-Muslim students.
“Some in the local Muslim community fear that reports of such extremist activities — even those that occurred nearly a decade ago — will prompt other Americans to persecute law-abiding Muslims. Ayesh said she sometimes feels like she had more freedom when she first came to America 34 years ago than her children have today.”
It’s easy to throw around unfocused accusations. Mrs. Ayesh, do you have time for a couple of questions? Please detail some instances of persecution of law-abiding Muslims in America. I know that CAIR lists many, but quite a few of those have turned out be much less than what CAIR claims to be. Illegal immigrants don’t count, although even in their case I don’t equate deportation with persecution; in any case, you said “law-abiding.” Also, and more importantly, please explain: exactly what could you do 34 years ago in America that your children can’t do now? And one last thing: exactly what are you and you fellow moderate Muslims doing to eradicate Islamic radicalism — or even the anti-American rhetoric referred to above — from the American Muslim community? I’ll look forward to your answers; you can contact me here.