In mid-April I spoke in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, amid a storm of controversy over the Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha — a plan to house a synagogue, a church, and a mosque in the same complex, with a joint community center. Joe Herring noted in the Daily Caller on April 10 that the Tri-Faith Initiative “features links” to the Hamas-linked Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) “on their website, under the ‘Resources’ and ‘Recommended Reading’ tabs.” The controversy highlighted the naivete and willful ignorance of so many non-Muslims who engage in “dialogue” with Muslims without being sufficiently informed or prepared.
And now, instead of simply removing the links to ISNA and CAIR from the Tri-Faith website, Tri-Faith officials appear to be doubling down.
Omaha’s Countryside Community Church, “an inclusive family of faith” of the United Church of Christ, which recently hosted a Muslim speaker in an event advertised on the Tri-Faith Initiative’s website, has posted on its own website a defense of ISNA, CAIR, and the Tri-Faith Initiative’s listing of them on its website. This purported information page, however, is highly disingenuous, doesn’t even address the points of contention, and thus obscures more than it illuminates.
About ISNA it says: “Along with other Muslim organizations throughout North America, ISNA has always strongly condemned and rejected the actions of terrorists and terrorism as being completely antithetical to the teachings of Islam.” It doesn’t mention, however, even to attempt to explain away, the fact that ISNA has admitted ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Nor does it say anything about the fact that ISNA was also named an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, which was once the largest Islamic charity in the U.S. and was then shut down for funneling money to Hamas.
ISNA in fact has a long record of support for jihadists and jihad. Discover the Networks reports that “when Hamas political leader Mousa Abu Marzook was arrested in 1995 by U.S. authorities pending an Israeli warrant, ISNA rushed to his defense. The November/December 1995 issue of the ISNA magazine Islamic Horizons, which went to press nearly a full year after Hamas had been officially designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization, featured an article lamenting that Marzook was being ‘held hostage in the U.S. at the whims of his Zionist accusers,’ even as it acknowledged that Marzook was ‘[a] member of the political wing of Hamas.’ In 1997 Marzook thanked ISNA for having ‘supported’ and ‘consoled’ him throughout his ‘ordeal.'” Also, it came to light during the Holy Land Foundation trial that “documents and wiretapped conversations showed that ISNA had helped support Hamas with checks deposited into the ISNA/NAIT account for the HLF, made payable to ‘the Palestinian Mujahadeen,’ the original name for the Hamas military wing. The funds were then transferred to the Holy Land Foundation.” There is much more about ISNA here.
And as for CAIR, the Countryside Community Church page says that it “counsels, mediates and advocates on behalf of Muslims and others who have experienced religious discrimination, defamation or hate crimes” — bitterly ironic in light of the relentless defamation CAIR directs against anyone and everyone who opposes jihad terror. The church doesn’t mention that CAIR, like ISNA, an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF Hamas terror funding case — so named by the Justice Department. CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR’s cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Ibrahim Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements. Its California chapter distributed a poster telling Muslims not to talk to the FBI. CAIR has opposed every anti-terror measure that has ever been proposed or implemented.
The church page does say: “Tri-Faith and the AIISC are local organizations and are in no way governed, supported or sponsored by international organizations such as ISNA and CAIR. Tri-Faith is not a member of ISNA.” Nonetheless, links to CAIR and ISNA still appear on the Tri-Faith website. They no longer appear on the “Resources” page, but the “Recommended Reading” page still lists “CAIR brochures,” and the “National Organizations” page touts ISNA under “Islamic Resources.”
The extensive ties of CAIR and ISNA to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are abundantly documented. The Tri-Faith Initiative should come clean and drop the recommendations of CAIR and ISNA from its website. That it does not do so, but instead dissembles about what these organizations are really about, is telling.