Cal Thomas, FrontPageMag accusations of Hussain's ties to "Muslim Brotherhood" fall flat
Research ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK
In the latest attack on an Obama appointee, conservative columnist Cal Thomas and FrontPageMag.com each claimed that special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference Rashad Hussain has, in Thomas' words, "a history of participating in events connected with the Muslim Brotherhood." However, the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, from where their claims stem, has been criticized for employing a "fairly loose definition of Muslim Brotherhood affiliates," and numerous prominent conservatives have also met with representatives or affiliates of groups named in its article.
Thomas, FrontPageMag attack Hussain over reported attendance at events
Thomas cites Hussain's purported "history of participating in events connected with the Muslim Brotherhood" to claim Hussain is a radical "interested in damaging or destroying the United States" and has resorted to "infiltration at every possible level of government" to do so. In a February 18 Washington Examiner column, Thomas wrote that President Obama's appointment of Hussain "should be of serious concern to Congress and the American public" because "Hussain, a devout Muslim, has a history of participating in events connected with the Muslim Brotherhood." Thomas further wrote:
The president proudly announced that Hussain is a Hafiz, someone who has completely memorized the Quran, but he did not spell out what qualifies Hussain to meet with foreign leaders at a diplomatic level in a role that approximates that of an ambassador. According to Jihad Watch, a blog directed by American author Robert Spencer that "aims to bring to public attention the role of jihad theology and ideology in the modern world," Hussain's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood date back to his days at Yale Law School.
Ask yourself: If you or your group were interested in damaging or destroying the United States, wouldn't infiltration at every possible level of government and culture be an effective strategy? You would build your schools and mosques, some of which teach and preach Jihad; you would penetrate the government; you would demand special rights because of your religion -- such as no body scanners for Muslim travelers at airports and prayer rooms and foot washing facilities at shopping malls; you would seek to change the foreign policy of the United States because you hate Israel and all Jews (and those "cross-worshipping" Christians) and you would dare the U.S. government to monitor your speeches and associations because you want to keep America's guard lower than it would be for, say, a spy from communist China.
This was roughly the plot of the creepy movie "The Manchurian Candidate." But, unlike the film, this plot is real.
Citing article by Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, FrontPageMag's Mauro claims Hussain has "concerning affiliations." In a February 18 FrontPageMag.com post, Ryan Mauro wrote that "The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report took a look at Hussain's official biography and found several concerning affiliations." Mauro wrote that "Hussain's past association with Muslim Brotherhood-connected entities raises major questions about the type of outreach he envisions for the Muslim world" and cited several conferences in which Hussain took part.
Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, which employs "loose definition of Muslim Brotherhood affiliates," source of attack on Hussain
Article claims that Hussain "has a history of participation in events connected with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood as well as support for Brotherhood causes." A February 14 article on the website Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report claimed that Hussain "has a history of participation in events connected with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood as well as support for Brotherhood causes." The article went on to list the conferences at which Hussain spoke, which Mauro and Jihad Watch -- the source of Thomas' column -- cited in their articles.
Foreign Policy notes Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report's "fairly loose definition of Muslim Brotherhood affiliates that includes fairly mainstream organizations." In an August 2008 post, Foreign Policy's Joshua Keating wrote: "The Report employs a fairly loose definition of Muslim Brotherhood affiliates that includes fairly mainstream organizations such as the Islamic Society of North America and the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR]." Keating further wrote of Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report:
Amusingly, recent FP contributors Graham Fuller and Marc Lynch are also described as Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers. As Passport readers know, Lynch has indeed met with senior Brotherhood leaders in Cairo, but they hardly see eye to eye. Fuller's supposed ties are of the six-degrees-of-Mahdi Akef variety.
By the standards of this site, you are not only a fellow traveler of the Muslim Brotherhood if you have defended them or recommended dialogue with them, you need only have been loosely associated with people who held those views. By this standard, there probably isn't one prominent Muslim-American in the country that Obama could hire for the campaign. Anyone he could find who has never participated in an event that includes people with sympathies Obama might not agree with is probably not actually influential enough to win him any votes.
Mauro attacks Hussain for speaking at conference co-sponsored by Muslim Public Affairs Council
Mauro: "Hussain spoke at a conference sponsored by several Brotherhood affiliates," including MPAC. From Mauro's FrontPageMag.com post:
Last May, Hussain spoke at a conference sponsored by several Brotherhood affiliates, including the Muslim Public Affairs Council, an organization whose extremism has been catalogued in a series by The Investigative Project on Terrorism, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The latter was listed by the federal government in 2007 as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the terrorism financing trial of The Holy Land Foundation, another Muslim Brotherhood front that was found to be financing Hamas. Its founders are former officials at the Islamic Association of Palestine, a Brotherhood front shut down for supporting Hamas and are said by the FBI to be members of the Brotherhood's "Palestine Committee" in the United States.
Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report: "In May 2009," Hussain spoke at leadership summit, sponsored by MPAC, among other groups. From its February 14 report:
In May 2009, Mr. Hussain was one of the speakers a Leadership Summit of the Council for Advancement of Muslim Professionals (CAMP). Many of the sponsoring organizations of that event are tied to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood including Islamic Relief, Amana Mutual Funds, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.
But numerous prominent conservatives have also reportedly met with MPAC
Norquist, Fund, Gingrich, and other GOP politicians are among conservatives who have reportedly met with MPAC. According to a March 2001 Washington Report on Middle East Affairs article, "Representatives of the American Muslim community" -- including MPAC -- "met Jan. 21, 2001 with conservative activists and elected officials to discuss topics ranging from ending both the economic sanctions on Iraq and the use of secret evidence, to the hiring of qualified Muslim applicants for posts in the Bush administration." The article continued:
Among the guests were former Speaker of the House and current GOPAC Chairman Newt Gingrich, Rep. John E. Sununu (R-NH) and his father, John Sununu, former New Hampshire governor and chief of staff for President George H. W. Bush, Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), conservative activist Kerri Houston of the American Conservative Network, David Shephard of the Leadership Institute, Frank Lavine, former political director for President Ronald Reagan, Grover Norquist, president of the Americans for Tax Reform, and Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund.
Muslim groups represented at the meeting included the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), American Muslim Council (AMC), Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), North American Council for Muslim Women, the Minaret of Freedom Institute, and others.
Mauro: "Hussain played a role in the Muslim Students Association's annual conference"; notes MSA's affiliation with "Brotherhood affiliates" ISNA, CAIR
Mauro writes that Hussain "played a role" in 2004 MSA conference; notes MSA's affiliation with ISNA, CAIR. From Mauro's post:
In September 2004, Hussain played a role in the Muslim Students Association's [MSA] annual conference, which was founded by Muslim Brotherhood in 1963 and is also listed as one the group's fronts in its own documents. Since then, many of its nearly 600 college chapters have engaged in extremism and the group closely collaborates with the other Brotherhood fronts. For example, MSA was part of an umbrella organization called the American Muslim Taskforce that led a campaign against the FBI's use of informants in mosques and accused the agency of "anti-Muslim activity." Several Brotherhood affiliates are in this coalition including the Muslim-American Society, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA], the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report: "In September 2004, while still a Yale law student, Mr. Hussain participated in a session at the annual conference of the Muslim Student's Association (MSA)." From its report:
In September 2004, while still a Yale law student, Mr. Hussain participated in a session at the annual conference of the Muslim Student's Association (MSA) of the U.S. and Canada. The MSA has long been associated with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and at the session, Mr. Hussain appeared along side the daughter of Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian and labeled Al-Arian's prosecution "politically motivated persecution." According to an archived notice in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:
A session on civil rights called "Get up, Stand up; Stand up for your Rights: The State of Contemporary Civil Liberties" was held Sept. 5 at the annual conference for the Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada, held alongside the Islamic Society of North America's 41st annual convention in Chicago.
But several Bush officials have met with ISNA, and Bush himself met with CAIR
MSA "maintains continuous affiliation with ISNA." According to its web site, MSA National "maintains continuous affiliation with ISNA. As an affiliate of ISNA, historically, the MSA National President has a seat on the ISNA Majlis Ash-shura. However, beyond this, ISNA does not have any direct involvement in MSA National affairs." MSA's website also notes that "the MSA Annual Continental Conference is held alongside ISNA."
Tapper: Hughes, Gonzales, Rice met with ISNA. In an August 2008 blog post, ABC News' Jake Tapper wrote that "Karen Hughes, back when she worked for the State Department, spoke before an ISNA conference and was honored with an ISNA dinner, and both former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have met with ISNA leadership."
Powell, Bush met with CAIR. In a July 22, 2004, Washington Times column, Frank Gaffney wrote that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell met with CAIR's executive director on June 17, 2004. In addition, Salon.com reported on September 26, 2001, that "[l]ess than a week after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, President Bush appeared at the Islamic Center in Washington, standing with various leaders of Muslim groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)."