WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein called the Islamic Society of North America a "radical Muslim group." In fact, ISNA is a mainstream Islamic group whose president was among Muslim leaders who met with President Bush after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
Klein bashes Obama adviser for having "close ties" with "radical Muslim group" ISNA
From Klein's July 26 WorldNetDaily article:
A religion adviser to President Obama has close ties to a radical Muslim group that was an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas.
The group, the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA, has an extensive relationship with the Obama administration.
In February, Obama named a Chicago Muslim, Eboo Patel, to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Patel is the founder and executive director of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, which says it promotes pluralism by teaming people of different faiths on service projects.
Patel is listed on ISNA's official speakers bureau.
ISNA is mainstream group promoted by the Bush administration
Group's leader met with Bush after 9-11. On September 14, 2001, then-ISNA president Muzammil Siddiqi read a prayer -- reportedly at the invitation of the Bush White House -- at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance held at Washington's National Cathedral, attended by then-President Bush and several former presidents. Siddiqi said, "Repel the evil with the good. Give us comfort. Help us in our distress." On September 26, 2001, Siddiqi was among a group of Muslim leaders invited to a gathering at the White House, where Bush said he was "proud of the Muslim leaders across America who have risen up and who have not only insisted that America be strong, but that America keep the values intact that have made us so unique and different -- the values of respect, the values of freedom to worship the way we see fit."
Bush DOJ reportedly co-sponsored ISNA convention. The U.S. Department of Justice reportedly served as a co-sponsor of ISNA's 2007 national convention. The Washington Times reported in 2007 that a DOJ spokesperson said, "The Civil Rights Division will have a table at the ISNA convention over Labor Day weekend to hand out literature and answer questions about the division's work. The ISNA convention attracts more than 30,000 American Muslims every year, and the division has had tables at the convention in previous years." DOJ also reportedly had an information table at the 2009 ISNA convention.
'Unindicted co-conspirator" designation criticized by Jewish and Christian groups, ACLU
ACLU: Prosecutor said group is not under investigation, designation a "legal tactic." Klein's claim that ISNA is an "unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas" is a reference to a case involving the Holy Land Foundation, leaders of which were convicted in 2008 on charges of supporting terrorism, money laundering, and tax fraud after being accused of funneling money to Hamas. ISNA was on a list of nearly 300 "unindicted co-conspirators" linked to the case. But the designation has been disputed:
- The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing ISNA in trying to clear the charge, stated that "[t]he lead prosecutor in the case told lawyers" for ISNA that the group was not among the "subjects or targets in the HLF prosecution or in any other pending investigation. The prosecutor also acknowledged, according to the ACLU, that "the public labeling was simply a 'legal tactic' intended to allow the government to introduce hearsay evidence against HLF later at trial."
- A statement by the Union for Reform Judaism reportedly cited "reports that the government has informed ISNA's lawyers that the naming was only a legal tactic and that ISNA is not a target or subject of any criminal investigation." The statement cited "the positive relationship we have nurtured with ISNA" and added, "It is our sincere hope that the damage that ISNA has had to endure by being labeled an "unindicted co-conspirator" can and will be properly reversed."
- Michael Kinnamon, general Secretary of the National Council of Churches, reportedly said that the designation "is especially shameful because the charge it makes is so inflammatory it has caused [ISNA's] reputation and good name to be dragged through the mud."
Klein has long history of dubious attacks on Obama, administration officials
Klein has consistently promoted false and baseless conspiracy theories. As Media Matters has extensively documented, Klein has a history of making conspiratorial accusations toward the president and his administration, including that they "encouraged 'resistance' by Palestinians to protest Israel's presence in eastern Jerusalem," that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan supports flag-burning, that Obama is trying to "bring down the U.S. capitalist system," and other ludicrous attacks. Klein's anti-Obama book The Manchurian President uses false claims, discredited conspiracy theories, birther arguments, deceptive editing, and guilt by association to further its stated goal of tying Obama to "an Anti-American fringe nexus."