Last month, a new mosque called the ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) Islamic Center opened in Alexandria, Virginia. ICNA, an Islamist group with origins in the Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan, framed its inauguration as an interfaith victory, giving thanks to the three churches that let them worship on their premises as the mosque project was completed.
The two-story mosque replaced a house that was bought by ICNA in 2000. It says the facility cost $850,000 to build and can accommodate about 150 people. Good Shepherd Catholic Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and Aldersgate United Methodist Church allowed ICNA’s Northern Virginia chapter to worship as the mosque was being built
ICNA’s use of Aldersgate United Methodist Church led to a favorable segment on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which praised its pastor and mocked an evangelical critic. In one scene, the critic is seen saying mosques wouldn’t allow their premises to be used for Christian prayers. The correspondent joked about how embarrassing it’d be for him if the show cut to a clip of Christians being invited to a mosque.
Ironically, the clip the Daily Show showed was of Mohammed El-Filali of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, a mosque with extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. El-Filali led a chant comparing Israeli Prime Minister Sharon to Hitler at a rally in 2002. He also refused to condemn Palestinian suicide bombers in an interview with the Associated Press.
The pro-ICNA churches and the Daily Show apparently didn’t take the time to pop ICNA’s name into a search engine. If they did, it wouldn’t have taken long to find documentation of the group’s Islamist history.
Its origins lie with a Pakistani Islamist group called Jamaat-e-Islami. ICNA’s own publication said in 1996 that it was founded with the “organizational development methodology” of Jamaat-e-Islami’s founder. A former ICNA president and secretary-general, Ashrafuzzaman Khan, was indicted by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal in October for his role as “chief executioner” in at least 18 political assassinations in 1971. Khan belonged to the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami.
A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood strategic memorandum, which says its “work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within,” lists ICNA as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” The memo refers to productive meetings between ICNA and the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood “in an attempt to reach a unity of merger.” ICNA has long held its annual conferences in conjunction with the Muslim American Society, an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, in apparent fulfillment of this objective.
ICNA has not abandoned its Islamist ideology since then. Its 2010 handbook laid out a five-level strategy towards achieving a “united Islamic state, governed by an elected khalifah in accordance with the laws of shari’ah (Islamic law),” right in line with the Muslim Brotherhood doctrine of gradualism. Its last conference in December featured at least a dozen Islamist speakers, including ones that have supported Hamas and have ties to the Brotherhood. Among the event’s sponsors were Turkish Airlines and the DISH Network.
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