CSP, By Kyle Shideler:
Following on the heels of targeted airstrikes against the Islamic State, the Obama Administration has continued to show a dramatic lack of strategic comprehension by publicly praising an Islamic cleric linked to previous calls to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. The Islamic cleric, Abdullah Bin Bayyah, was the vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, led by Muslim Brotherhood chief jurist Yusuf Al Qaradawi in 2004, when IUMS called for the killing of Americans in Iraq. This is not the first time Bin Bayyah has been close to the White House, having attended a meeting with White House advisors in 2013.
At the same time President Obama was praising Bin Bayyah, the Secretary of the Department for Homeland Security Jeh Johnson was in central Ohio, meeting with representatives of the Al Noor Cultural Islamic Center. This Islamic center has a long history of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and extremist activity, as ably chronicled by veteran investigative reporter Patrick Poole. It was made somewhat infamous as being the mosque at the center of the Rifqa Bary case, when a young Muslim teenager converted to Christianity, and fled Ohio, fearing that she would become the victim of an honor killing.
Most notable among those tied to the mosque is its former Scholar-in-Residence Salah Sultan, a long-time associate of Yusuf Al Qaradawi, and like Bin Bayyah, a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. Sultan is currently in Egypt, where he held a position under the Muslim Brotherhood dominated government, until its overthrow. The Chairman of the Noor Mosque board, at the time of Sultan’s attendance, was Hany Saqr, the Eastern masul (regional leader) for the North American Muslim Brotherhood, as named in a 1992 phone directory of the North American Muslim Brotherhood, as acquired by Federal prosecutors and entered into evidence at the Holy Land Foundation Trial. While Saqr is no longer Chairman at the mosque, he appears to remain a member of its Executive Council, and chairman of its Khutbah (Friday Sermon) committee.
In yet another coincidence, while these meetings were being reported, other individuals with known ties to the Muslim Brotherhood including the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, The ADAMS Center and the Fiqh Council for North America(of which Salah Sultan was a member), were holding a press conference at the National Press Club, issuing an open letter to AbuBakr Al-Baghdadi (aka Caliph Ibrahim) of the Islamic State, declaring “peace and mercy” upon him, and using Islamic law to supposedly critique his organization’s violence. Among the signatories on the letter was none other than Abdullah bin Bayyah.
The letter criticized ISIS for its behavior, in particular for killing journalists, using the logic (the same given by Jihadists including Al Qaeda) that the journalists were considered emissaries or diplomats and thus not eligible for killing. The letter also disagreed with other elements of ISIS’s practice of Islamic law, including the method by which AlBaghdadi was named Caliph.
While the letter supposedly condemns ISIS’ “offensive jihad”, it nonetheless endorses the very jihad that Bin Bayyah supported against U.S. troops in Iraq, namely a “defensive jihad.” The letter states, “All Muslims see the great virtue” in jihad, and that jihad is a “communal” not “individual” obligation. It also denounces the use of the term Jihad in killing Muslims (although notably not non-Muslims). The letter notes, “Jihad is tied to safety, freedom of religion, having been wronged, and eviction from one’s land.” Under such a rubric, one could see how the Muslim Brotherhood organizations may be denouncing ISIS, but endorsing (or at least not denouncing) other jihadist groups like Al Nusra Front, (which is Al Qaeda’s remaining Syrian unit), and Hamas, itself a part of the Muslim Brotherhood.
It is folly for the Administration to on the one hand bomb IS, as it seeks to perfect an Islamic state under shariah law, while at the same time endorsing, praising and working alongside those equally beholden to shariah.
As was the case with the Cold War, the conflict is principally an ideological struggle. You can not win by promoting and supporting the ideas of the enemy. President Obama could have used the opportunity to provide a full-throated support for what we as Americans believe, and the superiority of our way of life over the values of groups like ISIS, but instead, used his time to promote the very ideas of those like Bin Bayaah, who ultimately support the killing of Americans, as long as it is done under their say so, rather than al-Baghdadi’s. Likewise, we can not win by partnering with organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, who tell us that the solution to the Islamic state can be found in the application of Islamic law.