‘Islamophobia’: A Strategy Devised Before 9/11

images (1)In a meeting in the 1990s, U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups decided to ‘play victim’ for the purpose of ‘beating down critics.’

By Ryan Mauro:

Clarion Project reader sent us an intriguing article that shows how the cries of “Islamophobia” were used to win the affection of top officials as far back as 1996 – five years before 9/11.

In this case, Hillary Clinton became the first wife of a sitting President to address a Muslim organization outside the White House. Perhaps unbeknownst to her, the group she honored was founded by Muslim Brotherhood supporters, including one who said her name would be “written in history in letters of light to the deed.”

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the group that Clinton addressed, was founded by Hassan and Maher Hathout, two brothers that were imprisoned in Egypt for their membership in the Muslim Brotherhood. Hassan Hathout called himself  a “close disciple” of the Brotherhood’s founder and said they came to America to spread the “Islamic Movement” inspired by him.

Maher Hathout, currently MPAC’s Senior Adviser, has said that he has had no foreign links since arriving in the U.S. It is true that a 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo does not identify MPAC as one of its fronts. However, a 1989 document from the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Financial Committee refers to a man named “Hathout” that is “in the field,” likely referring to one of the Hathout brothers.

From the beginning, MPAC was working in unison with the identified U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities. For example, in September 1993, MPAC signed a joint condemnation of the Oslo Accords with five other groups, each being one of the Brotherhood’s “organizations and the organizations of our friends.” The statement said that “to recognize the legitimacy of that crime [the creation of Israel] is a crime in itself…”

First Lady Clinton came to a joint event of MPAC and the Muslim Women’s League to give them the honor of being the first Muslim groups to be addressed by a First Lady outside the White House.

“When our country becomes what we dream and when our society becomes warmer and more inclusive … it will be written in history in letters of light that the first First Lady who took a major step to greet, include and to communicate with Muslims is First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton,” said Maher Hathout.

Interestingly, “Islamophobia” was used as a rallying cry even back then, five years before the 9/11 attacks: The article quotes MPAC’s leaders inferring that Muslims are a persecuted minority. Clinton herself even said Americans “[must] stand up against our own voices of hatred and division.”

Read more at The Clarion Project

 

Interfaith Event Teaches That U.S. Is ‘Aiding’ Oppression

mpacBy Ryan Mauro:

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) returned to All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California on May 5 to address the topic of radicalization in the wake of the Boston bombings. The church leader said there is a “crisis” of “Islamophobia” in America. MPAC denounced violence but said terrorism is a response to the U.S. “aiding and abetting oppression” at the behest of the military-industrial complex.

At the May 5 event, church leader Rev. Ed Bacon said that he “literally had my life changed and my thinking changed because of these two leaders,” referring to MPAC leaders Maher Hathout and Salam al-Marayati. He went so far as to say that the Islamic Center of Southern California, where Hathout is a spokesman and Muslim Brotherhood texts are used, is “my mosque.”

At the event, both MPAC leaders denounced terrorism and said Muslims must provide a counter-narrative to the violent themes that radicalize. Hathout said that too many Muslims are “soft” in confronting the radical ideas and have a “gang” mentality where they automatically side with other Muslims against non-Muslims.

However, Hathout said America is run by an elite minority beholden to lobbyists. He said that American democracy is threatened by “Islamophobia”  driven by supremacists who believe “the other” doesn’t deserve equal rights.

Al-Marayati rightly pointed out that there is an ideological struggle and reform in Islamic teaching is needed, but attributed the conflict to anger over the aggression of America and its allies.

“When a superpower is aiding and abetting oppression and there are grievances, and people react in a violent way, they [Americans] look at the violence and they say it is not time to deal with the grievances,” he said.

He claimed that there is a “cottage industry” of anti-Muslim activists that is part of a “larger machine,” including the military-industrial complex and special interests. These conspirators “want more contracts for more weapons to countries that only use these weapons against their own people or against civilians.”

MPAC held its last annual conference at this church, where Reverend Ed Bacon denounced “evangelical Zionism” as an evil on par with slavery. The church and MPAC held a press conference to declare their critics “right-wing extremists” who are “hateful.”

The critics noted that MPAC was founded by Muslim Brotherhood ideologues, including Senior Adviser Maher Hathout’s brother who was a “close disciple” of the group’s founder, Hassan al-Banna. Maher Hathout says he remains “very proud” of his time in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, but emphasizes it was 60 years ago. His brother said they came to the U.S. to spread the “Islamic Movement” of al-Banna.

After coming to America, one or both of the Hathout brothers was connected to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, as a 1989 document shows. MPAC has maintained a close alliance with U.S. Brotherhood entities ever since. In 1997, Maher Hathout promoted Hassan al-Banna as one of the “reformists,” along with other Islamists like Rachid al-Ghannouchi, who MPAC still hosts. In 1998 and 1999, he and al-Marayati legitimized Hezbollah’s attacks on Israeli soldiers.

In 2000, Hathout said a “general intifada” would overthrow Arab governments guilty of “treason” for not confronting the “butchers” of Israel. Around this time, MPAC started becoming more conscious of the language it was using. Hathout said he regretted the “harshness of my remarks” when they received negative attention, but not the message. Tellingly, a radical named Mahdi Bray continued to serve as MPAC’s Political Director.

Read more at Front Page

Exposed Islamist Group Scrambles

Picture-32 By Ryan Mauro

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) held a press conference on December 6 about “right-wing extremists” in response to my article originally published here criticizing the All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena for hosting its convention. MPAC founder and senior adviser Maher Hathout admitted to having been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but said the relationship ended when he moved to the U.S. and he is on the side of the Egyptian opposition to Mohammed Morsi.

The press conference’s speakers relentlessly bashed the raising of legitimate concerns about MPAC as “Islamophobia,” hate-mongering and bigotry. The Center for American Progress report “Fear Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” was made available for attendees. Rector Ed Bacon said the church received dozens of hate-filled emails, resulting in sympathetic media coverage.

“Kudos to All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena and MPAC for the promotional savvy to exploit a handful of negative emails into a major media story showcasing their supposed victimhood,” said Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, which sponsored the original article. His organization was the only one directly attacked in the press conference.

Maher Hathout said that he is “very proud” of his work with the Muslim Brotherhood “student movement” against the Nazis and British, but never dealt with any organization outside the U.S. since coming to the country about 40 years ago. In our debate the day prior, MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati repeatedly slammed mentions of a Brotherhood connection to his group as “lies” rooted in hatred. When I challenged MPAC to take an active stand against the Brotherhood, Al-Marayati said it was a “ridiculous suggestion” and “it’s not worth our time.”

Hathout said that he is against the anti-democratic “trend” in Egypt and is on the side of the opposition.  He still took a soft view of the Brotherhood, saying its “work is changing” and its critics “freeze a point in history and think this is the whole story.”

MPAC was created to advance the Brotherhood ideology. The late Hassan Hathout, former MPAC President and Maher’s brother, said that they came to the U.S. to start the “Islamic Movement” inspired by Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Brotherhood. He described himself as a “close disciple” of al-Banna. A 1989 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Financial Committee document talks about working with someone named Hathout “in the field,” demonstrating that the Brotherhood had ties to at least one of the Hathout brothers after they arrived. MPAC has long collaborated with known U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities, as identified in the Brotherhood’s own documents, FBI investigators and the federal government during the trial of the Holy Land Foundation.

The privately expressed views of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood match the publicly expressed views of Hassan Hathout. A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood document says, “its work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” In 1997, Hathout said the U.S. needs the “Islamic Movement” because “If you look objectively you will see that this current civilization harbors in its body the seeds of its own destruction.”

Maher Hathout says he did not continue working with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood after he came to the U.S., but the Brotherhood is more than a political party. It is a movement based on Islamist ideology. In 1997, he praised Hassan al-Banna and two other Brotherhood-allied Islamists, Rashid Ghannouchi and Hasan al-Turabi, as “reformists.” Remember that when MPAC boasts that it is a voice of “reform.” Ghannouchi spoke at an MPAC event in 2011. Hathout is the spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California, which still suggests Brotherhood texts on Islamic law on its website.

A 2004 investigation into the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood by the Chicago Tribune makes this point. An official with the Muslim American Society admitted that it was created by the Muslim Brotherhood, but explained that it “went way beyond that point of conception.” It is not administrated by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood but it follows its teachings. “We are not your typical Ikhwan [Brotherhood],” he explained.

This Islamist influence is apparent in MPAC’s history. In 1998, Maher Hathout said of Hezbollah: “I disagree with them on other issues, but on the issue of fighting to liberate their land and attacking only armed forces, this is legitimate, that is an American value — freedom and liberty.” In 1999, Salam al-Marayati said Hezbollah engages in “legitimate resistance.”

Read more at Front Page