DNC Interfaith Event Reaches Out to the Muslim Brotherhood

The love-feast is about to begin in Denver. The Democratic National Convention will convene beginning on Monday to anoint The One We’ve Been Waiting For as their candidate for President of the United States.

Before the convention proper begins, a small prodromal event has been arranged for tomorrow to create the right mood among the party faithful. It’s billed as an “interfaith event”, the progressive equivalent of a tent revival, and a host of stars has been invited to rouse the crowd with that New-Time Religion.

According to The Denver Post:

Convention interfaith event announced
By Electa Draper

The Democratic National Convention Committee today announced the program for its first-ever interfaith gathering, which kicks off at 2 p.m. Aug. 24 at Wells Fargo Theater in the Colorado Convention Center.

Keynote speakers include Bishop Charles Blake, presiding prelate of Church of God in Christ Inc. and pastor at the West Angeles cathedral in Los Angeles; Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America; social activist Sister Helen Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking”; and Rabbi Tzvi Weinreb, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union.

Grammy-award-winning gospel artist Richard Smallwood & Vision and Denver’s The Spirituals Project will perform the music. The program also will feature readings from diverse religious texts.

“Democrats have been, are, and will continue to be people of faith — and this interfaith gathering is proof of that,” said DNCC chief executive Leah Daughtry, herself a Pentecostal pastor.

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter is scheduled to address the event, along with local clergy, including Imam Abdur-Rahim Ali of the Northeast Denver Islamic Center, Rabbi Steven Foster of Congregation Emmanuel, the Rev. Lucia Guzman, Buddhist Kathryn Ida and Democratic leader Polly Baca.

Most readers can guess the kind of show that will be put on. A lot of “Social Gospel” and radical politics can be expected, given the resumés that some of the participants will bring to the pulpit. Sister Catherine Pinkerton, head of the National Catholic Social Justice Lobby. The Reverend Lucia Guzman, the 2008 winner of the ACLU’s Carle Whitehead Memorial Award. The Black Liberation Theology advocate Leah Daughtry will be the MC of the event.

But for our purposes, the most intriguing guest speaker is Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America. As the Traditional Values Coalition notes:

The presence of Dr. Ingrid Mattson with ISNA at this DNC interfaith service should be of grave concern to American voters. The ISNA is a radical Islamist group that pretends to be moderate. TVC’s friend Frank Gaffney with the Center for Security Policy, recently posted a column about Obama’s Islamist Problem and described the radical background of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Gaffney notes that the ISNA is a creation of the Saudi-financed Muslim Students Association and is part of what’s known as the Muslim Brotherhood. According to documents entered into the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, the “work [of Brotherhood members] in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within, and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” FrontPageMagazine has more details on the ISNA.

Dr. Ingrid MattsonThis is Dr. Mattson’s speaker bio :

Dr. Ingrid Mattson is Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, CT. A native of Canada, Dr. Mattson has traveled the world and lived in Pakistan where she worked with Afghan refugee women. In 2001 she was elected Vice-President of ISNA and in 2006 she was elected President of the organization. Dr. Mattson is the first woman and the first convert to Islam to lead the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

However, there’s a little bit more to Dr. Mattson than meets the eye. As the TVC mentioned above, she’s connected via the ISNA and the MSA to the Muslim Brotherhood. And it turns out to be more than just a casual connection, since she has promoted the works of Sayyid Qutb in a course she teaches at Hartford Seminary.

As a service to all the delegates to the Democratic Convention, not to mention everyone who will watch it over the remote screens and on their TVs at home, I’m happy to present a white paper on Dr. Ingrid Mattson. It was compiled by Christine Brim of the Center for Security Policy, and it hoists the good doctor on the petard of her own words:
– – – – – – – –
Center for Security Policy Research Brief: August 23, 2008

Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America: In Her Own Words

1)   Mattson places loyalty to Islam before loyalty to the United States of America:

“If Muslim Americans are to participate in such a critique of American policy, however, they will only be effective if they do it, according to the Prophet’s words, in a “brotherly” fashion. This implies a high degree of loyalty and affection. This does not mean, however, that citizenship and religious community are identical commitments, nor that they demand the same kind of loyalty. People of faith have a certain kind of solidarity with others of their faith community that transcends the basic rights and duties of citizenship.

2)   Mattson on Americans defining themselves as an ethical nation:

“The first duty of Muslims in America, therefore, is to help shape American policies so they are in harmony with the essential values of this country. In the realm of foreign policy, this “idealistic” view has been out of fashion for some time. Indeed, the American Constitution, like foundational religious texts, can be read in many different ways. The true values of America are those which we decide to embrace as our own. There is no guarantee, therefore, that Americans will rise to the challenge of defining themselves as an ethical nation; nevertheless, given the success of domestic struggles for human dignity and rights in the twentieth century, we can be hopeful.”

3)   Mattson denies the existence of terrorist cells in the United States:

“There’s a prejudgment, a collective judgment of Muslims, and a suspicion that well “you may appear nice, but we know there are sleeper cells of Americans,” which of course is not true. There aren’t any sleeper cells.

4)   Mattson defends the extremist Wahhabi interpretation of Islam:

“CHAT PARTICIPANT: What can you tell us about the Wahhabi sect of Islam? Is it true that this is an extremely right wing sect founded and funded by the Saudi royal family, and led by Osama bin Ladin? What is the purpose of the Wahhabi?

“MATTSON: No it’s not true to characterize ‘Wahhabism’ that way. This is not a sect. It is the name of a reform movement that began 200 years ago to rid Islamic societies of cultural practices and rigid interpretation that had acquired over the centuries. It really was analogous to the European protestant reformation. Because the Wahhabi scholars became integrated into the Saudi state, there has been some difficulty keeping that particular interpretation of religion from being enforced too broadly on the population as a whole. However, the Saudi scholars who are Wahhabi have denounced terrorism and denounced in particular the acts of September 11. Those statements are available publicly.

“This question has arisen because last week there were a number of newspaper reports that were dealing with this. They raised the issue of the role of Saudi Arabia and the ideology there. Frankly, I think in a way it was a reaction to the attempts of many people to look for the roots of terrorism in misguided foreign policy. It’s not helpful, I believe, to create another broad category that that becomes the scapegoat for terrorism.”

5)   Mattson on the Islamic Caliphate:

“CHAT PARTICIPANT: Osama bin Laden made a reference that Muslims have been living in humiliation for 80 years. Did he refer to the Treaty of Sevres in 1920 that dismantled caliphates and sultanates?

“MATTSON: Yes, he is referring to that, to the overthrowing of the caliphate, which was a plan of European powers for many years. This deprived the Muslim world of a stable and centralized authority, and much of the chaos that we’re living in today is the result of that.

6)   Mattson teaches the Islamist extremists Sayyid Qutb and Syed Abu’l-’Ala Mawdudi in her course at Hartford Seminary — see the syllabus here.

Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Qur’an, translation of Fi Zilal al-Quran by M.A. Salahi and A.A. Shamis (Leicester, UK: Islamic Foundation, 1999), 355-372.

Syed Abu’l-’Ala Mawdudi, The Meaning of the Qur’an, translation of Tafhim al-Qur’an by Zafar Ishaq Ansari (Leicester, UK: The Islamic Foundation, 1993), v. 4, 75-107

7)   Mattson is quoted as praising Islamist extremist Mawdudi (aka Maududi):

“In response to another question, ‘Please suggest any comprehensive work of Tafseer (Qur’anic commentary) for us Muslim youth,’ she said, ‘There are different kinds of Tafseers. For e.g. there are ones that contain detailed interpretations of grammatical aspects of Qur’anic language. And there are others that serve to explain the general message of Qur’an, coupled with the experiences and insights of the author of the Tafseer. However, there aren’t really any Tafseers that combine the both aspects. So far, probably the best work of Tafseer in English is by Maulana Abul A’la Maududi.

[Background on Abdul ala Maududi here]

  • Maududi on jihad (Jihad in Islam, page 9): “Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a State on the basis of its own ideology and programme, regardless of which Nation assumes the role of the standard bearer of Islam or the rule of which nation is undermined in the process of the establishment of an ideological Islamic State. It must be evident to you from this discussion that the objective of Islamic ‘Jihad’ is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish in its stead an Islamic system of State rule. Islam does not intend to confine this revolution to a single State or a few countries; the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution.”
  • Maududi on denial of rights to non-Muslims (Jihad in Islam, page 28): “Islamic ‘Jihad’ does not recognize their right to administer State affairs according to a system which, in the view of Islam, is evil. Furthermore, Islamic ‘Jihad’ also refuses to admit their right to continue with such practices under an Islamic government which fatally affect the public interest from the viewpoint of Islam.”
  • Maududi on Shariah Law’s precedence over any other legal system (Islamic Law and Its Introduction, p. 13): That if an Islamic society consciously resolves not to accept the Sharia, and decides to enact its own constitution and laws or borrow them from any other source in disregard of the Sharia, such a society breaks its contract with God and forfeits its right to be called ‘Islamic.’“

8)   Although she recommends and teaches Abdul ala Maududi, who advocates violent jihad against non-Muslims (see above), Mattson is highly critical of Christians who make the factual statement that texts by Muslims support violent jihad against non-Muslims — and she equates Christian critics of violent jihad with Osama bin Laden, who wages violent jihad:

On critical statements by Christians about Muslims:

“These kinds of statements are really irresponsible, because they can lead to violence against ordinary people.

“…I don’t see any difference between that and al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden [using] Islamic theology to justify violence against Americans. What’s interesting is if you compare [their] statements about what Islam is and what Muslims believe, you’ll find they are almost identical, and I reject both interpretations — both the non-Muslims who are saying that Islam justifies violence against Christians and Jews, and the Muslims who are saying it. Certainly these statements have a very unnerving effect, especially when they continue, when more than one person says it.”

9)   Mattson is a traditionalist on Shariah law and the legitimacy of Shariah authorities:

“As a practicing Muslim, I believe that there is a core of fundamental beliefs and practices that distinguish authentic Islam from deviations. I also believe that apart from this essential core, the task of interpreting the application of Islamic norms to human society is an enormously complicated task, which inevitably leads to a broad range of opinion and practice. I agree with ‘Sunni’ Muslims, the majority of the Muslim community worldwide, that after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, no one has the right to claim infallibility in the interpretation of sacred law. At the same time, this does not mean that all opinions are equal, nor that everyone has the ability to interpret law. Without the intense study of Islamic texts and traditions under qualified scholars and without the presence of a stable Muslim community through which one can witness the wisdom of the living tradition, the chances of an ordinary believer arriving at a correct judgment about most legal issues are slim.

10)   Mattson is a leader in extremist efforts to censor the right to free speech in America and especially in the United States government:

Ingrid Mattson, the first woman president of the Islamic Society of North America, said Friday at the opening of the group’s 43rd annual convention that labeling terrorism as “Islamic” was not helpful to people of her faith.

“I’m convinced that it is not only inaccurate, but unhelpful. If our major concern is security, security of this country, this is a term that has very bad resonance in the Muslim majority world and makes us feel uncomfortable here,” Mattson said.

Bush and other Republicans have been using the term “Islamic fascism” in recent speeches. White House aides and outside Republican strategists have said the term is an attempt to more clearly identify the ideology that motivates many organized terrorist groups.

Mattson said her group would argue for a change in rhetoric away from “Islamic fascism.” U.S. officials are attending the meeting here, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England….

…..As an alternative to “Islamic fascism,” Mattson suggested the words “terrorism, crime, violence,” adding that she and other Muslims don’t understand why the label “Islamic” is included when Bush and other leaders talk about terrorism.

“The products that are coming from the Muslim world are not being called ‘Islamic products’ or ‘Islamic oil,’“ she said.”

11)   Mattson denies the actual state of women’s rights under Shariah law:

a)   [Transcribed: quote is in last few minutes]

“I believe that many Americans believe that Muslim women don’t have any rights in Islam. Perhaps they see images of Muslim women being oppressed in different parts of the Muslim world and believe that that is because of their religion. But in fact we know that Muslim women have the same rights as Muslim men and virtually all the same duties and obligations.

b)   From BeliefNet:

“One of the popular misconceptions about Islam is that women are seen as lesser figures, that they don’t have rights.

“This perception that women in Islam are oppressed is based both on misinformation as well as am amplification of certain unfortunate tendencies in some parts of the Muslim world. It’s true that people have seen some Muslim authorities using Islam as a justification for the oppression or suppression of women. That’s a reality, we can’t deny it. But we have to balance those incidents with what’s going on in the rest of the Muslim world, in which most women are participating in their societies. We’ve seen that within recent times four Muslim-majority nations have had female heads of state. In most countries that I’ve traveled to, Muslim women are involved in all aspects of society.

c)   From CNN:

“MATTSON: Muslim women have the same legal rights as Muslim men. The Prophet Mohammed’s wife was a businesswoman. In fact, he met her working for her as her agent. The legal rights of women were enshrined in Islamic law. However, cultural practices in many societies have prevented those rights from being enforced.”

12)   Mattson rationalizes the actions of the Taliban against women:

“CHAT PARTICIPANT: Does the Taliban place blame upon women for the weakness of men in their society? Is that why they place such restriction upon them?

“MATTSON: The Taliban place restrictions on everyone in their society, men and women. They’ve extended their authority over individuals far beyond traditional government in Afghanistan. In their minds, they are protecting women from other men by placing these restrictions on them.

13)   Like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Mattson condemns terrorism in general but avoids criticizing Hamas or Hezbollah:

“That can be frustrating. I want to also make sure people understand that although American Muslims do have a responsibility to clarify their views on terrorism and violence done in the name of Islam, we don’t have control over these situations. We don’t have some sort of magic power over all Muslims in the world.”

14)   Mattson is highly critical of Evangelical Christians:

“ ‘Right-wing Christians are very risky allies for American Jews,’ Mattson said, ‘because they [the Christians] are really anti-Semitic. They do not like Jews’ and enter into the alliance on the basis of fundamentalist beliefs that it would be desirable for all Jews to return to Israel. She suggested that fundamentalist Christians might turn against Jews or that there could be backlash from ordinary Americans against Jewish and fundamentalist Christian supporters of Israel.”

15)   Mattson is highly critical of Israel:

“The American government has not criticized sufficiently the brutality of the Israeli government, believing that it needs to be “supportive” of the Jewish state. The result is that oppression, left unchecked, can increase to immense proportions, until the oppressed are smothered with hopelessness and rage.”

16)   Mattson limits dialogue:

“Thus, it is not permitted for a Muslim to maintain a close friendship with a highly intelligent person who engages him or her in stimulating conversation, if that person continuously derides the sacred (Qur’an 5:57-58). Indeed, since preserving faith is the highest priority, it is important that Muslims avoid demoralizing dependence on other faith communities for their protection and material needs….Clearly there are groups among American Christians and Jews who are so hostile to Muslims that we should not join with them even in shared concerns, lest we lend any credibility to their organizations. There are many other groups within those communities, however, who are eager to work respectfully with Muslims to further just causes.”

17)   Mattson has been identified as an extremist by American Muslim reformers and moderates:

ISNA, which URJ has accepted, apparently uncritically, as a “partner,” has a long history of association with extremist trends in Islam. ISNA has served as a front group for Wahhabism, the official sect in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the jihadist ideologies originating in Pakistan with the writings of a certain Mawdudi and the Deoband schools in that country — the latter of which produced the Afghan Taliban, and the Ikhwan al-Muslimun, or Muslim Brotherhood.

Ingrid Mattson, president of ISNA, revealed the style of radical rhetoric with which the organization is saturated when, in addressing the URJ’s recent convention, she declared that in the current U.S. presidential primaries, “we see candidates being asked to prove that they comply with an ever narrower definition of what it means to be a Christian — forget about being a Muslim or a Jew.

This is an inexcusably irresponsible, inflammatory charge. Although Christian affiliations have been a topic among some presidential candidates, none has been compelled to “comply” with a Christian religious test and no such criterion is reasonably possible in the American electoral process.

Many Islamic mosque congregations, Sufi orders, and Muslim personalities have called for intelligent and sincere discussion with Jewish individuals and groups, to further interfaith civility and cooperation. This noble goal, to which we as Muslims are called by our revelation and our traditions, cannot be served by flattery toward groups like ISNA, in which radicals are camouflaged as moderates.

We therefore appeal to Rabbi Yoffie and other Jewish leaders to conduct a serious and thorough survey of the situation in Western Islam, identifying authentic moderates, and enabling them as interlocutors with Jews and other non-Muslims. We do not believe that ISNA qualifies for such a role. We fear that heedless acceptance of ISNA as an ally of URJ does harm to both our communities, by legitimizing a radicalism that, regardless of ISNA’s rhetorical claims, is fundamentally hostile to Jews and suppresses the intellectual and social development of Muslims.

  • Nawab Agha, president, American Muslim Congress
  • Omran Salman, director, Aafaq Foundation
  • Kemal Silay, president, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, executive director, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Salim Mansur, Canadian director, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Jalal Zuberi, Southern U.S. director, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Imaad Malik, fellow, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • M. Zuhdi Jasser, president, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
  • Sheikh Ahmed Subhy Mansour, president, International Quranic Center

6 thoughts on “DNC Interfaith Event Reaches Out to the Muslim Brotherhood

  1. This Mattson woman is a new acquaintance to me but one thing is for sure though after having read this article and that is that she is truly full of it.

  2. I can’t honestly say that this surprises me that the democrats would associate and give legitimacy to organizations who’s only goal for America is sharia.

    Let’s not forget, Islam and Socialism have a history of collaboration, the most notable example being Adolph Hitler and Haj Amin Al Husseini. (Let’s not forget that it was the KGB who gave Yasser Arafat and Ayman al Zawahri their training in terrorist activities.

    The Republicans, whatever their (many) faults, are at least not socialists(usually).

  3. Baron

    Good reporting.

    I did a little looking on the faith of the candidates.

    Senator McCains Faith

    Senator Obama’s Faith


    From Keith Pavlischek on First Things Blog.

    From the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
    Q. 14. What is sin?
    A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.

    From the Baltimore Catechism:
    Q. 278. What is actual sin?
    A. Actual sin is any willful thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the law of God.

    From Senator Obama:
    Q. Do you believe in sin?
    OBAMA: Yes.
    Q. What is sin?
    OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values.
    (Links on my post my Obama post linked above)

    A generic Catholic view is that sin is seperation from God. The Senator is saying sin is seperatd from himself. The senator is saying he is God?

    A generic reformed view would say sin is not being righteous in the eyes of God. The Senator is saying sin is being righteous in his own eyes or sin is not being Self Righteous?

    More likely the Reverend Wright should have given rather fewer sermons on politics and rather more on Bible Basics.

  4. Thank you for posting this analysis of Dr. Mattson. From it I surmise that some people are willing to bend over backwards to divine ill intent from her words and ideas in order to have their meaning comport with a pre-determined point of view.

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