Influence: The Muslim Brotherhood in America

ICNA-MAS in Retreat

In the wake of violence, looting, and riots that swept across Baltimore, Maryland the night of 25 April 2015, Muslim Brotherhood supporters from thirty-eight states gathered in this virtual ghost town over a bloody Memorial Day weekend during which twenty-nine people were shot, including nine reported homicides. While the residents of Baltimore were reeling from their … Continue reading "ICNA-MAS in Retreat"

BY Secure Freedom · | June 5, 2015

In the wake of violence, looting, and riots that swept across Baltimore, Maryland the night of 25 April 2015, Muslim Brotherhood supporters from thirty-eight states gathered in this virtual ghost town over a bloody Memorial Day weekend during which twenty-nine people were shot, including nine reported homicides. While the residents of Baltimore were reeling from their deadliest month since 1999, the 40th Annual Islamic Circle of North America-Muslim American Society Convention revealed that Muslim Brotherhood leadership is also in crisis mode following jihadist attacks against free speech in Copenhagen, Denmark, Paris, France, and Garland, Texas, compounded by a litany of savage brutality from the Islamic State’s campaign to conquer and subjugate in the name of a new Caliphate. Atypical of past Muslim Brotherhood conventions, this most recent ICNA-MAS convention’s almost despondent tone seemed surreal, while confusion emanated from an uncharacteristically subdued leadership, which completely overhauled the convention’s theme at the last minute. Facing an identity crisis and public relations debacle, thanks to jihadist rampages at home and abroad, ICNA-MAS tried hard to send a convincing message of love and peace to non-Muslim Americans. Nevertheless, relentless pressure from Americans both Muslim and non-Muslim, newly-awakened to the shocking reality of Islamic rampages as well as the frightening closeness of Muslim blasphemy code enforcers, clearly took its toll on this conference.

Even the U.S. Brotherhood could not escape the stark reality that Islamophobia is real, it’s reasonable, and it’s spreading with every new beheading, crucifixion, execution, and jihad assault flashing across our screens. The Memorial Day 2015 Baltimore ICNA-MAS conference didn’t change its programming because its leadership disapproves of the jihad assault wave: it changed it because Islamophobes are multiplying, denouncing the jihad narrative, and turning against all who are perceived to support the Global Jihad Movement. And that includes ICNA-MAS.




Announcements to Passersby of Muslim Brotherhood Convention

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ICNA-MAS at Baltimore Convention Center

In a message (shown below) to ICNA-MAS convention attendees, ICNA President Naeem Baig stated in the program book that the theme “was not the one that we had initially decided. The incident in France made us rethink and we felt obligated to talk about the Prophet of Allah the way we feel about him.” The end result was that convention attendees were presented with a lackluster program, poorly designed stage set in the main hall, and uncharacteristically muted, scripted speakers unable to express what they really thought about Islamophobes in the U.S. and around the world who have witnessed the sharia offensive being waged against both Muslims and non-Muslims. Additionally, the Muslim audience must have been confused by the expropriated Christian themes and theatrics employed by convention speakers, including a prancing Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who imitated the preaching style and antics of the fraudulent faith healer, televangelist types seen on late night television as he tried to cajole financial donations out of an obviously disinterested audience. The entire performance seemed stilted and staged.


ICNA President Naeem Baig’s Message to Convention Attendees

When U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) Secretary General Oussama Jammal addressed a delayed 40th Annual ICNA-MAS Convention’s opening session on May 23 in the main hall, he was met by a distinct lack of enthusiasm that echoed from attendees’ halfhearted cries of “takbir, allahu akbar”, as many of the approximately 2,000 seats remained empty. Following its self-described ‘success’ with the first ever national Muslim Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill on 13 April 2015, the USCMO had nearly a zero presence at this ICNA-MAS event, where it couldn’t even muster a single intern to staff its exhibit hall table for a mere two days. Instead, the USCMO’s bare, small table in a poorly lit area remained unmanned and had none of its own literature or contact information available to interested attendees—had there been any. Where was the mighty USCMO of 2014? Islamophobes frighten them all off?


USCMO Exhibit at ICNA-MAS Convention

At the kickoff session for a weekend that included a service day on May 24 featuring implicit messaging aimed at co-opting African-Americans by playing on victimhood and social justice themes, there was not even one official representative from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Maryland state officials, or Congressmen André Carson and Keith Ellison to convey a welcoming message. Muslim Brotherhood leadership did make clear, however, that Islam is the solution for the problems in Black America. Strangely, though, the much flaunted interfaith relationships of the Muslim Brotherhood and its interfaith partners were evident only by their complete absence during the main sessions as well as in the exhibitor hall. In their place, an interfaith dinner by invitation only was held in a private room, which conflicted with the time of the keynote session in the main hall that same day.


Main Session Hall for ICNA-MAS at Baltimore Convention Center


Exhibitor Hall for ICNA-MAS at Baltimore Convention Center

Instead of the upbeat music and dynamic multimedia normally used to inspire the audience at such conventions, here the organizers and speakers were clearly on the defensive regarding Islam, even while trying their best to avoid such an appearance, while presenting an over-inflated stream of adulation for their prophet and what he should mean to America. Overall, the tone from the speakers was unsettling, in large part because it came across as disingenuous in the desperation of repeated pleas that non-Muslim Americans be convinced to understand the beautiful, peaceful virtues of the Muslims’ gentle, loving prophet. In the final analysis, it had to be wondered if even the audience in attendance believed all the hype or shared any confidence they would be capable of conveying such messages to the Islamophobes.

The 2015 ICNA-MAS convention organizers made a valiant attempt to livestream main hall sessions to non-Muslim Americans and assorted Islamophobes, all doubtless glued to their computer screens; however, technical glitches plagued their efforts throughout the Memorial Day weekend. Main hall sessions sometimes started with delays and/or speakers not beginning on time. Sessions in small breakout rooms scattered throughout the convention center often experienced problems with starting on time and frequently were missing moderators and/or speakers. Attendees appeared to be disconnected, disinterested, and generally unenthusiastic. Some simply fell asleep in their seats. It was not an uncommon sight for attendees to arrive late and leave before the end of scheduled presentations. On the Facebook events page for the 2015 ICNA-MAS Convention, one attendee noted his deep disappointment about the overall lack of organization for the weekend.


Screenshot of Attendee’s Comments on 2015 ICNA-MAS Convention Facebook Page

Not once during the Memorial Day weekend did Muslim Brotherhood leadership acknowledge the ultimate sacrifices made by Americans to defend and preserve freedoms in this country, much less memorialize Muslims in the U.S. military who lost their lives in defense of the nation. Tariq Ramadan emphatically stated in December 2012, “So this is why Muslims when they say we are at home should institutionalize the presence in the country…We are at home, show it! Not show it with what you say, show it with the institutions you have in this country – institutionalize the Muslim presence as Americans.” The messaging at this 2015 ICNA-MAS convention in Baltimore, however, bore little resemblance to Ramadan’s words. Instead, Muslims were told that there is no Americanized Islam, and that while Muslims are not guests in America, Muslims are still strangers in the land. There were no U.S. flags on display anywhere throughout the entire convention center rooms, exhibitor/vendor area, or on the main stage. Stage lighting almost studiously avoided any red, white, and blue themes.

Throughout the weekend, the Muslim Brotherhood bemoaned its lack of funding for programs to combat Islamophobia and failure to establish a think tank in Washington, DC and national television station to teach Americans about Islam. As illustrated in the following screen image shown during a session addressing the power of the media, when facing up to the unwelcome truth among its own, the Muslim Brotherhood acknowledges the stubborn ability of the average Islamophobe who obstinately continues to resist the allure of shariah.


Power of the Media ICNA-MAS Convention Session

In sum, this was a convention that started on a decrescendo and descended from there. Even Brother Mazen Mohktar was unable to inspire the faithful in a mostly empty main hall during the closing session on Memorial Day Monday. This 40th annual ICNA-MAS convention limped dejectedly to an uninspiring conclusion, apparently done in by a nefarious, if unlikely, combination of jihadis and Islamophobes.


Conclusion of ICNA-MAS Convention on Memorial Day


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