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2012 US Islamic World Forum Doha, QatarIn our June NER Article, "Does Muslim Blasphemy Trump Free Speech in America?", we drew attention to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) influence penetrating state government in Tennessee aided by elements of the US Department of Justice. We had also tied this development by US outreach to the virtual Caliphate of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). That began with exchange of envoys in 2007 under the Bush Administration and diplomatic initiatives of the State Department. We had revealed in other articles US dalliance with the MB that began in the Eisenhower era. There was a meeting in the Oval Office in 1953 with Dr. Said Ramadan, son-in-law of the MB founder Hassan al Banna and father of Professor Tariq Ramadan.
What surprised us was how rapidly these relationships with the MB have risen under the Obama Administration. That began with the Ankara visit in April 2009 and the Muslim outreach “new beginnings” speech at Al Azhar University in Cairo, June 2009. Following the Cairo, a new positionwas created at the State Department for a Special Representative to Muslim Communities held since July 2009 by Kashmiri- born Muslim, Farah Pandith, a graduate of both Smith College and the Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. What followed in early 2010 was the appointment of a new envoy to the OIC, Rashad Hussain, former White House Deputy Counsel, a Texas Muslim of émigré Indian parents.
Those keystone events marked the official ramping up of relations and funding of MB programs both here and in the countries of the Arab Spring. Some of these initiatives have been in consort with fundamentalist regimes like Qatar. Qatar had given sanctuary for over two decades to MB Egyptian anti-Semitic preacher, Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who returned triumphantly to the acclaim of thousands of Egyptian followers who jammed Tahrir Square in February 2011. This spring we had the visit of an Egyptian MB delegation to the National Security Council followed by announcement of more than $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt bolstering the position of MB Presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi . Morsi is a US trained engineer facing a runoff election on June 16th and 17th, against Mubarak’s former Egyptian Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafik.
The 2012 US –World Islamic Forum sponsored by the Brookings Institution met in Doha, Qatar from May 28th to 31st. The meeting displayed deepening commitments to the MB both here in the US and in several Arab Spring countries; Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen. As we shall see State Department Muslim diplomatic appointees and National Security Council officials mingled freely with OIC , MB leaders in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region and leaders of MB front groups in the US. OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu gave one of the keynote speeches at a reception the group sponsored at the Doha meeting. The Annual Muslim outreach forum is co-sponsored by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy of the Brookings Institution and the Qatar emirate.
The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report noted who attended this event:
• Suleiman Abdel Qadir (Former General Observer, Muslim Brotherhood, Libya)
• Rachid Ghannouchi (head of Enahda, the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia)
• Esam al-Haddad (Foreign Relations Committee Officer, Freedom and Justice Party, Egypt)
• Mohamed Gaair (Senior Official, Muslim Brotherhood Libya).
• Tariq Ramadan ( grandson of the founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood).
• Awakkol Karman (2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, Islah Party- Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen)
The U.S. MB representatives:
• Sherman Jackson (ISNA)
• Mohamed Magid (ISNA)
• Radwan Masmoudi (Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy)
• Nihad Awad, the leader of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Federal Dallas Holy Land Foundation Trial along with ISNA. Awad was there to discuss Zakat - Islamic Charity, one purpose of which is for the ‘way of Allah’, Jihad.
Also participating in the Forum were the following individuals either part of or close to the U.S. government:
• Steven Simon (Senior Director, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), National Security Council, White House)
• Farah Pandith (Special Representative to Muslim Communities, U.S. Department of State)
• Rachid Hussain (U.S. envoy to the OIC, history of ties to U.S. Muslim Brotherhood)
• Dalia Mogahed, (Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, close to U.S. Muslim Brotherhood)
• Emile Nakhleh (former head of CIA Political Islam program).
Ms. Pandith of the State Department painted a glowing picture of the Obama Administration commitments to the Muslim Ummah. Note this from a Gulf Times report:
Farah Pandith, Special Representative to Muslim Communities, US Department of State, has worked for both the Bush and the Obama administration, with an experience representing different chapters in American history in terms of what’s happening around the world.
What is very clear is that President Obama, from the very beginning, on the steps of the Capitol, spoke very clearly in his inauguration address to Muslims and said that he wanted to begin again – they wanted to create a new opportunity to build relationships. That’s historic, that’s never happened before, that a president would use that moment to do that.
[. . .]
Another focus is on “the importance of a global approach to Muslim communities around the world – that there is no monolith, there isn’t just one brand of a kind of Muslim, that we give dignity to a Muslim voice in Australia, Sweden, Nepal, Egypt, Jordan.
The prize for rapprochement by a US Official at this gathering goes to Deputy US National Security Advisor, Denis McDonough. We have written about the efforts of McDonough and his superior Thomas Donilon in fomenting a crisis with the Netanyahu government in Israel over intelligence issues on the Iranian nuclear threat.
McDonough’s remarks at the Doha World Islamic Forum include his recognition of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) President Imam Mohammed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in northern Virginia and how he places his home state of Minnesota as the anchor of the Ummah in America that stretches across the globe to the Indonesian archipelago:
I also want to mention a few distinguished guests in the audience. Rashad Hussein, we are grateful for all your incredible work to strengthen the ties between the United States and the Islamic world. I would also like to acknowledge Imam Magid, a fine scholar and a great advocate for tolerance and ecumenism.
When the Amir visited President Obama last spring in Washington, the President was impressed with his leadership on regional issues like Syria and Libya. Doha is at the geographic crossroads of the Islamic world, which stretches from Marrakesh to Kuala Lumpur. In the United States, we’re proud to be home to more than 3 million Muslims – so perhaps I should say that the Muslim world stretches from Minneapolis, in my home state of Minnesota, which is represented in the U.S. Congress by a Muslim American Congressman, to Kuala Lumpur.
Then McDonough affirms the support of the Obama Administration for the revolution of the Arab Spring:
First, history will show that we stood on the side of change from the beginning of these events. We embraced the transformation in Tunisia. We sided with the aspirations of citizens on the streets in Egypt, even though the United States knew very well the leader that wasoverthrown, because we believe Egypt is made stronger by electing a government that is responsive to its people. We led an intervention to protect the Libyan people. We worked diligently, for months – literally months – to support the transition of power that has taken place in Yemen. And in countries like Bahrain, which I just visited, Morocco and Jordan, we have been advocates for reform. And in Syria, we stand for the dignity of the Syrian people, who deserve a new government that represents its citizens instead of killing them.
McDonough then goes on to reiterate the Obama position in support of multilateralism.
Problem is that the Obama Administration and its allies in Qatar, the Wahhabist Saudis, Islamist Turkey and the Amir of Qatar are fostering a lopsided MB insurgency against the Assad Regime in Damascus. This while derogating the minority rights of Kurds, Druze, Christians, and non-regime Alawites, together with secular Sunnis who could represent the formation of a federal democratic republic.
Professor Barry Rubin compared what is happening in to what occurred during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930’s:
Yet the democratic outside world is, for all practical purposes, standing passive. The Iranian regime is helping one side with huge amounts of money and arms, as Nazi Germany did for the Franco forces; the Turkish regime and the Saudis are helping the other side a bit, but giving disproportionate assistance to the Muslim Brotherhood, like the USSR gave to the Communists in Spain. Indeed, U.S. policy is aiding the Brotherhood, too.
Nobody is helping the moderate pro-democracy people; the Druze and Kurdish communal nationalists; and the technocratic military officers who have put their lives on the line to fight the dictatorship.
Watch this You Tube Video of Deputy National Security Advisor, Denis McDonough at the 2012 US World Islamic Forum in Doha Qatar.