In September, I wrote about the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops‘ [USCCB] endorsement of an ‘interfaith letter‘ that was co-signed by radical Wahhabists from the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA] and various representatives of the radical Religious Left. Real Muslim reformers like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser did not sign the statement addressing ‘anti-Muslim prejudice’. Cardinal McCarrick now acknowledges public criticism of the particular Muslims that the bishops have sought to make relationships with–and he is defending that relationship.
Have the bishops been duped? Or is the leftist political agenda really more important to them than protecting America from terrorism?
On Tuesday, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., testified before Democratic Senator Dick Durbin‘s committee hearing on the civil rights of Muslims. Though he acknowledged the existence of extremist ideology within Islam, he opted to characterize this ideology as being something different from “authentic Islam.”
Even more troubling, however, particularly for a Catholic like myself, was his insistence that criticisms of the radical Wahhabist theology of ISNA, the group selected for dialogue by the USCCB, are misplaced. He further mentioned the “common good,” a legitimate term in worldwide Catholicism but co-opted by the radical Left in America, in the context of dialogue with these particular Muslims.
In our pluralistic society, religious values and commitments are assets for the common good, not sources of division and conflict. Today we note with particular sadness that Muslim Americans with whom we have had a positive dialogue for over the decades have had their loyalty and beliefs questioned publicly in sweeping and uninformed ways. This compels us to reach out in solidarity and support of their dignity and rights as Americans and believers. We worry about the rhetoric and actions that target our Muslim neighbors and friends. Like our own historical experience, their very loyalty as Americans and traditions and values are being threatened.
According to terrorism expert Steven Emerson, ISNA “is a radical group hiding under a false veneer of moderation”; “convenes annual conferences where Islamist militants have been given a platform to incite violence and promote hatred” (for instance, al Qaeda supporter and PLO official Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi was invited to speak at an ISNA conference); has held fundraisers for terrorists (after Hamas leader Mousa Marzook was arrested and eventually deported in 1997, ISNA raised money for his defense); has condemned the U.S. government’s post-9/11 seizure of Hamas’ and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s financial assets; and publishes a bi-monthly magazine, Islamic Horizons, that “often champions militant Islamist doctrine.”
That is really just the tip of the iceberg. ISNA is the largest Muslim Brotherhood front group on the North American continent. Has Cardinal McCarrick read the Team B II Report, Sharia: The Threat to America?
Other, more contemporary affirmations of the Brotherhood’s commitment to stealth jihad can be found in the words of some of the Ikhwan’s most prominent operatives in America today. For example, Louay Safi, a leader of two Brotherhood fronts – the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), has declared that, “The principle of jihad obligates the Muslims to maintain and achieve these objectives [i.e., the triumph of Islam and the institution of the caliphate]. The best way to achieve these objectives and most appropriate method upholding the principle of jihad is, however, a question of leadership and strategy.”
ISNA‘s strategy of stealth jihad has found willing accomplices at the USCCB. Why not have dialogue with the American Islamic Forum for Democracy instead? Could it be because Dr. Jasser, the head of AIFD, is a conservative? Are the bishops really more concerned about the so-called “common good” policy agendas of the radical Left mentioned by Cardinal McCarrick in his testimony than they are about terrorism and stealth jihad?
As a faithful Catholic, it is difficult for me personally to imagine that our bishops would intentionally facilitate the stealth jihad of ISNA, but considering that I made their Wahhabist ideology clear way back in September, it is becoming more and more difficult for me to believe that the bishops have their heads on straight or their hearts in the right place.
I am very troubled by this, to say the least. This particular intention will be in my daily prayers until the bishops get their heads out of the sand.