Conference of the Islamic Council of New England
“Guiding Light: Defining the Future of Our Children as Muslim Youth in Western Societies”
University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth
April 27, 2002
(Profiled by Discover The Networks in April 2009)
On April 27, 2002 the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth presented a conference titled “Guiding Light: Defining the Future of Our Children as Muslim Youth in Western Societies,” with the goal of promoting “cultural diversity and pluralism” on the Dartmouth campus. The conference was sponsored by the Islamic Council of New England, and the featured speakers included the following professors, scholars, and activists:
Tariq Ramadan is a Swiss-born philosophy professor currently based in France. When speaking to Western audiences, Ramadan preaches an amicable message of unity and mutual respect. But to Arabic-speaking audiences, he vents his deep-seated hatred of the West and his endorsement of Wahhabism, the most extreme form of Islam. Moreover, Ramadan has numerous connections to fundamentalist Islamic militants and is suspected by U.S. intelligence agencies of maintaining ties with the terrorist group al Qaeda.
Ramadan's maternal grandfather was Hasan al-Banna, who in 1928 founded the Muslim Brotherhood. Ramadan's father, Said Ramadan, led the Brotherhood throughout the 1950s and then was exiled from Egypt to Switzerland, where Tariq was born in September 1962.
In February 2004 Ramadan was offered a tenured position as Luce Professor of Religion, Conflict, and Peace Building at the University of Notre Dame. Five months later, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revoked Ramadan's work visa, thereby preventing him from remaining in the United States. DHS spokesman Russ Knocke explained that the visa revocation was in accordance with a law which denies entry to foreigners who have used a "position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity." For details about that activity, click here.
Shahina Siddiqui is the Executive Director of the Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA) of the United States and Canada, a charitable organization which seeks “to promote awareness of the mental health, social welfare and general family issues impacting Muslims in particular and the larger Canadian society.”
Siddiqui also sits on the Advisory Board of the Canadian branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR is a civil rights group partially funded by Saudi Wahhabi establishment; the organization’s leadership has numerous ties to Islamic extremism and terrorism. Siddiqui is the author of the CAIR-distributed brochure titled Women Friendly Mosques and Community Centers: Working Together to Reclaim Our Heritage. In that publication, Siddiqui says the “project would not have been possible” without the “expertise, feedback and support” of Amina McCloud, Zaid Shakir, and Jamal Badawi. In 2004 Badawi issued a fatwa for IslamOnline, outlining six different circumstances under which a wife may properly be beaten when she “persists in bad habits.”
In 1997 Siddiqui served as a co-director of an “Educational Retreat” held at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. Also helping to direct the event was Siraj Wahhaj, who was named as a possible co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Siddiqui has served as a columnist for both the Winnipeg Sun and Calgary Sun. In November, 2000 she penned a piece titled "No Peace in Islam Without Justice" in which she decried the alleged maltreatment of Muslims in both the Middle East and Canada:“The recent events in the Middle East have once again made the Muslim community in Canada vulnerable to anti-Islam propaganda and Islam-phobic stereo typing. While the Palestinians find themselves under siege by the Israeli army, the Muslims in Canada are also besieged by the religious bigotry being presented mostly in the print media.”In the same piece, Siddiqui justified Palestinian rage as the obvious result of Israeli tyranny; she denounced the partitioning of land between Israeli Jews and Palestinians:“The anger of the Palestinians is a natural consequence of years of persecution and oppression. The Palestinians feel alone and desperate since they perceive the world community to be oblivious to their pain and suffering... Every door has been shut in their face and every avenue to reach a just resolution has been compromised by political and economic interests. When, to appease the Israeli extremist, we turn a blind eye to the illegal settlements being established on confiscated Palestinian land, and when we insist that they agree to 90% of 20% of their land as a generous offer we must take a moment to reflect would this be good enough for us?”In February 2004 Siddiqui filed a complaint of racism with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission against the Jewish service organization, B'nai Brith Canada. The complaint stemmed from the fact that B'nai Brith had co-sponsored a conference for law-enforcement and emergency personnel in which Muslims were (in Siddiqui’s opinion) unfairly maligned as being prone to engage in terrorism. Siddiqui did not attend the conference but relied on reports from unnamed sources.Abdur Raheem Green
A British convert to Islam, Abdur Raheem Green is an Islamic lecturer and co-director of the public relations firm Green & Chambers Consulting, a Muslim-community-based “social enterprise created to … provide organizations with holistic outsourced business solutions in Branding and Design, Marketing, Fundraising and Public Relations.”
Green insists that he is a moderate, though he was once quoted as saying: "Islam teaches its followers to seek death on the battle field, [and] dying whilst fighting jihad is one of the surest ways to paradise and Allah's good pleasure." He also had asserted that Muslims and Westerners “cannot live peaceably together.” For having made these statements, Green has been placed on an international no-fly list and his travels have been restricted.
In August 2005 Green was scheduled to speak at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, but the talk was cancelled when it was learned that he had been refused entry to Brisbane, Australia for a one-hour layover.
Green has said that “jihad is one of the surest ways to paradise and Allah's good pleasure.” He also has openly condemned Christianity and has stated that non-Muslim Australians are “evil people.”
Ingrid Mattson is President of the Islamic Society of North America's (ISNA) United States office. She is also a professor at the MacDonald Center for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, where she serves as Director of Islamic Chaplaincy.
In a talk she delivered at a 2000 ISNA Conference in Canada, Mattson lauded the work of Islamic revivalist and jihadist Maulana Abul A'la Maududi, an author who had written, approvingly, in his 1980 book Jihad in Islam:“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 … 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.”In 2001 Mattson was elected Vice President of ISNA; five years later she became President.
At an October 2001 open forum sponsored by CNN, Mattson was asked by a participant to comment on Wahhabism, an extreme and intolerant form of Islam with myriad ties to Saudi Arabia and Islamic terrorism. Mattson responded:“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…. [T]he Saudi scholars who are Wahhabi have denounced terrorism and denounced in particular the acts of September 11.”In 2002 Mattson authored a chapter, titled "Stopping Oppression: an Islamic Obligation," in the book September 11: Religious Perspectives on the Causes and Consequences. She wrote:“Muslims perceive that Israeli aggression against Palestinians continues without American sanction; indeed, enormous financial and military support for Israel has continued. It seems that any Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation is termed 'terrorism,' and is responded to with overwhelming force. The result is the Palestinians themselves are increasingly showing less restraint in the force they employ to defend their families and lands.”In a September 2002 interview with PBS, Mattson stated that she did not see "any difference" between Christian leaders criticizing Islam or al Qaeda on the one hand, and Osama bin Laden citing "Islamic theology to justify violence against Americans" on the other. That is, she believed that the Christians were inciting terrorism in a manner not unlike bin Laden.
At the opening of ISNA's 43rd annual convention in 2006, Mattson expressed her dismay that the phrase "Islamic terrorism" had gained such wide popular currency. "I'm convinced that it is not only inaccurate, but unhelpful," Mattson said, suggesting that U.S. officials should simply refer to "terrorism, crime, [or] violence," with no mention of any religious connection.
In a 2007 interview with the Baltimore Sun, Mattson complained that Americans were unduly judgmental of Muslims generally, and that their fear of Islamic terrorism had been blown out of all proportion: "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."
Mattson formerly served (along with ISNA's past President Muzammil Siddiqi) on the Board of Trustees of the North American Islamic Trust, which has had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and the now-defunct Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.