The charitable wing of a major
American Muslim organization is promoting donations to
extremist causes, undercutting a nationwide campaign to
improve its image. The website link from the Islamic
Circle of North America (ICNA) Relief division hints at
deeper connections to extremism and terror, both by the
charitable branch and by its parent organization.
ICNA's self-proclaimed goal is "to communicate the
message of Islam to the society at large" and
"also to initiate change in the social and political
spheres [of American society] in light of the principles
of the noble Qur'an," according to the group's 2020
"The future of Dawah [proselytizing] in this society
is directly linked with the ability of ICNA's membership
to communicate the message of Islam to the society at
large," it explains. Over time, the group encourages
"moving to the next level of Dawah, aimed towards
the movers and shakers of the society."
In addition, the terminology of "making Islam
supreme" is a constant theme throughout ICNA's
indoctrination programs. A 2008 presentation on the ICNA
Southern California website explains the "goal of
the Islamic Call" as the "extermination of
pre-Islamic traditions or Jahaliya [ignorant ways of
life]" and "mak[ing] Islam the predominant way
of life" on earth.
The link on ICNA Relief's page promotes these sentiments
even further, explaining that charity should be spent to
further violent causes.
"Thus, we are told, there are two ways we can lead
our lives. One is the way of God
To walk on this
path, you must generously help your brothers and support
Jihad out of whatever resources God in His bounty and
wisdom has given you," Maududi wrote in the section
ICNA Relief links readers. "The other is the Satanic
way: apparently full of benefits, but in reality it leads
to ruin. The hallmark of this way of life is worshipping
money and amassing wealth at the expense of all other
Open support for terrorist causes was available on the
websites of regional ICNA branches, even after 9/11. As
late as November 2002, the ICNA Southeast Zone website
linked to the websites of Hamas, Hizballah, and terrorist
organizations fighting in Chechnya, Afghanistan, and the
Pakistani-Indian disputed region of Kashmir. Among its
short list of recommended Islamic charities was the
Islamic Society in Gaza, which openly touted its
connections to Hamas.
The group's magazines and conferences similarly promote
connections to violent jihad and terrorist organizations
going back dozens of years.
An article in the October 1995 edition of ICNA's The
Message Magazine features an interview with ICNA Relief
director Tariqur Rehman about the crisis in Bosnia.
Rehman describes how he "witnessed first hand"
the religious progress of Bosnian army and mujahideen,
and notes how they needed "weapons, heavy
weapons." Although the United States fought against
the Serbian genocide of the Bosnians, it cracked down on
Islamic charity Benevolence International Foundation for
supplying Islamist warriors fighting there.
Al-Qaida-linked mujahideen used Bosnia as a training
base, exporting fighters who would take bring jihad back
to their home countries, including battling in Iraq
against American forces.