September 1, 2008

Exclusive: When It Comes to Islamism, the DNC Still Doesn’t Get It



Last week’s opening festivities at the Democrat National Convention in Denver began with an interfaith prayer. As the Democrat Party searches for its newfound interest in faith, it quickly called upon one of the lowest hanging fruit in the American Muslim community – the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Ingrid Mattson, the President of ISNA gave a speech along with Adbur-Rahim Ali of the Northeast Denver Islamic Center. Some may dismiss the selection of nine speakers of faith at the political shindig as irrelevant and simply part of the pomp and circumstance of the DNC Convention.
But propping up ISNA in today’s environment is akin to propping up the Legal Guild (a ‘60s Communist front group) to address the convention during the Cold War. Our civil servants will verify that they have prevented over 30 attacks by militant Islamists upon our nation and our citizens since 9/11. The only ideology that unites the groups set upon our destruction is not violence. It is political Islam – their Islamism. Unless we identify both violent and non-violent political Islam as a root cause of terrorism we will never win this conflict. Militant Islamists, much as non-militant Islamists, seek some form of a transnational Muslim, political movement. They both seek various forms of the ascendancy of Islam with respect to other religions culminating in the establishment of Islamic states.
It is not enough to condemn terrorism for politically active Muslims to be “friends of American security interests” or pillars of the representation of ‘spiritual’ Islam. If Muslim organizations are to be lifted up as ‘friends of government,’ they, at the minimum, need to share a common vision of ideal governance – that of a secular liberal democracy. It is against American interests and certainly an obstacle in the work of all anti-Islamist Muslims for the American establishment to lift up Islamists, manifestations of political Islam, as representatives of Muslims and especially as representatives of “non-political” Islam. ISNA is without question patently political. I would defy anyone to find evidence of its rejection of the ideology of Islamism and similarly its defense of the ideology of the secular liberal democracy in the writings and public work of any of its leaders. To do this ISNA would have to sponsor and distribute intellectual work against the foundations of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sayyid Qutb, Sayyid Al-Mawdudi, and Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. Not only do they not do this, the vast majority of the other imams, books, and tapes they promote all derive their ideology from the same Salafist political mindset.

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