The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is a Muslim Brotherhood-inspired group which declares as its mission “to be an exemplary and unifying Islamic organization in North America” and to “advance the cause of Islam in North America.” Well-funded, in part by donations from the Emir of Qatar and other elements in the Persian Gulf, ISNA not only has become an interlocutor with the White House despite its status as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror finance case, but goes so far as to claim to be the credentialing organization for American imams, including Muslim chaplains serving in the U.S. military.
Over Labor Day weekend, ISNA sponsored its annual conference in Washington, DC. Among its featured speakers was Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic Studies at the George Washington University, who addressed a panel titled, “Interweaving Religion & Life in a Moral Society.” ISNA’s choice of Nasr to promote a moral society is deeply troubling. In October 2009, Nasr attended a reception at the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Interest Section in Washington, D.C. The Iranian press published an account of his comments there:
Before the revolution all the chairs in Islamic studies were taken by the Jews and that now all the Shi’a studies chairs are taken over by the Bahai’s! Before the revolution I used my position to send professors from Iran to take over such chairs and I am pursuing the same goal today… Since I have access to the Dean of the George Washington University I have the opportunity to establish a chair in Shi’a studies and the preliminary phase of the course is also ready and I only need financial assistance from Iran in order to support the chair. If this does not happen before I become a pensioner this opportunity will be lost.
The Muslim Brotherhood has many differences with the Islamic Republic of Iran and Shi’ites in general. However, their invitation of Nasr shows that for ISNA, anti-Semitism and anti-Baha’i sentiment can be the ties that bind. So much for a moral society, but nevertheless insight into the values ISNA promotes in practice.