The FBI is cooperating with a U.S. Muslim group recently linked to global extremists and is asking the group to provide “cultural training” for its special agents, according to a Senate Judiciary Committee report.
The FBI’s “Muslim outreach” community program included talks with the vice president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) about cooperating with the FBI, according to a report recently made public that contains written answers to questions posed by committee members.
The FBI as of June was seeking ISNA’s help to “schedule tours and cultural training for FBI [special agents] at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center, and to coordinate the introduction of the community executive seminar training program to the local organizations by the national leaders,” the FBI stated in the report.
ISNA was recently identified as part of the Muslim Brotherhood organization in a document submitted into evidence at the federal terrorism trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a group facing charges of illegally funding the Hamas terrorist group.
Disclosure of the FBI link to ISNA comes amid congressional opposition to the Justice Department’s participation in an ISNA conference held over Labor Day weekend. Two members of Congress urged the department in a letter not to attend the conference to avoid lending credibility to a group linked to extremists. The department ignored the request.
Reps. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, and Sue Myrick, North Carolina Republican, stated in a letter to the Justice Department that ISNA should not be legitimized by Justice’s participation in the conference, because of ISNA’s “extremist origins.”
An FBI spokesman had no comment.
According to the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document, ISNA is among 29 organizations in the Muslim Brotherhood, an international Sunni extremist group that supports global Islamist “jihad” but publicly says it opposes the use of violence.
The memo stated that the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in organizing in North America is that its work is “a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within, and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
Suzanne Smith, an ISNA official, said the group opposes terrorism. She said she is not aware of the Holy Land Foundation trial document on the Muslim Brotherhood.
“We have spoken against any kind of terrorism, including Hamas,” she said.
Steven Emerson, a domestic counterterrorism specialist, said the FBI held previous talks with ISNA Vice President Mohammad Magid, imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, a Virginia mosque that has been linked to Islamist literature by the group Freedom House.
“The FBI leadership has been repeatedly warned about getting in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood, not only by outsiders but insiders as well,” Mr. Emerson said. “But they persist in legitimizing branches of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Stephen Coughlin, a counterterrorism analyst on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, recently stated in a memorandum that the 1991 document identifies ISNA as an element of the Muslim Brotherhood.
U.S. government outreach efforts to such groups can undermine domestic counterterrorism efforts and “lead to potential for embarrassment for the [U.S. government] and legitimize threat organizations by providing them domestic sanctuary,” he stated.