A prominent Muslim leader in the United Kingdom with links to theMuslim Brotherhood estimates that half of the mosques in the West were founded by Brotherhood members. The Brotherhood presents itself as moderate, but it supports violent jihad and is the parent organization of Hamas.
The estimate was made by Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO of London-based Islamic Relief Worldwide, the world’s largest Muslim charity.
He was responding to his organization’s admitted Muslim Brotherhood origins and its designation as a terrorist entity by the United Arab Emirates and Israel. The Israeli government saysIslamic Relief Worldwide sends “millions” of dollars to Hamas every year.
“If this is a crime to have someone as a founder as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, they will have to close 50 percent of the mosques in the West because they also had founders from this group,” he said.
The Muslim Brotherhood is responsible for establishing the most powerful Islamic institutions in the West, though that does not mean that most Muslims or most mosque attendees subscribe to its Islamist ideology. Surveys consistently show that Muslim-Americans largely reject extremism, though a formidable minority remains committed to it.
A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo discusses how the group established a network of front organizations in America for “unifying and directing Muslims’ efforts” under an “an effective and a stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The Brotherhood hoped that its control of the main infrastructure would enable it to lead the growing community.
The struggle that followed is encapsulated in this 2004 Chicago Tribune story about Islamists taking control of the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Illinois. A 2003 St. Petersburg Timesarticle also reports on the Islamist challenges for the leaderships of mosques in Florida, California, Illinois, Texas and Arizona.
The Brotherhood’s purpose, as stated in the 1991 memo, is to wage “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 the believers…”
One of the organizations listed in the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo as a front for this purpose is the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), an organization that owns mosques across America. Its offices were raided in 2002 as part of a terrorism-financing investigation.
Its website says:
“Since NAIT’s founding, Muslim communities have entrusted the titles of over 325 properties in 42 States to NAIT. More are added every year. Market value of these Waqf [NAIT] properties is several hundred million dollars.”
Another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has said that NAIT owns about 27% of mosques in America. National security expert Dr. J. Michael Waller had a higher estimate of 50% to 79% of mosques being owned by NAIT.
NAIT’s status as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity was confirmed by federal prosecutors during the prosecution of another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity named the Holy Land Foundation. The Justice Department designated NAIT as an unindicted co-conspirator in that case.
NAIT’s designation as an unindicted co-conspirator was upheld in a2009 ruling because of “ample evidence” linking it to the Hamas-financing network of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. A NAIT bank account gave the checks for the “Palestinian mujahideen” to the Holy Land Foundation, which then distributed the funds to Hamas.
In the documentary The Grand Deception, former FBI special agent Robert Stauffer talks about taking part in an investigation into the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, including NAIT. He said that many millions of dollars were donated to NAIT from foreign countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran.
A declassified FBI document from 1987 summarizes intelligence provided by an informant inside the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood who adamantly stated that NAIT is a Brotherhood front with a “secret agenda” that includes supporting terrorism and a long-term Islamic revolution in America.
“[NAIT wants] all the mosques to be ideologically pure in their own Wahhabist line. They want to prevent others from having influence,”said Islamic scholar Khalid Duran.
There are also mosques and Islamic centers that are not technically owned by NAIT but are officially affiliated with other U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities.
Another significant problem within U.S. mosques is the widespread presence of radical literature. A 2011 survey of 100 U.S. mosques found that only 19% of mosques were completely absent of texts promoting violence, and only a mere 15.5% had imams who did notrecommend violent texts for studying. In addition, just 42% of mosques did not have guest speakers known for promoting violentjihad.
About 51% of U.S. mosques were found to have texts that “severely advocate” violent jihad, preaching that supporting it is an obligation of Muslims. Literature in this category includes texts like Milestonesby Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb and those by Jamaat-e-Islami founder Abdul Ala Maududi/Mawdudi.
About 30% of U.S. mosques were found to have texts that “moderately advocate” violence, such as Fiqh us-Sunnah by Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Sabiq and Tafsir Ibn Kathir.
This shocking number is substantiated by Sufi Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, the chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America. Kabbani has founded 28 Sufi Islamic centers in North America and is listed as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world.
In 1999, Kabbani said during an event at the State Department that 80% of U.S. mosques follow an extremist Saudi-sponsored form of Islam. He said that 90 of the 114 U.S. mosques he visited had a radical ideology.
A 2006 study by Freedom House likewise found that Saudi-sponsored extremist texts are widely present in U.S. mosques. The study was based on a survey of over 200 books from 15 major mosques in seven states.
Readers can learn about the Islamist mosques in their state through the Clarion Project’s Islamist Organizations in America page.
In addition, the following is an incomplete list of over 60 mosques and organizations known to be affiliated with NAIT and other U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); Muslim Students Association (MSA), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim American Society (MAS) and the now-defunct Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA).