A major Jewish organization does “Interfaith” with Muslim Brotherhood

Why did AJC join iwth ISNA if speakers at ISNA’s conventions routinely attack Israel and even refer to the Holocaust as justifiable punishment for the Jews?

Janet Levy

OpEds Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood

Despite antisemitism featuring prominently in Islamic doctrine and liberally disseminated and promoted by Islamic institutions and mosques throughout the United States, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) recently established a partnership with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).  It is troubling that this major Jewish organization would join hands with a known affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in an “interfaith” venture they say is meant to fight both antisemitism and anti-Muslim bias.

A growing problem in America, the recent rise of antisemitism can be traced back to 1991.  The FBI Hate Crimes Statistics Act report of 2018 revealed that in every single year since then, Jews and Jewish institutions were the primary target of religious hate crimes.  They represented nearly 60% of all victims of hate crime attacks compared to 14.5% against Muslims and 12.3% against Christians.  

Against this alarming backdrop of physical attacks, verbal attacks by Muslims fuel antisemitism.  In 2019, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a non-profit organization that monitors, analyzes and translates Arab and Muslim media content, monitored sermons by imams across America.  In a random sample of more than 100 U.S. imams, they found evidence of support for the global jihad and incitement to kill Jews.  Attempting to inform Jewish leaders, MEMRI founder Yigal Carmon took his disturbing findings to major American Jewish organizations.  Remarkably, Jewish leadership declined to act out of fear for their safety and concern over being accused of “Islamophobia.”

Investigative reporter and author of Infiltration:  How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington, Paul Sperry, cited several virulent examples of the call to American Muslims to attack Jews.  He described a Houston imam calling for Muslims to “fight the Jews;” a Raleigh, North Carolina imam invoking a Jew-killing hadith from the Koran; and a Garland, Texas imam beseeching Allah to “destroy the Zionists and their allies.”  In New Jersey, an imam prayed for the annihilation of the Jews, calling them “apes and pigs.”  An imam in Northern California called for the genocide of the Jews, accusing them of contaminating Muslim shrines with their “filth.”    

The sentiments expressed by Muslim clerics in America and beyond come directly from Islamic doctrine. Fully 9.3% of the Islamic trilogy, the three books that contain all of the doctrine of Islam – Koran, Sira, Hadith – espouse Jew hatred.  In Bukhari, (103/6, 2926), The Prophet said, “The hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, “O Muslim!  There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”  

In Koran 9:5, Muslims are instructed to “Fight the unbeliever wherever you find them and lie and wait for them in every stratagem of war.” The sins of Jews are depicted as so great in the Koran that they are transformed into apes: “They are those whom Allah has cast aside and on whom His wrath has fallen and of whom He has made some as apes and swine…” (Koran 5:60).  

Given this preponderance of antisemitism inherent in Islam and echoed in many American Islamic institutions, most particularly Muslim Brotherhood organizations, it was confounding that in 2016, the AJC, one of the oldest Jewish advocacy organizations with revenue of approximately $70 million, would partner with ISNA, the largest MB organization in the U.S., to create the Muslim Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC).

According to the AJC website, the ostensible mission of MJAC is to “develop and advocate a domestic policy agenda to protect and expand the rights of religious minorities,” to encourage “interreligious cooperation,” and “to reverse the rise in hate crimes” with particular references to neo-Nazi and white supremacist attacks on Jews and threats to mosques.  

Sorely missing was any mention of the problem of endemic Islamic antisemitism, the leading cause for antisemitism in America today, according to the Zionist Organization of America.  This “joint” venture is especially disturbing since speakers at ISNA’s conventions routinely attack Israel and even refer to the Holocaust as justifiable punishment for the Jews.  It is also curious that while the AJC’s website includes a glowing description of the alliance, ISNA’s website fails to mention it at all.  

Further, after the AJC announced MJAC’s formation, ISNA issued a “Clarification,” distancing the organization from AJC’s version of MJAC’s stated mission.  In it, ISNA affirmed its primary commitment to issues of concern to Muslims and most especially the “right of self-determination of Palestinians without fear of legal sanction.”  Such a statement obviates any possible appearance to fellow Muslims of abandoning the Muslim cause and also belies any attempts at true interfaith harmony, AJC’s stated objective for the organization.

It is hard to imagine how a prominent Jewish organization would so graciously welcome ISNA.  The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organization’s stated purpose and history has been well explicated in open sources and media reports from the Holy Land Foundation trial – in which ISNA was labeled by the FBI as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a criminal conspiracy to fund the terrorist group, Hamas. 

This brings AJC’s judgment into question, especially given clear evidence that antisemitism, not Islamophobia, is the true, serious problem in America.  In such an uneven playing field, why enter into a joint venture with a questionable Muslim organization?   Instead, AJC should focus resources on combating antisemitism by educating the public.  Since Jews are the targets of Muslims and not vice versa, this odd alliance begs the question, “Quo bono?”