While President Obama and his administration continue to insist that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, a prominent Islamic institute headquartered in Jordan puts ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on its annual list of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims along with Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Nihad Awad and U.S. Reps. Andre Carson, D-Ind., and Keith Ellison, D-Minn.
“Note that the impact can be either positive or negative, depending on one’s point of view of course,” explains the publication’s introduction. “The selection of people for this publication in no way means that we endorse their views; rather we are simply trying to measure their influence.”
Obama, however, has declared on several occasions that the Islamic State founded and led by Baghdadi is “not Islamic,” stating in a Sept. 10, 2014, prime-time speech that it’s “a terrorist organization, pure and simple, and it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.”
While Baghdadi is listed along with al-Qaida leader Ayman Al Zawahiri and others in the “Extremist” category – one of 13 categories in the “Muslim 500” – many on the overall list are widely regarded around the world as extremist based on their advocacy of violence in the name of Islam or their association with terrorist organizations.
In the category of “Preachers & Spiritual Guides,” for example, is Siraj Wahhaj, who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The radical Brooklyn imam was close to convicted terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and defended him during his trial.
The Muslim 500 gave an honorable mention to Ingrid Mattson, director of the Islamic Society of North America, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Texas case that found the Holy Land guilty of raising money for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
ISNA was named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” as one of the Brotherhood’s likeminded “organizations of our friends” who shared the common goal of “destroying Western Civilization from within” and turning the U.S. into a Muslim nation under Shariah, or Islamic law.
Among the political leaders in the Muslim 500 are Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the hardline leader who initiated a sweeping crackdown in response to a failed coup attempt in July.
WND reported in 2012, however, Abedin’s personal and family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and a prominent al-Qaida ally.
Abedin was listed as an assistant editor for 12 years of a journal published by an Islamic institute co-founded by her father focused on how Muslims should conduct themselves under Islamic law in non-Muslim lands for the purpose of spreading Islam.
VIDEO: FROM RADICAL MUSLIM JOURNAL TO CLINTON JOB
Another co-founder of her father’s Institute for Minority Affairs was Abdullah Naseef, former director of the Muslim World League and founder of Rabita Trust, which was designated as a terrorist organization by the George W. Bush administration and is reputed to have funded al-Qaida. Abedin’s mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, is the editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs and a member of the Muslim Sisterhood, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
FBI wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case showed Awad was at an October 1993 meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in Philadelphia.
CAIR, according to the evidence, was born out of a need to give a “media twinkle” to the Muslim leaders’ agenda of supporting violent jihad abroad while slowly institutionalizing Islamic law in the U.S.
An internal FBI memo written by the former head of the FBI’s counter-terrorism division describes “all attendees” of the meeting – including Awad – as “Hamas members.”
As WND reported in 2010, a federal judge later determined that the Justice Department provided “ample evidence” to designate CAIR as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator, affirming the Muslim group has been involved in “a conspiracy to support Hamas.”
In a lawsuit CAIR filed in 2009 against an undercover investigative team that published evidence of CAIR’s ties to Islamic jihad in a WND Books bestseller, the group alleged its reputation was harmed, and it sought damages in court. But a federal court in Washington determined CAIR failed to present a single fact showing it had been harmed, and the organization gave up that specific claim.
Another member of the Muslim 500 is Ferhana Khera of the U.S.-based group Muslim Advocates. She was the author of a 2011 letter to the acting inspector general of the Justice Department urging an “immediate investigation” into the FBI’s “use of grossly inaccurate, inflammatory, and highly offensive counterterrorism training materials about Muslims and Islam used to train its agents and other law enforcement.”
Farhana Khera testifies at Senate hearing June 28, 2016 (Screenshot Senate Judiciary Committee video).
Among the “woefully misinformed statements about Islam and bigoted stereotypes about Muslims” in FBI training was the assertion that there “may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox theology … [t]he strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.”
The letter led to the dismissal of instructors and a “purge” of training about the origins, tactics and strategies of global jihad.
Khera asserted the “use of bigoted trainers and materials in the recent past is not only highly offensive, disparaging the faith of millions of Americans, but leads to biased policing that targets individuals and communities based on religion, rather than based upon evidence of wrongdoing.”