By BEILA RABINOWITZ and WILLIAM MAYER
November 4, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - An ambitious new-age liberal interfaith initiative - One World 2011 - started by motivational speaker Bob Walsh will conduct several events next year. The website for the new effort/organization [see, http://www.oneworld2011.org/] lists the Islamic Society of North America's president imam Mohamed Magid as being on its board and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) as one of its donors/event partners [see, http://www.oneworld2011.org/supporters.html].
The website mentions that Magid is, "President Islamic Society of North America. Imam and Executive Director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center Washington, D.C./Sterling, VA" [source, http://www.oneworld2011.org/directors.html].
As related by the Puget Sound Business Journal, Walsh is, "Known for staging the Goodwill Games sports meet as an answer to Cold War tensions, Walsh says he has raised $1 million toward a new project called One World 2011 that would bring thousands of young Muslims from around the world to Seattle next year for four months of culture-bridging events . backers of the new project, which is timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has kicked in $200,000." [source,http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2010/01/18/story7.html]
Both the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim Public Affairs Council are hard line American Islamist organizations with troubling backgrounds.
ISNA is the largest Muslim organization in North America whose mission is to spread Islam through da'wa (proselytizing). According to many sources it receives Saudi funding, a sure signifier of its devotion to Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia's revolutionary brand of Islam.
According to Discover the Networks, "Through its affiliate, the North American Islamic Trust - a Saudi government-backed organization created to fund Islamist enterprises in North America - the Saudi-subsidized ISNA reportedly holds the mortgages on 50 to 80 percent of all mosques in the U.S. and Canada. Thus the organization can freely exercise ultimate authority over these houses of worship and their teachings..." [see, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6178]
After the 9/11 attacks the head of MPAC, Salam Al- Marayati reflexively blamed Israel, the go to whipping-boy for Islamists. As quoted by the New York Times, ''If we're going to look at suspects, we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what's happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies.'' [source, David Firestone, A Nation Challenged: Religion; For Some Jewish Leaders, Partnership With Muslim Is a Casualty of Sept. 11 Attacks, New York Times, October 22, 2001, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE6D91F3EF931A15753C1A9679C8B63&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/F/Firestone,%20David]
MPAC founder and Senior Advisor Maher Hathout had this to say about Hezbollah as quoted by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, "The whole country keeps condemning Hezbollah," he said at Washington's National Press Club in 1998."I disagree with them on other issues, but on the issue of fighting to liberate their land and attacking only armed forces, this is legitimate, that is an American value -- freedom and liberty." [source,Investigative Project]
Additionally, as we find in the executive summary of an 81 page IPT expose on MPAC, "...[the] Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) hails itself as a 'public service agency working for the civil rights of American Muslims, for the integration of Islam into American pluralism, and for a positive constructive relationship between American Muslims and their representatives.' Despite this magnanimous mission statement, since its inception, an analysis of the group's membership, statements, and publications reveals a far more menacing organization. In reality, MPAC routinely speaks in defense of designated terrorist organizations, as well as individuals and charities that are supporters of terrorism; opposes U.S. counterterrorism measures as part of a consistent knee-jerk reaction claiming bias and discrimination behind law enforcement efforts; and reflects a blatant and conspiratorial anti-Semitism..." [source, Behind the Facade, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/358.pdf]
The One World 2011 initiative is far reaching, involving public schools and international corporations, "The One World 2011 staff is working with the University of Washington, the American College in Cairo, and area public school districts to host a series of workshops and conferences. Participants from high schools and colleges in the Muslim world will be brought to the U.S. at no cost to them or their families . The program will include visits to the headquarters of Microsoft, Starbucks, the Boeing plant, and other major international corporations." [source,http://www.oneworld2011.org/Youth-Exchange-Education.html]
As recent terrorism arrests have unfortunately shown, naturalized, as well as American born Muslims, are by no means immune to the call of violent jihad, casting considerable doubt on the proposition that simple exposure to American life decreases the potential for radicalization. Events such as One World 2011 are not only unhelpful in bridging the gap between Islam and the West, they are actually counterproductive, providing unwarranted legitimacy to Islamist groups whose goal is the implementation of Shari'a.
Perhaps Mr. Walsh should consider taking this one back to the drawing board and jettisoning the conference's Islamist baggage.
©2010 Beila Rabinowitz, William Mayer, PipeLineNews.org LLC. All rights reserved.