Executive Director, Center for Islamic Pluralism
After the recent slaughter at Fort Hood , Texas , commentators and politicians have asked whether political correctness or fear of being criticized as Islamophobic discouraged his colleagues in the military from thoroughly examining the extremist beliefs of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the accused killer in the military-base massacre.
Some of the non-Muslims who knew him have said, probably correctly – and unfortunately – that they did not know enough about Islam, especially in its radical forms, to assess Hasan’s views. But the weak outcome of a 2003 Senatorial appeal for an inquiry into Islamist financing in America – along with other curious lapses of attention – show that the military is not alone in cringing at the task of investigating Muslim radicals.
At the end of 2003, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service, signed by the committee’s then-chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, and its then-ranking Democrat, Senator Max Baucus of Montana. (Baucus is now the committee’s chairman.)
The Senate Committee called on the IRS to collect financial information on 24 Islamist groups operating in the U.S.:
Benevolence International Foundation
Global Relief Foundation
Help the Needy
Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development
Human Appeal International
Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America
International Islamic Relief Organization or Internal Relief Organization
Islamic African Relief Society and/or Islamic American Relief Agency
Islamic Assembly of North America
Islamic Association for Palestine
Islamic Circle of North America
Islamic Foundation of America
Islamic Society of North America
Muslim Arab Youth Association
Muslim Student Association
Muslim World League
SAAR Foundation and all members and related entities
Solidarity International and/or Solidarity USA
United Association for Studies and Research
World Assembly of Muslim Youth
Most of these organizations are obscure for ordinary, non-Muslim Americans even today. But with the exception of the Iran-directed Alavi Foundation, which was the object of an assets seizure proceeding this month, and leaving aside the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society (MAS), and a few other absent players, the list provides a map of the “Wahhabi lobby” of radical Muslim proponents in American.
These organizations are financed by, and in some cases act as direct agencies of, powerful institutions in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, in tandem with their allies in the Muslim Brotherhood.
Late in 2005, however, Senator Grassley first announced that investigation of the 24 groups had ended inconclusively, with no evidence of anything “alarming” beyond the capacity for ordinary response by law enforcement; he then reversed his posture and said that his committee would continue collecting information on them. But the Senate Finance Committee produced nothing new after that.