The real aim of the Fiqh Council of North America
By Alyssa A. Lappen
Act for America special report | Feb. 25, 2011
Those who believe Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi doesn’t threaten Egypt — or the U.S. — should reconsider. The U.S. banned Qaradawi as a terror-sympathizer in late 1999, 1 yet his MB emissaries continue working to implement his brand of sharia in North America.
Since its 1963 inception within the Muslim Students of America religious committee 2 the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), it has been key to MB plans for the U.S. Indeed, the MB so designated FCNA (by an earlier moniker) in an internal 1991 strategic memo. 3 FCNA focuses on implementing sharia: individually and collectively, FCNA advises and educates “members and officials on matters related to the application of sharia,” here.4
For at least a decade, FCNA has also espoused an unique version of classical Islamic law. 5 Drawn largely from Qaradawi’s frequently odious rulings, this temporary “fiqh al aqalliyyat” 6 covers Muslim minorities in the West, according to sharia finance adviser and FCNA secretary Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, 7 a Dow Jones Islamic Indexes adviser to date. 8
Like classic sharia, fiqh al aqalliyyat is highly illiberal. Unlike classic law, it is only interim: It encourages Muslims to temporarily accept non-Muslim rule but heavily populate the West.ix The thesis posits that Dar al-Islam exists wherever Muslims live. It prefers to call the Muslim world “dar-al ijaba,” land of response, and non-Muslim nations, “dar ad-dawah,” i.e., where Islam “has to be spread.” Traditional fatwas banning citizenship in the West block Muslims from fulfilling dawa requirements and calling non-Muslims “kufir” doesn’t persuade converts. Whether by conversion or war, the MB goal remains conquest of the West. 10
Sharia criminal law, for example, demands and routinely applies capital punishment for apostates from Islam, 11 directly contradicting U.S. constitutional rights to freedom of faith. In late Sept. 2009, Former Muslims United sent polite, respectful requests to several dozen U.S. Muslim leaders, that they sign its Freedom Pledge to protect lives, property and rights to freedom of faith for all former Muslims. Pledge recipients included FCNA chairman Muzammil Siddiqi, 12 vice chair Muhammad Nur Abdullah, executive director Zulfiqar Ali Shah, executive council members Mohamad A. El Sheikh, FCNA executive trustee Jamal Badawi, Abdur Rahman Khan and Zainab Alwani and member Ishan Bagby. 13 All falsely attest to moderation. None replied. None signed.
Apart from unindicted terror-financing co-conspirator Badawi, a onetime trustee of the U.S. arm of the global Muslim Brotherhood itself — and a decades-long trustee on ISNA’s 18-member board 14 — the FCNA executives and members include many figures whose troubling associations, rulings and deeds are equally difficult to digest:
In 2008, a federal jury unanimously convicted five Holy Land Foundation officers of 108 counts of funding Hamas, money laundering and tax fraud. 25 Prosecutors also pronounced FCNA executive trustee Jamal Badawi and FCNA member, trustee and former Islamic Association of Palestine (IOP) director Muhammad al-Hanooti 26 unindicted co-conspirators (with many MB organizations). A circa 1978 immigrant 27 — and unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trace Center attack — Hanooti remains in Washington D.C. 28 A preponderance of publicly accessible evidence prompted the New Orleans 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Oct. 2010 to leave all HLF unindicted co-conspirator designations unsealed and in tact. 29 Badawi, Hanooti et all remain highly suspect.
Alysssa A. Lappen, an ACT for America contributing editor and investigative journalist, is a former senior fellow at American Center for Democracy (2005-2008); former senior editor of Institutional Investor (1993-1999), Working Woman (1991-1993) and Corporate Finance (1991), and writes for many print and internet publications. ACT for America commissioned this work.
1 Steven Salinsky, “Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradawi and Qatar’s Education City – Hosting American University Students from Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Northwestern, Texas A&M, Virginia Commonwealth, Cornell & Others,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Feb. 19, 2010, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3984.htm and http://www.memri.org/image/IA_Qaradawi.pdf (viewed 2/5/2011).
2 “History of the Fiqh Council,” FCNA, 11/22/2010, http://www.fiqhcouncil.org/node/6 (viewed 2/5/2011).
3 Mohamed Akram, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America, 5/22/1991,” www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/HLF/Akram_GeneralStrategicGoal.pd f (first viewed 9/18/2007).
4 “Fiqh Council of North America responds to the question: What is the Islamic opinion on the terrorist attacks on the U.S. in September 2001,” reprinted at Islamopedia, undated, http://www.islamopediaonline.org/fatwa/fiqh-councilnorth-
america-responds-question-what-islamic-opinion-terrorist-attacks-unite d-sta (viewed 2/3/2011).
5 Taha Jabir Alwalani, “Towards a Fiqh for minorities: some basic reflections,” occasional paper #10, (International
Institute of Islamic Thought, 2003), pp. 44; Abu Amal Hadhrami, “Muslim Americans need own outlook,” Islamic Horizons, Jan./Feb. 2000, pp. 48-53.
6 Ralph Ghadban, “Tariq Ramadan’s Islamism: a lecturer of unfree thinking,” Frankfurter Allgemeine, Sept. 9, 2009,
9E~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html (viewed 2/3/2011); Alwalani, “Prolegominato (sic, intended “prolegomenon”) the
Fiqh of the minorities: Some basic reflections,” undated, Islam Online,
http://web.archive.org/web/20071212175822/www.fiqhcouncil.org/Default. aspx?tabid=60 (viewed 2/5/2011); Alwalani, “Towards a Fiqh for minorities: some basic reflections,” occasional paper #10, (International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2003), pp. 44; Hadhrami, “Muslim Americans need own outlook,” Islamic Horizons, Jan./Feb. 2000, pp. 48-53.
7 Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, “Fiqh and the Fiqh Council of North America,” Islamicity, undated, http://www.islamicity.com/politics/shariah.htm (viewed 2/5/2011).
8 Jeffrey Imm, “Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal and Islamist Financing,” Counterterrorismblog.org, Nov. 14, 2007,
http://counterterrorismblog.org/2007/11/wsj_and_islamist_financing.php (last viewed 2/21/2011); see also Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes rulebook, Dec. 2009,
http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/downloads/rulebooks/Dow_Jones_Islamic_ Market_Indexes_Rulebook.pdf (viewed
2/21/2011); http://www.djindexes.com/islamicmarket/?go=supervisory-board (viewed 2/21/2011); “Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, Chief Shariah Officer and Board Member,” Managing Team / Shariah Supervisory Board, Sharia Capital, undated, http://www.shariahcap.com/about-mt-delorenzo.php (viewed 2/21/2011).
9 Ralph Ghadban, “Tariq Ramadan’s Islamism: a lecturer of unfree thinking,” Frankfurter Allgemeine, Sept. 9, 2009, http://www.faz.net/s/RubC3FFBF288EDC421F93E22EFA74003C4D/Doc~E8D907A22 43D44E1BB6F26A34B25FD7
9E~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html (viewed 2/3/2011); Taha Alwalani, “Prolegominato (sic, intended “prolegomenon”) the Fiqh of the minorities: Some basic reflections,” undated, Islam Online, http://web.archive.org/web/20071212175822/www.fiqhcouncil.org/Default. aspx?tabid=60 (viewed 2/5/2011), a preface; and Alwalani, “Towards a Fiqh for minorities: some basic reflections,” occasional paper #10, (International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2003), pp. 44; Abu Amal Hadhrami, “Muslim Americans need own outlook,” Islamic Horizons, Jan./Feb. 2000, pp. 48-53.
10 Hadhrami, “Muslim Americans need own outlook,” Islamic Horizons, Jan./Feb. 2000, pp. 48-53; see also abridged article, available at http://members.fortunecity.co.uk/waseem/fatwa.htm (last viewed 2/20/2011).
11 Yusuf Qaradawi, European Council for Fatwa and Research, “Fatwa on apostasy: apostasy major and minor,” 2006, http://www.islamonline.net/English/contemporary/2006/04/article01c.sht ml (dead link) see Apostasy fatwa and “The Lawful and prohibited in Islam, 1960, reprinted 2006, http://www.amazon.com/Prohibited-translators-ElHelbawy-Moinuddin-al-
Qardawi/dp/8171513735/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253238796&sr=8-1 ; Abul ala Mawdudi, “Punishment of the apostate according to Islamic law,” 1963, translated from Urdu 1994,http://answeringislam.
org/Hahn/Mawdudi/#whya; Badawi, “Apostasy from Islam: any change in the contemporary context?” Islam Online, 2006, http://www.islamonline.net/livedialogue/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=Gz 9HCK; Sano Koutoub Moustapha, “Lina Joy’s case and religious freedom,” International Islamic University, Malaysia, undated,
http://www.islamonline.net/livedialogue/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=yu ha10 (link dead on 2/15/2011); Ahmad Shafaat, “Punishment of Apostasy in Islam, parts I and II,” Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, 2006 and 2007, http://www.islamicperspectives.com/Apostasy1.htm and http://islamicperspectives.com/PunishmentOfApostasy_Part2.html; “A Shiite opinion on apostasy, Kayhan International, March 1986, http://formermuslimsunited.americancommunityexchange.org/apostasy-from -islam/a-shiiteopinion-on-apostasy/; “A Sunni Muslim pronouncement on apostasy from Lebanon,” http://formermuslimsunited.americancommunityexchange.org/apostasy-from -islam/pledge-fatwa-mufti-of-lebanon/; al-Azhr, the Egyptian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, “Fatwa on apostasy,” originally from German Wikipedia, as cited at http://www.atlasshrugs.com/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rechtsgutachten_betr_Apostasie_im_Is lam.jpg
as cited at http://formermuslimsunited.americancommunityexchange.org/apostasy-from -islam/al-azhar-fatwa/ (all fatwas first viewed 9/24/2009) as cited by and with thanks to Nonie Darwish, co-founder, Former Muslims United, http://formermuslimsunited.americancommunityexchange.org/.
12 “Muzammil Siddiqi, past president,” ISNA, http://www.isna.net/ISNAHQ/pages/Muzammil-Siddiqi.aspx; “About us,” NAIT, http://www.nait.net/NAIT_about_ us.htm (all viewed 5/25/2010).
13 Former Muslims United cover letter and Freedom Pledge, Sept. 22, 2009, http://formermuslimsunited.americancommunityexchange.org/the-pledge/co ver-letter-pledge/ (first viewed 9/22/2009).
14 “Dr. Jamal Badawi,” Fiqh Council of North America, undated,
http://fiqhcouncil.org/AboutUs/tabid/175/ctl/Detail/mid/601/xmid/38/xm fid/4/Default.aspx (viewed 6/2/2010); “ISNA
board of directors, http://www.isna.net/ISNAHQ/pages/Board-of-Directors.aspx (viewed 6/10/2010).
15 “Muzammil H. Siddiqi,” Islam Online, undated
Ask_Scholar%2FFatwaCounselorE%2FFatwaCounselorE (dead link) see Muzammil Siddiqi profile; Muslim World League, Saudi Arabia Market Information Resource, http://www.saudinf.com/main/k312.htm (viewed 5/20/2010); Lappen, “A secular market nightmare,” ibid.; “Muslim World League,” History Commons, http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=muslim_world_league (viewed 5/2/2010). Siddiqi remained U.S. MWL director until at least 2005. The FBI and Homeland Security raided MWL’s offices for possible terrorist ties in 2002 and again in July 2005, according to the investigative Pipeline News service. “Terror friendly organizations issue fatuous fatwa against terror,” Pipeline News, Jul. 28, 2005, http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:L_0IwlWft2wJ:www. pipelinenews.org/2007/Terror-Friendly-
Organizations-Issue-Fatuous-Fatwa-Against.html (viewed 6/1/2010).
Siddiqi simultaneously headed the Muslim Student Association religious affairs department, and one recent report suggests that he may still. “Muzammil Siddiqi,” ProCon.org,
http://israelipalestinian.procon.org/view.source.php?sourceID=004996 (viewed 6/1/2010).
16 “Muzammil Siddiqi,” Islam Online, http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1119503614805&pagenam e=IslamOnline-English-
Ask_Scholar/FatwaCounselorE/FatwaCounselorE, (viewed 5/25/2010).
17 “Yusuf al-Qaradawi in Friday sermon at Cairo’s Tahrir Square: pray for conquest of al-Aqsa,” Feb. 18, 2011, http://www.memritv.org/report/en/5020.htm, as cited, Bostom, “For the De-Nile-ists—Qaradawi-Khomeini in Cairo,” Feb. 18, 2011, http://www.andrewbostom.org/blog/2011/02/18/for-the-de-nile-ists%E2%80 %94qaradawi-khomeini-incairo/ (both viewed 2/18/2011).
18 Alyssa A. Lappen, “A secular market nightmare,” Front Page Magazine, May 9, 2008, http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=C64342C1-C28F-4BED -8658-B69E78684D38 (viewed 4/12/2010)/
19 “Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA),” Investigative Project, undated, http://www.investigativeproject.org/FCNA-CAIR.html (viewed 2/5/2011). Al-Arian funded Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a designated foreign terrorist organization. To avoid a new trial after a jury deadlocked on 9 of his 17 terrorfunding charges in Dec. 2005, al-Arian accepted a 57-month prison sentence, to be followed by immediate subsequent deportation. However, in Oct. 2006, al-Arian defied a subpoena to testify before a U.S. grand jury. He served an added year for contempt and was released on bail, and under house arrest, in Apr. 2008. Meanwhile in Jan. 2008, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Apr. 2006 plea agreement contents did “not establish that the plea agreement immunized al-Arian from future grand jury subpoenas.” Despite that ruling, endless further court wrangling ensued over the terms of al-Arian’s Apr. 2006 plea deal. To date, al-Arian apparently remains under house arrest. “U.S. to deport Palestinian it failed to convict,” New York Times, Apr. 15, 2006, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE5D9163FF936A25757C 0A9609C8B63 (first viewed 4/15/2006); “Judge cancels al-Arian hearing again,” IPT News, Oct. 29, 2010, http://www.investigativeproject.org/2286/hearing-may-determine-fate-of -al-arian-contempt (viewed 2/9/2011).
20 “A common word,” Oct. 13, 2007, http://www.acommonword.com/index.php?lang=en&page=signatories; see also comments at http://www.acommonword.com/index.php?lang=en&page=comments (both viewed 6/2/2010).
21 Abdullah, Jamal Badawi, “Freedom of Belief & Minority Rights in Muslim Countries,” Islam Online fatwa bank, Apr. 18, 2008, http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-Engl ish-
Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaEAskTheScholar&cid=1119503547720 (viewed 6/10/2010); Freedom_of_Belief_&_Minoirity_Rights_In_Muslim_Countries_ISLAMONLIONE_ 4.18.2006.
22 “Terror friendly organizations issue fatuous fatwa against terror,” Pipeline News, Jul. 28, 2005, ibid.
23 “Redacted affidavit in support of application, in the matter of searches involving 555 Grove Street, Herndon, Va., and related locations, (E.D. Va 02-114-MG.), as cited in “Backgrounder on the Fiqh Council of North America and the
Council of American-Islamic Relations,” Investigative Project, undated, http://www.investigativeproject.org/FCNACAIR.html (viewed 4/20/2010). (Now at
faaffid102003.pdf (p. 36, now unsealed, viewed 2/16/2011).
24 A group of muftis, “Seeking Martyrdom by Attacking US Military Bases in the Gulf,” Islam Online fatwa bank, Mar. 24, 2003, http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-Engl ish-
Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503546700 (dead linke) see: Martyrdom fatwa (viewed 6/13/2010).
25 Gretel Kovach, “Five convicted in terrorism financing trial,” New York Times, Nov. 25, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/25/us/25charity.html?_r=1&pagewanted=pr int (viewed 5/10/2010); Paul J. Weber,
Los Angeles Times, Nov. 25, 2008, http://articles.latimes.com/2008/nov/25/nation/na-muslim-charity25 (viewed 5/20/2010); Convicted HLF officers included former HLF chairman Ghassan Elashi, former chief executive Shukri Abu Baker, Mufid Abdulqater, Abdulraham Odeh and Mohammed El-Mezain. Two more former HLF officers, Haitham Maghawri and Akram Mishal (cousin to Hamas chief Khaled Mishael) had fled and were not tried.
26 Attachment A, in the U.S. District Court for the northern district of Texas, Dallas Division, U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation, http://www.pipelinenews.org/images/2007-05-29-US%20v%20HLF-ListCoConsp irators.pdf (first viewed 6/1/2007); “History of the Fiqh Council,” FCNA, 11/22/2010, http://www.fiqhcouncil.org/node/6 (viewed 2/5/2011); Steven Emerson, “The American Islamic leaders’ fatwa is bogus,” Counterterrorism Blog, Jul. 28, 2005, ibid.
27 “Muhammad al-Hanooti,” Islam Online, undated http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1119503615091&pagenam e=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar%2FFatwaCounselorE%2FFatwaCounselorE (dead link), see Muhammad al-Hanooti profile
28 Paul Sperry, “The great al-Qaeda patriot,” Front Page Magazine, Apr. 9, 2007, http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=26058 (viewed 5/2/2007).
29 U.S. Plaintiff-Appellee v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, et al, Defendants North American Islamic Trust, Movant-Appellant, No. 09-10875, Before Garza and Benavides, Circuit Judges, and Crone, District Judge,” 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Oct. 20, 2010, http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-5th-circuit/1541806.html (viewed 11/25/2010).