Before the convention proper begins, a small prodromal event has been arranged for tomorrow to create the right mood among the party faithful. It’s billed as an “interfaith event”, the progressive equivalent of a tent revival, and a host of stars has been invited to rouse the crowd with that New-Time Religion.
According to The Denver Post:
Convention interfaith event announced
By Electa Draper
The Democratic National Convention Committee today announced the program for its first-ever interfaith gathering, which kicks off at 2 p.m. Aug. 24 at Wells Fargo Theater in the Colorado Convention Center.
Keynote speakers include Bishop Charles Blake, presiding prelate of Church of God in Christ Inc. and pastor at the West Angeles cathedral in Los Angeles; Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America; social activist Sister Helen Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking”; and Rabbi Tzvi Weinreb, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union.
Grammy-award-winning gospel artist Richard Smallwood & Vision and Denver’s The Spirituals Project will perform the music. The program also will feature readings from diverse religious texts.
“Democrats have been, are, and will continue to be people of faith — and this interfaith gathering is proof of that,” said DNCC chief executive Leah Daughtry, herself a Pentecostal pastor.
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter is scheduled to address the event, along with local clergy, including Imam Abdur-Rahim Ali of the Northeast Denver Islamic Center, Rabbi Steven Foster of Congregation Emmanuel, the Rev. Lucia Guzman, Buddhist Kathryn Ida and Democratic leader Polly Baca.
Most readers can guess the kind of show that will be put on. A lot of “Social Gospel” and radical politics can be expected, given the resumés that some of the participants will bring to the pulpit. Sister Catherine Pinkerton, head of the National Catholic Social Justice Lobby. The Reverend Lucia Guzman, the 2008 winner of the ACLU’s Carle Whitehead Memorial Award. The Black Liberation Theology advocate Leah Daughtry will be the MC of the event.
But for our purposes, the most intriguing guest speaker is Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America. As the Traditional Values Coalition notes:
The presence of Dr. Ingrid Mattson with ISNA at this DNC interfaith service should be of grave concern to American voters. The ISNA is a radical Islamist group that pretends to be moderate. TVC’s friend Frank Gaffney with the Center for Security Policy, recently posted a column about Obama’s Islamist Problem and described the radical background of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Gaffney notes that the ISNA is a creation of the Saudi-financed Muslim Students Association and is part of what’s known as the Muslim Brotherhood. According to documents entered into the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, the “work [of Brotherhood members] in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within, and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” FrontPageMagazine has more details on the ISNA.
This is Dr. Mattson’s speaker bio :
Dr. Ingrid Mattson is Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, CT. A native of Canada, Dr. Mattson has traveled the world and lived in Pakistan where she worked with Afghan refugee women. In 2001 she was elected Vice-President of ISNA and in 2006 she was elected President of the organization. Dr. Mattson is the first woman and the first convert to Islam to lead the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
However, there’s a little bit more to Dr. Mattson than meets the eye. As the TVC mentioned above, she’s connected via the ISNA and the MSA to the Muslim Brotherhood. And it turns out to be more than just a casual connection, since she has promoted the works of Sayyid Qutb in a course she teaches at Hartford Seminary.
As a service to all the delegates to the Democratic Convention, not to mention everyone who will watch it over the remote screens and on their TVs at home, I’m happy to present a white paper on Dr. Ingrid Mattson. It was compiled by Christine Brim of the Center for Security Policy, and it hoists the good doctor on the petard of her own words:
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Center for Security Policy Research Brief: August 23, 2008
Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America: In Her Own Words
|1)||Mattson places loyalty to Islam before loyalty to the United States of America:|
“If Muslim Americans are to participate in such a critique of American policy, however, they will only be effective if they do it, according to the Prophet’s words, in a “brotherly” fashion. This implies a high degree of loyalty and affection. This does not mean, however, that citizenship and religious community are identical commitments, nor that they demand the same kind of loyalty. People of faith have a certain kind of solidarity with others of their faith community that transcends the basic rights and duties of citizenship.“
|2)||Mattson on Americans defining themselves as an ethical nation:|
“The first duty of Muslims in America, therefore, is to help shape American policies so they are in harmony with the essential values of this country. In the realm of foreign policy, this “idealistic” view has been out of fashion for some time. Indeed, the American Constitution, like foundational religious texts, can be read in many different ways. The true values of America are those which we decide to embrace as our own. There is no guarantee, therefore, that Americans will rise to the challenge of defining themselves as an ethical nation; nevertheless, given the success of domestic struggles for human dignity and rights in the twentieth century, we can be hopeful.”
|3)||Mattson denies the existence of terrorist cells in the United States:|
“There’s a prejudgment, a collective judgment of Muslims, and a suspicion that well “you may appear nice, but we know there are sleeper cells of Americans,” which of course is not true. There aren’t any sleeper cells.“
|4)||Mattson defends the extremist Wahhabi interpretation of Islam:|
“CHAT PARTICIPANT: What can you tell us about the Wahhabi sect of Islam? Is it true that this is an extremely right wing sect founded and funded by the Saudi royal family, and led by Osama bin Ladin? What is the purpose of the Wahhabi?
“MATTSON: No it’s not true to characterize ‘Wahhabism’ that way. This is not a sect. It is the name of a reform movement that began 200 years ago to rid Islamic societies of cultural practices and rigid interpretation that had acquired over the centuries. It really was analogous to the European protestant reformation. Because the Wahhabi scholars became integrated into the Saudi state, there has been some difficulty keeping that particular interpretation of religion from being enforced too broadly on the population as a whole. However, the Saudi scholars who are Wahhabi have denounced terrorism and denounced in particular the acts of September 11. Those statements are available publicly.
“This question has arisen because last week there were a number of newspaper reports that were dealing with this. They raised the issue of the role of Saudi Arabia and the ideology there. Frankly, I think in a way it was a reaction to the attempts of many people to look for the roots of terrorism in misguided foreign policy. It’s not helpful, I believe, to create another broad category that that becomes the scapegoat for terrorism.”
|5)|| Mattson on the Islamic Caliphate:|
“CHAT PARTICIPANT: Osama bin Laden made a reference that Muslims have been living in humiliation for 80 years. Did he refer to the Treaty of Sevres in 1920 that dismantled caliphates and sultanates?
“MATTSON: Yes, he is referring to that, to the overthrowing of the caliphate, which was a plan of European powers for many years. This deprived the Muslim world of a stable and centralized authority, and much of the chaos that we’re living in today is the result of that.“
|6)||Mattson teaches the Islamist extremists Sayyid Qutb and Syed Abu’l-’Ala Mawdudi in her course at Hartford Seminary — see the syllabus here.|
Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Qur’an, translation of Fi Zilal al-Quran by M.A. Salahi and A.A. Shamis (Leicester, UK: Islamic Foundation, 1999), 355-372.
|7)|| Mattson is quoted as praising Islamist extremist Mawdudi (aka Maududi):|
“In response to another question, ‘Please suggest any comprehensive work of Tafseer (Qur’anic commentary) for us Muslim youth,’ she said, ‘There are different kinds of Tafseers. For e.g. there are ones that contain detailed interpretations of grammatical aspects of Qur’anic language. And there are others that serve to explain the general message of Qur’an, coupled with the experiences and insights of the author of the Tafseer. However, there aren’t really any Tafseers that combine the both aspects. So far, probably the best work of Tafseer in English is by Maulana Abul A’la Maududi.“
[Background on Abdul ala Maududi here]
|8)||Although she recommends and teaches Abdul ala Maududi, who advocates violent jihad against non-Muslims (see above), Mattson is highly critical of Christians who make the factual statement that texts by Muslims support violent jihad against non-Muslims — and she equates Christian critics of violent jihad with Osama bin Laden, who wages violent jihad:|
On critical statements by Christians about Muslims:
“These kinds of statements are really irresponsible, because they can lead to violence against ordinary people.
“…I don’t see any difference between that and al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden [using] Islamic theology to justify violence against Americans. What’s interesting is if you compare [their] statements about what Islam is and what Muslims believe, you’ll find they are almost identical, and I reject both interpretations — both the non-Muslims who are saying that Islam justifies violence against Christians and Jews, and the Muslims who are saying it. Certainly these statements have a very unnerving effect, especially when they continue, when more than one person says it.”
|9)||Mattson is a traditionalist on Shariah law and the legitimacy of Shariah authorities:|
“As a practicing Muslim, I believe that there is a core of fundamental beliefs and practices that distinguish authentic Islam from deviations. I also believe that apart from this essential core, the task of interpreting the application of Islamic norms to human society is an enormously complicated task, which inevitably leads to a broad range of opinion and practice. I agree with ‘Sunni’ Muslims, the majority of the Muslim community worldwide, that after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, no one has the right to claim infallibility in the interpretation of sacred law. At the same time, this does not mean that all opinions are equal, nor that everyone has the ability to interpret law. Without the intense study of Islamic texts and traditions under qualified scholars and without the presence of a stable Muslim community through which one can witness the wisdom of the living tradition, the chances of an ordinary believer arriving at a correct judgment about most legal issues are slim.“
|10)||Mattson is a leader in extremist efforts to censor the right to free speech in America and especially in the United States government:|
Ingrid Mattson, the first woman president of the Islamic Society of North America, said Friday at the opening of the group’s 43rd annual convention that labeling terrorism as “Islamic” was not helpful to people of her faith.
|11)||Mattson denies the actual state of women’s rights under Shariah law:|
|12)||Mattson rationalizes the actions of the Taliban against women:|
“CHAT PARTICIPANT: Does the Taliban place blame upon women for the weakness of men in their society? Is that why they place such restriction upon them?
“MATTSON: The Taliban place restrictions on everyone in their society, men and women. They’ve extended their authority over individuals far beyond traditional government in Afghanistan. In their minds, they are protecting women from other men by placing these restrictions on them. “
|13)||Like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Mattson condemns terrorism in general but avoids criticizing Hamas or Hezbollah:|
“That can be frustrating. I want to also make sure people understand that although American Muslims do have a responsibility to clarify their views on terrorism and violence done in the name of Islam, we don’t have control over these situations. We don’t have some sort of magic power over all Muslims in the world.”
|14)||Mattson is highly critical of Evangelical Christians:|
“ ‘Right-wing Christians are very risky allies for American Jews,’ Mattson said, ‘because they [the Christians] are really anti-Semitic. They do not like Jews’ and enter into the alliance on the basis of fundamentalist beliefs that it would be desirable for all Jews to return to Israel. She suggested that fundamentalist Christians might turn against Jews or that there could be backlash from ordinary Americans against Jewish and fundamentalist Christian supporters of Israel.”
|15)||Mattson is highly critical of Israel:|
“The American government has not criticized sufficiently the brutality of the Israeli government, believing that it needs to be “supportive” of the Jewish state. The result is that oppression, left unchecked, can increase to immense proportions, until the oppressed are smothered with hopelessness and rage.”
|16)||Mattson limits dialogue:|
“Thus, it is not permitted for a Muslim to maintain a close friendship with a highly intelligent person who engages him or her in stimulating conversation, if that person continuously derides the sacred (Qur’an 5:57-58). Indeed, since preserving faith is the highest priority, it is important that Muslims avoid demoralizing dependence on other faith communities for their protection and material needs….Clearly there are groups among American Christians and Jews who are so hostile to Muslims that we should not join with them even in shared concerns, lest we lend any credibility to their organizations. There are many other groups within those communities, however, who are eager to work respectfully with Muslims to further just causes.”
|17)||Mattson has been identified as an extremist by American Muslim reformers and moderates:|
ISNA, which URJ has accepted, apparently uncritically, as a “partner,” has a long history of association with extremist trends in Islam. ISNA has served as a front group for Wahhabism, the official sect in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the jihadist ideologies originating in Pakistan with the writings of a certain Mawdudi and the Deoband schools in that country — the latter of which produced the Afghan Taliban, and the Ikhwan al-Muslimun, or Muslim Brotherhood.