Back in 2015, U.S. Rep. Andre Carson’s (D-IN) was forced to drop out of a panel and renounce ties with an Islamist organization that federal prosecutors once dubbed “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” Yet, Carson was present on March 4 when the same group, the Muslim American Society, celebrated its anniversary gala in Washington D.C., marking three decades of spreading radical, theocratic views in Muslim communities throughout the United States.
Carson, one of just three Muslim Americans serving in Congress, took some heat for earlier meetings with MAS. Today, though, the congressman openly associates with Islamists without consequences.
Following an MAS event in 2012, major media reported on a speech from Carson proclaiming that American schools would never be successful “without looking at the model we have in our madrassas … where the foundation is the Quran.” He was referring to educational institutions that tend to focus predominantly on Islamic studies, some of which are known to breed intolerance and radicalism.
In 2015, journalists reported that Carson planned to speak at an MAS panel that featuring Mazen Mokhtar, who federal investigators accused of operating a website that solicited donations for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and encouraged attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He subsequently denied his scheduled attendance, and his name was stricken from the convention’s list of speakers.
Yet, Carson had no qualms with attending MAS’s 30th anniversary event, where the congressman commended the group for its “fundraising” capacity and “building the next generation of leaders.” This time, Carson’s fellow panelists were only slightly less interesting than Mokhtar. For instance, attendees heard from Yasir Qadhi, a prominent pseudo-Salafist imam who has supposedly matured from a past filled with anti-Semitic and anti-gay tirades, to more recently deploring “Zionist greed” and supporting mandatory hijab laws.
mainstreaming and legitimizing organizations that were once shunned and ignored for being too extreme.
Benjamin Baird is the Director of MEF Action, an advocacy project of the Middle East Forum.