U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison are scheduled to attend a conference in Baltimore this weekend featuring talks by Islamists who have declared Western society to be “filth,” sanctioned sex slavery, called on Muslims to hate homosexuals and to support jihad in countries throughout the world.
The two Minnesota Democrats are slated to speak at a convention taking place over Memorial Day Weekend organized by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim American Society (MAS). ICNA is a franchise of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), a radical, theocratic group that has supported terrorism in South Asia. One of JI’s prominent leaders, Motiur Rahman Nizami, was convicted and executed for his role in the mass murder of civilians during Bangladesh’s 1971 war for independence.
MAS was founded in the early 1990s by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization committed to promoting sharia law in the Middle East and Western democracies.
Omar is scheduled to speak at the conference on Saturday, May 28 and Ellison will speak the following day. Thousands of Muslims are expected to attend the event, which will feature a poetry jam, a Qur’an recitation contest, and an extemporaneous speech competition. Coinciding with these events will be talks by a number of prominent Muslims, some of them extreme Islamists.
For example, Hussain Kamani, an imam at the Qalam Institute, an influential Islamist organization located in Texas, is scheduled to speak at the convention on Saturday afternoon about how Muslims should behave in their public and private lives. In 2012, Kamani said that under Islam that there are two ways for a man to fulfill his sexual desires — with his wife, or with “a female slave that belongs to him.”
Kamani has also approvingly cited a hadith that warns Muslims to seek “cleanliness” and “purity,” and to “not resemble the Jews.” He has also cited Quranic commentary to advise parents to order their children to pray at the age of seven and to “beat them (lightly) if they do not do so by the age of ten.” Western society, Kamani declared, is “filth. … We are surrounded by filth … our environment is full of this filth, everywhere we turn.”
Another speaker, Abdul Nasir Jangda, who currently serves as director of the Qalam Institute, has reportedly made similar statements. According to a detailed summary of Jangda’s lectures made by one of his students, he has declared “Sexual slavery is not allowed in Islam,” but contradicts this prohibition by outlining the conditions in which it is permissible to have sex with a slave. First she must not be married to another man, and second, she must be an adherent of one of the three Abrahamic faiths. “If all of the above preconditions are met then, and only then, are sexual relations permitted with her,” Jangda reportedly stated.
ICNA President Mohsin Ansari is also scheduled to speak at the Memorial Day weekend convention. Ansari is former chairman of Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD), an Islamist charity that hosted an event along with the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation and the Milli Muslim League, the charitable and political wings respectively of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LT), a Pakistani organization designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department in 2001 and orchestrated the attack on Mumbai in 2008.
Ansari also a former member of Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, the student wing of the violent Jamaat-e-Islami’s branch in Pakistan. Ansari has promoted JI on his Facebook account, attended JI rallies and events in America, Europe, and Pakistan, and has approvingly shared photos of Jamaat-e-Islami rallies in Pakistan at which the crowds waved placards reading: “Death to Israel. Death to America.”
Ansari has used social media to praise JI terrorist operatives convicted for their roles in the mass killings that took place during the 1971 Bangladesh war for independence, claiming that the “Pakistani nation will remember these heroes for centuries to come.” He has even boasted of meeting with the son of a JI war criminal, Motiur Rahman Nizami, whom Bangladesh’s International War Crimes Tribunal convicted and executed for the crimes of genocide, rape, and torture. (Nizami’s son, Nakibur Rahman, is speaking on the same panel as Ansari.)
Ansari has also expressed support for Turkey’s Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, declaring in 2015 that his party, the AKP, is in power despite the “power brokers of the world, the liberal anti Muslim media headed by Jews.”
The convention is also giving a platform to Siraj Wahhaj, the well-known radical imam of At-Taqwa Mosque in New York City. According to the Wall Street Journal, Wahhaj allowed Omar Abdel-Rahman, the “Blind Sheikh” who masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, to speak at his mosque prior to the attack. Wahhaj testified in Abdel-Rahman’s defense during the trial, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that Wahhaj described the sheikh as a “strong preacher of Islam.”
Wahhaj has also called on his supporters to finance and engage personally in jihad in numerous countries throughout the world and has exhorted Muslims to hate homosexuals. Wahhaj’s talk at the convention, scheduled to take place Saturday evening, is titled, “America Needs Islam.”
Another Islamist who scheduled to speak at the ICNA-MAS convention this weekend is Suleiman Hani, a prominent imam associated with the Al Maghrib Institute headquartered in Texas. Hani has promoted conspiracy theories regarding the 9/11 attack. On Sept. 11, 2014, Hani wrote of the “very strange collapse of building 7” and suggested that there was some uncertainty about the identity of the “actual perpetrators of 9/11” citing a “plethora of evidence on both sides of the debate.”
The following year, Hani characterized free speech as a “facade of a tool of those in power” wielded to allow criticism of Muslims — but not Jews — because whenever people try to speak objectively about the Holocaust, Hani declared, they are called anti-Semites.
Zahra Billoo, the executive director of the San Francisco office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations will also be speaking at the event. In late 2021, Billoo declared to an audience of Muslims that they need to pay attention to the Jewish Federation and the “Zionist Synagogues” for their support of Israel and that “polite Zionists … are not your friends.”
Another anti-Zionist scheduled to appear at the event is UC Berkeley Professor Hatem Bazian, who, according to the Wall Street Journal, called for an intifada in America and stated that the “sacred texts of Islam require its adherents to ‘fight the Jews’” in 2002. He has also urged the Muslim world “to militarily support Palestine.”
Ellison and Omar’s scheduled appearance at the ICNA-MAS convention in Baltimore will not be the first time prominent Minnesota politicians have legitimized Islamist-organized events with their presence. In early March 2022, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz attended an online “Muslim Day at the Capitol” organized by the Minnesota Chapter of the Muslim American Society (MAS-MN). Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan and Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman also attended the online event.
Neither Ellison nor Omar responded to email and phone queries about their planned appearance at the convention.