In power, the Obama administration has continued its predecessor's endorsement of Islamists. In January 2009, for example, the State Department sponsored a visit of German Muslim leaders to one of the bastions of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States, the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). The German visitors were key government officials in charge of integration or recruitment of minorities into the police. One of the briefers was Jamal Barzinji, one of the triumvirate who set up a number of key Brotherhood-inspired structures in the United States.
Like many Brotherhood-related groups, IIIT faded from public view after the 9/11 attacks but has experienced a renaissance recently. IIIT had been closely associated with a raft of Islamist organizations in northern Virginia that were raided by federal agents because of their suspected ties to extremist Islam. As elsewhere, this action followed a familiar pattern. The groups in question, including IIIT, were primarily problematic for ideological reasons -- for trying to push the Brotherhood's vision of an Islamicized society, which clearly cannot work in a pluralistic culture.
But instead of being challenged on the field of ideas, where they could easily be shown to hold beliefs antithetical to democratic ideals, they were accused of supporting criminal activities and were raided. This had a double effect: It created the strange spectacle of the legal arm of the government trying desperately to prosecute these groups while, at the same time, the diplomatic arm held them up as models of integration. The failure to convict the Muslims was seen as an exoneration, almost a seal of approval.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
From Foreign Policy: