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Rafia Farook, the mother of San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook, is an active member of the Islamic Circle of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood-backed group that promotes the establishment of a caliphate and has ties to a jihadist group in Pakistan called Jamaat-e-Islami.
An MSNBC reporter found a certificate of appreciation presented to Safia Farook last summer by ICNA’s sisters’ wing.
On Wednesday, Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeed Malik, killed 14 people during a holiday party being held for San Bernardino County workers in what the FBI considers a terrorist attack.
Malik posted a comment to Facebook during the attack declaring her allegiance to ISIS commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Farook is also believed to have communicated with known terrorists based overseas, including Mohamed Hassan, who was a Somali refugee who left Minnesota to fight for al-Shabab in Somalia and is now believed to be involved with ISIS as a recruiter, WND reported.
Though ICNA has not been named as a target in the ongoing investigation into Wednesday’s attack, the group has been associated with many others who have engaged in terrorism or plotted to do so.
Al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki has spoken at the group’s events, the Daily Caller reported. He spoke at an ICNA event in Baltimore in 2002, though the group has said that al-Awlaki was not radicalized at that time. Al-Awlaki exchanged emails with Nidal Hasan, the Army major who killed 13 people in a terrorist attack at Fort Hood in Nov. 2009. Al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2011 in Yemen.
Another ICNA member was indicted in April on federal terrorism charges. Noelle Valentzas and another woman were charged with plotting an attack on New York City similar to the attacks at the Boston Marathon.
As The Daily Caller uncovered at the time, Velentzas gave presentations during at least two ICNA events in recent years. One of those, ICNA’s 2012 annual convention, was attended by Indiana Rep. Andre Carson, one of two Muslims in the House of Representatives.
And in 2009, five American students who knew each other from an ICNA mosque in Alexandria, Virginia, were arrested in Pakistan and charged with plotting to attack American troops in Afghanistan.
ICNA was founded in 1968 and is based in Jamaica, New York. It’s considered one of the more conservative Islamic umbrella organizations operating in the U.S. Unlike other groups like the Islamic Society of North America or the Council on American-Islamic Relations, ICNA segregates men and women at its events, a practice endorsed in the Farook household, the Daily Caller reported.
An attorney for the Farooks said on Friday that the family was “very traditional” and that Tashfeen Malik sat with the women at family events. The attorney also said that men in the family had never seen Malik’s face because she wore a burqa. Malik and Farook married last year. She came to the U.S. last summer on a K-1 fiancé visa and passed through the federal government’s vaunted “screening” program for Muslim immigrants.
ICNA is devoted to the teachings of Abul A’la Maududi, the controversial Islamist founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, a political party operating in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh whose goal is to establish an Islamic state under Shariah law, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
An article in ICNA’s “The Message” stated that “using the organizational development methodology of Maulana Mawdudi and the Jamaat Al-Islami of Pakistan, which lays special emphasis on spiritual development, ICNA has developed a strong foundation.”
The ADL describes Maududi as “a jihadi ideologue.”
“He has written that ‘the nation of Jews will be exterminated’ in the end of days.”
In one of his numerous books, Maududi wrote that devout Muslims “would be under an obligation to do their utmost to dislodge [non-Muslims] from political power and to make them live in subservience to the Islamic way of life.”
Maududi’s Islamic supremacy and Jamaat-e-Islami’s alleged involvement in genocide against unarmed Bengalis in 1971 led the Bengali government to outlaw Maududi’s books in 2010, the Daily Caller reported.
Though ICNA appears to have distanced itself from Maududi and Jamaat-e-Islami — at least in public — the group still seeks to establish Islamic law across the world.
A 2010 handbook given to members of ICNA’s sisters’ wing touts “a united Islamic state, governed by an elected khalifah (caliph) in accordance with the laws of shari’ah (sharia).”
The handbook also states that “leadership of al-Jama’ah (or an Islamic state) has the authority to enforce Sharia’s political, educational, criminal Justice System etc that is beyond the jurisdiction of a jama’ah.”
And according to the Clarion Project, another group which tracks organizations with potential terror ties, ICNA’s literature is full of positive references and citations of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In one training guide obtained by the Clarion Project, ICNA favorably quoted Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian leader of the Muslim Brotherhood whose writings had influence on al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden.
For its part, ICNA has said it is “appalled” by Wednesday’s attacks.
“As the investigations are still ongoing, we remind the American Muslim community to be extra vigilant and to immediately report any suspicious activity to the law enforcement agencies,” the group said in a statement.
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