Written by Ryan Mauro
The 3,000-member NorthWood Church of Keller, T.X. is holding a “Global Faith Forum” in November. In yet another Islamist-attended interfaith event, Christians will hear from a former Saudi intelligence chief, a former director-general of Al-Jazeera, officials from U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities and the non-Muslims who embrace them. Pastor Bob Roberts. Jr. is known for his efforts to build-bridges with Muslims. He spoke at the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference put together by Palestinian Christians at Bethlehem Bible College. So did Florida Pastor Joel C. Hunter, who has been negative attention for his association with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. Hunter is also critical of “Christian Zionists.”
An article posted on Hunter’s website reports how the “Christ at the Checkpoint” audience, including students from Wheaton and Eastern Universities, “were moved by the testimony of Palestinian men and women who shared the pain and suffering they experience on a daily basis caused primarily by the continuing occupation.”
Pastor Roberts reacted to the anti-Islam Innocence of Muslims video by suggesting that governments crack down on its distribution. He said, “There is a ‘clear and present’ danger the U.S. courts have ruled in regard to freedom of speech—I think that has to extend globally.”
In January, NorthWood Church hosted Azhar Azeez, Vice President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). ISNA is an unindicted co-conspirator in a major terrorism-financing trial. Federal prosecutors labeled ISNA a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, a fact confirmed by the Brotherhood’s own secret documents.
In November, his church’s Global Faith Forum will bring the spotlight to his interfaith efforts and those involved in them. Event speakers include Rep. Kay Graner (R-TX), former South Carolina Governor David Beasley and Christianity Today editor Mark Galli, but they aren’t the main attractions.
The conference website’s home page proudly advertises Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2005 to 2007, as a main speaker. Before that, he was the Saudi foreign intelligence chief from 1977 to 2001, making him a top figure in Saudi Arabia’s proliferation of Wahhabism around the world for over 20 years. He represented a Sharia-based government that persecutes Christians.
Faisal Bin Muammar was an advisor at the Saudi Royal Court and Secretary-General of the Riyadh-based King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue.
Safi Kaskas is a co-founder of East West University in Chicago and a “strategy consultant for a number of business organizations in the USA and Saudi Arabia.” He is a member of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists. A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo identifies AMSS as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” The memo says its “work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” The AMSS is also closely linked to the International Institute of Islamic Thought.
Another main speaker is Professor John Esposito, one of the top non-Muslim supporters of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network. He is a frequent guest speaker at their events and was a witness for the defense in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation.
The aforementioned Azhar Azeez is again speaking. He is the Vice President of ISNA and has been on its Executive Council since 2002. He is also the senior National Director of Islamic Relief USA, a charity linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Wadah Khanfar was the director-general of Al-Jazeera from 2006 to 2011. Al-Jazeera’s extremism is well-documented. The Arabic station even gives Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi a weekly show.
Ayatollah Ahmad Iravani is President of the Center for the Study of Islam and the Middle East. He’s also been a teacher for 10 years at the Catholic University of America. He graduated from Qom, Iran and has taught Sharia Law in Tehran. He’s also participated in Catholic-Muslim dialogues called “A Common Word” that includes allies of Qaradawi.
Imam Zia ul Haque Sheikh is a member of the North American Imams Federation. Radical imam Siraj Wahhaj has served on the Board of Trustees. Its website lists Ashrafuz Zaman Khan as its President. Bangladesh has charged him with war crimes from his days in the Islamist group Jamaat-e-Islami.
Dahlia Mogahed is from the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and is a friend of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities. In 2008, she said that CAIR and ISNA were designated as unindicted co-conspirators by the federal government in order “to silence, you know, institution-building among Muslims. And the way o do it is [to] malign these groups. And it’s kind of a witch hunt.”
Suhail Khan is a former Bush Administration official and Senior Fellow for Christian-Muslim Understanding at the Institute for Global Engagement. He has been accused of helping U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities gain influence in the Bush Administration after 9/11 and of having Brotherhood ties himself. He denies that the Muslim Brotherhood even exists in America.
Rev. Jack Sara is President of Bethlehem Bible College and Pastor with the Evangelical Alliance Church in the Holy Land. The College put together the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference and has a long relatonship with Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Pastor Roberts didn’t know who he was dealing with. After all, he cited Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi as a “key Islamic leader” condemning anti-American violence. The desire for interfaith credentials seems to surpass the desire to have a standard.
This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.