Who is Mujeeb Cheema?

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This entry is a work in progress, a place to summarize links and information for later analysis, by me or other bloggers.

The story of Jamal Miftah, the Muslim who was banned from the Islamic Center of Tulsa for writing an op-ed critical of al-Qaeda and those who commit terrorist acts in the name of Islam, has attracted the attention of Little Green Footballs, the premier blog on radical Islamism.

The comments on the LGF entry express shock and dismay that radical Islam appears to have a foothold in the American heartland. Although I know a few local Muslims, mainly co-workers at my old job, I don't know much about the Muslim community in Tulsa, so I've begun to do some digging.

In my searching, I came across the name of Mujeeb Cheema. Below is a summary of the references I've found so far. I'm not meaning to suggest anything suspicious about him, but his name crops up in a lot of places, and by following that name around the Internet, I'm learning about connections between Islamic organizations in America.

UPDATE: Here are some additional facts gleaned from the Tulsa Whirled's archives:

  • December 15, 2002: Cited as a national board member for National Conference for Community and Justice
  • February 2, 2003: Cited as a trustee of the Tulsa Community College Foundation.
  • September 27, 2003: Cited as a spokesman for IST in a story about the mosque's new imam.
  • October 4, 2003: Story about his hiring as executive director of NAIT. The story also says: "The titles to Tulsa's Al-Salam mosque and Peace Academy school properties are held by NAIT, [Cheema] said."

What is this NAIT that lists Cheema as executive director? The NAIT website says (emphasis added):

The North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) is a waqf, the historical Islamic equivalent of an American trust or endowment, serving Muslims in the United States and their institutions. NAIT facilitates the realization of American Muslims' desire for a virtuous and happy life in a Shari'ah-compliant way.

NAIT is a not-for-profit entity that qualifies as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. NAIT was established in 1973 in Indiana by the Muslim Students Association of U.S. and Canada (MSA), the predecessor of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). NAIT supports and provides services to ISNA, MSA, their affiliates, and other Islamic centers and institutions. The President of ISNA is an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees of NAIT.

NAIT holds titles to mosques, Islamic centers, schools, and other real estate to safeguard and pool the assets of the American Muslim community, develops financial vehicles and products that are compatible with both the Shari'ah (Islamic law) and the American law, publishes and distributes credible Islamic literature, and facilitates and coordinates community projects.

Frank Gaffney, Jr., had this to say about NAIT and ISNA in an August 2005 column about Bush White House adviser Karen Hughes' plans to speak to an ISNA gathering:

[T]he Islamic Society of North America is a front for the promotion of Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi political, doctrinal and theological infrastructure in the United States and Canada. Established by the Saudi-funded Muslim Students Association, ISNA has for years sought to marginalize leaders of the Muslim faith who do not support the Wahhabists’ strain of Islamofascism, and, through sponsorship of propaganda and mosques, is pursuing a strategic goal of eventually dominating Islam in America.

ISNA provides indoctrination materials to about 1,100 of an estimated 2,500 mosques on the North American continent. Through its affiliate, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) – a Saudi government-backed organization created to fund Islamist enterprises in North America – it reportedly holds the mortgages of between 50 and 79 percent of those mosques. Through this device, ISNA exerts ideological as well as theological influence over what is preached and taught in these institutions and their schools.

In December 2003, the chairman and ranking Democrat of the Senate Finance Committee, Senators Charles Grassley and Max Baucus, respectively, listed ISNA as one of 25 American Muslim organizations that “finance terrorism and perpetuate violence.”

This Chicago Tribune feature story recounts a battle over a mosque that was founded in the 1950s by Palestinian immigrants, but taken over by newcomers and deeded to NAIT in the 1980s, over the objections of long-time members.

Stephen Schwartz, an academic, a journalist, and a follower of Sufism, testified in 2003 before the Senate Homeland Security subcommittee about the spread of Wahhabi influence in the American Muslim community:

Wahhabi-Saudi policy has always been two-faced: that is, at the same time as the Wahhabis preach hostility and violence against non-Wahhabi Muslims, they maintain a policy of alliance with Western military powers — first Britain, then the U.S. and France — to assure their control over the Arabian Peninsula.

At the present time, Shia and other non-Wahhabi Muslim community leaders estimate that 80 percent of American mosques are under Wahhabi control. This does not mean 80 percent of American Muslims support Wahhabism, although the main Wahhabi ideological agency in America, the so-called Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has claimed that some 70 percent of American Muslims want Wahhabi teaching in their mosques.1This is a claim we consider unfounded.

Rather, Wahhabi control over mosques means control of property, buildings, appointment of imams, training of imams, content of preaching — including faxing of Friday sermons from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — and of literature distributed in mosques and mosque bookstores, notices on bulletin boards, and organizational solicitation. Similar influence extends to prison and military chaplaincies, Islamic elementary and secondary schools (academies), college campus activity, endowment of academic chairs and programs in Middle East studies, and most notoriously, charities ostensibly helping Muslims abroad, many of which have been linked to or designated as sponsors of terrorism.

The main organizations that have carried out this campaign are the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which originated in the Muslim Students' Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA), and CAIR. Support activities have been provided by the American Muslim Council (AMC), the American Muslim Alliance (AMA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, its sister body the International Institute of Islamic Thought, and a number of related groups that I have called "the Wahhabi lobby." ISNA operates at least 324 mosques in the U.S. through the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). These groups operate as an interlocking directorate.

In a 2002 Q&A with National Review, Schwartz had this to say about Wahhabist influence over American mosques (emphasis added):

Unfortunately, the U.S. is the only country outside Saudi Arabia where the Islamic establishment is under Wahhabi control. Eighty percent of American mosques are Wahhabi-influenced, although this does not mean that 80 percent of the people who attend them are Wahhabis. Mosque attendance is different from church or synagogue membership in that prayer in the mosque does not imply acceptance of the particular dispensation in the mosque. However, Wahhabi agents have sought to impose their ideology on all attendees in mosques they control.

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Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Who is Mujeeb Cheema?.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.batesline.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/2604

Blogger Ali Eteraz has posted an interview with Jamal Miftah about his banning by the Islamic Society of Tulsa (IST). (See my previous entries on the topic here and here.) (Eteraz describes his website, eteraz.org, as "the first interactive blog for Po... Read More

» Intolerance Of Islam In Tulsa from "Okie" on the Lam

I don't know, but it doesn't sound much like the Tulsa that I left a couple of decades ago. On Oct. 29th, a piece by Tulsa Muslim, Jamal Miftah decrying violent acts by Al Qaeda, was printed in the Reader's Forum op-ed section of the Tulsa World. [Link... Read More

At long last, the Tulsa World has printed a story about Jamal Miftah's expulsion from the Islamic Society of Tulsa's (IST) al-Salam mosque. You'll recall that it was an op-ed by Miftah that was published by the Whirled that triggered the situation. The... Read More

Next Friday night at 9, OETA, Oklahoma's public television network, will air "Islam in Oklahoma": Oklahoma is home to more than 30,000 Muslim Americans. Join leaders from Oklahoma's Muslim community as they address the questions and issues raised by Am... Read More

Recently, the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the up-coming Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas along with the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Trust of North America, and several oth... Read More

1 Comments

sapna said:

How can i find Tulsan Mujeeb Cheema is he the imaam of the mosque in Mississauga now? Let me know please.
Thanks

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 28, 2006 12:31 AM.

Cold War ruins was the previous entry in this blog.

Eteraz.org: A conversation with Jamal Miftah is the next entry in this blog.

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