You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me
In the annals of ginned-up Fauxgates by the GOP/Media Complex, this has got to be one of the fauxest:
A Muslim scholar chosen to speak at President-elect Barack Obama’s post-inaugural prayer service Wednesday is the leader of a group that federal prosecutors say has ties to terrorists.
Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, is one of many religious leaders scheduled to speak at the prayer service.
This is ridiculous. We’re talking about a group that the people in Bush’s own Pentagon have worked with extensively over the years, and which is not under any sort of legal jeopardy or even pressure for their outreach work:
Mark Pelavin, director of inter-religious affairs for the Union for Reform Judaism – another organization participating in the prayer service – called Mattson "a really important voice denouncing terrorism."
"Clearly, Dr. Mattson has been welcome throughout the government," he said. "I haven’t found anyone anywhere who’s found anything Dr. Mattson has said that’s anything other than clearly denouncing terrorism in quite explicit Islamic terms."
Attorneys for Mattson’s group wrote in court documents that it is not a subject or target of the Holy Land investigation. The group has worked with the Bush administration’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, according to court documents.
According to e-mails filed in the court case, one of the prosecutors seemed willing to ask the judge to remove the group from the list.
"I am sorry for the problems for your clients," Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks wrote in July 2007. "I hope to get something to you or file something with the court as soon as possible."
Why does this all sound familiar to me? Oh, because some of the same jerks who are trying to smear Dr. Mattson and the Islamic Society of North America were also doing a similar dogpile on Keith Ellison and the Council for Islamic Relations, which also has worked with the Bush Administration, in the futile hope of keeping him from winning a Congressional seat. The far-right loony tunes who are behind this and other smears hate any and all Muslims, and they are attacking groups like CAIR and ISNA precisely because these groups are respected and respectable.