Rafia Farook, the mother of San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook, is an active member of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a Muslim organization that promotes the establishment of a caliphate and has ties to a radical Pakistani political group called Jamaat-e-Islami.
Farook’s affiliation with ICNA was revealed on Friday when MSNBC and other new outlets scoured the Farooks’ apartment in Redlands, Cal. 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.
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. 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 at at least two ICNA events in recent years. One of those, ICNA’s 2012 annual convention, was also 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, Va. were arrested in Pakistan and charged with plotting to attack American troops in Afghanistan.
Founded in 1968 and is based in Jamaica, N.Y., ICNA is 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.
ICNA is heavily reliant on 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, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
As the ADL notes, 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.”
Maududi “is a jihadi ideologue,” according to the ADL. “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.
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.”
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