The gang that couldn’t talk straight

Last month we wrote about the Star Tribune’s puff piece by Mitch Anderson on the pilgrimage of Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison to Mecca for the Muslim hajj. The brief piece relied heavily on comments by Ellison spoksman Rick Jauert, who told Anderson “that Ellison paid for the journey himself.”

The Star Tribune devoted a second puff piece by Anderson to Ellison’s Hajj The rationale for another piece on the same subject was obscure. Apparently adding weight to Ellison’s greatness in the eyes of the Star Tribune, Anderson quoted Ellison: “This is just me trying to be the best person I can be.”

Anderson buried the sole item of journalistic interest at the end of the article. Anderson reported: “[Ellison’s] expenses were paid for by the Muslim American Society of Minnesota.” Despite the fact that it was Anderson himself who previously quoted Ellison’s spokesman asserting that the trip was on Ellison’s own nickel, Anderson dropped the subject there. As one can infer from my Standard piece “Louis Farrakhan’s first congressman,” this is typical of the paralysis to which the Star Tribune’s coverage of Ellison has been subject.

Ellison’s relationship with the Muslim American Society of Minnesota should be troubling. The MAS Minnesota stands at the center of many of the religiously inspired controversies that have roiled the Twin Cities. It was the MAS Minnesota’s own fatwa, for example, that prompted Muslim taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to refuse to transport passengers carrying liquor or accompanied by guide dogs. It is the MAS Minnesota that houses the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, the Muslim charter school operating in violation of the First Amendment. (Both of these stories were broken by my friend Katherine Kersten in her discontinued Star Tribune column.)

The Muslim American Society that is the parent of MAS Minnesota is a story in itself. The MAS was founded as the American offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is the radical Islamist organization that originated in Egypt that has put down roots in Europe and elsewhere. See Lorenz Vidino’s excellent Middle East Quaterly essay on the MAS’s efforts to Islamize Europe and Daniel Pipes’s discussion of the MAS’s American efforts.

Pipes also comments on the Muslim American Society’s goals here and points out Daveed Gartenstein-Ross’s important Standard column that looks at the Minnesota MAS chapter’s stated goals. Gartenstein-Ross further explored the MAS’s deep ties to radical Islam in a column for the Dallas Morning News.,

The Muslim Brotherhood was also at the heart of the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas. The Holy Land Foundation was the chief American fundraiser for Hamas. Both the Holy Land Foundation and Hamas were created by the Muslim Brotherhood.
See the Dallas Morning News article by Jason Trahan and Tanya Eiserer on the Holy Land Foundation guilty verdicts that were returned in November.

Joe Kaufman has documented the hate and support for Islamist terrorism spewed by the MAS Minnesota. Kaufman likens Ellison to other politicians such as Robert Byrd who have been involved with hate groups. Byrd was of course once an officer in the Ku Klux Klan.

Kaufman noted that unlike Byrd’s, however, Ellison’s associations continue while he remains in office. Ellison is perhaps more akin to such former House members as Vito Marcantonio, who became a friend of the Communist Party in Congress as a member of the American Labor Party.

FOX News has now posted a report by Joseph Abrams on Ellison’s hajj. Abrams states that Ellison’s hajj was funded by the Muslim American Society of Minnesota and rehearses the history of the Muslim American Society. Consistent with Mitch Anderson’s second Star Tribune story on Ellison’s hajj, Abrams reports that Ellison’s office acknowledges it. However, word appears not to have filtered up to the national director of the Muslim American Society:

Representatives for MAS-Minnesota did not return calls or e-mails requesting comment. But Mahdi Bray, the national director who campaigned for Ellison, denied his group had funded the congressman’s pilgrimage, calling the story a “myth” and “urban legend” that needed to be laid to rest.

“Keith Ellison is a member of Congress who knows that congressmen don’t take trips sponsored by nonprofits. That would be a breach of congressional ethics,” said Bray, executive director of the MAS Freedom Foundation.

But Ellison’s office told that MAS had indeed paid for the congressman’s hajj.

Putting the question of congessional ethics to one side, Bray is certainly mistaken about the funding for Ellison’s trip. (The travel rules for Congress are explained here. I am unsure how they apply to payment for Ellison’s hajj.) One can only speculate why Bray would deny a report that is derived from Ellison himself.

There is more than one story here. The incuriosity of the mainstream media about the nature of organizations such as the MAS and unindicted HLF co-conspirator CAIR is one such story. Perhaps that incuriosity explains the lack of interest in Ellison’s connections to the MAS and CAIR. One also wonders how organizations such as the MAS and CAIR continue to operate unimpeded in the aftermath of 9/11.

Another such story is the American left’s weird alliance with radical Islam, an alliance that Ellison embodies. How Ellison reconciles his Islamic faith with the Democratic Party’s devout belief in homosexual rights, leftist feminism, abortion rights and every other element of the party’s most radical agenda is a subject that the the mainstream media have somehow left unexplored.

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