A word from Andrew McCarthy

On Saturday I wrote about Minnesota GOP candidate Keith Downey’s talk to the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society (MAS-MN). Downey had called me to ask that I take a look at the complete text of his remarks. I posted them in the footnote to my comments.

The Muslim American Society was founded by the United States chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get a clue, but Andrew McCarthy’s The Grand Jihad provides an extremely useful guide to the world of the Muslim American Society. As the lead prosecutor of the Blind Sheikh and his friends for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, Andy acquired first-hand knowledge of this world.

Getting a bead on the MAS should especially easy in Minnesota. The executive director of the MAS-MN is Asap Zaman. Zaman first came to our attention as the principal of Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. TiZA was the Islamic charter school that took public funds on the pretense that it was nonsectarian. Let me emphasize the point: TiZA took taxpayers’ money on false pretenses. Zaman was the ringleader of the now shuttered TiZA operation. To say the least, he is a publicly compromised character.

In Minnesota we have a problem. It is represented by the MAS-MN and Zaman. Andrew McCarthy devoted two chapters of The Grand Jihad to Minnesota. Relying on the reporting of Katherine Kersten, he told the story of TiZA before its conclusion. Gregory Pratt took a highly useful look back at it when it was over in the City Pages article “The truth behind TiZA.”

Whether or not to talk to a group like MAS-MN calls for a prudential judgment on which reasonable people can disagree, but you have to know whom you’re talking to in order to make the judgment. My point in writing about Downey was that Downey didn’t know.

In our brief conversation Downey distinguished MAS-MN from the Minnesota chapter of CAIR, for example, on grounds I didn’t quite understand. He wouldn’t talk to CAIR Minnesota, he told me. In that respect he didn’t seem to disagree with me in principle, just as applied to MAS-MN.

I asked Andrew McCarthy to take a look at what I wrote and let me know if he disagreed. Andy wrote me yesterday, drawing on his work as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York: “Importantly, I think you made it very clear that there’s no reason to think the MAS has changed its stripes, and that this candidate – while perhaps well meaning – made a terrible mistake. I got a good belly laugh over the fact that he wanted credit for refusing to meet with CAIR. In Mafia terms, that’s like wanting to be patted on the back for shunning a meeting with the button-man after you’ve had a pow wow with the Don!”