by Dexter Van Zile
The Biden Administration has appointed Mohamed Hag Magid, a prominent imam from Virginia with ties to American Islamist organizations, to serve on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Predictably enough, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, welcomed Magid’s appointment, with its deputy director Edward Ahmed Mitchell declaring, “His long and stellar record of humanitarian and interfaith work will make him a valuable asset to the commission’s work.”
Zuhdi Jasser, a founder of American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a former USCIRF commissioner himself, is furious with Magid’s appointment to the body, declaring that it marks Joe Biden’s “place in history as the ‘American Muslim Brotherhood’s @POTUS’” and that the Islamists’ “global campaign to squelch dissent from their critics has co-opted another platform.”
It’s hard to argue with Jasser’s assessment. Magid, who has not responded to requests for comment, downplayed the horror of the mass-murder of Christians that took place in Sudan between the 1980s and early 2000s. While speaking at a conference in Georgetown in 2004, Magid stated that reports about the mass-killings of Christians by the Islamist regime in Khartoum were “some kind of exaggeration,” declaring, “[W]hat happened in this issue here, things escalated and people called it genocide,” he said.
One of the groups that called what happened in Sudan “genocide” was USCIRF, the organization Magid has just been appointed to serve. In 2001, USCIRF declared, that religion was a major factor in Sudan’s civil war and that “the Sudanese government is committing genocidal atrocities against the civilian population in the south and the Nuba Mountains.”
Magid’s résumé clearly does not fit the profile of someone qualified to serve on the board of USCIRF, which was founded in 1998 to monitor the ability of people to exercise “the universal right to freedom of religion or belief” throughout the world.
Magid, serves as Executive Imam of All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia. As documented by the Daily Caller in 2017, “The Adams Center is tightly connected to the so-called SAAR Network, an organization of Islamist terror financiers that has inexplicably escaped punishment.”
According to a Federal affidavit filed by Customs Agent David Kane, the network in question was established with money from Saudi Arabia which was then funneled to jihadi organizations such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad. According to the same affidavit, Magid was an advisor to the Sterling Charitable fund, which was part of SAAR’s money laundering network.
Then there is Magid’s involvement with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) which according to the Chicago Tribune, was established in 1981 by members of the Muslim Brotherhood living in the United States. In June 2012, during his tenure as ISNA president, Magid gave an annual “diversity award” to Dawud Walid, the executive director of CAIR-Michigan who, in the months previous had said hateful things about Jews, declaring for example “Who are those who incurred the wrath of Allah? They are the Jews, they are the Jews.”
Despite all this, Magid has made his way into the inner sanctum of American politics. Not only has he obtained the blessing of the Biden White House, he participated in President Trump’s 2017 inauguration ceremony during which he recited verses from the Koran. Magid was also a favorite of the Obama Administration, attending an Iftar dinner at the White House in 2010 and meeting twice with the president in March 2013. And in 2016, he received an award from White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough for his “peacemaking” work.
Given Magid’s appointment, it is a relief that former U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who played an instrumental role in USCIRF’s creation and regularly jousted with Islamists while serving in Congress, is a current commissioner. USCIRF is an important institution in the fight against religious oppression. It needs to be protected from Islamists like Magid, not handed over to them.
First published in Focus on Western Islamism.