For at least the second time since last summer, those close to President-elect Barack Obama are defending the selection of the leader of a Muslim group, linked by the U.S. government to terrorists, to play a leading role in an ecumenical religious service. Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, is one of several religious leaders scheduled to speak at the inaugural prayer service Wednesday at Washington's National Cathedral.
As WND reported in August, Mattson spoke at the Democratic National Convention's "interfaith gathering" in Denver.
At the time, Fox News reported ISNA was suspected of having ties to radical terrorism worldwide and during last year's Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial was regarded as an "unindicted co-conspirator" by the U.S. government.
The government alleged documents show ISNA is supported by the Muslim Brotherhood, which has called for "jihad" against the West.
Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy told Fox the Muslim Brotherhood seeks "our destruction."
Last July, federal prosecutors in Dallas filed court documents saying they had "a wide array of testimonial and documentary evidence expressly linking" the Islamic society to Hamas, which the U.S. classifies as a terrorist organization, as well as other radical groups.
DNC officials defended Mattson at the time as "an ambassador for Islam who preaches tolerance."
Yesterday, Linda Douglass, a spokeswoman for Obama's inaugural committee, again defended Mattson, saying, "She has a stellar reputation in the faith community." Douglass would not discuss the Dallas case or say whether the committee was aware of it, reported Associated Press.
ISNA, which describes itself as "the nation's largest mainstream Muslim community-based organization," says it does not condone terrorism and has disputed its inclusion in the Holy Land Foundation case.