Groups with terror ties vetting Islamic chaplains for Federal Prisons

Reported from the Daily Caller

As Fox News and other news organizations have reported, America’s federal prisons are a “breeding ground” for potential Islamic terrorists — and have been so for years. Despite this disturbing trend, the Obama administration has enlisted Islamic organizations with known terror ties to review and endorse chaplains to work in federal prisons.

In response to an inquiry from Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Federal Bureau of Prisons provided a list of Islamic Chaplaincy Endorsers, which Grassley has since posted online. Included on the list is the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which has long-standing ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and was named by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror financing case.

In an open letter to the director of the Bureau of Prisons Thomas Kane, Grassley pointed out that “A 2009 federal district court ruling concluded that ample evidence exists showing the Islamic Society of North America’s ties to Hamas, which is designated by the State Department as a terrorist organization.”

Writing about ISNA, Grassley noted: “It appears, therefore, that the BOP is relying on an organization with associations to terrorist organizations and one that the DOJ named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorist financing case to confirm credentials of those attempting to provide religious services to federal inmates. If accurate, this information is deeply troubling.”

And ISNA isn’t even the only organization with radical ties on the list of chaplaincy endorsers. The Islamic Education Center, located in Walnut, Calif., also has ties to terror organizations through its founder, Dr. Ahmad H. Sakr.

In addition to founding the Islamic Education Center, Sakr — originally from Lebanon — was a founding member of both ISNA and the World Council of Mosques, the latter of which has “a long history of providing financial support to terrorist groups,” according to the Anti-Defamation League. Sakr, who passed away just a few months ago, is listed as the contact person on the BOP’s list of chaplaincy endorsers.

“It is imperative that the BOP take every measure possible to ensure the safety of its personnel within federal prisons and take all reasonable measures to ensure that Islamic extremism is stopped at the gates of each prison,” Grassley noted in his letter to Director Kane. “Currently, it is not clear whether the BOP is doing so.”

As a result of the apparent shortcomings, Grassley is asking the Bureau of Prisons to provide further information about “the process by which someone becomes a religious endorsing organization,” in addition to an explanation for why the BOP chose ISNA as a chaplaincy endorser.

Grassley is also seeking the number of currently employed religious contractors from the 2014-15 year with still incomplete background checks.

According to a 2013 article from the Huffington Post, anywhere between 35,000-40,000 inmates convert to Islam every year, presumably with the assistance of the chaplains provided by the prisons. In a 2014 op-ed in The Daily Caller, author Joy Brighton argued that the nation’s prisons have been churning out thousands of radicalized inmates every year. Brighton’s calls were echoed in a Fox News article just last month that cited experts on the subject who called federal prisons a “breeding ground” for potential terrorists.