I wrote an article last week in protest of the U.S. Institute of Peace's "co-hosting an event with a group closely associated with radical Islam," that being the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy. In addition, Kenneth Timmerman wrote a critique of this event, based in part on information from me.
Today the USIP has sent out a form letter in reply, signed by Kay King, its director of Congressional and Public Affairs. She writes that "The public criticism of CSID and the speakers was found to be based on quotes taken out of context, guilt by association, errors of fact, and innuendo."
This withering repudiation prompted me to reread my New York Sun article, and though I may be biased, I don't quite see how Ms King's statement stands up to scrutiny. Here are my replies to her:
- Quotes taken out of context: There are no quotes at all in my article, much less any taken out of context.
- Guilt by association: If Kamran Bokhari has been a leader of Al-Muhajiroun, an organization that everyone agrees is wildly beyond the pale, and he is also an integral part of the CSID, surely this casts important light on CSID and cannot be so lightly dismissed.
- Errors of fact: Ms King's paragraph on Bokhari does not in any way contradict my own.
- Innuendo: A vague term that I cannot respond to.
More broadly, I regret that the USIP leadership remains in denial of its mistake on March 19 and even feels compelled to lash out against a board member interested in protecting both its reputation and the country at large from the scourge of militant Islam. (March 31, 2004)
May 14, 2004 update: My critique of USIP jointly sponsoring the event with CSID on March 19 focused on CSID's ties to one Kamran Bokhari, the North American spokesman for Al-Muhajiroun, which I characterized as "perhaps the most extreme Islamist group operating in the West." Today CSID sent out invitations to its 5th annual conference on May 28-29 and announced a talk then by that very same Kamran Bokhari, on "Justice and Political Legitimacy in Islamic Political Thought." Had the USIP done the right thing in March, this radical would probably not be invited in May.