- Now-defunct organization that sponsored conferences featuring known Islamic terrorists as guest speakers
- Placed by the U.S. government on a list of organizations that "finance terrorism and perpetuate violence"
The Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) was established in the 1970s and incorporated in Plainfield, Indiana in 1989. Until it became inactive in early 2004, MAYA was listed on various Islamic reference websites as an organization set up to sponsor Muslim youth conferences and matrimonial services. The preface of the official MAYA constitutions read: “In the heart of America, in the depths of corruption and ruin and moral deprivation, an elite of Muslim youth is holding fast to the teachings of Allah.” A companion MAYA publication stated, “Western civilization is based upon the separation of religions from life [whereas] Islamic civilization is based upon fundamentals opposed to those of Western civilization,” and warned Muslim women to be “conscious of the evils of Western civilization.”
MAYA first came to public attention when it co-financed and sponsored a December 1989 conference in Kansas City, Missouri that invited, as a guest speaker, a known Hamas terrorist named Sheikh Mohammed Siyyam, who called for violent jihad against Israel, Jews, and Christians. Another conference attendee was Nasser Himdi, who took weapons training classes in Chicago under the aegis of Mohammad Salah, an Arab-American who was ultimately arrested and imprisoned in Israel for supplying weapons that killed Israeli civilians in a terrorist attack. The conference exhorted those in attendance to participate in, or otherwise support, the Palestinian Intifada against Israel. The keynote speaker wore a veil and was introduced as a man who had proudly killed 16 Israelis in a bus attack. His speech was enthusiastically greeted with chants of "Allahu Akhbar!" ("God is great!")
Co-sponsoring the Kansas City conference with MAYA was the Holy Land Foundation for Relief & Development, which would be closed down by the U.S. government in 2001 because it had funded terrorism. Another co-sponsor of the conference was the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which was co-founded by Sami Al-Arian, who headed the U.S. operations of the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The Kansas City conference was just one of many MAYA events at which prominent members of Hamas and other terrorist groups were featured speakers. Another MAYA conference was keynoted by Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, the influential Sunni jihadist cleric with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. In his 2002 book American Jihad, Steven Emerson wrote that MAYA conferences “have regularly attracted a parade of top Islamic militants.”
MAYA was named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document -- titled "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America" -- as one of the Brotherhood’s 29 likeminded "organizations of our friends" that shared the common goal of destroying America and turning it into a Muslim nation. These "friends" were identified by the Brotherhood as groups that could help teach Muslims "that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands ... so that ... God's religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions."
Also named in the Muslim Brotherhood document were:
In the aftermath of 9/11, the U.S. government placed MAYA on its list of organizations that "finance terrorism and perpetuate violence."
In the summer 2007 Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) trial (which looked into evidence of HLF's fundraising on behalf of Hamas), the U.S. government released a list of approximately 300 of HLF’s "unindicted co-conspirators" and "joint venturers." Among the unindicted co-conspirators were groups such as MAYA, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Hamas, INFOCOM, the Islamic Association for Palestine, the Islamic Society of North America, the North American Islamic Trust, and the United Association for Studies and Research. The list also included many individuals affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas. Among these were Omar Ahmad, Abdurahman Alamoudi, Yousef al-Qaradawi, Abdallah Azzam, Jamal Badawi, Mohammad Jaghlit, Mousa Abu Marzook, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, and Ahmed Yassin.