More than 15,000 delegates attended this year's annual convention of the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America in Chicago. The gathering which ran from December 25 to 29 was held at the mammoth McCormick Place convention center in Chicago, according to OnIslam.
Only 500 delegates took part in the first convention just after the al-Qaida attacks on the U.S. in 2001.
This year's convention speakers included Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, Jamal Badawi, a Muslim scholar sympathetic to Hamas, and Kristiane Backer, a German television presenter and convert to Islam.
Organizers had reportedly planned for Indiana Democratic Rep. André Carson to take part on a Ferguson panel with Mazen Mokhtar. He has been tied by law enforcement authorities in the U.S. and Britain to al-Qaida's website and to fundraising efforts for the Taliban.
Carson was a featured speaker at the convention. One of two Muslims in Congress— the other is Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison— Carson spoke on the "importance of civil engagement and developing leaders in the community," according to a statement put out by his office.
He said that he only attended the dinner and did not take part in any panel devoted to Ferguson. Carson added that he would "never associate with any individual or organization trying to harm the United States of America or its citizens."
Pro-Islamist groups in the U.S. have contributed at least $34,000 to Carson's congressional war chest. He also spoke at the 2012 convention where he advocated that U.S. schools look to Muslim madrassas, which teach the Koran, as an educational model, according to the Middle East Forum.
A promotional video for the just concluded event emphasized that Muslim Americans needed to work together to spread the values of Islam.
There are about 6-8 million Muslims in the U.S. according to convention organizers. This year, non-Arab Turkish Americans also took part in the convention, World Bulletin reported.
AIPAC seems to be taking a more backseat role -- doing less real public advocacy. Many U.S. Jews are not particularly concerned about Israel. Some, paradoxically, express their Jewishness by jumping on the bandwagon to "end the occupation" -- in other words, to force Israel back to the 1949 Armistice Lines and install a Palestinian polity in Judea and Samaria that will be a real and present danger to life in Israel.
If Muslims manage to melt a bit more into the melting pot as Jews continue to melt away through out-marriage and illiteracy of their heritage -- the American lobby for Israel will become totally reliant on our Christian friends.