IranOctober 10 2022, 8:33 am

Texas Islamic Education Center Could be Part of Increasing Iranian “Soft Power” in the US

US media is report­ing on what is described as increas­ing Iran­ian “soft pow­er” in the US. Accord­ing to an arti­cle in The Dis­patch, an Islam­ic edu­ca­tion cen­ter in Hous­ton could be part of a more exten­sive network:

August 9, 2022 An unusu­al news sto­ry emanat­ed from Hous­ton, Texas, late last month. The Islam­ic Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter of Hous­ton (IEC) post­ed a video on YouTube of chil­dren singing a Shi­ite reli­gious song, with pledges of alle­giance to Iran’s Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei. A com­par­i­son of the back­ground in the video to pub­licly avail­able images of the IEC show a strik­ing resem­blance, lead­ing to the con­clu­sion that the video was like­ly filmed on-site. Fol­low­ing the back­lash to the video, the IEC made it pri­vate on YouTube. Some saw this as an inno­cent song with a reli­gious mes­sage, while oth­ers saw it as a polit­i­cal song in sup­port of the Islam­ic Rev­o­lu­tion of Iran and the supreme leader, which sig­ni­fies Iran­ian soft-pow­er influ­ences in the Unit­ed States. Even those skep­ti­cal that the song has sin­is­ter mean­ing and see it as a pure­ly reli­gious per­for­mance can­not ignore the Iran­ian influ­ence brood­ing beneath the sur­face. The IEC is a Shi­ite com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter which includes a mosque, orga­nizes com­mu­ni­ty pro­gram­ming, and runs a K‑12 pri­vate school (Al-Hadi School), as well as a Sun­day school. To sup­port the local com­mu­ni­ty, it oper­ates a free health clin­ic, has a COVID-19 finan­cial assis­tance pro­gram, offers schol­ar­ships for high­er edu­ca­tion, pro­motes inter­faith dia­logue, and more. No less impor­tant­ly, the IEC clear­ly sup­ports a pro-Iran­ian regime ide­ol­o­gy and may be part of a larg­er network.

Read the rest here.

The report goes on to detail some of the links between the IEC and Iran­ian influ­ence orga­ni­za­tions cov­ered by the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR):

For exam­ple, on June 5, 2020, the IEC took part in an event memo­ri­al­iz­ing Aya­tol­lah Ruhol­lah Khome­i­ni, the founder of the Islam­ic Rev­o­lu­tion, host­ed by the Ahlul­Bayt Islam­ic Mis­sion, a British orga­ni­za­tion that has been endorsed by mem­bers of the Iran­ian regime. The event was held in coop­er­a­tion with “Light of Guid­ance,” an orga­ni­za­tion that took part in the 2020 “Inter­na­tion­al Jerusalem Day” con­fer­ence orga­nized by the Islam­ic Human Rights Com­mis­sion (IHRC), a Lon­don-based orga­ni­za­tion with high­ly ques­tion­able ties to Hezbol­lah, a U.S. and U.K.-designated ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion. The speak­ers at the event includ­ed Marzieh Hashe­mi, an Amer­i­can-born Press TV jour­nal­ist who was linked to an Iran­ian espi­onage oper­a­tion, and Usama Abdul­ghani, a cler­ic who pro­motes con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, such as the claim that Unit­ed States and Israel cre­at­ed ISIS, and sup­ports calls by Iran and Hezbol­lah to destroy Israel and the Jews. The IEC held mul­ti­ple events with Abdul­ghani, fre­quent­ly in hon­or of the anniver­sary of the Islam­ic Rev­o­lu­tion. Over the years, it has also host­ed mul­ti­ple events in mem­o­ry of Khome­i­ni and fea­tured Aya­tol­lah Khamenei in its publications.

GIOR has exten­sive­ly cov­ered the Islam­ic Human Rights Com­mis­sion (IHRC) and Press TV.

Last month, GIOR report­ed that US Repub­li­cans were prob­ing what they called “pro-Iran pro­pa­gan­da” on US col­lege campuses.


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