Jimmy Carter Under Scrutiny Over Keynote Speech For Islamic Organization

Jimmy Carter is drawing anger from conservatives by refusing to cancel a keynote speech for an Islamic organization.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Jimmy Carter is giving the keynote speech at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) 51st annual convention in Detroit's Cobo Center at a luncheon on August 30, 2014.

While the event seems typical enough.

The group says in its mission statement it aims "to be an exemplary and unifying Islamic organization in North America that contributes to the betterment of the Muslim community and society at large." And it has tried to achieve those goals through charities and public outreach.

Diplomat Karen Hughes, evangelical Christian pastor Rick Warren, and Obama adviser Valerie Jarret have all spoken at ISNA events. Even President Obama sent a video message to the organization.

But Jimmy Carter is special.

His expected presence at this years convention have prompted outrage and headlines like "Jimmy Carter to Headline Fundraiser for Hamas Front Group" from conservative media outlets.

ISNA has had legal troubles in the past. In 2007, the Justice department labeled the group as an un-indicted co-conspirator and member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and implicated the group in a plot to funnel $12 million to Hamas. ISNA denied the accusations and asked for the designation to be removed, but a federal judge said there was ample evidence to confirm that members of Hamas' fundraising wing operated from within ISNA.

The legal case left a stain on the reputation of the group, but part of the most recent controversy may rest in Jimmy Carter's views on the middle east.

Ex-President Carter wrote an op-ed for Foreign Policy magazine where he called on Western government's to recognize Hamas as a "legitimate political actor."

The opinion piece was a major break for conventional U.S. policy. The State Department labels Hamas as a terrorist group. And the Hamas convention is not only riddled with antisemitism, it calls for the destruction of Israel.

Carter's op-ed goes on to put the blame on Israel for the recent violent conflict.

Jimmy Carter's controversial statements couldn't come at a worse time, as the militant group ISIS is stroking fears of reinvigorated Islamic terrorism.

Nevertheless, the former president's keynote speech will shy away from Israel and terrorism. Instead Carter will discuss women's rights. Deanna Congileo of the Carter Center in Atlanta also said that Jimmy Carter would be promoting his new book.

That might once again cause a bit of a stir. Jimmy Carter's new book's title is Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

[Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]