Unfortunately, it is difficult from their editorial to grasp why I, as a standard issue liberal Jew, should find the ISNA problematic. It vaguely alleges that the ISNA has "served as a front group for Wahhabism" and other extremist Muslim ideologies, but doesn't say what it means by that. And when pressed for an example of the ISNA's radicalism, it gives us this:
Ingrid Mattson, president of ISNA, revealed the style of radical rhetoric with which the organization is saturated when, in addressing the URJ’s recent convention, she declared that in the current U.S. presidential primaries, “we see candidates being asked to prove that they comply with an ever narrower definition of what it means to be a Christian — forget about being a Muslim or a Jew.”
This is hardly spine-tingling material. Indeed, I might agree with it myself. And even if I disagreed, it hardly strikes me as beyond the pale of respectable discourse. But to the authors of this editorial, it is "an inexcusably irresponsible, inflammatory charge." Seriously? I'm supposed to buy that?
Elsewhere, it misreads Rabbi Yoffe's statement that "Islamic extremists constitute a profound threat. For some, this is a reason to flee from dialogue, but in fact the opposite is true," as promoting dialogue with the extremists, when he obviously is arguing that the presence of Islamic extremism makes dialogue with the rest of the Islamic community more urgent, not less. I could give other examples too; but overall, the styling of the editorial was persistently in such bad faith that it was anti-persuasive -- after reading their article, I came away further from their stated position than when I started.
The editorial was signed by nine people, affiliated with the American Muslim Congress, the Aafaq Foundation, the Center for Islamic Pluralism, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and the International Quranic Center. I know nothing of any of those groups (nor do I know anything about the ISNA). It's entirely possible that the ISNA really is a radical group camouflaged as moderate. It's also possible that this is a power-play by groups trying to smear and discredit a less accommodationist rival. I have no way of evaluating that without doing more research than I care to. Suffice to say that, if the former is in fact the case, these nine persons do serious harm to an important cause when they argue with such reckless disregard for fairness, clarity, or truth.