Khan has recently earned the ire of Shi'a Muslims after he was invited to speak at a conference of the controversial Shi'a Muslim group called UMAA. The leadership of this group has, in the past, allowed the likes of Wolfowitz to speak at their conference, and there was also some discussion about inviting Daniel Pipes to this year's conference. Stephen Schwartz the strange "leftist" turned neo-con, turned "sufi" had also, in the past, endorsed UMAA's conferences. Each of UMAA's conferences has resulted in sharp controversy in the Shia Muslim community. And this year was no exception.
The source of this year's controversy was Muqtedar Khan's February 13th, 2005 article in which he compared Ayatullah Sistani with Saddam Hussein, and stated that:
"The US-led invasion of Iraq may have replaced an overt and brutal dictatorship by Saddam Hussein with a covert and subtle dictatorship buy the Marja-e-Taqleed, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani—the highest-ranking Shiite authority on the planet."
Many Shia Muslim did not appreciate this grave insult of their scholar, especially the comparison that Khan drew with the tyrant Saddam Hussein. Khan was confronted at the conference, and on on-line Shia forums. Click here for a blog entry for a summary of the concerns raised.
While the issues raised specific to Ayatullah Sistani are important, Muqtedar Khan's politics has been very inconsistent - at times calling for American Muslims to support United States imperialist military actions because of some kind of a "divine commitment" towards the United States:
“Once the war is declared, make no mistake Mr. Saddam Hussain and Mr. Bin Laden, We are with America. We will fight with America and we will fight for America. We have a covenant with this nation, we see it as a divine commitment and we will not disobey the Quran (9:4).”
Click here to read a wide ranging critique of Muqtedar Khan's strange politics and statements.