Friday, October 26, 2012

A Red Carpet for Radicals at the White House

by Steve Emerson and John Rossomando

IPT News

October 21, 2012


A year-long investigation by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)

has found that scores of known radical Islamists made hundreds of visits

to the Obama White House, meeting with top administration officials.

Court documents and other records have identified many of these visitors

As belonging to groups serving as fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas

And other Islamic militant organizations.

The IPT made the discovery combing through millions of White House visitor

log entries. IPT compared the visitors' names with lists of known radical

Islamists. Among the visitors were officials representing groups which


• Been designated by the Department of Justice as unindicted


in terrorist trials; Extolled Islamic terrorist groups including Hamas and


• Obstructed terrorist investigations by instructing their followers not

To cooperate with law enforcement;

• Promoted the incendiary conspiratorial allegation that the United States

is engaged in a "war against Islam"— a leading tool in recruiting Muslims

to carry out acts of terror;

• Repeatedly claimed that many of the Islamic terrorists convicted since

9-11 were framed by the U.S government as part of an anti-Muslim profiling


Individuals from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) visited

the White House at least 20 times starting in 2009. In 2008, CAIR was

listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist money laundering

case in U.S. history – the trial of the Holy Land Foundation in which five

HLF officials were convicted of funneling money to Hamas.

U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis later ruled that, "The Government

Has produced ample evidence to establish the association" of CAIR to Hamas,

upholding their designations as unindicted co-conspirators. In 2008, the

FBI formally ended all contact with CAIR because of its ties to Hamas.

In January 2004, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR's Los Angeles

office, publicly defended Palestinian terror attacks in comments before

Muslim students at the University of California – Los Angeles, saying that

terrorists were exercising their "legitimate right" to defend themselves

against Israeli occupation.

Ayloush, who was a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in

Charlotte, N.C., casts the United States as controlled by Israeli


At a 2008 CAIR banquet in San Diego, he imagined "an America that respects

and humanizes religion. It's an America that is free to act on its values

and not on the interests of any foreign lobby." In 2004, he said that the

war on terror had become a "war on Muslims." Ayloush attended at least two

White House meetings.

The logs show Ayloush met with Paul Monteiro, associate director of the

White House Office of Public Engagement on July 8, 2011 and Amanda Brown,

assistant to the White House director of political affairs Patrick

Gaspard, on June 6, 2009.

According to reliable sources, Monteiro was White House liaison for secret

contacts with CAIR, especially with Ayloush. IPT has learned that the

White House logs curiously have omitted Ayloush's three meetings with two other

senior White House officials.

Louay Safi, formerly executive director of the Islamic Society of North

America, visited the White House twice – meeting in intimate settings with

Paul Monteiro on June 29, 2011 and July 8, 2011.

Law enforcement first noticed Safi in 1995 when his voice was captured in

An FBI wiretap of now-convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami


At the time of his conversation with Al-Arian, Safi served as executive

director of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, an


listed in law-enforcement and in internal Muslim Brotherhood documents as

one of the movement's top front groups in North America.

Safi also wrote for the Middle East Affairs Journal, produced by the

United Association for Studies and Research (UASR). That group was established by

Hamas deputy political leader Mousa Abu Marzook and part of the

Hamas-support network called the "Palestine Committee."

Safi has repeatedly expressed understanding for the underlying causes that

provoke terrorism: "Terrorism cannot be fought by…ignoring its root


The first step…is to examine the conditions that give rise to the anger,

frustration, and desperation that fuel all terrorist acts." He also called

Palestinian terrorists "freedom" fighters.

Esam Omeish, former head of the Muslim Brotherhood-created Muslim American

Society, visited the White House three times.

In 2000, Omeish personally hired the late terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki to be

the imam of Falls Church, VA, Dar al-Hijrah mosque. According to IPT

analysis, more terrorists have been linked to Dar al-Hijrah since 9/11

than to any other mosque in America.

Omeish publicly mourned the Israeli airstrike that killed Hamas founder

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin at an April 10, 2004, MAS conference.

According to video captured by IPT, Omeish went a step further at the

December 22, 2000, Jerusalem Day rally in Washington's Lafayette Park,

praising Palestinian terror groups, saying they had learned "the jihad


to "liberate" Palestine.

In a sermon at Dar al-Hijrah in 2009, Omeish called for "an American

Islamic movement that transforms our status, that impacts our society, and that

brings forth the change that we want to see."

Last month, Omeish attended a reception for Egyptian President Mohamed

Morsi during Morsi's United Nations visit. Morsi is a longtime Egyptian

Brotherhood leader. Omeish posted a picture of the event on his Facebook

page and noted: "His Excellency provided great insights and we share

important perspectives."

Mohamed Elibiary, appointed to the Homeland Security Advisory Council in

October 2010, spoke at a December 2004 seminar in honor of Iran's

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, titled: "A Tribute to the Great Islamic Visionary."

Elibiary condemned the convictions of the defendants in the Hamas

money-laundering trial as a "loss for America" and dismissed the

prosecution as "a political trial trying to achieve a government policy." He also

opposed the targeting of American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki,

saying it wouldn't be "worth the ramifications of having to chase his

ghost as a martyr for the next half century."

Interestingly, the Obama administration's enthusiastic support for gay

rights did not prevent it from inviting Islamists who support laws

overseas giving gays the death penalty.

In a June 21, 2001 article in The San Francisco Chronicle, Muzammil

Siddiqi, the former head of Islamic Society of North America, said he "supported

Laws in countries where homosexuality is punishable by death." Siddiqi met with

Monteiro on June 8, 2010.

Despite the President's public proclamations that he is standing strong

against terrorism, the White House logs demonstrate that he has

legitimized the very same groups that espouse radical Islamic terrorism.

MPAC's Influence on Policy

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has secured the closest working

relationship with the Obama White House despite a record of anti-Semitism,

whitewashing the terrorist threat and hostility toward law enforcement.

Fifteen MPAC officials have been welcomed by the White House. Executive

Director Salam al-Marayati enjoyed at least six White House visits between

September 2009 and July 2011, mostly involving meetings with Monteiro.

Alejandro Beutel, who was MPAC's government liaison until July 2012, had

10 White House visits between July 2010 and May 2012.

MPAC's Washington director Haris Tarin made 24 trips to the White House

between December 2009 and March 2012. Those meetings often were intimate

in nature, involving a handful of people at most.

Edina Lekovic, an MPAC spokeswoman, visited the White House twice in July

2010. As a UCLA student, Lekovic served as an editor of a Muslim magazine

called Al-Talib, which in 1999 ran an editorial calling Osama bin Laden "a

great mujahid" and saying when bin Laden is called a terrorist, "we should

defend our brother and refer to him as a freedom fighter, someone who has

forsaken wealth and power to fight in Allah's cause and speak out against

oppressors. We take these stances only to please Allah." That issue

identified Lekovic as a managing editor.

Like CAIR, MPAC also has pushed that "war on Islam" message. MPAC defended

Hizballah's 1983 attack on a U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon which killed

241 Americans and questioned U.S.-terror designations for Palestinian

terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

But the White House turned to MPAC officials as it prepared two papers on

combatting what it calls violent extremism in America.

On July 18, 2011, White House Senior Director for Global Engagement

QuintanWiktorowicz hosted four MPAC officials for a private meeting. Two

weeks later, the White House issued "Empowering Local Partners to Prevent

Violent Extremism in the United States," a counter-terrorism initiative

which made no mention of radical Islam or jihad waged by its followers.

Rather, it named only al-Qaida as the enemy and included a vow to counter

al-Qaida's narrative that America is at war with Islam.

That focus fits neatly with MPAC's agenda. It has lobbied for years to

Strip references to Islam from national security dialogue, even though

Terrorists from al-Qaida to Hamas use Quranic doctrine to justify their bloody

campaigns. And it marks the culmination of a dream described by MPAC founder Salam

al-Marayati in a 2005 speech: "Counter-terrorism and counter-violence

should be defined by us," he said. "We should define how an effective

counter-terrorism policy should be pursued in this country. So, number

one, we reject any effort, notion, suggestion that Muslims should start spying

on one another … That is why we are saying have them [law enforcement] come

in community forums, in open-dialogues, so they come through the front door

and you prevent them having to come from the back door."

Wiktorowicz, a member of President Obama's National Security Council who

authored a 2005 ebook on radical Islam, was a receptive host for MPAC

government and policy analyst Alejandro Beutel, Washington, D.C. office

director Haris Tarin, policy analyst Hoda Elshishtawy and Shammas Malik,

an MPAC intern, White House logs show.

MPAC didn't tout the July 18 meeting publicly but quickly praised the

White House initiative. It "echoes MPAC's long-standing position of emphasizing

community-based solutions in addressing violent extremism," the

organization said in an August 3, 2011 news release.

Days before the meeting, President Obama called Tarin personally to

Commend his work with the Muslim American community and the nation.

MPAC repaid the courtesy a month later by issuing a paper blasting the

American opposition to a Palestinian scheme to get United Nations

recognition of statehood without pursuing it through peace talks.

The MPAC report questions the Obama administration's integrity by

Suggesting that the "U.S. is so out of step with global public opinion" on this issue

because it is unduly influenced by "domestic political consequences" and

campaign concerns, an allusion to the perceived political power of the

pro-Israel lobby in the U.S., which MPAC often invokes.

Despite MPAC's strident public opposition to U.S. policy, Wiktorowicz

Again hosted Beutel, Tarin, and Elshishtawy on November 4, 2011 – just a month

before a follow-up counter-terrorism document was released.

Access Didn't Moderate MPAC

In March 2011, Beutel took to Press TV, an English-language broadcast

Outlet controlled by the Iranian government, to criticize congressional hearings

On radicalization within the Muslim American community:

It spoke to a lot of the feelings that I think many Muslim Americans have

with respect to their position here in America post-9/11. We are loyal

citizens to this nation and we are trying to do everything we can to keep

it safe and secure. And yet even when we're doing the right things and in

many cases, laying our lives down on the line for our nation, we still get

stigmatized sometimes.

Most recently, Beutel co-authored an op-ed with Tarin, in which the two

MPAC officials criticized NYPD surveillance of Muslim student groups across the

Northeast: "The NYPD's surveillance of an entire community based on their

faith -- with no evidence of criminal activity -- is a blow [to] democracy

and an ineffective and counterproductive offense to its mandate to

'protect and serve.'"

In September 2010, Beutel criticized FBI raids in Chicago and Minneapolis

targeting supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

(PFLP) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), both

U.S.-designated terrorist organizations. Beutel argued that "[t]he FBI

cannot continue to tell the American people that harassing anti-war

activists falls under the rubric of counterterrorism and a fight against

al-Qaeda … They have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The FBI is

undermining the trust that has been built between communities and law


Other Islamists Who Enjoyed Access

White House logs show Islamists visiting the White House who may have

Lower profiles, but who also defended terrorists and terrorist groups, and

repeatedly castigated law enforcement, especially in counter-terror sting

operations. Among them:

• Farhana Khera– executive director of Muslim Advocates and the National

Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML). She casts FBI counter-terror stings

As "entrapment." Following arrests in late 2010, she told USA Today, "But for

the government's role in these cases the suspects may have been left with

their own bravado. Law enforcement resources need to be focused on actual

threats." Khera also has compromised FBI operations and coached mosque

personnel on how to evade FBI surveillance. "In one case, the FBI even

wanted to build a gym to attract young Muslims to work out and 'discuss

jihad," Khera once wrote. In July 2010 Khera told delegates at an Islamic

Society of North American convention: "Sometimes [Muslim] community

Members don't even think of themselves as a[n] [FBI] source. They might just think

[to] themselves, 'Well, I have a good relationship with the head of the


office. He comes by my office from time to time and we have tea, or we go

to lunch, and he just talks to me about the community.' But what may seem

like an innocuous set of conversations in the FBI's mind they may be thinking

of you as an informant, as a source. And the repercussions and the harm that

that can cause can be pretty serious." Khera shows up three times in the

White House visitor logs, most recently in August 2011.

• Hisham al-Talib–A founder and current VP of Finance for Herndon,

VA-based, International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), an organization the FBI

believes has housed key Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the United States

since the late 1980s. Al-Talib was among seven people to meet March 30,


with Joshua DuBois, White House executive director of the Office of

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. A 1987 FBI investigative

report, obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, cited a source whose

name was redacted but who has private communication with IIIT leaders. Their

conversations show the IIIT leaders "…are implementing Phase I of the

overall six phase IKWAN [Brotherhood] plan to institute the Islamic

Revolution in the United States." The source said that IIIT leaders were

working "to peacefully get inside the United States Government and also

American universities" ultimately to help overthrow non-Islamic


Just four years later, the IIIT acknowledged funding WISE, a Tampa

think-tank that housed four members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's

governing board (Sami al-Arian, Ramadan Shallah, Basheer Nafi and Mazen

al-Najjar). WISE had a cooperative agreement to work with University of

South Florida faculty. In a November 1992 letter to al-Arian, IIIT

President Taha Jaber al-Awani explained the intimate relationship between the Tampa

and Virginia operations. "And I would like to affirm these feelings to you

directly on my behalf and on the behalf of all my brothers [naming IIIT

officials including al-Talib] … "that when we make a commitment to you or

try to offer, we do it for you as a group, regardless of the party or

fa├žade you use the donation for … [W]e consider you as a group … a part of us and

an extension of us. Also, we are part of you and an extension of you,"

al-Awani wrote. "[O]ur relationship, in addition to being a brotherhood of

faith and Islam, is an ideological and cultural concordance with mutual

objectives." The letter named the IIIT officials who shared this view,

including al-Talib.

• Imam Talib El-Hajj Abdur Rashid–religious and spiritual leader of


Mosque of the Islamic Brotherhood. Rashid rationalized Iranian President

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's stance on destroying Israel, saying it merely is a

"sentiment born of the legitimate anger, frustration, and bitterness that

Is felt in many [parts of the Muslim World" because of Israel's "ongoing

injustice toward the Palestinian people." He also serves on the National

Committee to Free Imam Jamil Abdullah al-Amin. Al-Amin, formerly known as


Rapp Brown, was convicted of killing a Georgia police officer in

2002.White House logs place Rashid in two meetings during 2010 including a July 13

event with President Obama.

• Hatem Abudayyeh – executive director of the Chicago-based Arab American

Action Network, founded by Rashid Khalidi, a friend of President Obama.

Abudayyeh has been under criminal investigation at least since September

2010, when FBI agents raided his home and office in connection with a

terror-support probe. In a 2006 interview, Abudayyeh blasted Israel's

"military killing machine" after Israel retaliated for a cross-border

Hizballah attack that killed five people and led to the kidnapping of two

soldiers. "The U.S. and Israel will continue to describe Hamas, Hezbollah

and the other Palestinian and Lebanese resistance organizations as

'terrorists,'" he said,"but the real terrorists are the governments and

military forces of the U.S. and Israel." He visited the White House in

April 2010.

Outreach to minority communities can foster a feeling of inclusiveness.

However, President Obama opening the White House to radical Islamists

compromises American security in at least two ways. First, it legitimizes

groups and individuals whose track records beg skepticism and scrutiny.

Second, White House visitor logs show that top U.S. policy-makers are

soliciting and receiving advice from people who, at best, view the war on

terrorism as an unchecked war on Muslims. These persons' perspectives and

preferred policies handcuff law enforcement and weaken our resolve when it

comes to confronting terrorism.

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