Friday, October 26, 2012
A Red Carpet for Radicals at the White House
by Steve Emerson and John Rossomando
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
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
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
façade 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,
• 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
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.