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Skip to comments.A Troubling Influence: Must Read (Islamist influence on the US military and political arenas)
Posted on 12/10/2003 7:20:53 PM PST by DoctorZIn
Why We Are Publishing This Article
by David Horowitz
The article you are about to read is the most disturbing that we at frontpagemag.com have ever published.
As an Internet magazine, with a wide circulation, we have been in the forefront of the effort to expose the radical Fifth Column in this country, whose agendas are at odds with the nations security, and whose purposes are hostile to its own. In his first address to Congress after 9/11, the President noted that we are facing the same totalitarian enemies we faced in the preceding century. It is not surprising that their domestic supporters in the American Left should have continued their efforts to weaken this nation and tarnish its image. Just as there was a prominent internal Fifth Column during the Cold War, so there has been a prominent Fifth Column during the war on terror.
By no means do all the opponents of Americas war policies (or even a majority) fit this category. Disagreement among citizens is a core feature of any democracy and respect for that disagreement is a foundational value of our political system. The self-declared enemies of the nation are distinguished by the intemperate nature of their attacks on America and its President referring to the one as Adolf Hitler, for example, or the other as the worlds greatest terrorist state. They are known as well by their political choices and associations. Many leaders of the movement opposing the war in Iraq have worked for half a century with the agents of Americas communist enemies and with totalitarian states like Cuba and the former USSR.
We have had no compunction about identifying these individuals and groups. America is no longer protected by geographical barriers or by its unsurpassed military technologies. Today terrorists who can penetrate our borders with the help of Fifth Column networks will have access to weapons of mass destruction that can cause hundreds of thousands of American deaths. One slip in our security defenses can result in a catastrophe undreamed of before.
What is particularly disturbing, about the information in this article by former Reagan Defense official, Frank Gaffney, is that it concerns an individual who loves this country and would be the last person to wish it harm, and the first one would expect to defend it. I have known Grover Norquist for almost twenty years as a political ally. Long before I myself was cognizant of the Communist threat indeed when I was part of one of those Fifth Column networks Grover Norquist was mobilizing his countrymen to combat it. In the early 1980s, Grover was in the forefront of conservative efforts to get the Reagan Administration to support the liberation struggles of anti-Communists in Central America, Africa and Afghanistan.
It is with a heavy heart therefore, that I am posting this article, which is the most complete documentation extant of Grover Norquists activities in behalf of the Islamist Fifth Column. I have confronted Grover about these issues and have talked to others who have done likewise. But it has been left to Frank Gaffney and a few others, including Daniel Pipes and Steven Emerson, to make the case and to suffer the inevitable recriminations that have followed earlier disclosures of some aspects of this story.
Up to now, the controversy over these charges has been dismissed or swept under the rug, as a clash of personalities or the product of one of those intra-bureaucratic feuds so familiar to the Washington scene.
Unfortunately, this is wishful thinking. The reality is much more serious. No one reading this document to its bitter end will confuse its claims and confirming evidence with those of a political cat fight. On the basis of the evidence assembled here, it seems beyond dispute that Grover Norquist has formed alliances with prominent Islamic radicals who have ties to the Saudis and to Libya and to Palestine Islamic Jihad, and who are now under indictment by U.S. authorities. Equally troubling is that the arrests of these individuals and their exposure as agents of terrorism have not resulted in noticeable second thoughts on Grovers part or any meaningful effort to dissociate himself from his unsavory friends.
As Frank Gaffneys article recounts, Grovers own Islamic Institute was initially financed by one of the most notorious of these operatives, Abdurahman Alamoudi, a supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah who told the Annual Convention of the Islamic Association of Palestine in 1996, If we are outside this country we can say Oh, Allah destroy America. But once we are here, our mission in this country is to change it. Grover appointed Alamoudis deputy, Khaled Saffuri to head his own organization. Together they gained access to the White House for Alamoudi and Sami al-Arian and others with similar agendas who used their cachet to spread Islamist influence to the American military and the prison system and the universities and the political arena with untold consequences for the nation.
Parts of this story have been published before, but never in such detail and never with the full picture of Islamist influence in view. No doubt, that is partly because of Grover Norquists large (and therefore intimidating) presence in the Washington community. Many have been quite simply afraid to raise these issues and thus have allowed Grover to make them seem a matter of individual personality differences. This suits his agendas well, as it does those of his Islamist allies.
If matters in dispute reflect personal animosity or racial prejudice, as Grover insists, then the true gravity of these charges is obscured. The fact remains that while Grover has denied the charges or sought to dismiss them with such arguments on many occasions, he has never answered them. If he wishes to do so now, the pages of frontpagemag.com are open to him.
Many have been reluctant to support these charges or to make them public because they involve a prominent conservative. I am familiar with these attitudes from my years on the Left. Loyalty is an important political value, but there comes a point where loyalty to friends or to parties comes into conflict with loyalty to fundamental principles and ultimately to ones country. Grovers activities have reached that point. E.M. Forster, a weak-spirited liberal, once said that if he had to choose between betraying his country and his friends, he hoped [he] would have the guts to betray his country.
No such sentiment motivates this journal. In our war with the Islamo-fascists we are all engaged in a battle with evil on a scale that affects the lives and freedoms of hundreds of millions people outside this nation as well as within it. America is on the front line of this battle and there is no replacement waiting in the wings if it fails, or if its will to fight is sapped from within. This makes our individual battles to keep our country vigilant and strong the most important responsibilities we have. That is why we could not in good conscience do otherwise, than to bring this story to light.
A Troubling Influence by Frank J. Gaffney Jr. At a black-tie dinner on November 5th, nearly 300 conservative activists and politicians gathered at Washingtons Mayflower Hotel to recognize a prominent fixture in their community: tax-advocate and conservative coalition-builder Grover Norquist.
The talk that evening was of the honorees tireless efforts to advance his libertarian objective of down-sizing federal, state and local governments by reducing their revenues. He was toasted for organizing nationwide initiatives to memorialize Ronald Reagan, notably with the renaming of the capitals National Airport after the former President.
Most in the audience were surely unaware that the effect of their tribute if not its organizers intended purpose was to provide urgently needed political cover for a man who has been active on another, far less laudable and, in fact, deeply problematic front: Enabling a political influence operation to advance the causes of radical Islamists, and targeted most particularly at the Bush Administration. The growing influence of this operation and the larger Islamist enterprise principally funded by Saudia Arabia has created a strategic vulnerability for the nation, and a political liability for its President.
The Islamist Connection: Abdurahman Alamoudi
The association between Grover Norquist and Islamists appears to have started about five years ago, in 1998, when he became the founding chairman of an organization called the Islamic Free Market Institute, better known as the Islamic Institute.1 The Institutes stated purpose was to cultivate Muslim-Americans and Arab-Americans whose attachment to conservative family values and capitalism made them potential allies for the Republican Party in advance of the 2000 presidential election.
If successful, such an outreach effort could theoretically produce a windfall in votes and campaign contributions. Consequently, it enjoyed the early support of Karl Rove, when he was then-Governor Bushs political advisor, and who knew Norquist from their days in the College Republicans.
Unfortunately, some associated with the Islamic Institute evidently had another agenda. Abdurahman Alamoudi, for one, a self-described supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah,2 the prime-mover behind the American Muslim Council (AMC) and a number of other U.S.-based Islamist-sympathizing/supporting organizations, saw in the Islamic Institute a golden opportunity to hedge his bets.
For years, Alamoudi had cultivated ties with the Democratic Party and its partisans, and contributed significant amounts to its candidates. These donations had given Alamoudi access to the Clinton White House and enabled him and his associates to secure the right to select, train and certify Muslim chaplains for the U.S. military.3
By the end of the 1990s, an AMC spin-off called the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council and a like-minded organization, the Islamic Society of North America, were responsible for selecting all U.S. Muslim chaplains. 4 One of these appointees Army Captain Yousef Yee has lately been in the news. Yee has been removed from his duties ministering to Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo pending military judicial proceedings for, among other alleged misconduct, mishandling classified material.
For an Islamist-sympathizer like Alamoudi, the opportunity to determine who would minister to Muslims in the U.S. military was an important strategic prize. It built upon a Saudi-sponsored initiative dating back to the time of Operation Desert Storm to convert members of the American armed forces to Wahhabi Sunnism,5 the religious doctrine of the Islamic radicals. It has been reported that Saudi Arabia provided more than 100 such service personnel6 including Captain Yee7 with free trips to Mecca to make the hajj. (The nature and implications of these Islamist initiatives are under investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committees Terrorism Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Jon Kyl, R-AZ, and by the Defense Departments Inspector General.)
In the mid-1990s, Alamoudi also had a hand in the recruitment and placement of another 75-100 so-called Islamic lay leaders for the U.S. military. According to the Wall Street Journal, he arranged for an arm of the Saudi government called the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences to train soldiers and civilians to provide spiritual guidance when paid Muslim chaplains arent available. The Journal also reports that there are signs that the school disseminates the intolerant and anti-Western strain of Islam espoused by the [Saudi] kingdoms religious establishment. 8
The right to select military chaplains not only offered Alamoudi and his colleagues the chance to recruit still more Islamists with specialized and highly useful skill-sets. It also was an invaluable legitimating credential to be wielded against those who might otherwise regard the American Muslim Council and its leader with suspicion, or worse.
It would, therefore, have been important to retain this role even if the Democratic presidential candidate, Al Gore, were to lose and Republicans come to power. Hence, Abdurahman Alamoudi took an interest in one of the GOPs most assiduous and influential networkers, Grover Norquist.
It seems unlikely that even in Alamoudis wildest dreams he could have imagined the extent of the access, influence and legitimacy the American Muslim Council and allied Islamist organizations would be able to secure in Republican circles, thanks to the investment they began in 1998 in a relationship with Norquist.
Alamoudi and Norquist
The investment began when Alamoudi wrote two personal checks (a $10,000 loan and what appears to be a $10,000 gift) to help found Norquists Islamic Institute.9 In addition, Alamoudi made payments in 2000 and 2001 totaling $50,000 to Janus-Merritt Strategies, a lobbying firm with which Norquist was associated at the time.10
Questions about the original source of this seed money would seem to be in order. In particular, it would be instructive to know whether it came from Saudi Arabia or a pedigreed terrorist state like Libya. Last month, Alamoudi was arrested and charged with engaging in illegal financial transactions with the Libyan government. According to an affidavit filed at the time, he admitted to trying to take $340,000 in sequentially numbered $100 bills to Syria, en route to Saudi bank accounts.11 When apprehended, Alamoudi declared that the funds had been delivered to him after extensive interactions with officials of Muammar Qadhafis government by a man with a Libyan accent. Its source is alleged to be a charity used by Qadhafi to finance terrorist operations.
According to the affidavit, Alamoudi told authorities in Britain that once the Libyan funds were in Saudi banks, he would then draw upon them in roughly $10,000 increments to defray the expenses of organizations with which he was associated in the United States. He admitted to having undertaken other, similar transactions involving amounts in the range of $10,000 to $20,000. He also acknowledged that he had first approached representatives of the Libyan government in 1997 the year before Norquists Islamic Institute was founded.
It is unclear exactly how much money Alamoudi received from Libya and precisely when, or who were the beneficiaries. What is known, however, according to published tax returns and foundation records, is that the overwhelming majority of the Norquist Institutes funds from its inception have come from Persian Gulf states and their U.S. funding mechanisms, a number of which have been raided by federal anti-terrorism task forces.12
Whatever the provenance of Alamoudis seed money for the Islamic Institute, an even more significant contribution to its future course came in the form of the placement of his deputy, Khaled Saffuri, as the founding director of Norquists new organization. This placement is consistent with a practice long employed by Islamist-associated groups in the United States and, for that matter, other tightly controlled and non-transparent enterprises (e.g., the Soviet KGBs operations overseas and Mafia business empires).
This disciplined approach has guided the Saudi-funded global Islamist network starting back in the 1960s. At that time, the Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs established the Muslim World League (MWL) headed by the minister himself to promote radical Islamist agendas around the globe.
Of particular concern has been the MWLs effort in America where four layers of front organizations have been spawned to recruit, indoctrinate, train and employ new adherents in furtherance of the Islamists overarching objectives: dominating the Muslim world and, in due course, forcing the non-Muslim world as well to submit to Islamic law.13
A surprisingly small number of trusted individuals run and financially control the roughly 40 groups that make up this radical Islamic front. For years, Abdurahman Alamoudi has been the most prominent leader of this front in America, and is involved in no fewer than 16 Islamist organizations.
As in the case of Grover Norquists Islamic Institute, control of the operations of these front organizations is usually given to a protégé of one of the godfathers or another trusted cadre member. Funds then flow from the same network.
Hence, in addition to the seed money from Alamoudi, the Islamic Institute has also received funding from organizations described by the Washington Post as a secretive group of tightly connected Muslim charities, think tanks and businesses based in Northern Virginia [and] used to funnel millions of dollars to terrorists and launder millions more a number of whom are currently part of the largest federal investigation of terrorism financing in the world.14
Point Man: Khaled Saffuri
The founding director of Grover Norquists Islamic Institute, Khaled Saffuri, is a Muslim Palestinian by birth. Prior to joining Alamoudis group (where he served for almost three years15), Saffuri was active in Muslim-support operations in Bosnia,16 a hot-bed for Islamic radicals from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere anxious to establish a beachhead on the continent of Europe. In recent years, he has acknowledged personally supporting the families of suicide bombers even though, in public settings, he strenuously denies having done so.17 He denounced President Bush for shutting down the Holy Land Foundation, a Saudi charity that the U.S. government determined was funneling American Muslims donations to terrorist organizations overseas.18
I first had occasion to observe Saffuri in the late 1990s, when I became a regular attendee of Grover Norquists Wednesday Group meetings, weekly gatherings of conservative movement activists and libertarians. Troubled that many of the participants rarely, if ever, addressed national security matters certainly before 9/11 and, arguably, even afterwards I viewed these conclaves as an opportunity to promote awareness of and renewed support for robust foreign and defense policies. With a view to doing that on a routine basis, I accepted Norquists invitation to move my Center for Security Policy into new office space he had acquired. In the summer of 1999, I relocated to the space which was also occupied by his primary organization, Americans for Tax Reform, which also housed the Wednesday Group meetings and the Saffuri-headed Islamic Institute.
Since the Institute was located inside the ATR suite next to ours, we wound up sharing a large conference room, Xerox room, bathrooms, elevator bank and hallway. Consequently, I had a ring-side seat as Saffuri and his colleagues became ever more prominent fixtures at the Wednesday Group meetings, usually underscoring their close relationship with the host by sitting next to Norquist (or near him) in the center of the room.
From time to time, one or another of the Islamic Institutes associates would make a presentation to the generally standing-room-only crowds of influential Washington conservatives, would-be politicians, think-tank denizens, journalists, and an increasing number of lobbyists. Over the years, topics they addressed included: the plight of Palestinians under Israeli occupation; the much-maligned and badly misunderstood Islamist government of Sudan (in fact, a designated state-sponsor of terrorism); the innocent nature of the process whereby Muslim chaplains have been selected for the armed forces; the honored status of women in the Muslim world; and efforts to promote Islamic causes and candidates in Republican circles.
Whenever possible, I tried to interject or make presentations to counter what I considered to be an ill-concealed and ominous influence operation. On one occasion, which occurred a few weeks after 9/11, I made an intervention to decry the fact that Alamoudis American Muslim Council was among the groups invited to the White House. I observed that on the same day its representatives were meeting with the President and his senior subordinates to talk about how Muslims could help with the war on terror, the AMCs website featured a box headlined Know Your Rights. A click on the proferred hyperlink took you to a joint statement urging Muslims not to talk to the FBI. The statement was issued in the name of an organization of which the AMC was a member: the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom (NCPPF) a virtual legal aid office for terrorists. At the time, a South Florida University professor named Sami al-Arian was the NCPPFs president. As will be discussed below, he was also Secretary of the worldwide governing council of a terrorist organization called Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), responsible for 99 suicide-bombing victims.
I suggested to the Wednesday Group that the White House would surely have been astonished to discover that it was dignifying so-called Muslim leaders who were urging their co-religionists not to cooperate with law enforcement. I also pointedly observed without mentioning names that those responsible for facilitating the Presidents Muslim outreach, who profess to support him and wish him success, should take pains to avoid including such groups in the future. I circulated a column I had written making similar points and that had been published the day before in the Washington Times.19
No sooner had I finished speaking than Norquist left his seat to consult with Saffuris deputy and successor as director of the Islamic Institute, Abdulwahab Alkebsi (another former Deputy Director of Alamoudis AMC).20 After the consultation, Norquist came over to me and whispered that he had checked and that there was no such box on the AMC website. I, in turn, consulted with one of my colleagues, who produced a copy of the webpage in question and sequential images as it was removed from the site in the wake of my columns publication. (This was not an isolated phenomenon; in fact, in the post-9/11 period, webmasters for a number of pro-Islamist organizations evidently were directed to sanitize their internet sites.)
I reported this to Grover and showed him the original item. Shortly thereafter, I had to leave the meeting. Only later did I discover that he had taken advantage of my absence to disinform the group by announcing that what I had told them about the AMC website was wrong and that it featured no such encouragement to obstruct justice.
Penetrating The Bush Campaign
In 2000, thanks to Grover Norquists influence with the White House political operation, Khaled Saffuri was named the George W. Bush presidential campaigns National Advisor on Arab and Muslim Affairs.21 Holding out the promise of votes and donations in key battleground states with significant Muslim populations (notably, Michigan, Florida and New Jersey), Saffuri and Norquist were able to persuade the Bush campaigns chief strategist, Karl Rove, essentially to contract-out to them responsibility for identifying the groups and individuals upon whom the Governor should rely to elicit such support. Insight Magazine reported in February 2001:
[In September 2000], on [Karl Roves] way to the airport to catch his flight back to Texas, Khaled Saffuri, executive director of the Islamic Institute, joined Rove in his car. Saffuri explained to him that the vote of the Arab-American community, which includes both Muslims and Christians, still was up for grabs. The community is prosperous and could be the source of considerable campaign contributions. If Bush would mention in public just a few of the issues that concern Arab-Americans, Saffuri told Rove, he would win their hearts, their minds and their support.22
While the thrust of this report sounds right, the evidence suggests Saffuris car ride with Rove was by no means the first time such a proposition had been discussed with the Bush campaign. Indeed, the lure of such political dividends induced Governor Bush to hold a meeting in his mansion in Austin on May 1, 2000, not only with Alamoudi and Saffuri, but with other, immoderate Muslims, as well. As the National Journal reported:
It was the summer of 2000, and for George W. Bush, the meeting held the promise of an unusual but important endorsement for his presidential bid. Conservative activist Grover Norquist had persuaded the Republican nominee to sit down with leaders of the Muslim American Political Coordinating Committee, a confederation of four Muslim community groups.23
In addition to Alamoudis American Muslim Council, the group included the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIRs executive director, Nihad Awad is another self-professed Hamas-supporter and, as will be discussed further below, its radical agenda and ties have recently been the focus of sharp, bipartisan criticism in Sen. Kyls Judiciary subcommittee.
Saffuri had also arranged for the Bush campaign to enlist Sami al-Arian, a well-known Florida-based activist despite the fact that the professor made little secret of his radical Islamist sympathies to help engender Muslim support in his state.24 A photograph of Mr. Bush taken with al-Arian in March 2000 subsequently received considerable attention after the professor was arrested last February on 40 terrorism-related counts. Of particular concern are those alleging his functional direction over the past 19 years of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the most murderous terrorist organizations in the Middle East.25
Al-Arians arrest was made possible by the USA-PATRIOT Act. With this legislations enactment after 9/11, it became possible for the first time in decades, for U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to share sensitive information such as the voluminous wiretaps of Sami al-Arian coordinating Palestinian Islamic Jihad operations from his professors office in Tampa.
Not surprisingly, the Islamist front recognizes the threat this and other provisions of the PATRIOT Act represent to their operations in America. They are determined to rescind it and, if possible, remove its principal architect and most effective defender, Attorney General John Ashcroft. Accordingly, they have become an integral part of the left-wing coalition, which includes the ACLU, the pro-Castro National Lawyers Guild and many Islamic solidarity groups, in waging a national campaign against the PATRIOT Act. It seems hardly coincidental that the preeminent conservative figure to join the campaign and lead the recruitment of other conservatives is Grover Norquist.
In fact, Norquist was also a prime-mover behind efforts to secure one of the Islamists top pre-9/11 agenda items: the abolition of a section of the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act that permits authorities to use what critics call secret evidence. This is a rarely employed practice whereby prosecutors can withhold classified information from foreign suspects. To do so, however, the authorities must have reason to believe the disclosure of such information could compromise and, thereby, eliminate the sensitive intelligence sources and methods by which it was obtained.
As it happens, one reason why banning secret evidence was an Islamist priority was that undisclosed classified information linking Sami al-Arians brother-in-law, Mazen al-Najjar, to terrorist activities was used to detain the latter from 1997 to 2000. Ultimately, that same information was used to deport him.
Thus, secret evidence was a personal priority for one of the Bush campaigns Muslim-outreach operatives and corrective action became a price of his and other Islamists support. In the second presidential debate with Al Gore, Governor Bush responded to the demand that, as Saffuri put it, he mention in public just a few of the issues that concern Arab-Americans. The Republican candidate formally pledged that, if elected, he would prohibit the use of secret evidence.26
In recognition of this stunning exercise in political influence and his instrumental role in achieving it, Grover Norquist was an honoree at an event held by Sami Al-Arians National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom in July 2001, two months before 9/11. The award was for being a champion of the abolishment movement against secret evidence. Such recognition was certainly deserved. But for the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that followed, Norquists efforts would by now almost certainly have denied law enforcement this important anti-terrorism tool.
Ironically, pro-Islamist groups had been scheduled to meet with President Bush on the morning of September 11 to hear what he planned to do to deliver on his secret evidence campaign pledge.27 But that day, the executive mansion complex was shut down, for fear that a fourth hijacked aircraft was headed its way. I watched bemused as Grover Norquist and the White House official responsible for Muslim outreach, Suhail Khan, escorted the displaced Islamists into the conference room we share. (Al-Arian had arranged to participate in the presidential meeting via phone. According to his website, his teaching schedule at the University of South Florida would not allow him to be there in person.)28
Penetrating the White House The Tulbah Controversy By 2002, the White House job of coordinating Muslim outreach had apparently fallen to Ali Tulbah, a Muslim-American Norquist protégé who formerly headed the Washington office of the Young Republicans. Tulbahs official position was that of an Associate Director in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs. In that capacity, he was responsible for liaison with three of the most sensitive federal agencies in the War on Terror: the Departments of State, Defense and Justice.67 An American Muslim Council press release issued on January 17, 2003, explicitly thanked Tulbah for getting representatives of the AMC and other Islamist organizations, such as CAIR into the White House to meet with senior Administration officials. As was true of many other such meetings, the Islamist groups used the occasion to mau-mau their interlocutors about perceived government insensitivity to Muslim concerns and to demand that they be afforded opportunities to promote corrective action.
The AMCs January 2003 press release exemplified one further use to which the Islamists sympathizers usually put such official meetings: They were exploited to validate otherwise debatable claims to be leaders of Americas Muslim and Arab populations as noted above, a key objective of Wahhabis bent on domination of the faithful.
A few days after receiving this press release, I referred to it in the course of a debate at this years Conservative Political Action Conference. My main point was that the wartime task of striking the right balance between privacy rights on the one hand and national security on the other was made more complicated by the presence in our country of Islamist organizations adept at exploiting our civil liberties and institutions. In particular, I warned that some such groups notably Alamoudis American Muslim Council and CAIR were conducting a worrisome political influence operation against the Bush Administration.
Noting that the two groups had specifically thanked Ali Tulbah for affording them their most recent access to the White House, I observed that his perspective on these matters might have been influenced by an unsettling connection: His father had served as treasurer of a large Wahhabi complex in Texas, the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, which is made up of 29 mosques and related schools.68 Perhaps, I surmised, Tulbah was accustomed to being in the company of pro-Islamists at home.
The following Wednesday, Norquist arrived in my office brandishing an open letter citing my remarks at CPAC as evidence of racism and bigotry that have no place in the conservative movement.69 I responded with a lengthy letter of my own,70 describing my concerns about the role Norquist and his Islamic Institute had been playing in enabling and facilitating Islamist political influence activities aimed at the Bush Administration and other Republicans. I urged him to cease and desist, lest he do real damage, not only to the President and the Party, but to the nations security.
In the days and months that followed, Grover Norquist followed a strategy more typical of the hard-Left than of a fellow conservative. He made repeated ad hominem attacks on Fox TV and elsewhere against me and anyone else (including noted experts like Daniel Pipes and Steve Emerson) who dared to warn about the dangers of Islamism. More often than not, he portrayed such warnings as bigoted, racist denunciations of all Muslims.
This charge is made all the more untenable since I assiduously underscore in every discussion of the Islamist threat the distinction between the intolerant, jihadist, Islamo-fascism they promote and the views of peaceable, law-abiding Muslims. My Center and I espouse making common cause with tolerant Muslims against the Islamists who brand them as apostates and threaten them as every bit as much as they do us infidels.
The Wahhabi Footprint in America
My beef has never been a personal one with Grover Norquist, as should be obvious from the data assembled in this article which comes from many sources, all of them reputable and unchallenged on the facts. Rather, my concern is with a far larger, Islamist enterprise in this country that has achieved, particularly over the past ten years, considerable success in creating the makings of a Saudi-funded Fifth Column in America. This point has been recognized by a number of the most thoughtful and influential conservative commentators of our day, including Cal Thomas, Mona Charen, Michelle Malkin, Kenneth Timmerman; David Frum and David Keene.71
In addition to their penetration of the military chaplain corps and the military ranks, the Wahhabi-connected clergy has been able to penetrate the penal system. Federal and state prisons have been the focus of intensive recruitment by the Islamists. Abdurahman Alamoudis American Muslim Council spun off an organization called the National Islamic Prison Foundation precisely for the purpose of ministering to incarcerated Muslims and expanding their ranks. As mentioned above, its president, Mahdi Bray, has been among those who have in the past been included in Bush Administration outreach efforts engineered by Khaled Saffuri and Grover Norquist.
While estimates vary widely, it seems safe to say that, over the years, large numbers of felons particularly among the black and Hispanic prison populations have been converted to Wahhabi Islam by these imams. At the very least, this has permitted the identification of individuals who, upon their release from prison, could become foot-soldiers for anti-American jihad. It would appear, for example, that alleged dirty-bomber Jose Padilla may have been recruited in such a manner.72
On another front, the radical Muslim Students Association has established a vast presence on American college and university campuses. According to the groups website, there are today hundreds of MSA chapters in the United States.73 A number of the pro-Islamist leaders Norquist and Saffuri have helped gain access to the Bush Administration cut their political eye-teeth as prominent figures in the MSA. As with other enterprises tied to Wahhabi Islam, the Muslim Students Association is in the business of recruiting and indoctrinating its target audience young Americans to join a radical and violent sect. While the most visible activities sponsored by MSA chapters are anti-Bush, anti-war and anti-Israel (e.g., divestment) campaigns, and the suppression of opposing views on campus, there is reason to believe that on the margins the organization is encouraging more active involvement in jihad. Not surprisingly, a number of MSA figures have ended up arrested on terrorist related charges or high-profile targets in the War on Terror, including Wael Jelaidan, the co-founder of al-Qaeda.
The Islamists attempt to dominate the Muslim faith and community is even more evident in the nations mosques. By some estimates, as many as 70 percent of them are now controlled by Wahhabis, thanks to Saudi-associated organizations holding their mortgages. This is done through the Islamic Society of North America, a spin-off of the Muslim Students Association, and its financial arm, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). Yet, as we have seen, ISNAs then-head, Muzammil Siddiqi, was the one of the Islamists most prominently featured in the Bush Administrations post-9/11 Muslim outreach efforts.
Not surprisingly, along with the financing comes control over many, if not all, aspects of the mosque. For example, Saudi/Wahhabi authorities are able to influence the selection of imams, their training, the Korans and other materials they disseminate, their sermons and curricula for madrassas (mosque schools).
No Longer Welcome?
Until recently, ISNA representatives were among the pro-Islamists included in many of the Bush Administration meetings organized or facilitated by Norquist and Saffuri. When some of these self-styled Muslim community groups were finally excluded from the White House iftar dinner last month (presumably due to the pall cast by the aforementioned arrests of some of their associates), ISNA joined CAIR, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Muslim Students Association and several other Wahhabi-backed groups in denouncing such events as devoid of substance, ones in which Muslims were said to be nothing more than props shamelessly used by the Bush Administration.74
While the exclusion at last of such groups from meetings with the President is heartening, Yahya Basha, the AMCs president, and Saffuri, who now serves as the chairman of the Islamic Institute, were still included as attendees at this years Iftar dinner.75 The FBI, moreover, has yet to take similar corrective action; its Director and supervisory agents continue to meet with representatives of the AMC, CAIR and ISNA, even though associates of each have been the object of law enforcement action.76 As noted above, the Bureau also uses such groups to provide sensitivity instruction at its agent training facility at Quantico, Virginia. In addition, it has been relying on these sorts of pro-Islamist organizations for community outreach, as well much to the dismay of several case agents, field operatives and U.S. Attorneys offices.
Granting pro-Islamists access to senior U.S. officials and government-sponsored activities has one other down-side: Just as they use this sort of access to demonstrate to other Muslims their power and influence, the Islamists sympathizers exploit their relationships with federal agencies as protection. For example, when a hearing was held to consider whether alleged terrorist operative Sami al-Arian was a flight risk if granted bail, multiple witnesses from the above-mentioned groups pointed to the work they were doing for the FBI, the U.S. military chaplain corps, the White House, in the prison system, etc., to establish their bona fides. Fortunately, notwithstanding such representations, al-Arian remains in custody after being denied bail.77
Norquists Continuing Role and the Problem It Presents
In this larger context Grover Norquists highly publicized assault on Attorney General John Ashcroft78 and the USA PATRIOT Act is extremely troubling. The Acts very effectiveness has certainly made it the target of Norquists Islamist allies, some of whom as we have seen are in jail today or under active investigation thanks to its provisions. Grover Norquists willingness to associate with, and front for, groups like the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom in a joint effort to weaken and if possible repeal the PATRIOT Act, has made him the darling not only of the pro-Islamists but of the radical Left, with whom they make common cause. He was, for example, the featured speaker (one of only two with conservative coloration) at a day-long NCPPF event held outside Washington last month.79
In a scathing report of the proceedings,80 National Reviews Byron York described how Norquist joined actor Alec Baldwin and Democratic uber-agitator Ralph Neas.81 According to York, when Neas indulged in a pointed, and factually incorrect, attack on the PATRIOT Act charging that it authorizes activities not subject to constitutionally necessary judicial oversight Norquist associated himself completely by saying simply, Ditto. The immoderate moderator, Alec Baldwin, reportedly then turned to the crowd and enthused, Cant you feel the love?
Grover Norquists efforts to legitimate and open important doors for pro-Islamist organizations in this country must be brought to an immediate halt. They have already created political vulnerabilities for this President and his Administration. But for the influence exerted by Norquist and his friends, President Bush might long ago have reached out to peaceable, tolerant, pro-American Muslims. In particular, the past 26 months could have been spent building up Muslim spokesmen and groups who share this Presidents vision of a world in which democracy, liberty and freedom of religion prosper and who could help cultivate those values in Muslim lands and communities overseas.
Instead, the President has been put in the position of repeatedly embracing individuals and organizations who are part of the problem. They have capitalized on their preferred treatment to exclude non-Islamist Muslims from meetings with the Bush team, to secure government contracts and favors, to raise funds and to dominate other Muslim- and Arab-Americans. We have thus been denied allies and strengthened our foes in what the President calls the Battle of Ideas.
Grover Norquist has been confronted many times over his activities in behalf of the radical Islamic front in this country. He has responded by denouncing his critics as racists and ducking the issue. Even now and despite all the foregoing evidence to the contrary, Norquist insists that he has not helped or in any other way facilitated the Islamists political influence operations. Indeed, he denies that there is such a subset of the Muslim population. And, to this day, he demeans any who challenge him on that score as racists and bigots. It is evident that Grover Norquist will not voluntarily do the right thing by the President, the movement or the country, which would mean terminating his ties to a network that has shown itself to be dangerous, and by ceasing to work on behalf of the radical Islamic front. Because he will not do this himself, conservatives must act to see that he is politically isolated so that the damage he can do is minimized. __________
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. formerly held senior positions in the Reagan Defense Department. Since 1988, he has been the President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington. Since 9/11, Gaffney has been one of the most prominent and consistent defenders of the Presidents War on Terror at home and abroad.
Even if this leads to convincing people that the Fifth Column of Islamic groups, the ACLU, the pro-Castro National Lawyers Guild, et al. is real there will still be those who will "give their lives" to protect the Fifth Column members' rights. Go figure. They will even defend the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom (NCPPF) -- a virtual legal aid office for terrorists. I remember those "don't cooperate with federal law enforcement" notices on Muslim web sites.
The JFK "best and brightest" got us into a no-win war. They carried over to LBJ. By the time Nixon became president America's enemies within had worn us down to where we'd accept defeat. We turned our backs on our Vietnamese allies and most tragically, we betrayed our best men and women who served and suffered.
IMO, we are on the same path. Gee, we don't want to offend our enemies within do we? And we don't want to be too rough with our enemies "over there" lest we offend the Fifth Column.
Look how the Democrat leaders seek to destroy the Patriot Act and the Administration. Guess who the radical Muslims own now.
. . .the President has been put in the position of repeatedly embracing individuals and organizations who are part of the problem
Gee, you could say that about his embrace of Vicente Fox also. He won't give up Fox. He probably won't give up Norquist. President Bush does great for America "over there." But here, he sucks. (Well, that tax cut did help but I mean. . . .)
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