Skip to comments.Muslim council takes complaints to Bush (Grover Norquist Alert)
Posted on 02/21/2003 8:47:13 AM PST by SabertoothEdited on 07/12/2004 3:39:58 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
The Muslim council posted this call for action on its Internet site, together with praise for Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who has worked with Islamic groups in behalf of the Republican Party (see below - ST).
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
Except he went medieval on two guys without offering rock-solid evidence in support of it.
Of course, I'm one of the politically-incorrect sorts who'd merely challenge Mr. Gaffney to put up, shut up, or name a second for the duel. I wouldn't have complained to Grover Norquist; I'd either speak for myself or retain the services of Pietro Beretta & Sons...
Grover seems a bit naive, to me. I heard him on John Gibson's show a couple of weeks ago and he was overly defensive about his relationships with certain Muslim groups.
We now know from the Al-Arian episode that one must always maintain a certain reserve with these folks.
Here is the Muslim Public Affairs Council's excerpt of Gaffney's CPAC comments. Presumably, these would be the most damning.
Frank Gaffney's Comments During Question and Answer Period at CPAP Conference:
"... I'm sure quite unintentionally the president of the United States has repeatedly been put in the position of seeming to embrace the Wahabbists who are trying to dominate this religion (Islam) in our own country.... I received a press release the other day from an organization that is one of the leading Wahhabist sympathizers and, I believe, (Wahabist) funded organizations in this country called the American Muslim Council. It is an organization whose radical anti-American screeds have been much in evidence for many years... (T)his same organization recently crowed that their executive director, a black Muslim radical, was invited to the White House for a session to hector the administration about this rounding up of their co-religionists.... (I)n this press release they credited one (name withheld) for having gotten them into the White House. It turns out that (X's) father is one (X), the treasurer of the Islamic Delwah (sic) Center, a prominent Wahhabi mosque in Houston. But the reason he was able to influence whether (AMC Executive Director) Eric Vickers and the AMC were present at this White House meeting was because he is also, I believe, the associate director for cabinet affairs in the Bush White House responsible, if you can believe it, for the state department, the defense department and the justice department. This is not how we win the hearts and minds of peace-loving, pro-American Muslims, it is a perilous path and I hope that it will be corrected."
Here's an excerpt from Gaffney's open letter to Norquist:
In an open letter to Grover Norquist on February 7th, Frank Gaffney wrote that [I]t appears that the leaders of Wahhabi-associated or -supported organizations have parlayed the access they enjoy with senior Administration and congressional figures towards another undesirable end: to validate and publicize their false claim to be the sole legitimate representatives of the American Muslim community. This purpose has been served both by ensuring, until very recently, that essentially no one but Wahhabi-approved individuals were included in Muslim outreach meetings with the President, his Cabinet officers and other, senior subordinates and that Muslims who shun all forms of terrorism were long excluded from such meetings. The Islamic Institute, and you personally, have for several years played an instrumental role in promoting and facilitating the Wahhabis' access to the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government.
At least one former senior staffer emerging from the Bush White House and numerous commentators have said that policy in this White House is driven by politics to an unprecedented degree, and that this may be the most political White House ever. In this light, its particularly disturbing to read reports that Grover Norquist might be using his influence and his top-level White House connections to bring those with terrorist associations into the Bush White House, and to represent them as the legitimate and sole representatives of the US Muslim community, said National Jewish Democratic Council Executive Director Ira N. Forman. The war on terrorism is of paramount importance in America today, and it cannot be compromised by politics or the need to help ideological bedfellows. Any person with terrorist ties should obviously not be ushered into the White House and legitimized in this way.
Americans on September 11th were faced with an historic wake-up call. President Bush himself has said that the stakes in this war on terrorism are huge, and he is right. But the president cannot unite the country behind a war effort while permitting political consideration to compromise it. Political friendships and alliances cannot be permitted to divert us from the war against terrorism, and they must of course not permit individuals with terrorist ties from gaining access to the Bush White House.
Are these unfair issues to raise? Is it medieval to do so?
Among Norquist's responses:In an interview with NewsMax.com, Norquist said he wrote his letter because the two young White House Muslims whom Gaffney criticized were merely underlings carrying out decisions made by more senior White House officials.
He decided to single out the kid who was a Muslim in both cases, even though the people making decisions are Presbyterians and Catholics, not Muslims, the ATR president said.
The point over how much the two Moslem White House aides had to do with the decision to allow terroist sympathizers access to the Bush Administration is a niggling one. It begs the questions of why such access was allowed, and at whose ultimate instigation.
Norquist is in Clintonian attack mode, and is using the race-baiting charge to deflect attention from the real issue:
Grover Norquist is culpable in allowing the highest level White House access to radical Islamists, like those mentioned in Gaffney's article of February 18th:
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
February 18, 2003
Who's with President Bush?
President Bush has characterized the choice to be made in this war on terror: "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." The stark clarity of this binary decision has served the United States well in marshaling a large number of nations in the fight against al Qaeda and a smaller, but still ample, number for the next phase of this war: the liberation of Iraq.
Regrettably, in the months since September 11, 2001, people who have made no secret of their sympathy for terrorists, provided them financial support, excused their murderous attacks and/or sought to impede the prosecution of the war against them have repeatedly been put in the company of the President. In other words, individuals and organizations who appear to be "with the terrorists" have time and again been allowed to be with the President in the White House and elsewhere.
- On September 20, 2001 -- just nine days after the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon -- Shaykh Hamza Yusuf was the Muslim representative in a small ecumenical gathering held in the Oval Office. At the same time, FBI agents were trying to interview him at his house in California since he had declared two days before the attack: "This country is facing a terrible fate....This country stands condemned. It stands condemned like Europe stood condemned because of what it did -- and lest people forget that Europe suffered two world wars after conquering the Muslim lands." His wife told the incredulous agents Yusuf wasn't home, he was with the President.
- Six days later, President Bush met in the Roosevelt Room with a Muslim imam by the name of Muzammil H. Siddiqi. Siddiqi is a long-time board member of several organizations in the United States funded by, and closely tied to, Saudi Arabia's radical state religion known as Wahhabism. Two of these groups, including one where Siddiqi still sits on the board, were raided in March 2002 by Federal authorities in pursuit of terrorist financing.
This presidential meeting was all the more puzzling since the imam had shown his true colors by claiming, at a rally the previous October: "America has to learn...If you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come. Please, all Americans. Do you remember that? Allah is watching everyone. God is watching everyone. If you continue doing injustice, and tolerate injustice, the wrath of God will come."
- On September 17, 2001, President Bush paid a visit to the mosque in Washington. There he was photographed flanked by Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR has long been an admirer and public defender of terrorist organizations whose attacks against even innocent women and children it sees as legitimate acts of "liberation." Awad has personally declared, "I am a supporter of the Hamas movement."
- Also in the picture with President Bush at the mosque was Khaled Saffuri, currently chairman of an organization called the Islamic Institute, which he co-founded with conservative activist Grover Norquist. Saffuri previously served as the development director of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization when it made no bones about using terrorism for political purposes. He went on to become deputy director of the radical American Muslim Council (AMC), under then-director Abduraman Alamoudi -- a publicly declared supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah, whose statements of solidarity with these groups prompted the Bush 2000 campaign to return his contributions.
Under Saffuri's leadership, the Islamic Institute has attacked the Bush Administration's investigations of radical Muslim groups and closures of organizations suspected of funding terrorists. The Institute has been funded by groups raided in the above-mentioned terrorist financing investigations. It lobbied intensively against portions of the USA Patriot Act. And Saffuri has personally denounced the President's listing of the Holy Land Foundation as a charity that supported terrorist organizations. He has acknowledged sponsoring the children of suicide bombers through the Foundation, even after its closure by the government.
In addition to the President, a number of his senior subordinates -- including Cabinet officers -- have met, in some cases more than once, with members of the aforementioned and other organizations with troubling attitudes towards jihadist terrorists. A particularly bizarre instance was FBI Director Robert Muellers keynote address last year to the American Muslim Council.
The AMC has a long record of activities hostile to the Bush Administrations prosecution of the war on terror. It has even urged Muslims not to cooperate with the FBI! Nonetheless, according to a press release dated last Thursday, Mr. Mueller has invited the AMCs chairman, Dr. Yahya Mossa Basha, to attend an upcoming meeting with him and "leaders of major Muslim and Arab-American organizations."
It is very much in the President's interest -- and the Nation's -- that moderate, law-abiding, peace-loving and patriotic American Muslims be embraced and empowered by the Bush Administration and all those who support it in waging a war on terror, not on Islam. To do so, however, the Administration must not allow those who are "with" its enemies in that struggle to continue being with the President and his team.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., is President of the Center for Security Policy, a TownHall.com member organization.
©2003 Center for Security Policy
More on Grover Norquist's friend, Khaled Saffuri:
Bush Challenges Terrorist Fronts
Posted April 29, 2002
Media Credit: Roger Wollenberg/INSIGHTFederal agents raided more than a dozen homes and an Islamic institute in suburban Washington on March 20 as part of a continued sweep of organizations suspected of funding international terrorism. The raids were carried out by the U.S. Customs Service as part of the Treasury Department's "Operation Green Quest" to dry up terrorist finances. They targeted Muslim charitable foundations linked to extremist groups in the Middle East that financed political-influence operations in the nation's capital. Officials tell Insight some $1.7 billion was funneled through those organizations in recent years.
Instead of helping the FBI, Customs Service and other federal investigators, prominent Muslim groups including one with close ties to the Republican Party have protested the raids and accused the feds of insensitivity. They also have been putting the squeeze on the Bush administration to back off.
On April 4, according to an Islamic Institute bulletin, "Islamic Institute Chairman Khaled Saffuri and leaders of three Muslim and Arab-American groups attended a closed luncheon meeting with Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill to discuss the recent raids of Muslim organizations, businesses and homes in Northern Virginia."
The bulletin continued: "The meeting was constructive, and the leaders expressed their concerns to Secretary O'Neill regarding the insensitive actions of Treasury agents during the raids against the Muslim-American organizations, and concerns of the community that civil-rights violations occurred. Secretary O'Neill promised that these concerns would be investigated."
The day before, the Islamic Institute met with Justice Department officials to, in its own words, "seek clarification of offensive statements about Islam recently attributed to Attorney General John Ashcroft."
Following the meeting, Islamic Institute Executive Director Abdulwahab Alkebsi said, "The Muslim-American community perceives that it is targeted for abuse right now, and the perception in the community when they hear statements like those attributed to the attorney general is that they are true. Positive confidence-building measures by the Department of Justice are needed to clarify that the community is not a target. Muslim Americans are ready to help their country in the war on terror, but they must be treated as part of the solution, not part of the problem."
That's all well and good, counterterrorism experts say, but such groups complaining about "insensitive actions" and "positive confidence-building measures" have been slow to offer help as citizens in the ongoing counterterrorism investigations. While the Islamic Institute belatedly urged speakers of Arabic, Farsi and other languages to help the FBI as translators, it never publicly called for its friends to support federal antiterrorism investigations with information. Instead, such groups have been more concerned with promoting their victim status.
Yet not all Muslim groups agree with Saffuri's attempt to cast U.S. Muslims as victims. Some urge cooperation with federal law-enforcement authorities. Ironically, they believe that instead of being courted they have been frozen out of dialogue with the Bush administration. "We are concerned that some government staffers may be undermining the best interests of our president and his administration either wittingly or not," says Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi of the Islamic Supreme Council of America. "It is no secret that our organization has repeatedly been excluded from White House, State Department and attorney general events with the Muslim community."
For Mirahmadi and others, there's no room for impeding domestic antiterrorism investigations. "It is our patriotic duty as Americans and our duty as Muslims to speak up against any attempt by extremists to mobilize the Muslim community against our country," she says.
Longtime observers of terrorist support groups liken today's situation to the 1980s FBI investigations of U.S.-based groups, such as the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), that raised money and served as propaganda organs for Marxist-Leninist guerrilla forces in Latin America.
< -snip- >
More than 15 years later, the Muslim charities raided in Northern Virginia, and related campaigns in many U.S. mosques, are seen as CISPES equivalents on behalf of Hamas and Hezbollah, which the State Department classifies as terrorist organizations. The outcry against FBI and Customs investigations and raids is the same as that of the FMLN supporters.
Even some of the characters are the same. Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights again are litigating and making public statements on behalf of terrorists and terrorist support groups. Conyers again is using his House Judiciary Committee post as a bully pulpit against the FBI.
Most recently Conyers was a plaintiff with Michigan media outlets in a lawsuit against the Justice Department to force the government to identify alleged terrorist detainees rounded up since Sept. 11 and to reveal the sensitive information federal authorities had against them. In April, a federal judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. Conyers' client, the evidence showed, was tied to a terrorist organization in the al-Qaeda network.
No one is alleging an al-Qaeda link with the groups raided in Northern Virginia, which seem devoted only to support for Hamas and Hezbollah. But the tactics of the "Muslim community" leaders mirror those of the CISPES network: deny the allegations, claim victim status, seek political refuge with prominent politicians and intimidate federal investigators into backing off.
Not all American Muslims are buying it. "Rather than becoming beacons for America's ideals by showing a willingness to submit to questioning by federal law enforcement instead of grandstanding about racial profiling, we are hiding behind the guarantees afforded to us by the very Constitution the terrorists sought to dismantle on Sept. 11," Pakistani-American businessman Mansour Ijaz wrote recently in the Washington Post. "Our anger demonstrates an inability to put citizenship before religious and ethnic allegiances and U.S. national-security interests before dubious claims of civil-rights violations."
After all, shutting off terrorist financing through nonprofits, whether the charities know whom they are funding or not, "is a paramount objective in America's war on terrorism," Ijaz noted. "The repeated denials by Muslim nonprofits about foreign sources of funding to operate their diverse and often dubious agendas are no longer enough. Neither are simplistic claims they fund legitimate causes abroad when the U.S. government which they increasingly lobby and help to elect has clear evidence to the contrary. If these groups want to lead America's Arabs and Muslims, they must lead first by setting an example for transparency and scrutiny."
That means, Ijaz wrote, that "America's Arabs and Muslims bear a special responsibility at this moment not to play the role of aggrieved victims. Rather, we should offer ourselves as resources to federal law-enforcement agencies interested in learning more about the complexities of our religious and ethnic roots; we should police our communities for sleeper agents; and we should stop the flow of foreign money and its corrosive influence into our political and religious nonprofit organizations."
Congressman Was Warned of Lobbyist's Suicide-Bomber Link
A December 2001 congressional staff memorandum to a Republican member of the House of Representatives warns of a lobbyist's financial support for a group raided by U.S. authorities for allegedly funding suicide bombers. The identities in the document are redacted, but senior federal law-enforcement officials confirmed its contents. Excerpts follow:
"Yesterday [a Muslim lobbyist] came into the office and I held a brief conversation with him. The conversation was so disturbing that it is only right that I bring it to your full attention.
"[The lobbyist] told me that he is quite upset with the president for freezing the assets of the Holy Land Fund [sic], which Mr. [George W.] Bush had just done a few days before due to the fact that the money raised here in the United States helps support terrorist groups. Upon further discussion, [the lobbyist] told me that he is a financial supporter of this fund the fund whose assets were frozen by the president. I asked him what the fund does, specifically, and [the lobbyist] told me that it supports the families orphans, widows of suicide bombers.
"In fact, [the lobbyist] went on to tell me, he even sponsors an orphaned child of a suicide bomber. He receives pictures and reports on this child's progress, thanks to the money [he] sends. He said he sees nothing wrong with his support of these people, that he's helping a child who has no father, etc.
"In light of the information relayed to me by [the lobbyist], I strongly recommend that this office sever all ties with [him]. My reasons are as follows:
"1. Even if under the best circumstances that [lobbyist] is innocently financing the group for the sole benefit of helping a fatherless child, he is still giving money to an organization that makes it possible for suicide bombers to carry out their missions. That is why President Bush froze their assets. The president was right to do so.
"2. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, it is imperative that you, as a member of Congress, receive your information about the Middle East and the Arab world from a source whom we can be sure has the best interests of the United States at heart. I do not believe this is the case with [the lobbyist]. I believe that his loyalties are elsewhere.
"I know [the lobbyist] is your friend and that you think highly of him. I believe that as your friend, if he is a true friend, he will understand the reason that you would not want to receive further counsel from him in light of his financial support for this organization."
Postscript: The congressman maintains his relations with the lobbyist. The staffer has since quit.
J. Michael Waller is a senior writer for Insight.
email the author
Who do you suppose wrangled that meeting for Khaled Saffuri, colleague of Grover Norquist and a supporter of suicide bombers, with the Secretary of the Treasury? Was it Grover Norquist? Are these not pertinent questions?
Fevered Pitch - by Franklin Foer - Post date 11.01.01 | Issue date 11.12.01 - TNR
"On the afternoon of September 26, George W. Bush gathered 15 prominent Muslim- and Arab-Americans at the White House. With cameras rolling, the president proclaimed that "the teachings of Islam are teachings of peace and good." It was a critically important moment, a statement to the world that America's Muslim leaders unambiguously reject the terror committed in Islam's name.
Unfortunately, many of the leaders present hadn't unambiguously rejected it. To the president's left sat Dr. Yahya Basha, president of the American Muslim Council, an organization whose leaders have repeatedly called Hamas "freedom fighters." Also in attendance was Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who on the afternoon of September 11 told a Los Angeles public radio audience that "we should put the State of Israel on the suspect list." And sitting right next to President Bush was Muzammil Siddiqi, president of the Islamic Society of North America, who last fall told a Washington crowd chanting pro-Hezbollah slogans, "America has to learn if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come." Days later, after a conservative activist confronted Karl Rove with dossiers about some of Bush's new friends, Rove replied, according to the activist, "I wish I had known before the event took place."
If the administration was caught unaware, it may be because they placed their trust in one of the right's most influential activists: Grover Norquist. As president of Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist is best known for his tireless crusades against big government. But one of Norquist's lesser-known projects over the last few years has been bringing American Muslims into the Republican Party. And, as he usually does, Norquist has succeeded. According to several sources, Norquist helped orchestrate various post-September 11 events that brought together Muslim leaders and administration officials. "He worked with Muslim leaders to engineer [Bush]'s prominent visit to the Mosque," says the Arab-American pollster John Zogby, referring to the president's September 17 trip to the Islamic Center of Washington. Says Zogby, who counts Norquist among his clients, "Absolutely, he's central to the White House outreach." Indeed, when Jewish activists and terrorism experts complained about the Muslim invitees to Adam Goldman, who works in the White House public liaison's office, Goldman replied that Norquist had vouched for them. (Goldman denies this, but two separate sources say they heard him say it.) "Just like [administration officials] ask my advice on inviting religious figures to the White House," says Paul Weyrich, another top conservative activist, "they rely on Grover's help [with Muslims]."
Norquist denies being involved in "micromanaging the specifics" of White House meetings, but admits "I have been a long time advocate of outreach to the Muslim community." In fact, the record suggests that he has spent quite a lot of time promoting people openly sympathetic to Islamist terrorists. And it's starting to cause him problems. Weyrich, echoing other movement conservatives, says he is "not pleased" with Norquist's activity. According to one intelligence official who recently left the government, a number of counterterrorism agents at the FBI and CIA are "pissed as hell about the situation [in the White House] and pissed as hell about Grover." They should be. While nobody suggests that Norquist himself is soft on terrorism, his lobbying has helped provide radical Islamic groups--and their causes--a degree of legitimacy and access they assuredly do not deserve."
(Con't at link....)
Had Gaffney made similar allegations against me, with comparable evidence to support it, I would have demanded a public retraction. The staffers did so--and Mr. Gaffney told them to go take an airborne fornication at a rolling doughnut.
That, apparently, pissed off Mr. Norquist.
No, what started this mess is the indefensible access Grover Norquist has provided to candidate and President Bush on the behalf terrorist sympathizers, supporters, and possibly co-conspirators, for years.
What's pissing off Norquist is that Gaffney is publicly calling him on it.
Notice that Norquist attacks the messenger and never addresses the heart of the charge, a sure indication that it's on the mark.