Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Friends in high places (newspaper links Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian to Norquist)
St. Petersburg Times ^ | MARY JACOBY

Posted on 03/11/2003 3:29:01 PM PST by TLBSHOW

Friends in high places

WASHINGTON -- The rumpled, balding figure was spotted darting into the offices of Republican power broker Grover Norquist last July. When Sami Al-Arian emerged more than two hours later, someone was waiting for him.

Conservative activist Frank Gaffney, whose think tank on national security issues has offices on the same floor, was eager to confirm a tip that the suspected Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative was next door.

Best known for his high-profile campaign for a "Star Wars" national missile defense system, Gaffney for months had been quietly pursuing another project: trying to convince the Bush administration to more closely scrutinize the Muslim activists whom Norquist was bringing into the president's orbit.

As part of Norquist's well publicized strategy to mine the Muslim community for GOP votes, Al-Arian had campaigned for Bush in 2000, posed for a photo with the candidate at Plant City's Strawberry Festival and boasted publicly that Muslims in Florida may have tipped the close presidential election to Bush.

Now, Al-Arian was visiting the Islamic Institute, a Muslim outreach group cofounded by Norquist and housed within his office suite.

And so Gaffney found a reason to be in the hallway when Islamic Institute chairman Khaled Saffuri walked a man Gaffney recognized as Al-Arian to the elevator. Saffuri said goodbye, then headed for the bathroom.

Gaffney followed. Taking a place at the next urinal, he said, "So, Khaled, was that Sami Al-Arian getting on the elevator?"

Saffuri made a gagging sound, Gaffney said, then fell into a long silence. "No, I don't think so," Saffuri finally answered, according to Gaffney.

Saffuri was not available for comment. But in a written statement, he called Gaffney, head of the Center for Security Policy, "bitter for his lack of access to some important 'political circles,' particularly the White House."

Saffuri added: "I believe that Mr. Gaffney is very irritated by the fact that a Muslim group has better access than he does. However, I truly believe that he dislikes Muslims and Islam because of religious bigotry."

Norquist, chairman of the GOP interest group, Americans for Tax Reform, declined to comment.

Squat, bearded and famous for his temper, Norquist's power derives from his partnership in the early 1990s with then-Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.

In 1994, Norquist helped his friend become Speaker of the House by assembling a coalition of libertarians, gun rights activists, business groups and religious conservatives who helped provide the votes and money for the GOP's historic takeover of Congress.

Once the leader of a cranky cabal of out-of-power Republicans, Norquist after 1994 became a political gatekeeper. Candidates sought his advice, and dark-suited lobbyists clamored to attend weekly strategy meetings Norquist held for Capitol Hill aides and GOP activists in his offices each Wednesday.

Those in Norquist's favor sit at the conference table in the middle of the room. The others stand, packed shoulder-to-shoulder. Among those with a regular seat at the table, participants say, is the Islamic Institute's Saffuri.

Norquist and Saffuri founded the Islamic Institute in 1999 with seed money from Qatar, Kuwait and other Middle Eastern sources. Among the contributors, records show, was Saffuri's former boss, a Muslim charity director and founder of the American Muslim Council, Abdurahman Alamoudi.

The records show Alamoudi gave at least $35,000 to the institute, although Alamoudi said in a written statement he did "not recollect having been quite that generous."

Also funding the institute were two Virginia-based nonprofit organizations. The Safa Trust donated at least $35,000, and the International Institute of Islamic Thought gave $11,000, the records show.

Last March, federal authorities raided those groups and others in Operation Greenquest, a major assault on suspected terrorist financial networks.

Among the more than 50 targets of the raid were people and organizations connected to Norquist and the Islamic Institute. They included Sami Al-Arian, a charity associated with Alamoudi, Safa Trust and the International Institute for Islamic Thought, or IIIT.

In addition to financially supporting Norquist's institute, the IIIT also had funded Al-Arian's think tank at USF, which the FBI shut down in a 1995 raid, and the school Al-Arian founded, the Islamic Academy of Florida.

The American Muslim Council had long been viewed with suspicion by federal investigators, terrorism experts and Jewish groups.

Although it preached tolerance, its co-founder, Alamoudi, had been videotaped at a pro-Palestinian rally outside the White House in 2000 exhorting the crowd: "We are all supporters of Hamas ... I am also a supporter of Hezbollah."

In his written response, Alamoudi said: "I regret that I made an emotional statement in the heat of the moment and I retract it."

Still, a few months after the rally in Washington, Alamoudi was photographed in Beirut at a conference attended by representatives of the terror groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and al-Qaida.

Today, Alamoudi is under investigation for his role in another Virginia charity, the International Relief Organization, suspected of being part of a Saudi-connected terror money laundering operation.

Alamoudi said he is cooperating fully with investigators. "I expect the investigation will end favorably," he said.

After Norquist's Islamic Institute began trying to woo Muslims to the GOP in 1999, then-candidate Bush began popping up in photographs with various politically connected Muslims.

The only problem was, many of these same prominent Muslims were also under scrutiny by federal investigators for links to terrorism.

"In some ways he's very naive about people," conservative activist Paul Weyrich said of his friend and some-time political rival, Norquist. "I don't blame him for pushing whomever he thinks is going to help him with his political objectives. But somebody on the inside (of the administration) has to say no."

In 2000, then-candidate Bush was photographed at the governor's mansion in Austin, Texas, with Alamoudi, Saffuri, and American Muslim Alliance founder Agha Saeed.

Saeed appeared often on panels with Al-Arian at conferences of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a group Al-Arian cofounded that federal investigators have linked to Hamas.

At an IAP conference in Chicago on Dec. 29, 1996, Alamoudi said: "I think if we were outside this country, we can say, 'Oh, Allah, destroy America,' but once we are here, our mission in this country is to change it ... You can be violent anywhere else but in America."

In June 2001, Al-Arian was among members of the American Muslim Council invited to the White House complex for a briefing by Bush political adviser Karl Rove.

The next month, the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom -- a civil liberties group headed by Al-Arian -- gave Norquist an award for his work to abolish the use of secret intelligence evidence in terrorism cases, a position Bush had adopted in the 2000 campaign.

For a time, the point person at the White House arranging the Muslim groups' access was Suhail Khan, a former director of the Islamic Institute.

Conservatives were suspicious of Khan because his late father had been imam at a mosque in Santa Clara, Calif., which once hosted Osama bin Laden's second in command, the Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Former White House speechwriter David Frum, in his best-selling book, The Right Man, said Norquist's aggressive courting of suspected radicals like Al-Arian was making many conservatives uneasy.

"That outreach campaign opened relationships between the Bush campaign and some very disturbing persons in the Muslim-American community. Many of those disturbing persons were invited to stand beside the president at post-9/11 events," Frum wrote.

One example of the White House's poor judgment, conservatives say, was inviting an imam named Muzammil Siddiqi to preside over an interfaith prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington, three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Twelve days after the service, Bush was photographed in the White House with Siddiqi, apparently unaware that the imam is a key figure in Saudi-funded organizations that have spread the harsh fundamentalist brand of Saudi Islam known as Wahhabism.

Agha Jafri, a Shia Muslim leader in New York, called Siddiqi part of a Saudi-backed "mafia" intent on crushing moderate Sufi and Shiite Muslims in the United States. "They hate us," Jafri said of Siddiqi's ideological compatriots.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

At a meeting of the Conservative Action Political Conference last month, Gaffney gave his view that radical Islamists were trying to penetrate Washington political circles.

Norquist responded on Feb. 6 by dropping a letter in Gaffney's office formally barring him from Norquist's prestigious Wednesday meetings. "The conservative movement cannot be associated with racism or bigotry," the letter said.

Gaffney and American Conservative Union President David Keene, the conference organizer, accused Norquist of employing "Stalinist tactics."

Writing in the congressional newspaper The Hill, Keene said: "The problem is that moderate Muslims control few organizations and have virtually no voice. Most of them, in fact, know better than to challenge the Wahhabis."

Conservative leader Weyrich agreed.

"I do think the White House needs to be more sensitive to who gets invited there, because these people turn around and use that access to boast that they have influence. Their ability to collect money is greater if George Bush has his arm around them," Weyrich said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: abdurahmanalamoudi; alamoudi; alarian; alzawahiri; amc; enemywithin; gaffney; greenquest; grovernorquist; hamas; iap; iiit; islamicinstitute; islamicjihad; karlrove; khaledsaffuri; mahboobkhan; muzzamilsiddiqi; ncppf; norquist; operationgreenquest; pij; rove; safa; safagroup; safatrust; saffuri; samialarian; siddiqi; suhailkhan; zawahiri

1 posted on 03/11/2003 3:29:01 PM PST by TLBSHOW
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: TLBSHOW
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
You don't say. Why would anyone want to comment on this six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon steaming pile of non-news.
2 posted on 03/11/2003 3:32:41 PM PST by Asclepius (hoping for the best)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TLBSHOW
I would have thought that anyone getting near the President would have their backgrounds checked for any possible links that might be "embarrassing" later...
3 posted on 03/11/2003 3:33:03 PM PST by princess leah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TLBSHOW
Bush needs to visibly cut Norquist loose.

Now.

4 posted on 03/11/2003 3:35:43 PM PST by sinkspur
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TLBSHOW
One example of the White House's poor judgment, conservatives say, was inviting an imam named Muzammil Siddiqi to preside over an interfaith prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington, three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Siddiqi's sermon at that service, which curiously lacked any condemnation of bin Laden, was one of the first things that started to make me suspicious of Moslems in this country.

I don't know if the posts I made in the immediate hours and days after 9/11 are accessible, but I was warning at that time against following the policy we had had in 1942 of interning a group. Events changed my mind.

5 posted on 03/11/2003 3:39:44 PM PST by aristeides
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: aristeides
Siddiqi's sermon at that service, which curiously lacked any condemnation of bin Laden, was one of the first things that started to make me suspicious of Moslems in this country.

How could anyone not trust Siddiqi?

As we gather here today, our hearts are filled with sadness. On our minds are the terrible scenes of suffering of our people in Jenin, Ramallah, Tulkaram and many other areas of our beloved and sacred land of Palestine. In the last few weeks Israeli armies committed massacres of innocent children, women and men. They did not spare even the young babies, aged men and women. Homes were bulldozed along with their occupants. Rescuers were barred from reaching to the victims. Palestinian refugees, the poor people uprooted from their homes for decades cried for help and Israelis did not allow any one to reach them. People died asking for water. Little children rushed to broken pipes to catch some drops of water to quench their thirst. This all happened before the eyes of the world, but no one helped.

The UN special envoy called the devastation in Jenin as "horrific beyond belief." "It is totally destroyed, it looks like an earthquake has hit it. It is totally unacceptable that the government of Israel for 11 days did not allow search and rescue teams to come. This is morally repugnant," said Roed-Larsen, the UN Special Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories.

What we have seen is not new. It has been happening not only for the last 11 days, not for the last 19 months, not for the last 35 years; it has been happening for the last 55 years. Before Jenin there were many other massacres in Sabra and Shatila, in Deir Yasin and in many other places. During these 55 years hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been killed, millions have been uprooted and dispersed from their homes and their land.

Our American government and media say very little about the real cause of conflict in the middle east. They focus on the sporadic horrible reactions of some individual Palestinians. No doubt killing any innocent people is wrong and we do not condone any acts of violence against any civilians whether they are Arabs or Jews. However, it is important to understand the real causes and real reasons behind suicidal attacks and violence. It is injustice and horrible social, economic and political conditions that are leading people to some desperate actions. We are asked again and again by the media why do you not condemn "suicide bombings." We do condemn all terrorism and all attacks on non-combatant civilians. We have explained our Islamic position on this issue many times. But we ask our media to condemn the state terrorism of Israel also. We ask them to condemn the racist, oppressive, apartheid state of Israel and its terrorist leader Ariel Sharon.
Suffering in Palestine and Our Responsibility
Islamic Society of North America
Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi - April 19, 2002

As the Israelis were busy hosing pools of blood off the streets after the latest murder-suicide bombing at Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda market, the Palestinian propaganda machine was busy churning out yet another Big Lie: the "massacre of Jenin."

Palestinian mouthpieces claim that the Israeli military killed as many as 500 civilians in Jenin, a stronghold of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. When the Israelis cleared the booby traps and allowed Western media into the city on Monday, the reality turned to be completely different: difficult door-to-door infantry fight; 23 Israeli soldiers fallen in battle; dozens of terrorists killed. No massacre.
Jenin: The Big Lie Fighting the media war.
National Review Online
Ariel Cohen - April 16, 2002

No, really... what's not to trust about Dr. Muzzamil Siddiqi?





6 posted on 03/11/2003 4:48:36 PM PST by Sabertooth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: CheneyChick; vikingchick; Victoria Delsoul; WIMom; one_particular_harbour; kmiller1k; mhking; ...
((((((growl)))))



7 posted on 03/11/2003 5:06:52 PM PST by Sabertooth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Asclepius
You don't say. Why would anyone want to comment on this six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon steaming pile of non-news.

If one of ours is playing footsie with the likes of Sami Al-Arian it is news. Norquist is off the reservation and should receive the presidential boot.

FWIW, Al-Arian's son, Abdullah, was on the staff of former Congressman, David Bonior. That ought to be sufficient heads up for everyone on FR.

America's Fifth Column ... watch Steve Emerson/PBS documentary JIHAD! In America
New Link: Download 8 Mb zip file here (60 minute video)

Who is Steve Emerson?

8 posted on 03/11/2003 5:20:59 PM PST by JCG
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: aristeides
".. unjustified violence against innocents"...was the mealy mouthed weasel word phrase Siddiki used at the Cathedral.

The definition of unjustified and innocents was not made. No condemnation of anybody. I remember railing at the TV and people next to me said, what's wrong? He condemned the attacks, they said. I disagreed.

At least i planted a seed in the mind of some there and gradually, like you, they came to agree about the duplicity and questionable loyalties of these arab types.
9 posted on 03/11/2003 5:27:36 PM PST by swarthyguy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: TLBSHOW
Good Find. Keep the fire burning and the heat turned up!
10 posted on 03/11/2003 5:29:00 PM PST by swarthyguy (Why do the Saudis call it the White Tent?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JCG; Asclepius
If one of ours is playing footsie with the likes of Sami Al-Arian it is news. Norquist is off the reservation and should receive the presidential boot.

Well, Grover Norquist has charged that anyone who questions the terrorist sympathizers, supporters, and co-conspirators with whom he's been hobnobbing (and for whom Grover and his crowd have been gaining White House access), is just a racist and an anti-Muslim bigot.

Shouldn't that be the final word on the matter?




11 posted on 03/11/2003 5:33:43 PM PST by Sabertooth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: TLBSHOW
Another 3rd way emmisary from hell
12 posted on 03/11/2003 6:00:37 PM PST by joesnuffy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sabertooth
One example of the White House's poor judgment, conservatives say, was inviting an imam named Muzammil Siddiqi to preside over an interfaith prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington, three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Twelve days after the service, Bush was photographed in the White House with Siddiqi, apparently unaware that the imam is a key figure in Saudi-funded organizations that have spread the harsh fundamentalist brand of Saudi Islam known as Wahhabism.

Wow, all I can say is that GW wasn't well advised regarding the Muslims visiting the WH.

13 posted on 03/11/2003 6:32:52 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Victoria Delsoul
Bingo. Someone needs to answer for this.



14 posted on 03/11/2003 6:34:50 PM PST by Sabertooth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: TLBSHOW; Seeking the truth; LurkerNoMore!
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

If they ignore it, maybe it will go away.

15 posted on 03/11/2003 8:16:39 PM PST by Fred Mertz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sabertooth
Thanks for the heads up!
16 posted on 03/11/2003 9:22:45 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Fred Mertz
"The White House did not respond to a request for comment."

If they ignore it, maybe it will go away.

Just like our borders.

17 posted on 03/11/2003 9:49:35 PM PST by WRhine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: TLBSHOW
Shocking news....not
18 posted on 03/11/2003 10:11:27 PM PST by Valin (Age and deceit beat youth and skill)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sabertooth
How could anyone not trust Siddiqi?

Mind-numbed robots? That would be My first guess.
19 posted on 03/11/2003 10:14:02 PM PST by Valin (Age and deceit beat youth and skill)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: JCG
If one of ours is playing footsie with the likes of Sami Al-Arian it is news. Norquist is off the reservation and should receive the presidential boot.

I'm curious as to why you and others think Norquist is off the reservation? The way I see it, Norquist is very much ON the “Bush Reservation”. A Reservation that stands FOR Open Borders, massive 3rd world Immigration (particularly from Middle Eastern Nations—9/11 notwithstanding) and the non-enforcement of our immigration laws.

Really, I don't think it takes much arm twisting at all from Norquist to get Bush to foolishly pander to the poisonous Muslim elements in this country. Look at how he jumps whenever Vincente Fox and his fellow Banditos unilaterally demand some sovereignty destroying favor from the U.S.

If there is any group of people that are off the Bush Reservation it is the many millions of tax-paying American Citizens that have to foot the bill for all his goofy One World Idealism that is tearing this country apart.

20 posted on 03/11/2003 10:22:15 PM PST by WRhine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: TLBSHOW
BTTT
21 posted on 03/11/2003 10:26:33 PM PST by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Victoria Delsoul
The hometown newspaper of jailed Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian is reporting links between the terrorist, other suspected terrorist financiers, and libertarian activist Grover Norquist.

The St. Petersburg Times, which broke major stories about Al-Arian running terrorist support operations out of the Tampa, Florida, area, reports on the alleged connection to Al-Arian and several groups that federal agents have raided or shut down in connection with terrorist financing. According to the report,

* Norquist's group, the Islamic Institute, received tens of thousands of dollars from pro-Hezbollah operative Abdurahman Alamoudi, and Norquist himself accepted an award shortly before 9/11 for a group headed by Al-Arian.

* Al-Arian visited the Islamic Institute as recently as last summer - something which the Institute's Chairman, Khaled Saffuri, first denied. Saffuri is a former Alamoudi acolyte.

* "Norquist's aggressive courting of suspected radicals like Al-Arian was making many conservatives uneasy," according to former White House speechwriter David Frum.

* Norquist's group received tens of thousands more from the Safa Trust and the International Institute for Islamic Thought, raided last year under Operation Green Quest as suspected funders of terrorism;

* "Among the more than 50 targets of the [Operation Green Quest] raid were people and organizations connected to Norquist and the Islamic Institute."

* Norquist has taken advantage of President Bush's Muslim outreach program by giving Islamic extremists access to the White House and to the president himself.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr
22 posted on 03/11/2003 10:45:40 PM PST by TLBSHOW
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: TLBSHOW
Thanks for the update.
23 posted on 03/12/2003 10:21:58 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: TLBSHOW
Give Grover Norquist a ticket to Gitmo so he can hang out with his pals.
24 posted on 03/13/2003 7:39:39 PM PST by Pelham
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Allan
Ping
25 posted on 03/13/2003 9:50:12 PM PST by Nogbad
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson