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Terrorism? What terrorism?

During the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations the US government has actively courted Muslims who have overt connections to terrorism.
Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi with a friend.

Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi with a friend.

This is just beyond belief.

Patrick S. Poole, a freelance writer, has published a long, detailed, and exhaustively documented article exposing the American government’s schizophrenia regarding radical Islamists, “Blind to Terror: The U.S. Government’s Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on U.S. Middle East Policy.”

Expect to read and hear denunciations of Poole as an extremist and Islamophobe, and the article dismissed as right-wing craziness. Neither is true. Read the article and check the references (most are official documents or mainstream journalism).

During the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations the US government has actively courted Muslims who have overt connections to terrorism, who have publicly espoused violent jihad or who have raised funds for terrorist groups. These Muslims, sometimes at the same time that they were under investigation by law enforcement agencies for illegal activities, have been invited to the White House, employed by the FBI and Defense Department as trainers, and consulted by government officials on issues relating to Islam and terrorism. An early example was the case of Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi:

Al-Amoudi’s case is perhaps the best example, because he was the conduit through much of the U.S. government outreach that was conducted following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Not only was he asked by the Clinton administration to help train and certify all Muslim military chaplains (his organization being the first to certify such),[13] he was later appointed by the State Department in 1997 as a civilian goodwill ambassador to the Middle East, making six taxpayer-funded trips.[14]

Further, with the assistance and encouragement of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, al-Amoudi arranged the first White House Iftar dinner in 1996, personally hand-picking the attendees.[15] Thus, he was regularly invited to the White House during both the Clinton and Bush (II) Administrations. In 1992 and 1996, al-Amoudi’s American Muslim Council hosted hospitality suites at both the Democratic and Republican conventions.[16] It is fair to say that during this period, Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi was the most prominent and politically connected Muslim leader in America.

As is now known, and the U.S. government has admitted, at the time that he was being courted by Democrats and Republicans alike, he was a major fundraiser for al-Qa’ida according to the Department of the Treasury.[17] However, it isn’t as if the U.S. government was not aware of al-Amoudi’s attachments. As far back as 1993, a government informant told the FBI that al-Amoudi was funneling regular payments from Usama bin Ladin to the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted for authorizing terror attacks targeting New York landmarks.[18]

In March 1996, al-Amoudi’s association with Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook was exposed in the pages of the Wall Street Journal.[19] Two years later, the State Department came under fire by the New York Post for inviting al-Amoudi to official events despite his known statements in support of terrorism and terrorist leaders.[20] Even then the Post noted the problem with the government’s policy of reaching out to the wrong Muslim leaders:

The problem is that such groups have been legitimized–both by government and the media–as civil-rights groups fighting anti-Muslim discrimination and stereotyping. Unfortunately, their definition of such discrimination consists of anyone who writes about the existence of–or tries to investigate–radical Islamic terrorist groups and their allies on these shores.[21]

A more embarrassing episode occurred in October 2000, when al-Amoudi appeared at an anti-Israeli rally where he was cheered by the crowd for his support for terrorists. “I have been labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas. Anybody support Hamas here?” he asked the crowd three times to the roar of attendees. “Hear that, Bill Clinton?” he continued. “We are all supporters of Hamas. I wish they added that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah. Does anybody support Hezbollah here?” Again, he was met with the cheers of the crowd.

Well, one might think, that was then. But it continued after 9/11:

The U.S. government’s success with Muslim outreach since September 11 hasn’t fared any better. One of the first Muslim leaders that the government turned to was Anwar al-Awlaki, the al-Qa’ida cleric who was in direct contact with at least three of the September 11 hijackers.[41] Awlaki, who had been placed on the CIA’s “kill or capture” list, was killed on September 30, 2011 in a CIA-led drone strike on the al-Qa’ida cleric’s convoy in Yemen, which President Obama hailed as a “milestone” in the fight against al-Qa’ida.[42]

As the cleanup from the terrorist attack on the Pentagon continued, Awlaki was invited by the Pentagon’s Office of Government Counsel to speak at a lunch in the building’s executive offices as part of the government’s new Muslim outreach policy.[43] Ironically, one of the September 11 terrorists who had helped hijack American Airlines Flight 77 that was flown into the Pentagon had described Awlaki as “a great man” and his “spiritual leader.”[44] Yet concerns had been raised about Awlaki long before the September 11 attacks.

A joint congressional inquiry in the September 11 attacks found that law enforcement had been investigating Awlaki’s contacts with terrorism suspects as far back as 1999.[45] Further, just two days after September 11, Awlaki had described the terror attacks as an “accident” in an interview with a local television station.[46] Also prior to his appearance at the Pentagon the New York Times had noted Awlaki’s fiery anti-American rhetoric prior to the attacks, and in November 2001, he had defended the Taliban in an online chat about Ramadan on the Washington Post website.[47] Thus, despite claims that Awlaki had been “vetted” before the Pentagon event, abundant evidence of Awlaki’s extremist views was more than readily available before he appeared at the Pentagon event.[48]

Needless to say, nobody does political correctness better than the present administration:

To emphasize the Obama administration’s new Muslim outreach policy, the White House issued a directive in August 2011 ordering law enforcement to engage “community partners” to help combat “violent extremism.”[155] This White House policy, signed by President Obama, effectively granted highly questionable official status to extremist groups, like ISNA and MPAC, who even now claim previously unknown oversight to law enforcement training and investigations. One example of the effect of this new policy are the Shari’a-compliant guidelines that federal law enforcement officials must now comply with when conducting raids related to Islamic leaders or institutions.

This was exhibited in May 2011, when the FBI raided a South Florida mosque and arrested its imam and his son for financially supporting the Taliban. The rules required law enforcement officials to remove their shoes before entering the mosque and prohibiting police canines from the property.[156] The common sense of these new rules undoubtedly would have been put to the test had the subjects tried to flee to be pursued by shoeless federal agents. There is also no indication that such sensitivity rules have been established by the FBI for any other religion but Islam, raising serious constitutional questions.

There is more, much more. You might ask, “how can we detect radical Muslims who might engage in or support terrorism against the US when the ‘experts’ we turn to share their ideology?” Good question.

From the outset, the Obama administration has followed a course to blind government agencies to the international and domestic jihadi threat and tie the hands of law enforcement investigators to identify such activity. One of the first steps in 2009 was for the Obama administration to remove any reference to “radical Islam” from the National Security Strategy, a move that was hailed by CAIR and other Muslim groups.[139] In fact, many of the U.S. government’s outreach partners had a direct hand in demanding the language purge from national security protocol and agency lexicons in recent years, going as far back as MPAC’s vehement criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report for the use of the words “Islamist,”,” “jihad,” and other such terms to describe the motivations, influence, and ideology of al-Qa’ida and the September 11 terrorists.[140] Undoubtedly, the Obama administration’s move was part of the recent justification by the Associated Press to purge the same language from their stylebook.[141]

More recently, Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) challenged the removal of these terms from the FBI’s “Counterterrorism Analytical Lexicon,” including “jihad,” “Islam,” and even “Hamas,” “Hizballah,” and “al-Qa’ida,” in a floor speech in the House of Representatives.[142] The very next day, FBI representatives contacted Gohmert’s staff, claiming that the lexicon he cited didn’t even exist. Those same representatives quickly retreated when it was confirmed that hard copies had been distributed to all counterterrorism agents in the field, electronic copies resided on the FBI’s intranet, and after the current author reported the matter and posted an electronic copy of the FBI’s lexicon online.[143]

Finally, there are the foreign policy implications:

Did the fact that their top outreach partners on Islamic and Middle East issues are known fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood–identified as such by federal prosecutors in federal court–contribute to the Obama administration’s naïve and ultimately false [view] of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East? Was there any reflection by anyone in the administration when these same outreach partners, very close to the White House, began openly meeting with their Middle East counterparts following the toppling of longtime U.S. allies and even hosting them in Washington, D.C. (such as the dinner MPAC hosted for Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi, who had been banned from the United States for nearly 20 years)?[204]

More good questions.

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About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created FresnoZionism.org to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam. The viewpoint is not intended to be liberal or conservative — just pro-Israel.

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