(Today We Know it Is Islam that Is at War With America, Liberty, Judaism and Christianity)
September 20, 2001, in his outstanding historic address to Congress and the American people, President Bush foolishly and ignorantly addressed Islam directly where he advised Americans and the Islamic world alike:
“I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. (Applause.) The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them.”
The entire paragraph is wrong and almost every statement in it is false:
- Islam is not practiced freely virtually every Muslim practices Islam out of profound and continuous fear.
- We very likely did respect Islam. Most of us were more ignorant about this scourge than even President Bush.
- That President Bush, a man of character, could say, “Its teachings are good and peaceful,” demonstrates his obvious complete ignorance. The teachings and history of Islam rank it more evil (if possible) than Nazism.
- “[T]hose who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.” False. Allah is the very force that drives the evil.
- The terrorists are not traitors to their faith, they are an indispensible element to the “success” of Islam.
- Apart from the rest of the paragraph, the last two sentences were at least marginally useful at the time.
Let it be clear, President Bush and his Administration worked hard and with significant success in defeating the terrorist capacity of Al Qaeda and other Islamic terror networks of “global reach.” But the mindset evident in that paragraph held back the President himself and his administration in facing the all encompassing evil reach of Islam. At least as important, it held back rather than promote the education of all Americans about Islam.
How did President Bush get (and largely stay) so far off base. It was directly through the White House access and effort of one man —Grover Norquist. Norquist has been among the most powerful conservative Republican Washington insiders for more than 30 years. He is the founder and President of the Americans for Tax Reform, and a powerful member of the BOD of the American Conservative Union. His lines of power reach almost everywhere within conservatism except the “We the People” Tea parties. Norquist has a sterling (libertarian leaning) conservative record of service. He was closely involved with the Bush campaign as early as 1999 and had inside access to the Oval Office.
Immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, Norquist contacted the White House and became the single liaison to Muslim leaders for the President. Grover Norquist brought in the wrong people. It may be coincidental that Norquist’s wife is a Muslim. It is clear he had been building a Republican marriage with American Muslim leaders for several years. It was his influence that brought significant Muslim support to the 2000 Bush campaign. You will find the Norquist-Muslim connection all over Google. Still, because of Norquist’s influence, one would write about this connection with trepidation. The two fearless American patriots who have done the most are Frank Gaffney, the proprietor of the Center for Security Policy and David Horowitz, publisher of Front Page Magazine. Horowitz introduced an explosive Gaffney piece in the December 9, 2003 FrontPageMag.com:
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. . . .
. . . 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. . . .
It is with a heavy heart therefore, that I am posting this article.
A Troubling Influence by Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
At a black-tie dinner on November 5th, nearly 300 conservative activists and politicians gathered at Washington’s 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 honoree’s 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 capital’s 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 Institute’s 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 Bush’s 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 Committee’s Terrorism Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Jon Kyl, R-AZ, and by the Defense Department’s 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 aren’t 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] kingdom’s 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 GOP’s most assiduous and influential networkers, Grover Norquist.
It seems unlikely that even in Alamoudi’s 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 Norquist’s 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.11When apprehended, Alamoudi declared that the funds had been delivered to him after extensive interactions with officials of Muammar Qadhafi’s 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 Norquist’s 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 Institute’s 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 Alamoudi’s 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 Norquist’s 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 KGB’s 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 MWL’s 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 Norquist’s 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