Sunday, October 14, 2007

Group supporting Al-Qaeda defends Ohio Statehouse October-terror-fest

Update #1: Welcome all Lizards! Be sure to read my previous post, “October-terror-fest at the Ohio Statehouse — funded by taxpayers”. (pst — don’t tell anyone, but my FrontPage article tomorrow, “Ohio’s Taxpayer-Financed Terror-Fest”, about how taxpayers are paying for this HAMAS event and the terror connection of yet another speaker [three out of four] is already online. Keep it just between us, OK?)

I have to say that it’s an honor and a privilege for me to be personally attacked by an organization such as the Orwellian-titled “The Peace and Justice Foundation”, an organization which had their event tossed from the US Capitol in August because of their terror-connected speakers, because of my open criticism of terrorists, terrorist organizations, and their supporters. I wear it as a badge of honor. Words are insufficient.

The “Open letter” below in support of the upcoming October-terror-fest to be held in the Ohio State Capitol on October 28th, and expressing its support for a number of terrorists and terror organizations listed as such by the US government, should give readers an indication of the true nature of the upcoming Statehouse event.

My thanks to Dirk Thompson for making me aware of it. The letter appeared yesterday at Abukar Arman’s blog. My point-by-point response is in the brackets:

An Open Letter to The Interfaith Association of Central Ohio
11006 Veirs Mill Rd, STE L-15, PMB 298
Silver Spring, MD. 20902

In the Name of God, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful

October 11, 2007

Greetings of Peace:

This comes in response to an article submitted to FrontPage Magazine by a deeply disturbed bigot by the name of Patrick Poole. At the conclusion of a recent trip to Columbus, I was given a copy of an article titled “HAMAS in the House.” This bigoted commentary intrigued me for a number of reasons.
[Again, I feel honored that an organization defending terrorist organizations would see fit to call me a bigot. If my criticism of these terrorists and terror organization is the basis for their characterization of my being “deeply disturbed”, I readily embrace it. My article in question can be found at FrontPage, “HAMAS in the House”.]

For starters, it impugned the integrity of a number of people and organizations that I happen to know personally: Anisa Abdel Fattah, Ahmed Yousef, Robert D. Crane, Abukar Arman, Ahmad Al-Akhras, Mohamad Salah, the American Muslim Council (AMC), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), SAAR Foundation and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).
[Yes, I impugn the integrity of all the aforementioned individuals and organizations, and I have been unambiguous concerning my reasons for doing so, particularly their open support for terrorists and terrorist organizations. I’ve written about Fattah, Yousef, and Crane here; Abukar Arman here and here; and Ahmad Al-Akhras here.]

In addition to the aforementioned individuals and organizations, Mr. Poole also attacked a number of others who I’ve come to know only through careful research, in my capacity as an advocate with a Metropolitan Washington-based human rights organization — individuals and organizations such as Fawaz Damra, Sami Al-Arian, Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, Mousa abu Marzook, the World Islam and Studies Enterprise WISE), HAMAS, the Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda.
[Yes, I have attacked these terrorists and their organizations — proudly so! Fawaz Damra was stripped of his US citizenship and deported this year for his support of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Sami Al-Arian pled guilty to terrorism support. Sheikh Yassin was the terror cleric that founded and led HAMAS. Mousa abu Marzook is the deputy political director for HAMAS. WISE was Al-Arian’s PIJ front group in Florida. HAMAS has murdered hundreds of innocent civilians. The Muslim Brotherhood is the mothership of virtually every Islamic terrorist organization in the world. Palestinian Islamic Jihad is also a designated terrorist organization by the US government, as is Al-Qaeda.]

Mr. Poole also referenced an incident that unfolded on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, this past August (2007), with the clear intent in mind of hoping to help orchestrate a similar embarrassment for Ohio officials at the State Capitol in Columbus. With this in mind I would like to offer a little food for thought, God willing.
[I have done nothing to orchestrate any such embarrassment other than to advertise the embarrassing nature of the event itself. I have no power to cancel or censor such, and I do not hesitate to exercise my own free speech rights to criticize such an event held in a forum dedicated to representing the interest of all Ohioans, not just a tiny minority of Islamic extremists and terror supporters.]

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once noted that the true measure of a man (or woman) is not determined during times of “relative comfort and convenience,” but rather, during times of “challenge and controversy.” In this hour the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio is being challenged by the powerful winds of religious bigotry. In order to help you collectively STAND UP to the challenge, I offer the following FACTS.
[It is the ultimate irony, in light of the documented religious bigotry spewed by the scheduled IACO speakers that they would attribute any criticism of such to religious bigotry. This is what Orwell cautioned against: “double speak”.]

1. Anisa abd el Fattah is not an “extremist.” She is an intelligent, opinionated and deeply committed activist who cares (among other things) about the tragic plight of the Palestinian people — a people who for the past 60 years have been trapped in an ongoing genocide. That being said, IF she stated, in a letter to the editor of the Columbus Dispatch (as Poole alleges she did) that, “There are no Israeli civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. There are only illegal Jewish settlers, who, by Israeli law, are also citizen-soldiers. . .” — with the implication being that it is permissible for any and all Israelis to be deliberately targeted (according to Islamic law) — she clearly mis-spoke; and if given the opportunity I’m sure that she would correct this misperception.
[The letter writer ignores several facts. I have not alleged that Fattah made the comments she did. I linked to her own letter published by the Columbus Dispatch. If she is supposedly as intelligent as claimed, it’s hard to imagine how she “mis-spoke”, especially since she has made similar statements on numerous occasions.]

2. Dr. Ahmed Yusuf is not an “extremist.” He is a deeply committed and caring Palestinian activist; someone who is routinely described by those who know him as a “moderate” — and someone who is understandably committed to the liberation of his people. As one of the principle founders of UASR, I always found him to be genuinely committed to dialogue and peaceful resolution whenever possible. (And I’ve known Dr. Yousef for many years.)
[Ahmed Yousef is the current spokesman for the terrorist group HAMAS. He fled the country to avoid prosecution on terror charges. When has HAMAS ever expressed its genuine commitment to “dialogue and peaceful resolution”, when its primary instrument, even against Palestinians, has been nothing but terrorism and political violence? Yousef is indeed an “extremist”. The writer even acknowledges their own assocation with terror leader Yousef.]

Concerning the work of UASR, I had the pleasure of attending a number of their periodic Roundtable Discussions — including one, by the way, in which the well known islamophobe Daniel Pipes was the featured presenter. (Even he was accorded, from start to finish, far more courtesy than a number of participants thought he deserved.) There is a book entitled Islam And The West: A Dialogue, edited by Imad Ad-Dean Ahmad & Ahmed Yousef, and published jointly by the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR) and the American Muslim Foundation (AMF). It features a number of these thought-provoking dialogues between leaders and activists from the Muslim community, and writers, journalists and policymakers from the non-Muslim community. This is what the UASR was really all about — conflict resolution through productive dialogue!
[According to the New York Times, UASR was described by one terror-convicted leader as “the political command for HAMAS in the United States”. Yes, we’ve seen the kind of “productive dialogue” advanced by HAMAS. In bodybags.]

3. With all that Mr. Poole had to say about Dr. Robert D. Crane and his dubious connections to UASR (a “HAMAS terrorist front”) and the American Muslim Council — a now defunct organization whose good work he impugns simply because of the personal failings of one of its leaders — he failed to mention that Dr. Crane also served in a number of Republican administrations. (I guess Poole’s operational model is Guilt by association, but avoid the inconvenient truths.)
[The connections of Crane to UASR are not “dubious”. As I noted in my FrontPage article, Crane’s own bio states that he served on the UASR board of directors from 1996 until its demise after Ahmed Yousef fled the country to become the officials HAMAS spokesman. And Crane only served in one Republican administration - Nixon’s - more than thirty years ago. I don’t have to engage in guilt by association when such individuals so willingly associate themselves on their own - much like the letter writer himself.]

4. Abukar Arman and Ahmad Al-Akhras are two very active Columbus, Ohio residents who are also not deserving of Mr. Poole’s scare-mongering. As the national vice-chairman of CAIR - an organization that has done much to foster good, healthy American-Islamic relations for over a decade now - one would think that the city of Columbus would feel privileged to have someone like Ahmad Al-Akhras as a resident. As for Abukar Arman, a very decent and caring man, who I know well and interact with often, it was shocking to learn (again, according to Mr. Poole) that someone of such quality and temperament would be forced off of the board that oversees Central Ohio Homeland Security. (If this is indeed true, it is Central Ohio’s loss.)
[Abukar Arman is a well-documented terror apologist who has openly supported HAMAS, Hezbollah, the al-Qaeda-backed Somali Islamic Courts Union, and described Specially Designated Global Terrorist and HAMAS spiritual leader Yousef Al-Qaradawi as a “moderate”. In the case of Al-Akhras, there isn’t a convicted terrorist in Ohio that he hasn’t taken up to publicly defend. They have jointly participated in at least one act of cultural terrorism.]

5. Mohamed Salah, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian birth, was imprisoned and tortured by Israeli authorities for nothing more than exercising his material concern for the humanitarian plight of his own people! After his subsequent return to the U.S. — after approximately five years of unjust confinement — he and his family were then persecuted by his own adopted government. A political trial ended several months ago with Mohamad Salah and his codefendant being found innocent of ALL terrorism-related charges — despite the poisonous (pro-prosecution) post 9/11 climate that surrounded the trial, and the millions of dollars that the US Government devoted to its prosecution!
[Mohamed Salahthe only US citizen to be declared an international terrorist by the US government — was convicted in February by this same of perjury and lying about his connections to terrorist organizations and sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. Salah was also was previously convicted and served five years in prison in Israel for his admitted support for HAMAS. The interrogation by Israeli authorities were observed by New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who saw no acts of torture.]

6. In the opinion of many observers (both Muslim and non-Muslim), the ordeal of Imam Fawaz Damra — like that of Dr. Sami Al-Arian — was also nothing more than a totally unjustified, politically and religiously-driven witch-hunt, which at the end of the day has brought enormous shame on the better of the two Americas.
[Damra and Al-Arian were videotaped together raising money for Palestinian Islamic Jihad. And what does the writer mean by “the better of two Americas”. Is he a John Edwards supporter?]

In the case of Dr. Al-Arian, Mr. Poole failed to mention that when the controversy first erupted around the now defunct World Islam and Studies Enterprise (WISE) at the University of South Florida, many years ago, an outside independent investigation of WISE was commissioned by the university. At the end of the investigation, the finding was that not only were there NO OVERSEAS TERRORIST LINKS to the enterprise, but that WISE was deemed to be an asset to the University of South Florida community!
[Al-Arian was fired by the university in December 2002 after an extensive investigation. WISE’s assets were frozen by the FBI in 1995. The president of South Florida said that Al-Arian had abused his position as a professor and misused the university. “We have determined that USF must sever all ties to Sami Al-Arian once and for all,” she said at a news conference to announce the decision. “His use of this educational institution for improper, non-educational purposes will not be tolerated. No longer will he be able to hide behind the shield of academic freedom.” The university board voted 12 to 1 to fire Al-Arian. Yes, quite an asset to the university!]

7. As for Musa Abu Marzook, he too was considered a “moderate” leader within the Hamas organization. Despite this, however, after many years of legal and productive residence in the U.S., Marzook became a political prisoner for a number of years before agreeing to leave the country and never return. When the Clinton Administration designated Marzook a global terrorist in 1995 (if I’m not mistaken, AFTER his deportation) it was pure politics — US/Israeli style — and nothing more.
[Marzook is the political leader of a terrorist organization designated as such by the US government. And he was deported from the US because of his terrorist connections, not something he suddenly adopted after his deportation.]

As for the punitively disparate treatment accorded to HAMAS — and, by extension, to the Palestinian people by the power brokers within the “international community” — human rights advocates from a variety of persuasions have for years raised the question: If America and other western nations could recognize a distinction between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its political wing, Sein Fein; between the openly terrorist wings of anti-Castro Cuban organizations and their American-based political wings, why aren’t the same distinctions made for the political, humanitarian, and military resistance wings of Hamas?!
[Sinn Fein was not recognized as a legitimate political entity by the US or the UK until after the IRA had agreed to disarm (so much for their “facts”). If HAMAS was ever willing to do likewise, and renounce its position concerning the destruction of the Israeli state, perhaps that might be an option.]

(We won’t even mention the US and European based organizations that regularly contribute to the brazen violations of well established international law in the occupied territories of Palestine. And as for Israel’s brutal execution of the paraplegic Palestinian leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yasin - along with other innocent bystanders, a few years ago - we were also among those who condemned that extrajudicial murder; and for good reason.)
[Yasin was the head of HAMAS and responsible for the deliberate targeting and murder of hundreds of innocent civilians. Being confined to a wheelchair made him no less a threat. Bravo to the Israelis for his assassination (which Anisa Abd El Fattah denounced in a UASR press release)! May the US follow their example with Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri!]

8. Regarding the raids on the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) and the SAAR Foundation (ala, “Operation Greenquest”), we have yet to see a prosecution come out of it; and thus, as far as we are concerned it was nothing more than another well publicized witch-hunt of prominent Muslim organizations in America.
[There has been no prosecution in the IIIT case because Sami Al-Arian has violated his plea agreement and been convicted on contempt charges for refusing to testify about IIIT’s financial support and coordination for his terrorist front organization, WISE.]

As I near my conclusion (I’ve already gone on a lot longer than I had planned to) I would like to end with a few thoughts on the aborted Capitol Hill conference. I have some first hand knowledge on that initiative because I was one of the main organizers.
[“Aborted” is an appropriate phrase here. And yes, the event that was evicted from the US Capitol for its speakers connections to terror was sponsored by the Peace and Justice Foundation.]

It is true that the Sergeant-at-Arms at the U.S. Capitol canceled our use of space on the day before a scheduled event (in the process, violating our rights as U.S. citizens). This action, needless to say, rankled the feathers of a good number of people beyond our own ranks (i.e., senior and mid-level staffers in other offices on Capitol Hill). Why, and how, did it happen?

On the day before the event - a Friday that also signaled the summer recess for the members of both chambers - the Sergeant-at-Arms contacted the congressional office who had reserved the space for our event. He then contacted the congressman directly (he was about to board a plane for a flight out of the country), with a message that his office had received some sort of “intelligence” that raised security concerns about the event that was scheduled to be held the following day. He wanted to know if the congressman was planning to be present - and of course the answer was no.
[How they believe their constitutional rights were violated they fail to explain. Also, at least one of their speakers - Abukar Arman - isn’t even a US citizen. No one suppressed their free speech. They were merely denied a forum intended for non-partisan activities because of the partisan nature of their conference. The event went off as scheduled in another location without any further incident. A similiar conclusion in the Ohio Statehouse October-terror-fest would be appropriate.]

The short of it is this. We have since met with the congressman; he apologized for the mishap and assured us that we will be able to plan the event again with his full knowledge and support. Should Anisa Abd’el Fattah, Abukar Arman, or Ahmed Al-Akhras wish to be included in the lineup of speakers again, they will be more than welcomed.

(I’m sorry to have to burst Mr. Poole’s bubble, but the “precedent” that he so joyfully alluded to in this matter, will soon be reversed. I pray that the Ohio State House will be spared such an embarrassing ordeal.)
[And next time they plan a similiar event, we will exercise our own free speech rights and publicize the extremist nature and terror connections to the speakers involved.]

As a final thought, it would behoove us to revisit an observation made by former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brezinski, writing in the March 25, 2007, edition of The Washington Post. (We also feature these excerpts among the closing thoughts in our book titled Islam & Terrorism: Myth vs. Reality.)

“The war on terror has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration’s elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America’s psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. . . The damage these three words have done — a classic self-inflicted wound — is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.” He also noted, “The terror entrepreneurs, usually described as experts on terrorism, are necessarily engaged in competition to justify their existence.”

I can’t help but wonder if this is the primary motive behind Mr. Poole’s shrill episodes of fear and hate-mongering. Whatever it is, people of good will (and sincere faith) must resist such demagoguery, and lead the way to the better angels within human nature. If not now, when? May your October 28 conference be a blessed event!

Mauri’ Saalakhan
Director of Operations
The Peace And Justice Foundation
“Better angels within human nature” (he can’t even get the quote right)? Do the better angels applaud when terrorists murder innocent teenagers and families in a pizza shop, and then glory in their deed afterwards? Do these “better angels” arm murderers with explosives to blow themselves up on a bus full of civilians? Do these “better angels” assist these terrorists and terrorist organizations to accomplish their grisly deeds, as many of the individuals that Saalakhan openly defends in his letter? Let’s hope not.

As for my motives, it’s only because I’m concerned that our community has been thoroughly infiltrated by extremists, such as Fattah, Arman and Al-Akhras. That our political leaders openly parade with these individuals is a testament to both how successfully Islamic extremism has implanted itself in our area, and how far the supposed “leaders” of the Islamic community really are from the vast majority of Muslims who reject support for HAMAS and other terrorist organizations. No one can defame area Muslims more than individuals, such as Fattah, Arman and Al-Akhras, have done themselves.

In conclusion, it is shameful, but not suprising that the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio, Abukar Arman, Anisa Abd El Fattah, and Ahmad Al-Akhras have all asked the Peace and Justice Foundation to do their own dirty work, rather than make these same statements themselves. If the support for terrorists and terrorist organizations found in this open letter are not representative of their views, I call on them to publicly denounce the Peace and Jusince Foundation’s support. Of course, the letter was published on Abukar Arman’s own website, so it’s hard to see how he can distance himself with the extremist views and support for terrorism expressed in this letter.

One thing I will grant to Saalakhan is that at least he has the courage of his terrorism-supporting convictions — convictions Arman and Al-Akhras clearly hold but publicly deny when asked, even when confronted with evidence to the contrary. Liars and cowards.

Thanks, guys, for making my job easy and confirming everything I’ve ever said about you.

Peace out.