JOHN PERAZZO: THE UNCONSCIONABLE SMEARING OF REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ****
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Last June, Rep. Michele Bachmann and four Republican colleagues sent letters to the Inspectors General at the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and State, asking them to investigate whether the Muslim Brotherhood—the ideological wellspring from which such terrorist outfits as al Qaeda and Hamas first emerged—might be gaining undue influence over high-level U.S. government officials. One letter, for instance, noted that Hillary Clinton‘s closest aide, her deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin, “has three family members … connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations.”
A few days ago, when Bachmann was reassigned to the House Select Committee on Intelligence, the left-wing activist group, People For the American Way (PFAW)—which had originally launched an unsuccessful petition drive to have the congresswoman removed from that Committee last year—decided to revive that effort. By PFAW’s telling, some 178,000 people have signed the petition thus far.
According to PFAW president Michael Keegan, Rep. Bachmann’s warnings amount to nothing more than a “smear campaign” of “baseless conspiracy theories” designed to ruin “the reputations of honorable public servants.” PFAW spokesman Drew Courtney accuses Bachmann of engaging in “reckless extremism” aimed chiefly at “making headlines and pandering to the Tea Party.” And PFAW’s online strategy manager, Ben Betz, derides Bachmann’s “Islamaphobic fear mongering” and her “disregard for honesty.” These accusations are entirely consistent with PFAW’s previous claims that “right-wing anti-Muslim activists,” filled with “anti-Muslim paranoia,” routinely “demoniz[e]” and “vilif[y]” members of the Islamic faith in an effort to stoke Americans’ “irrational fears.” Such conservative activists, says PFAW, “sanction and encourage [the] persecution” of Muslims while aiming to “prevent” them from “freely worshiping and practicing their religion.”
These very serious allegations about a sitting Member of Congress raise a single, obvious question: Are Bachmann’s stated concerns about Huma Abedin and others associated with radical Islamic organizations unfounded or illogical in any way? The evidence suggests otherwise:
From 1996-2008, Ms. Abedin was employed as an assistant editor of a publication produced by the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA), a group founded and developed by her parents. As the intrepid journalist Walid Shoebat has made plain, “Muslim Minority Affairs” refers unequivocally to a calculated foreign policy of the Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs, designed to: (a) persuade Muslims who reside in non-Muslim lands to consciously refrain from assimilating into the cultures of their host countries; (b) advance an agenda based on fundamentalist Wahhabi teachings and Sharia Law; (c) gradually shift the demographic scales by means of Muslim population growth in the host countries; and (d) eventually reach a critical mass that tilts those societies toward majority-Muslim status and membership in the Muslim commonwealth. Key to this process is the influence of Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and support groups like the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Students Association, and the IMMA.
But, according to PFAW, there’s nothing to see here, so don’t trouble yourself with any of this information; it’s really just an old-fashioned “smear campaign.” And, presumably, we are likewise expected to believe that only a delusional “right-wing” bigot could possibly feel even the barest shred of concern regarding other Muslim Brotherhood affiliates with similarly close ties to the Obama administration.
Consider Arif Alikhan, who joined President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2009. Previously, Alikhan had helped derail the Los Angeles Police Department’s efforts to monitor the activities of that city’s well-known radical mosques and madrassas (where some of the 9/11 hijackers, in fact, had received support from local residents). Shortly prior to his DHS appointment, Alikhan participated in a fundraiser for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, an organization founded by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood and admirers of Hezbollah. On another occasion, Alikhan spoke at a California banquet/fundraiser alongside Agha Saeed, a Cal State professor who defended Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian during the latter’s prosecution on terrorism charges. But alas, PFAW wouldn’t want any of us to wade, unwittingly, into the murky waters of “baseless conspiracy theories.”
Then there is Mohamed Elibiary, a Texas-based Islamic cleric who joined President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security in October 2010, even though he had previously spoken at a Dallas conference titled “A Tribute to the Great Islamic Visionary,” held in honor of none other than the late Ayatollah Khomeini. But before you jump to any conclusions about Mr. Elibiary’s ideological makeup, take a moment to unburden your mind of those pesky “irrational fears” that PFAW has painstakingly traced to the doorstep of “right-wing anti-Muslim activists.”
Along the same lines, who, other than an “Islamophobic fear monger,” would have any misgivings about Rashad Hussain, who has served the Obama administration as a deputy associate counsel and a special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a 57-country coalition that seeks to outlaw any and all criticism of Islamic people, practices, legal codes, and governments? Sure, Hussain once spoke at a conference sponsored by a Muslim Brotherhood front group and headlined by numerous leaders of the global Brotherhood movement. And yes, he participated in a panel at an annual convention of the American Muslim Council, which was then headed by the Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdurahman Alamoudi—later convicted and incarcerated on terrorism charges. And true, in September 2004 Hussain took part in a Muslim Students Association event where he denounced the “politically motivated persecution” of the terrorist Sami Al-Arian. And yes, in 2008 he published a paper that contained a number of recommendations consistent with the agendas and worldviews of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. But hey, nobody’s perfect.
And what are we to make of Mohamed Magid, the Virginia-based Imam who was appointed to Obama’s Department of Homeland Security in 2011? Claiming that media references to jihad as “holy war” constitute an egregious “misuse” of that term, Magid currently serves as president of America’s largest Muslim organization, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which was founded by U.S.-based members of … yes, you guessed it, the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, ISNA was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the prosecution of five officials of the Holy Land Foundation, the largest terror-financing trial in American history. Ah, but surely PFAW would wisely counsel us not to let “anti-Muslim paranoia” about such trivia spoil our day.
Another character of note is Ingrid Mattson, a Connecticut-based professor of Islam who delivered a prayer at the National Prayer Service, one of the events associated with President Obama’s 2008 inauguration. In June 2009 she was invited by Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett to work on the White House Council on Women and Girls. Mattson, whose resumé features a stint as president of the Islamic Society of North America, has characterized Wahhabism—an extremist, intolerant form of Islam with close ties to Saudi Arabia and terrorism—as “a reform movement … analogous to the European Protestant Reformation.” If by any chance you were to find this troubling, PFAW would surely remind you to hold your tongue, lest you “sanction and encourage” the “persecution” of Muslims.
In April 2009, Dalia Mogahed, a senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, was appointed by President Obama to serve on his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, making Mogahed the first veiled Muslim woman to serve in the White House. She was also assigned to the advisory council of Obama’s Department of Homeland Security. Prior to these appointments, Mogahed had co-authored a book with Professor John Esposito, an apologist for radical Islam and an editorial board member of the same Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs journal that employed Huma Abedin for a dozen years. In addition, Mogahed’s research provided key data for a project by Feisal Abdul Rauf, the New York City Imam who was associated with the proposed contruction of the “Ground Zero Mosque.” According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Mogahed has stated that most Muslims view Sharia Law as a framework for achieving “a more just society” and the “protection of human rights.” Moreover, she has consistently defended and reached out to Islamist organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim American Society, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. In September 2008, she stated that it would be unfair for such groups to be “disenfranchised” by a “witch hunt” designed to “malign” them. If you find any of this problematic, you just might be one of those “reckless,” irresponsible “demonizers” whom PFAW deplores.
In February 2009, Eboo Patel was appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships. This same Mr. Patel has asserted that “Muslim totalitarians” are hardly distinguishable from “the Christian totalitarians in America,” “the Jewish totalitarians in Israel,” or “the Hindu totalitarians in India.” At the main event of a three-day convention held by the Muslim Students Association in 2011, Patel participated in a panel alongside Tariq Ramadan (grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna) and Siraj Wahhaj (a former Islamic Society of North America vice president who was named as a possible co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing). And, for good measure, Patel has depicted Van Jones, the revolutionary communist who served several months as President Obama’s “green jobs” czar, as an “American patriot,” a “faith hero,” and one of “the true giants of history.” But bite your tongue if you feel an impulse to “demonize” or “vilify” this esteemed presidential adviser.
In the final analysis, we must indeed be grateful for the existence of groups like People For the American Way—ever prepared to alert us to the menacing presence of “right-wing anti-Muslim activists” who would rather “make headlines” with their own brazen rhetoric, than show proper respect for devoted public servants whose only transgression is that they just happen to be supportive of an organization that gave rise to Hamas, al Qaeda, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad; an organization that seeks unequivocally to establish an Islamic caliphate spanning the entire globe; an organization that aims to dismantle all non-Islamic governments wherever they currently exist; an organization that advocates Islamic Law as the sole basis of jurisprudence everywhere on earth; and an organization that unapologetically embraces the credo: “God is our objective, the Koran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, [jihad] is our way, and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.” Now, what reasonable person could possibly have a problem with any of that?
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