On Saturday, February 13, the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia – about 20 minutes from the White House – held a fundraiser dinner to raise money for Sabri Benkhala’s various legal appeals. (They’re holding an even bigger fundraiser in April, which may be attended by some well-known elected officials – more on that later….) Benkhala is serving a 10-year term in a federal prison for perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI.
According to a February 5, 2007 statement from the Department of Justice, “Benkahla was convicted of making materially false statements both in his grand jury appearances in 2004, as well as to the FBI in 2004. These false statements included his denial of his involvement with an overseas jihad training camp in 1999, as well as his asserted lack of knowledge about individuals with whom he was in contact.”
If you want to fundraise for a jailed jihadist, Dar Al-Hijrah is definitely the $40-donation-for-a-halal-chicken-dinner venue of choice. Dar Al-Hijrah’s jihadist credentials are impeccable:
Dar Al-Hijra is the mosque where Anwar al-Awlaki was Imam between January 2001 and April 2002. Al-Awlaki (bio here and here) was the senior al-Qaeda recruiter and motivator for various terrorists, including three 9/11 hijackers, the accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspect in the Christmas Day 2009 attempt to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253. Al-Awlaki may still be alive in Yemen, and after some concerns about his civil rights, reportedly the Obama administration now has him targeted as a terrorist.
And who can forget that earlier Dar Al-Hijra Imam from 1995-1999, Mohammed Al-Hanooti, named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In 1999, when he was still Imam at Dar Al-Hijra, he testified in support of Ihab M. Ali, who had refused to testify before a grand jury investigating the 1998 United States embassy bombings. Al-Hanooti told the federal judge that Islamic law “gives him [Ihab M. Ali] the right to abstain from giving testimony in case it hurts him or it hurts any other Muslim.”
Or the Dar Al-Hijra Islamic Studies teacher – and Dar Al Hijra Islamic Camp Counselor – Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, convicted in 2005 of providing material support to the al-Qaeda terrorist network, and conspiracy to assassinate President Bush, now serving a life sentence. Abu Ali was also valedictorian of his class at the Saudi Islamic Academy, the Saudi Embassy-backed 900-student school in the Washington, DC suburbs, that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has repeatedly urged the US State Department to shut down on the grounds that it teaches religious intolerance.
Or the Dar Al-Hijra Imam between August 2003 and May 2005, the memorable Sheikh Mohammed Adam El-Sheikh, formerly a Muslim Brotherhood member and Shariah judge in the Sudan, and one of the founders of both the mosque and the Muslim American Society (MAS), who left the mosque to become the executive director of the Fiqh Council of North America.
That’s the same Fiqh Council that on February 9, 2010 issued a legal opinion – a fatwa – against the use of full body scanners in airports for Muslims. He’s also active in bringing Shariah law to America, as the head of the Islamic Judiciary Council of the Shari’ah Scholars’ Association of North America (SSANA).
And we cannot neglect to mention the member of Dar Al-Hijrah’s Executive Committee, Abelhaleem Hasan Abdelraziq Ashqar, convicted in November 2007 of contempt and obstruction of justice for refusal to testify before a grand jury with regard to Hamas, and sentenced to 135 months in prison. A major Hamas operative since at least 1988, Ashqar was accused of opening bank accounts and maintaining U.S. records for Hamas.
Nor is Dar Al-Hijrah just your average, friendly neighborhood mosque. In fact, their original Constitution required their Board of Directors to include leaders of Muslim Brotherhood front groups who would later be identified as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial: “the Current Secretary General of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Current President of Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA), the Current General Manager of North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), and the Current President of Muslim American Society (MAS).” In 2005, when the current Imam Shaker Elsayed became Imam, he amended the mosque’s constitution to give precedence to the Muslim American Society, and now the mosque Board is run by the “Current President of the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Current MAS DC Area Chapter President, the Executive Director of MAS National Office.” Elsayed had been Secretary General of the Muslim American Society before becoming Dar Al Hijrah’s imam. The Muslim American Society was founded in 1993 as the American chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood.
It was Imam Shaker Elsayed who sent the email invitation text for the February 13, 2010 fundraiser for Sabri Benkhala:
“Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 20:22:48 -0700
Subject: Mark Your Calendar (2/13/10): Dinner
Dear Friends of Justice,
Assalamu Alaikum. The Universal Justice Foundation is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a fundraising dinner to support Br. Sabri Benkahla by contributing to his legal fees. The event will feature Dr. Jamal Badawi from Canada, Imam Rodwaan Saleh from Texas, and Br. Sabri’s attorney John Sheldon, Esq. and will be held at Dar Al Hijrah IslamicCenter’s Main Courtyard. Tickets are only $40 and registration will be at 5:30. The program will begin promptly at 6:00 P.M., and dinner will be served early. Please arrange to purchase tickets as soon as possible because space is limited! You may buy tickets at our website www.universal-justice.net or from Sh. Shaker at Dar Al Hijrah. If neither option is convenient, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange your ticket sale…
May Allah reward you greatly for your efforts in serving justice!
Founder and Chairman, UJF
Shaker Elsayed, the current Imam, and founder and Chairman of that “United Justice Foundation” fundraising organization for convicted terrorists, is a dual citizen of Egypt and the U.S. He stated in a sermon at the Dar Al Hijrah in 2005, shortly after becoming Imam there and stacking the Board of Directors with Muslim American Society leaders, that “Islam forbids you to give allegiance to those who kick you off your homeland, and to those who support those who kick you off your homeland…We do have license to respond with all force necessary to answer our attackers.” And in the same sermon he stated, “The call to reform Islam is an alien call.” He is also an outspoken supporter of Hamas and their objectives, including the destruction of Israel.
The Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Hassan, attended Dar Al-Hijrah periodically when he lived in the Washington, DC area, up to 2009 when he was transferred to Texas, and his now infamous powerpoint presentation, “The Koranic Worldview as it Related to Muslims in the Military” is closely in line with the 2005 preaching of the current Dar Al-Hijrah Imam, Shaker Elsayed. See for example slide 11 in that series: “It’s getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims”; the examples in slide 13; or the quote that appears to track exactly with Elsayed’s 2005 sermon, on slide 49: “Fighting to establish an Islamic State, to please God even by force, is condoned by the Islam.”
Dar Al-Hijrah has been staffed by a series of Imams who radicalize their members – the members don’t “self-radicalize,” as Major Hasan was said to do in the negligent report on the Fort Hood Shooting put out by the Pentagon. The U.S. intelligence community missed the warning signals from Dar Al-Hijrah’s earlier Imam Anwar al-Awlaki; they should heed the warning signals from the current Imam, Shaker Elsayed.
More on this in days to come – including which invited elected officials could be coming to dinner at Dar Al-Hijrah in April, at their gala annual fundraiser…