(Continued list from Part 1 of “suitable” Islamic sources not practicable for article)Kavakci, Shah, Sultan, Bagby
- Replacing Fawaz Damra as FCNA’s “interfaith moderate” is Yusuf Kavakci, who who was criticized in an editorial by the Dallas Morning News for speaking at a Dec. 2004 Dallas conference honoring the Ayatollah Khomeini and for describing two of the world’s most renowned Islamic radical clerics, Yousef Al-Qaradawi and Hassan Al-Turabi, as “exemplary leaders.”
- As noted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, FCNA Executive Director Zulfiqar Ali Shah previously served as the South Asia director for designated global terrorist charity KindHearts, with much of the scrutiny by U.S. authorities coming from Shah’s activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Prior to that, Shah was chairman of a Florida foundation that came under fire for inviting notorious Saudi hate sheik Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais to a conference dedicated to “Islam for Humanity”. As president of the Islamic Circle of North America, the Investigative Project on Terrorism videotaped Shah at the group’s 2001 conference praising jihadists in Kashmir and Chechnya, encouraging parents to send their children to jihad overseas, and leading attendees in chanting, “Our way, our way, is jihad, is jihad.” No doubt he meant jihad as internal struggle.
- Yet another FCNA scholar unavailable to us is Salah Sultan, who has been banned from the U.S. after appearing at a June 2007 conference in Qatar with Khaled Mishaal, the head of Hamas – a designated global terrorist (in violation of the so-called FCNA “anti-terrorim” fatwa that proscribes such contact with terrorists – a document signed by Sultan). No doubt Sultan’s appearances on Middle East TV didn’t help him with U.S. authorities, where he has praised designated terrorist and Osama bin Laden mentor Abdul Majid Al-Zindani, threatened the coming destruction of America and the eventual extermination of Jews at the hands of Muslims, and most recently, appearing on Hamas TV saying that Jews make their Passover matzos with the blood of Christians and Muslims.
- Certainly we could have received helpful insights on our report identifying the threat of Islamic law by consulting FCNA member Ihsan Bagby, who has said that “Muslims can never be full citizens of this country [America], because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.”
Two other American Islamic scholars who could have vetted our report to assuage Matt Duss’ complaints are Wagdy Ghoneim, one of the most visible Islamic preachers in the world, and Siraj Wahhaj, who has served in leadership positions for some of the most respected Islamic organizations in America and was the first Islamic cleric to offer opening prayers for the U.S. House of Representatives. But that too would have been problematic:
- Wagdy Ghoneim agreed to leave the U.S. in December 2004 rather than face deportation by U.S. immigration authorities and is currently subject to a 10-year ban on reentering the country. One top U.S. immigration official explained to the Los Angeles Times why they took action against Ghoneim, saying, “Frankly, our task is not to sit and wait around for people to blow up buildings.” In 1998, Ghoneim was recorded at an Islamic conference in New York leading the audience in singing, “No to the Jews, descendants of apes.” Ghoneim has also been banned by Canada, Britain, Switzerland, and South Africa. He was also deported by Bahrain. Canadian immigration officials defended their ban on Ghoneim, saying, “Our (computerized information) system indicated he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas – both known terrorist organizations.”
- Siraj Wahhaj was named unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing trial and served as a defense character witness during the Blind Sheikh’s trial. As the New York Post has reported, Wahhaj has “defended the convicted WTC bomb plotters, called the FBI and CIA the “real terrorists,” and said he hopes all Americans eventually become Muslim.” In fact, as Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Barrett has noted, Wahhaj “has told his followers that a society governed by strict Islamic law, in which adulterers would be stoned to death and thieves would have their hands cut off, would be superior to American democracy.” In 2009, Wahhaj headed a fundraiser for convicted cop-killer Jamal Al-Amin, another top Islamic leader. After is was reported last year that Wahhaj had met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor’s office later apologized for the meeting.
It should be noted that these are not fringe figures in American Islam, but the top recognized Islamic authorities in the country and the longtime leaders of its most “mainstream” Islamic organizations – the same that Matt Duss criticized us for not consulting for our report. They are also the same individuals that government officials, Democrat and Republican alike, have repeatedly turned to for “outreach” and advice in tackling Islamic extremism.
My Team B II colleagues and I find that problematic as these Islamic leaders are part of the problem of such extremism, not the solution. Matt Duss, ThinkProgress.org and the Center for American Progress, on the other hand, demands that we continue this disastrous policy of consulting Islamic leaders who are active promoters of extremist and violent ideology, supporters of terrorism, and in the cases I’ve documented here, actual terrorists.
Meanwhile, Duss describes Team B II, including a former CIA director, former DIA director, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy,
former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, retired US Navy PACOM Commander-in-Chief, former Defense Department Inspector General, former US Ambassador and Chief Negotiator of Defense and Space Talks, former Assistant U.S. Attorney and federal prosecutor, former retired CIA case officer, former Joint Chiefs of Staff senior consultant, former FBI counterterrorism agent, among others, as “a bunch of birthers, Christian holy warriors, and conspiracy theorists.”
On behalf of my Team B II colleagues, I would like to thank Matt Duss, ThinkProgress.org and the Center for American Progress for making our point for us.