The problem is that such groups have been legitimized–both by government and the media–as civil-rights groups fighting anti-Muslim discrimination and stereotyping. Unfortunately, their definition of such discrimination consists of anyone who writes about the existence of–or tries to investigate–radical Islamic terrorist groups and their allies on these shores.
- Ghassan Hitto, a Dallas technology businessman, was selected as the provision premier of the Syrian resistance. According to the New York Times, Hitto was the favored candidate of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. It also reported that he had been an official for the Texas branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). After graduation from Purdue University, Hitto and his wife had both worked for ISNA in Indianapolis for several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. More recently, he had been on the board of directors of the Muslim American Society, which federal prosecutors had identified as “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America.” He is also a long-time friend of Homeland Security adviser Mohamed Elibiary, who indicated that Hitto was “broadly respected” by the Muslim community “including Muslim Brotherhood members.”
- Muthanna al-Hanooti, former executive director of CAIR-Michigan and public relations coordinator for the Detroit-based Life for Relief and Development, was indicted in March 2008 for his role in attempting to influence Congress of behalf of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Intelligence Service. According to the indictment, al-Hanooti paid for and accompanied three members of Congress to Iraq on a five-day trip in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, with the $34,000 in expenses covered by Iraqi intelligence. In return, al-Hanooti was granted a $2 million allotment of Iraqi oil. Prosecutors said that al-Hanooti had operated on behalf of Saddam Hussein’s government during most of the 1990s and up until the Iraq War. Because LIFE and al-Hanooti was part of the Detroit U.S. Attorney’s Building Respect in Diverse Groups to Enhance Sensitivity (BRIDGES), the entire U.S. Attorney’s office had to recuse themselves from the case, which was handled by DOJ attorneys in Washington, D.C. In a plea deal, al-Hanooti agreed to charges of violating sanctions against doing business with Iraq and was sentenced to federal prison. He is now regional director of the Detroit chapter of the Muslim Legal Fund of America.
- Mahmoud Hussein, secretary general of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, was recruited into the organization while studying in the United States at the University of Iowa. He also served as the president of the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) in the United States, a now-defunct subsidiary organization of ISNA. During Hussein’s tenure with MAYA, the group sponsored a number of conferences across the country featuring terrorist leaders affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood from around the world, including Afghan jihad leader and al-Qa’ida co-founder Abdallah Azzam.
- Ishaq Farhan is the head of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Islamic Action Front. However, he has also been a longtime board member of the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) based in the Washington, D.C., area. According to congressional testimony on “Terrorist Threat to the United States,” Farhan was also active with MAYA as a conference speaker and as a recruiter of American Muslim youths for Hamas. One student recruited who attended a terror training session in Kansas City noted Farhan as one of the speakers. In 1996, Farhan also sent letters on behalf of the IAF to the U.S. Embassy in Amman demanding the release of Hamas senior leader Mousa Abu Marzook.
- Ahmed Yousef, currently spokesman for Hamas in Gaza and a senior political adviser to Hamas “prime minister” Ismail Haniyeh, was the longtime director of the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR) based in Springfield, Virginia. Article Two of the 1988 Hamas Charter self-identifies the group as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” The supposedly “independent” think-tank held conferences, published studies, and a quarterly journal with an advisory board featuring a number of prominent academics. Yet as early as 1993, UASR had been identified as “the political command of Hamas in the United States” by a captured Hamas operative. Not coincidentally, one of UASR’s founders was Hamas deputy leader Mousa Abu Marzook, and another director of the organization was al-Qa’ida fundraiser Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi. Yousef defended Hamas as “a charitable organization,” and many of UASR’s publications and speakers unashamedly defended Islamist terrorist groups as legitimate resistance. Yousef fled the United States in 2005 to avoid prosecution on terrorism-related charges. He reemerged shortly thereafter as spokesman for Hamas. His departure left many of his defenders flatfooted. This included Georgetown University’s John Esposito, who served on UASR’s editorial advisory board and helped plan joint conferences with UASR, and former CIA official and Muslim Brotherhood apologist Graham Fuller.
This distinction includes recognition of the corresponding principle that mere association with organizations that demonstrates both legitimate (advocacy) and illicit (violent extremism) objectives should not automatically result in a determination that the associated individual is acting in furtherance of the organization’s illicit objective(s).
- DHS Assistant Secretary for Policy Development
- Principal Deputy for the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis
- Director of DOJ’s COPS Office
- Associate Director for the White House Office of Public Engagement
- State Department Special Representative to Muslim Communities
- Senior Policy Adviser and Review and Compliance Officer for the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
- Members of the DHS Homeland Security Advisory Committee
- Senior leaders from the FBI and National Counterterrorism Center
I marched into the courtroom every day for nine months and proved that there was an undeniable nexus between Islamic doctrine and terrorism committed by Muslims. The Blind Sheikh, the jury was allowed to learn, was not a fringe lunatic; he was a globally renowned scholar of sharia whose influence over a spate of international jihadist organizations was based on his doctorate from al-Azhar University, the world’s most influential center of Islamic thought. And when I demonstrated the straight-line, undeniable logic of the evidence–that scripture informed the Blind Sheikh’s directives; that those directives informed his terrorist subordinates; and that those subordinates then committed atrocities–the government gave me the Justice Department’s highest award. Today, I’d be ostracized. No longer is the government content to be willfully blind. Today, it is defiantly, coercively, extortionately blind.