Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Grover Norquist--Islamist Enabler?

[All emphases by Always On Watch]

Can it be? Grover Norquist, an Islamist enabler? Norquist is perhaps best known as the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, and his bio and resume are impressive, especially for those on the right side of the political spectrum. But according to Frank Gaffney and Michelle Malkin, among others, Grover Norquist has another side, a side which might indicate Islamist sympathies.

From a January 15, 2006 article:
"Grover Norquist--Islamist Enabler?"

“A prominent conservative leader who allegedly has used undeclared foreign money and top political connections to promote terrorist sympathizers is an 'enabler' who threatens 'to do grave harm to the Bush presidency.'

“Norquist has been criticized for promoting what is called the Wahhabi lobby, a Saudi-funded network designed to dominate and radicalize Islam in America…”
Do the above excerpts sound like ridiculous conspiracy theory? Before deciding, consider the following, as delineated by Frank Gaffney in the above-cited article:
"The Islamic Institute, which Norquist co-founded and houses in his Americans for Tax Reform office, received seed money from an avowed supporter of Hezbollah, the terrorist group that killed 241 US Marines in a 1983 suicide bomb attack.

"The Islamic Institute reportedly is 'predominantly funded by foreign governments, shady Saudi sources, and US-based groups raided by the Treasury Department-led Operation Green Quest Task Force for allegedly funding suicide bombers, al Qaeda and other terrorists' activities.'

"Norquist led conservative opposition to parts of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism legislation, without disclosing that his Islamic group was dependent on such funds.

"Norquist has affiliated himself with the radical National Committee to Protect Political Freedom (NCPPF), from which he received an award shortly before the September 11, 2001 attacks, despite the group's thirty-year public track record of promoting domestic and international terrorism."
How much influence does Grover Norquist wield? Turn the clock back to this November 2001 article in Free Republic:
“On the afternoon of September 26, George W. Bush gathered 15 prominent Muslim- and Arab-Americans at the White House. With cameras rolling, the president proclaimed that ‘the teachings of Islam are teachings of peace and good.’ It was a critically important moment, a statement to the world that America's Muslim leaders unambiguously reject the terror committed in Islam's name.

“Unfortunately, many of the leaders present hadn't unambiguously rejected it. To the president's left sat Dr. Yahya Basha, president of the American Muslim Council, an organization whose leaders have repeatedly called Hamas ‘freedom fighters.’ Also in attendance was Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who on the afternoon of September 11 told a Los Angeles public radio audience that ‘we should put the State of Israel on the suspect list.’ And sitting right next to President Bush was Muzammil Siddiqi, president of the Islamic Society of North America, who last fall told a Washington crowd chanting pro-Hezbollah slogans, ‘America has to learn if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come.’ Days later, after a conservative activist confronted Karl Rove with dossiers about some of Bush's new friends, Rove replied, according to the activist, ‘I wish I had known before the event took place.’

"If the administration was caught unaware, it may be because they placed their trust in one of the right's most influential activists: Grover Norquist. As president of Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist is best known for his tireless crusades against big government. But one of Norquist's lesser-known projects over the last few years has been bringing American Muslims into the Republican Party. And, as he usually does, Norquist has succeeded….

“Norquist denies being involved in ‘micromanaging the specifics’ of White House meetings, but admits ‘I have been a long time advocate of outreach to the Muslim community.’ In fact, the record suggests that he has spent quite a lot of time promoting people openly sympathetic to Islamist terrorists….While nobody suggests that Norquist himself is soft on terrorism, his lobbying has helped provide radical Islamic groups--and their causes--a degree of legitimacy and access they assuredly do not deserve."
Here’s a bit of additional information:
“Although it is not noted on either group's website, Norquist's Islamic Institute actually shares office space and staff with Americans for Tax Reform….

The AMC and CAIR have been able to get access to senior officials in the Bush Administration nine times since 9/11 despite the fact that CAIR has sued Attorney General Ashcroft and in June 2002 CAIR's executive director Nihad Awad declared that he supported the Hamas movement. Both groups have incessantly attacked President Bush's policies on Iraq, the monitoring of aliens from nations that sponsor terrorism, and the prosecution of suspected terror operatives…

Since 9/11, Norquist has led opposition to domestic anti-terrorism laws and has been quoted in frontpage NY times articles allelging a wholesale loss of faith by conservatives in Attorney General Josh Ashcroft. Norquist has also attacked Daniel Pipes, Steve Emerson, and others who have attempted to alert Americans to the dangers of Islam.”
A July 19, 2004 article, "The Faisal Gill Affair," provides an example of one individual whom Norquist recommended for a top-level position in our government:
It now appears that Mr. Norquist’s help has extended beyond facilitating high-level access and influence for various Muslim-American and Arab-American entities with troubling ties to, or at least sympathy for, radical Islamofascists – and even terrorists. Reportedly, his association also helped someone affiliated with such a group to gain a political appointment to an exceedingly sensitive post: ‘policy director’ of the Department of Homeland Security’s Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection division.

“As the title of this position suggests, its occupant would have access to highly sensitive information about the vulnerability of, among other things, U.S. ports, transportation infrastructure, chemical plants, oil refineries and nuclear power plants to terrorist attack. The incumbent is a 32-year-old lawyer named Faisal Gill.

“It is unclear what qualified Mr. Gill for such a post. In response to press inquiries, a DHS spokeswoman declined to describe his qualifications or background so it is not known whether he has any prior experience with intelligence or, for that matter, with security policy.

“What is known is that Gill’s political patrons include Grover Norquist, who was listed by Gill as a reference on employment documents. After all, Gill had been a spokesman for the Taxpayers Alliance of Prince William County, Virginia, which is affiliated with Norquist’s group, Americans for Tax Reform. Gill had also worked in 2001 as director of government affairs for the Islamic Free Market Institute (also known as the Islamic Institute), whose founding president was Grover Norquist.

Interestingly, news articles published after September 11 described Gill in another capacity – as a spokesman for the controversial American Muslim Council (AMC). The AMC was founded and controlled by a prominent Islamist activist, Abdurahman Alamoudi. Alamoudi was indicted last October on terrorism-related money laundering charges. [Alamoudi hs since been convicted.] While in jail awaiting trial, he has reportedly engaged in plea-bargaining by confessing to participating in a Libyan plot to murder the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

“For some reason, Gill is reported to have failed to list his work with the AMC on his ‘Standard Form 86’ national security questionnaire.”
On July 30, 2004, Michelle Malkin had this to say about Grover Norquist, in reference to Abdurahman Alamoudi, the moderate Muslim who turned out to be not so moderate:
“Norquist owes a public apology to fellow Republicans whom he has smeared as bigots for raising fundamental questions about Alamoudi and the Islamist-supporting apparatus in America. More importantly, Norquist owes answers about why he partnered with a known terrorist sympathizer, whether or not he now defends Alamoudi, when he plans to stop hiding behind the race card, and what exactly he plans to do to disavow Islamist influences.”
And how much influence have Norquist and his (former) cohorts had on policies in the Bush administration? According to Paul Sperry (whose web site is here), author of the 2005 book Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington:

"Many conservatives are annoyed by Bush's nonstop defense of Islam. They say they understood the need for such rhetoric right after the attacks to quell bias against Muslims and prevent vigilantism. But they say it is sounding more and more like boosterism, which could lead Americans into a false sense of security about the threat....

"In part, Bush is currying favor with Muslim groups at the request of Rove, who has worked with Norquist over the years to cultivate Muslims as a new voter base for the GOP, a highly controversial issue."
(page 17)
In his book, Mr. Sperry devotes Section VII, "Political Infiltration," to the influence of Islamism within our government. Chapter 27, "Undue Influence at the White House," deals primarily with Norquist's influence on American policy toward Muslims and how that policy might be interfering with effective strategies in dealing with the enemy.

Since the publication of the above-quoted words from page 17 of Mr. Sperry's book, President Bush has been more forceful in his condemnation of Islamism, often referred to as Islamofascism. Nevertheless, the Bush family's connections with the House of Saud are of concern to many as Saudi is the bastion of Wahhabism, viewed by most as the most radical form of Islam.

At the least, Norquist has a history of promoting associates of questionable connections. And has Norquist been the advocate of others yet to be exposed?

For a detailed article on Norquist, read "A Troubling Influence," a lengthy and well-footnoted piece.

The Abramhoff scandal may bring down Grover Norquist. In the process, will any additional of Norquist's disturbing connections come to light? Will the Right or the Left have the forthrightness to look beyond the Abrahamoff scandal, to consider what may present a graver threat than ties to Abramhoff's dirty money?

Additional reading: "The Conservative Response to the Islamic Threat" and "Can the Left Face the Threat of Islam?"

Thanks to The City Troll for providing many of the links used in this article.

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