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.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Caliphate, Radical or Not?

[All emphases by Always On Watch]

From "Reunified Islam: Unlikely but Not Entirely Radical: Restoration of Caliphate, Attacked by Bush, Resonates With Mainstream Muslims," front-page article in the January 14, 2006 edition of the Washington Post (The same article, a lenghty one, is also here):
"ISTANBUL -- The plan was to fly a hijacked plane into a national landmark on live television. The year was 1998, the country was Turkey, and the rented plane ended up grounded by weather. Court records show the Islamic extremist who planned to commandeer the cockpit did not actually know how to fly.

"But if the audacious scheme prefigured Sept. 11, 2001, it also highlighted a cause that, seven years later, President Bush has used to define the war against terrorism. What the ill-prepared Turkish plotters told investigators they aimed to do was strike a dramatic blow toward reviving Islam's caliphate, the institution that had nominally governed the world's Muslims for nearly all of the almost 1,400 years since the death of the prophet Muhammad.

"The goal of reuniting Muslims under a single flag stands at the heart of the radical Islamic ideology Bush has warned of repeatedly in recent major speeches on terrorism. In language evoking the Cold War, Bush has cast the conflict in Iraq as the pivotal battleground in a larger contest between advocates of freedom and those who seek to establish "a totalitarian Islamic empire reaching from Spain to Indonesia."
Radical Islam uses violence and terror attacks as the means of establishing an Islamic empire, sometimes referred to as the caliphate. Indeed, Al Qaeda used the term "The Voice of the Caliphate" as the name of the Internet newscast in which Osama bin Laden praised the 9/11 attacks.

But according to the Washington Post, both radicals and moderates share a common fondness for the utopian ideal of the caliphate:
"Yet the caliphate is also esteemed by many ordinary Muslims. For most, its revival is not an urgent concern. Public opinion polls show immediate issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and discrimination rank as more pressing. But Muslims regard themselves as members of the umma, or community of believers, that forms the heart of Islam. And as earthly head of that community, the caliph is cherished both as memory and ideal, interviews indicate.

"That reservoir of respect represents a risk for the Bush administration as it addresses an issue closely watched by a global Islamic population estimated at 1.2 billion...."
The article goes on to explain the history of the caliphate. Disputes as to who should be the caliph, referred to in other sources as the successor to Mohammad and Allah's viceroy on earth, arose and caused the division between Sunnis and Shi'ites. The last caliph was Abdulmecid Efendi, who fell from power upon the establishment of the modern nation of Turkey in 1924. Kemal Ataturk, the military leader who led the revolution against Efendi, emphasized that a governmental system should be sovereign and imported France's idea that the state's rule of law should trump religious law. The Turks won self-rule, and portions of the former caliphate were divided up among European nations. This dividing up was not well received by many Muslims, who saw the break-up of the caliphate as a cause of the decline of Islamic nations. In 1953, as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, arose Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group which officially renounces violence, advocates working toward the establishment of the caliphate by subverting national governments.

Membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir, often considered as moderate on the Islamic spectrum, appears to be increasing and claims to be active in forty countries, including Denmark:
"The chorus of 'Allahu akbar!' -- God is great -- was led by ardent young Europeans, a handful of converts in an attentive audience segregated by gender: fashionably dressed young men on the right, women in head scarves on the left.

"For four hours they heard Hizb ut-Tahrir's disciplined, intensely argued belief that the Muslim world lost its moorings when it imported not only scientific advances from the West, but also systems such as nationalism and democracy that emerged at the same time. In a series of 22 volumes on sale beside the podium, and in weekly discussions, the group sketches an alternative governing system it believes lies embedded in the Koran and the teachings of the prophet.

"The system includes a caliphate, revived after national governments are subverted by Hizb ut-Tahrir members working in their highest levels...

"'Bush is saying they would establish a caliphate from Spain to Indonesia,' said Abdullatif, the group's spokesman in Copenhagen. 'The establishment of the caliphate will come by those who work hard.' He said Hizb ut-Tahrir members in Iraq were working to coax a united front with insurgent groups.

"As the Hizb ut-Tahrir meeting in Copenhagen broke for evening prayers, Muziz Abdullah, an affable native of Lebanon, surveyed a hall still with standing-room only. 'Ten years ago, when I started, it was totally unrealistic to think there could be a caliphate,' he said. 'But now, people believe it could happen in a few years.'"
Is the Islamic concept of the caliphate widespread in Islam? Consider these words from Serge Trifkovic's The Sword of the Prophet:
"To whatever political entity a Muslim believer may belong--to the Arab world of North Africa and the Middle East, to the nation-states of Iran or Central Asia, to the hybrid entities of Pakistan and indonesia, to the international protectorates of Bosnia and Kosovo, or to the liberal democracies of the West--he is first and foremost the citizen of Islam, and belongs morally, spiritually, and intellectually, and in principle totally, to the world of belief of which Muhammad is the Prophet, and Mecca is the capital.

"This is not, of course, true for every Muslim but it is true of every true Muslim; it is the central worldly demand of Islam." (page 7).

"Islam starts with a simple profession of a simple faith. It ends by demanding complete, total, absolute allegiance of each individual to Muhammad and his successors. Anything less is disbelief, punishable by eternal torment..." (page 207)
Individual Muslims interviewed for the above Washington Post article expressed a yearning for the good old days, the restoration of the caliphate ruled by a successor to Mohammed. If the goal of Islam is to establish the caliphate, is the major difference between radical Islam and moderate Islam a matter of using different means to reach the same goal?

On January 20, 2006, a Diana West commentary appeared in the Washington Times. An excerpt from "Silence That Speaks Volumes":
"...[A] bombshell dropped out of an early January interview conducted by radio host Hugh Hewitt with Father Joseph D. Fessio, SJ, a friend and former student of the pope. Father Fessio recounted the pope's words on the key problem facing Islamic reform this way: 'In the Islamic tradition, God has given His word to Mohammed, but it's an eternal word. It's not Mohammed's word. It's there for eternity the way it is. There's no possibility of adapting it or interpreting it.' Father Fessio continued, elaborating not on how many ratings stars the pope thinks some biopic should get, but rather on the pope's theological assessment of a historically warring religion with a billion-plus followers, some notorious number of whom are now at war with the West. According to his friend, the pope believes there's no way to change Islam because there's no way to reinterpret the Koran — i.e., change Koranic teachings on infidels, women, polygamy, penal codes and other markers of Islamic law — in such a way as to propel Islam into happy coexistence with modernity."
Are we standing before an abyss which we cannot comprehend and refuse to admit the very existence of?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Why Did Germany Release A Murderer?

From the January 11, 2006 edition of Jihad Watch, Hugh Fitzgerald comments on the release of Robert Stethem's murderer:
"...It is intolerable that the German government believed it had the right to free a murderer of an American serviceman in order to get back a German convert to Islam, who had lived in Iraq for years, married (and divorced) an Iraqi, and apparently had gone as islamically native as one possibly could. Just because she had been involved -- so the German story goes -- in arranging or attempting to arrange a meeting with Zarqawi or his group, hardly makes her more than a one-time ad-hoc informant.

"There are three possible versions of the Osthoff story. One is that she was not involved in any intelligence work, and that the German government, stung by American criticism, is now pretending that she was some kind of intelligence agent to justify their pusillanimity. The second is that she had gone native, married a Muslim, became a Muslim, and identified with Islam, but was willing to arrange a meeting in order to help the Sunni Muslims obtain a hearing for their supposed demands from others who were working for German intelligence. But the third version of the tale is one that the Germans have not yet given, perhaps because it is false, or perhaps because it is true (and one hopes, for their sake, and to justify their action, that it is true): that Osthoff was not simply being asked to arrange this meeting given her obvious sympathies and identification with the locals, but rather was, and had always been, an intelligence agent for the Germans in Iraq.

"Were that to have been the case, then obtaining her release by freeing Hamadi, the torturer and killer of Robert Stethem, might have been explicable and, for some, perhaps even justifiable. But only in that case."

Monday, January 09, 2006

What Are the Priorities?

Over at Social Sense is a short article entitled "Grover in the News." Today it occurred to me that some here at this site might like to have a look.

Samah Alrayyes Norquist, Norquist's Palestinian Muslim wife

According to a few articles in Front Page Magazine, Grover Norquist--who has the ear of Karl Rove, who has the ear of the President--may have priorities other than simply fundraising for the Republican Party. Be sure to check the comments too.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Wait and see

Robert Spencer's Dhimmi Watch notes the efforts of three Muslim women - Nasim Khan, Rubina Bari and Shabana Syed - in the DC area to raise funds for rebuilding churches destroyed by Muslims in Pakistan in today's blog entry Women active in Sangla church rebuilding efforts.

A fundraising dinner is planned for January 21 at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center: for more details, view the notice on the ADAMS Center website. Northern Virginiastan actively seeks media reports or even better, firsthand reports of this event.

Please browse the comments on the Dhimmi Watch article. I pointed to the article A Troubling Presence at a Funeral about Imam Mohamad Magid, one of the scheduled speakers, and the prolific Hugh Fitzgerald raises concerns about Akbar Ahmed, another scheduled speaker.

I share the skepticism shared by several other people who submitted comments. Let's wait and see how many people attend (recall what a dud Kamal Nawash's march on terrorism was), how much money is made, and where the money actually goes.

Remember, actions such as this fundraising dinner don't bubble up because of goodwill; they are a result of the scrutiny paid to the Muslim community.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The release of an Islamic terrorist and memories of TWA 847

Detroit-based commentator Debbie Schlussel is on my "must-read" list, although I don't care for her commentary on show business and entertainment. She is at her best when it comes to personalizing the real victims of Islamic terrorism. A case in point is her outrage at Germany's release of Mohammad Ali Hamadi, the Hizbollah terrorist who murdered Navy diver Robert Stethem on TWA 847 back in 1985. Stethem was a native of Waldorf, MD.

Navy diver Robert Stethem

Between entertaining my in-laws and taking last week off to visit my aging parents during Christmas, I haven't had much time to blog, but I did take the time to call the Embassy of Germany to protest the release of Hamadi, even though the principal contact in the political division was away on leave and her voice mailbox was full and I therefore was obliged to leave a voice mail (with my real name and phone number) with her substitute. I had high hopes when Angela Merkel became Chancellor, but those hopes were dashed with Hamadi's release.

Who remembers this picture?

I have some memories of media drama surrounding TWA 847, but I realize that they were incomplete. I remembered the pilot's shouting that the terrorists had killed a passenger (who was Robert Stethem) and I knew that the pilot was from Missouri (where I'm from) and that his death from cancer several years ago was ignored by the media, but despite what Always on Watch calls my "steel trap" of a memory, I didn't know his name. The pilot's name was John Testrake. Michael Kraft recounts the TWA 847 hijacking from his perspective working in State Department Counterterrorism Office in 1985 in his article GERMAN RELEASE OF TERRORIST REVIVES MEMORIES OF GERMAN AND MEDIA WEAKNESSES posted in The Counterterrorism Blog.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year 2006

to all our readers!

Be glad that we're not counting years from the Hijra!

PS When I was in college, a Jewish student waggishly referred to January 1 as the second Jewish New Year (after Rosh Hashanah) as the Feast of the Circumcision falls on January 1!