Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the host of the Politics of Terrorism radio show. Jeffrey Epstein is the President of the People’s Truth Forum. Here they detail some adventures with CAIR and the Marriott hotel chain that should be a matter of concern for us all. Some statements, they tell me, have been paraphrased for added clarity.
There are three distinct ways to deal with terrorism. One can fight it, in hopes of destroying it. One can join it, in hopes of strengthening it. Or one can deny its existence and hope for the best. By December 3, 2005, two Washington-area Marriott hotels will have chosen the latter, one turning away a counter-terrorism conference and one allowing an alleged terror front and an alleged coconspirator in a terrorist attack to use its facilities.
Part 1: Ally Need Not Apply
Jeffrey Epstein, President of the People’s Truth Forum, October 19, 2005: “I would like to inquire as to what your event seating capacity is. I”m looking for something in the range of 1000 seats.”
Marriott Georgetown University Conference Hotel fit the bill for a symposium. Epstein met in Washington with Leah Mayo, who claimed to be the sales manager of the hotel. The purpose of the meeting was to sign the contract and provide a deposit check to secure the facility. A contract was written up. While minor details were being worked out, Mayo seemed to be getting overly anxious about something. As she paraded between her supervisor’s office and the meeting room, tensions started to rise. Without explanation, the meeting ended with nothing signed.
Patrick Hardy, Sales Manager for Marriott Georgetown, November 11, 2005: “I need to inform you that you will not be permitted to host your event on the hotel grounds, because your organization is not only too controversial, but the venue is not appropriate for this type of function. Marriott corporate headquarters was contacted about this and was supportive of our decision.”
Peter Cantone, General Manager for Marriott Georgetown, November 14, 2005: “Your event is too controversial to be held on the property. This decision is based upon business considerations, as the event would call for heightened security since protestors might be attracted from both the student body and off campus. I”m concerned that these protestors might block the main hotel entrance, leading to confrontations with hotel guests and/or room cancellations. Our decision was made due to the objectionable content on your group’s website. Marriott corporate headquarters did not play a role in our decision.”
The People’s Truth Forum (PTF) is a non-partisan, fact-based organization founded with in order to educate the public on issues concerning national security. To do this, PTF creates panels and symposiums featuring only top experts in the field of counter-terrorism. PTF”s website is no more than a news clearinghouse that utilizes published stories from all mainstream media sources. There is nothing illegitimate about what this group does or with whom this group associates.
That said, why would this hotel — a hotel that is part of an upstanding corporate chain — bar a well-intentioned group such as this from using its facilities? What could make them so afraid? The answer came two days later.
Keith Thomas, Marriott Special Services Department, Corporate Headquarters, November 16, 2005: “Due to the high density of Muslim students on the Georgetown campus, members of the staff at Marriott Georgetown were afraid of the potential for violent protests, injured hotel employees and property damage. This is the official stance of the Marriott Corporation.”
Part 2: Room Service for the Enemy
While Marriott Georgetown was barring PTF from hosting an event on its premises, another neighboring Marriott was allowing a very different group onto its grounds.
On its website, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group about which many questions have been asked about its alleged ties to terror groups, is proudly advertising its upcoming 11th Annual Banquet. The location: the Crystal Gateway Marriott, in beautiful Arlington, Virginia.
CAIR is a self-proclaimed Muslim advocacy group that has its roots in the Palestinian Hamas. CAIR”s parent organization, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), was founded by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook. CAIR itself has had several of its officials convicted in and/or deported by the United States for terrorist activity. And CAIR is the defendant in a lawsuit put forward by the family of a lead FBI agent, for that agent’s murder during the September 11th attacks. Is this the type of organization the Marriott wants to permit entrance into its hotel?!
And not only is CAIR heading this “banquet,” but its bringing an alleged coconspirator of a terrorist operation, Siraj Wahhaj, to speak at the event as well!
Wahhaj is the imam of the At-Taqwa Mosque, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. But that’s not all he’s known for. Siraj Wahhaj’s claim to fame is that his name appears on a list of 171 potential coconspirators of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. The bombing, which resulted in the murders of six people, was part of a larger conspiracy that had targeted numerous landmarks and businesses throughout New York City. Amongst the other names on the list are Osama bin Laden, bin Laden’s mentor Abdullah Azzam, and Fawaz Damra, an individual who will soon be deported for his involvement in Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
Prior to the bombing, the leader of the “93 conspiracy, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (a.k.a. the Blind Sheikh), worshipped at Wahhaj’s mosque and was a featured speaker there. It was no strange occurrence that Wahhaj came forward as a character witness for Abdel Rahman during the trial against the Sheikh. He took the stand and lauded Abdel Rahman, describing him as a “respected scholar.” Another worshipper at his mosque and convicted member of the bomb plot was Clement Rodney Hampton-El. Wahhaj described Hampton-El as being “one of the most respected brothers [of his congregation].”
Given all of this information (and much that did not make it into this article), why would the Marriott permit this event to take place?
Part 3: An American Wake-Up Call
Terrorism, as a worldwide epidemic, is a recent phenomenon. Because of this fact, many are unsure about how to handle the subject. In the case of the Marriott, its leadership has dealt with it by attempting to placate the enemy, and thereby, at least in the Marriot’s eyes, avoid the potential for conflict.
The Marriott rejects the People’s Truth Forum, due to the hotel chain’s belief that the counter-terror group is “too controversial” — that if it allows the group to use its facilities on the Georgetown campus, young Muslims may riot and cause injury and destruction, as they recently did in France. Yet at the same time the Marriott has opened its arms to a group and an individual that are connected to terrorism and violence!
What does this say about our current state of affairs, when one of the largest American corporations — out of fear of the unknown — is willing to silence an ally and give voice to the enemy? It says that we, as a nation, are on a dangerous path that only starts with appeasement. It ends with our destruction. If the Marriott is a test case for the future consciousness of America, then we can be assured that we will have no future.
On August 5, 2003, a Marriott located in Jakarta, Indonesia, was the target of a monstrous explosion set off via a car bomb. 14 people were killed and nearly 150 injured, including two Americans. The terrorist that took his life, in order to achieve his goal, didn’t
care about whether or not his sensibilities were being tended to. The
only thing he cared about was taking innocent lives with him.
To what degree has our nation been compromised?