Grover Norquist (Christian Science Monitor)
Frank Gaffney has written in FrontPage magazine an article that is much needed and long overdue: “A Troubling Influence,” about the extensive ties that conservative activist Grover Norquist has with radical Islamic elements.
This is a lengthy and exhaustively documented piece about a man who has stood as a singular obstruction to efforts to alert people to the gravity of the threat from radical Islam. All of it should be read carefully, but here are a few highlights:
The association between Grover Norquist and Islamists appears to have started about five years ago, in 1998, when he became the founding chairman of an organization called the Islamic Free Market Institute, better known as the Islamic Institute. The Institute’s stated purpose was to cultivate Muslim-Americans and Arab-Americans whose attachment to conservative family values and capitalism made them potential allies for the Republican Party in advance of the 2000 presidential election. . . .
Unfortunately, some associated with the Islamic Institute evidently had another agenda. Abdurahman Alamoudi, for one, a self-described “supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah,” the prime-mover behind the American Muslim Council (AMC) and a number of other U.S.-based Islamist-sympathizing/supporting organizations, saw in the Islamic Institute a golden opportunity to hedge his bets.
For years, Alamoudi had cultivated ties with the Democratic Party and its partisans, and contributed significant amounts to its candidates. These donations had given Alamoudi access to the Clinton White House and enabled him and his associates to secure the right to select, train and certify Muslim chaplains for the U.S. military. . . .
The right to select military chaplains not only offered Alamoudi and his colleagues the chance to recruit still more Islamists with specialized and highly useful skill-sets. It also was an invaluable legitimating credential to be wielded against those who might otherwise regard the American Muslim Council and its leader with suspicion, or worse.
It would, therefore, have been important to retain this role even if the Democratic presidential candidate, Al Gore, were to lose and Republicans come to power. Hence, Abdurahman Alamoudi took an interest in one of the GOP’s most assiduous and influential networkers, Grover Norquist.
It seems unlikely that even in Alamoudi’s wildest dreams he could have imagined the extent of the access, influence and legitimacy the American Muslim Council and allied Islamist organizations would be able to secure in Republican circles, thanks to the investment they began in 1998 in a relationship with Norquist.
The investment began when Alamoudi wrote two personal checks (a $10,000 loan and what appears to be a $10,000 gift) to help found Norquist’s Islamic Institute. In addition, Alamoudi made payments in 2000 and 2001 totaling $50,000 to Janus-Merritt Strategies, a lobbying firm with which Norquist was associated at the time. . . .
The founding director of Grover Norquist’s Islamic Institute, Khaled Saffuri, is a Muslim Palestinian by birth. Prior to joining Alamoudi’s group (where he served for almost three years), Saffuri was active in Muslim-support operations in Bosnia, a hot-bed for Islamic radicals from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere anxious to establish a beachhead on the continent of Europe. In recent years, he has acknowledged personally supporting the families of suicide bombers – even though, in public settings, he strenuously denies having done so. He denounced President Bush for shutting down the Holy Land Foundation, a Saudi charity that the U.S. government determined was funneling American Muslims’ donations to terrorist organizations overseas. . . .
From time to time, one or another of the Islamic Institute’s associates would make a presentation to the generally standing-room-only crowds of influential Washington conservatives, would-be politicians, think-tank denizens, journalists, and an increasing number of lobbyists. Over the years, topics they addressed included: the plight of Palestinians under Israeli occupation; the much-maligned and badly misunderstood Islamist government of Sudan (in fact, a designated state-sponsor of terrorism); the innocent nature of the process whereby Muslim chaplains have been selected for the armed forces; the honored status of women in the Muslim world; and efforts to promote Islamic causes and candidates in Republican circles. . . .
Saffuri had also arranged for the Bush campaign to enlist Sami al-Arian, a well-known Florida-based activist – despite the fact that the professor made little secret of his radical Islamist sympathies – to help engender Muslim support in his state. A photograph of Mr. Bush taken with al-Arian in March 2000 subsequently received considerable attention after the professor was arrested last February on 40 terrorism-related counts. Of particular concern are those alleging his functional direction over the past 19 years of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the most murderous terrorist organizations in the Middle East.
Al-Arian’s arrest was made possible by the USA-PATRIOT Act. With this legislation’s enactment after 9/11, it became possible for the first time in decades, for U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to share sensitive information – such as the voluminous wiretaps of Sami al-Arian coordinating Palestinian Islamic Jihad operations from his professor’s office in Tampa.
Not surprisingly, the Islamist front recognizes the threat this and other provisions of the PATRIOT Act represent to their operations in America. They are determined to rescind it and, if possible, remove its principal architect and most effective defender, Attorney General John Ashcroft. Accordingly, they have become an integral part of the left-wing coalition, which includes the ACLU, the pro-Castro National Lawyers Guild and many Islamic ‘solidarity’ groups, in waging a national campaign against the PATRIOT Act. It seems hardly coincidental that the preeminent conservative figure to join the campaign and lead the recruitment of other conservatives is Grover Norquist. . . .
. . . over the years, and particularly as the Bush Administration’s Muslim outreach effort ramped up in the aftermath of 9/11, Grover Norquist was able to gain extraordinarily high-level access for a number of troubling individuals and groups. An undated White House memo, evidently prepared by Suhail Khan in early 2001 and intended to coordinate Muslim and Arab-American public liaison events, shows that Norquist’s Islamic Institute was instrumental in establishing Islamist connections with the Bush administration. The Islamic Institute provided the White House with a list of Muslim invitees, with the name, date of birth and Social Security number of each. As the founder of the Islamic Institute, Grover Norquist tops the list. . . .
Grover Norquist’s efforts to legitimate and open important doors for pro-Islamist organizations in this country must be brought to an immediate halt. They have already created political vulnerabilities for this President and his Administration. But for the influence exerted by Norquist and his friends, President Bush might long ago have reached out to peaceable, tolerant, pro-American Muslims. In particular, the past 26 months could have been spent building up Muslim spokesmen and groups who share this President’s vision of a world in which democracy, liberty and freedom of religion prosper – and who could help cultivate those values in Muslim lands and communities overseas.
Instead, the President has been put in the position of repeatedly embracing individuals and organizations who are part of the problem. They have capitalized on their preferred treatment to exclude non-Islamist Muslims from meetings with the Bush team, to secure government contracts and favors, to raise funds and to dominate other Muslim- and Arab-Americans. We have thus been denied allies and strengthened our foes in what the President calls ‘the Battle of Ideas.’
Grover Norquist has been confronted many times over his activities in behalf of the radical Islamic front in this country. He has responded by denouncing his critics as racists and ducking the issue. Even now and despite all the foregoing evidence to the contrary, Norquist insists that he has not helped or in any other way facilitated the Islamists political influence operations. Indeed, he denies that there is such a subset of the Muslim population. And, to this day, he demeans any who challenge him on that score as ‘racists and bigots.’ It is evident that Grover Norquist will not voluntarily do the right thing by the President, the movement or the country, which would mean terminating his ties to a network that has shown itself to be dangerous, and by ceasing to work on behalf of the radical Islamic front. Because he will not do this himself, conservatives must act to see that he is politically isolated so that the damage he can do is minimized.
Thanks to Mohamed ibn Guadi for the link.