And his clients are not yet satisfied with his performance. “White House Quietly Courts Muslims in U.S.,” by Andrea Elliott in the New York Times, April 20 (thanks to all who sent this in):
[…] Muslim and Arab-American advocates have participated in policy discussions and received briefings from top White House aides and other officials on health care legislation, foreign policy, the economy, immigration and national security. They have met privately with a senior White House adviser, Valerie Jarrett, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to discuss civil liberties concerns and counterterrorism strategy.
The impact of this continuing dialogue is difficult to measure, but White House officials cited several recent government actions that were influenced, in part, by the discussions. The meeting with Ms. Napolitano was among many factors that contributed to the government’s decision this month to end a policy subjecting passengers from 14 countries, most of them Muslim, to additional scrutiny at airports, the officials said.
That emergency directive, enacted after a failed Dec. 25 bombing plot, has been replaced with a new set of intelligence-based protocols that law enforcement officials consider more effective.
Which ones? On what grounds? More effective for what? How can it be ineffective to subject people who come from areas where there actually are terrorists to greater scrutiny?
Also this month, Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Muslim academic, visited the United States for the first time in six years after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reversed a decision by the Bush administration, which had barred Mr. Ramadan from entering the country, initially citing the U.S.A. Patriot Act. Mrs. Clinton also cleared the way for another well-known Muslim professor, Adam Habib, who had been denied entry under similar circumstances.
The Times makes no mention of Ramadan’s contribution to a charity that was funneling money to Hamas.
Arab-American and Muslim leaders said they had yet to see substantive changes on a variety of issues, including what they describe as excessive airport screening, policies that have chilled Muslim charitable giving and invasive F.B.I. surveillance guidelines. But they are encouraged by the extent of their consultation by the White House and governmental agencies.
Yes, airport screening is excessive. So let’s relax it, at least for Muslims. What could go wrong?
“For the first time in eight years, we have the opportunity to meet, engage, discuss, disagree, but have an impact on policy,” said James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute in Washington. “We’re being made to feel a part of that process and that there is somebody listening.” […]
Zogby is lying. Bush met with Muslim leaders right after 9/11 and proclaimed Islam a Religion of Peaceâ„¢. He employed Karen Hughes in a variety of naive and wrongheaded attempts to reach out to the Islamic world. He did everything he could to emphasize that the “war on terror” was not a “war on Islam.” And so now Zogby says that poor victimized Muslims are now being listened to for the first time in eight years. Well, many people play the victim game with great effectiveness, bamboozling their marks into believing they have done something wrong when they haven’t, and making them think that they need to make amends when actually they have done nothing wrong at all. And no one does this more effectively than Muslims in the West.
The administration’s approach has been understated. Many meetings have been private; others were publicized only after the fact. A visit to New York University in February by John O. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, drew little news coverage, but caused a stir among Muslims around the country. Speaking to Muslim students, activists and others, Mr. Brennan acknowledged many of their grievances, including “surveillance that has been excessive,” “overinclusive no-fly lists” and “an unhelpful atmosphere around many Muslim charities.”
Yes, at times the dhimmitude has gotten a bit thick. Remember that the “unhelpful atmosphere around many Muslim charities” comes from the fact that they were passing on charitable contributions to jihad terrorist groups. How “unhelpful” of the U.S. Government to want to stop that money flow.
“These are challenges we face together as Americans,” said Mr. Brennan, who momentarily showed off his Arabic to hearty applause. He and other officials have made a point of disassociating Islam from terrorism in public comments, using the phrase “violent extremism” in place of words like “jihad” and “Islamic terrorism.”
Yes. This is another initiative that began with Bush, and now Obama is taking credit for it, when actually it shames them both. The Islamic jihadists refer to Islamic texts and teachings to justify violence and supremacism, and make recruits among peaceful Muslims. Who does it benefit when government and law enforcement officials ignore that? Only the jihadists, whose motives and goals remain unknown, unexplored, unchallenged.
While the administration’s solicitation of Muslims and Arab-Americans has drawn little fanfare, it has not escaped criticism. A small but vocal group of research analysts, bloggers and others complain that the government is reaching out to Muslim leaders and organizations with an Islamist agenda or ties to extremist groups abroad.
No kidding, really?
They point out that Ms. Jarrett gave the keynote address at the annual convention for the Islamic Society of North America. The group was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a Texas-based charity whose leaders were convicted in 2008 of funneling money to Hamas. The society denies any links to terrorism.
“I think dialogue is good, but it has to be with genuine moderates,” said Steven Emerson, a terrorism analyst who advises government officials. “These are the wrong groups to legitimize.” Mr. Emerson and others have also objected to the political appointments of several American Muslims, including Rashad Hussain.
In February, the president chose Mr. Hussain, a 31-year-old White House lawyer, to become the United States’ special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The position, a kind of ambassador at large to Muslim countries, was created by Mr. Bush. In a video address, Mr. Obama highlighted Mr. Hussain’s status as a “close and trusted member of my White House staff” and “a hafiz,” a person who has memorized the Koran.
Within days of the announcement, news reports surfaced about comments Mr. Hussain had made on a panel in 2004, while he was a student at Yale Law School, in which he referred to several domestic terrorism prosecutions as “politically motivated.” Among the cases he criticized was that of Sami Al-Arian, a former computer-science professor in Florida who pleaded guilty to aiding members of a Palestinian terrorist group.
At first, the White House said Mr. Hussain did not recall making the comments, which had been removed from the Web version of a 2004 article published by a small Washington magazine. When Politico obtained a recording of the panel, Mr. Hussain acknowledged criticizing the prosecutions but said he believed the magazine quoted him inaccurately, prompting him to ask its editor to remove the comments. On Feb. 22, The Washington Examiner ran an editorial with the headline “Obama Selects a Voice of Radical Islam.”
Muslim leaders watched carefully as the story migrated to Fox News. They had grown accustomed to close scrutiny, many said in interviews, but were nonetheless surprised. In 2008, Mr. Hussain had co-authored a paper for the Brookings Institution arguing that the government should use the peaceful teachings of Islam to fight terrorism.
Yes, that has been working so well since 9/11.
“Rashad Hussain is about as squeaky clean as you get,” said Representative Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat who is Muslim. Mr. Ellison and others wondered whether the administration would buckle under the pressure and were relieved when the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, defended Mr. Hussain.
Ellison, the man who pronounced Hussain squeaky clean, made the pilgrimage to Mecca paid for by the Muslim Brotherhood, from which come Hamas and Al-Qaeda, and which is dedicated in its own words to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.”
“The fact that the president and the administration have appointed Muslims to positions and have stood by them when they’ve been attacked is the best we can hope for,” said Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America. […]
That is, Hamas-linked ISNA.