Could Susman — and Obama — really be this clueless? Really? “Empowering Islamists: Repeating U.K. mistakes, Obama’s ambassador to Britain reaches out to Muslim radicals,” by Shiraz Maher in the Wall Street Journal, December 1:
The East London Mosque is among Britain’s most extreme Islamic institutions. Built with financial aid from Saudi Arabia, the sprawling facility is home to the London Muslim Center where incendiary preachers are regularly welcomed. On Monday, the East London Mosque hosted a very different kind of visitor–the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, Louis Susman. Urged by President Barack Obama to engage with British Muslims, Mr. Susman spoke of his “great admiration” for the mosque and his enthusiasm for meeting its staff.
By any measure the East London mosque is a troubling institution. Last year, for example, it hosted an event titled “The End of Time: A New Beginning,” where pamphlets were distributed showing Manhattan crumbling under a Hadean apocalypse of meteors, which shattered the Statute of Liberty asunder and set the city ablaze. One of the invited speakers, Khalid Yasin, described the beliefs of Christians and Jews as “filth.” Most worryingly, the event also featured a live video question-and-answer session with Anwar Al Awlaki, the U.S.-born preacher aligned with al Qaeda.
Awlaki’s terrorist credentials rival those of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Two of the 9/11 terrorists as well as Major Nidal Hasan, who murdered 13 U.S. soldiers in Fort Hood last year, attended his sermons in Washington. From his new base in Yemen, Awlaki called Major Hasan a “hero” and boasted of having directed the “underpants bomber,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, in his bid to blow up a Delta airlines flight last Christmas.
Last year was not the first time Awlaki’s vitriol resonated through the East London Mosque. In 2003 the mosque hosted him for an event on policing where he told the audience that “A Muslim is a brother of a Muslim, he does not oppress him, he does not betray him and he does not hand him over… You don’t hand over a Muslim to the enemies.” The enemies in this context were the police.
A trustee of the East London Mosque, Azad Ali, has been quite explicit about his feelings in this regard. “I really do love [Awlaki] for the sake of Allah, he has an uncanny way of explaining things to people which is endearing” Azad Ali said, before going on to support the killing of British and U.S. troops in Iraq.
Mr. Susman’s visit illustrates the blunders Western politicians often make by reaching out to the wrong Muslim “dialogue partners.” The U.S. ambassador could have easily found out about the mosque’s sympathies for reactionary Islamism by consulting the British government. A report published last year by the Department for Communities and Local Government on the Pakistani Muslim community in England states that “the East London Mosque [is] the key institution for the Bangladeshi wing of JI [Jamaat-e Islami] in the U.K.”
Jamaat-e Islami is the radical South Asian party created by Syed Abulala Maududi, which aims to create an Islamist theocracy. The Bangladeshi government is currently investigating scores of Jamaat members for alleged war crimes during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.
None of this should come as a surprise to Mr. Susman. Congressional reports from as far back as 1993 have warned of Jamaat’s links to terrorism, particularly in Kashmir….