' Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
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Jewish World Review Feb. 18, 2003 / 16 Adar I, 5763

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

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Who's 'with' President Bush?

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | President Bush has characterized the choice to be made in this war on terror: "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." The stark clarity of this binary decision has served the United States well in marshaling a large number of nations in the fight against al Qaeda and a smaller, but still ample, number for the next phase of this war: the liberation of Iraq.

Regrettably, in the months since September 11, 2001, people who have made no secret of their sympathy for terrorists, provided them financial support, excused their murderous attacks and/or sought to impede the prosecution of the war against them have repeatedly been put in the company of the President. In other words, individuals and organizations who appear to be "with the terrorists" have time and again been allowed to be with the President in the White House and elsewhere. For example:

  • On September 20, 2001 -- just nine days after the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon -- Shaykh Hamza Yusuf was the Muslim representative in a small ecumenical gathering held in the Oval Office. At the same time, FBI agents were trying to interview him at his house in California since he had declared two days before the attack: "This country is facing a terrible fate....This country stands condemned. It stands condemned like Europe stood condemned because of what it did -- and lest people forget that Europe suffered two world wars after conquering the Muslim lands." His wife told the incredulous agents Yusuf wasn't home, he was with the President.

  • Six days later, President Bush met in the Roosevelt Room with a Muslim imam by the name of Muzammil H. Siddiqi. Siddiqi is a long-time board member of several organizations in the United States funded by, and closely tied to, Saudi Arabia's radical state religion known as Wahhabism. Two of these groups, including one where Siddiqi still sits on the board, were raided in March 2002 by Federal authorities in pursuit of terrorist financing.

    This presidential meeting was all the more puzzling since the imam had shown his true colors by claiming, at a rally the previous October: "America has to learn...If you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come. Please, all Americans. Do you remember that? Allah is watching everyone. God is watching everyone. If you continue doing injustice, and tolerate injustice, the wrath of God will come."

  • On September 17, 2001, President Bush paid a visit to the mosque in Washington. There he was photographed flanked by Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR has long been an admirer and public defender of terrorist organizations whose attacks against even innocent women and children it sees as legitimate acts of "liberation." Awad has personally declared, "I am a supporter of the Hamas movement."

  • Also in the picture with President Bush at the mosque was Khaled Saffuri, currently chairman of an organization called the Islamic Institute, which he co-founded with conservative activist Grover Norquist. Saffuri previously served as the development director of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization when it made no bones about using terrorism for political purposes. He went on to become deputy director of the radical American Muslim Council (AMC), under then-director Abduraman Alamoudi -- a publicly declared supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah, whose statements of solidarity with these groups prompted the Bush 2000 campaign to return his contributions.

    Under Saffuri's leadership, the Islamic Institute has attacked the Bush Administration's investigations of radical Muslim groups and closures of organizations suspected of funding terrorists. The Institute has been funded by groups raided in the above-mentioned terrorist financing investigations. It lobbied intensively against portions of the USA Patriot Act. And Saffuri has personally denounced the President's listing of the Holy Land Foundation as a charity that supported terrorist organizations. He has acknowledged sponsoring the children of suicide bombers through the Foundation, even after its closure by the government.

    In addition to the President, a number of his senior subordinates -- including Cabinet officers -- have met, in some cases more than once, with members of the aforementioned and other organizations with troubling attitudes towards jihadist terrorists. A particularly bizarre instance was FBI Director Robert Mueller's keynote address last year to the American Muslim Council.

    The AMC has a long record of activities hostile to the Bush Administration's prosecution of the war on terror. It has even urged Muslims not to cooperate with the FBI! Nonetheless, according to a press release dated last Thursday, Mr. Mueller has invited the AMC's chairman, Dr. Yahya Mossa Basha, to attend an upcoming meeting with him and "leaders of major Muslim and Arab-American organizations."

It is very much in the President's interest -- and the Nation's -- that moderate, law-abiding, peace-loving and patriotic American Muslims be embraced and empowered by the Bush Administration and all those who support it in waging a war on terror, not on Islam. To do so, however, the Administration must not allow those who are "with" its enemies in that struggle to continue being with the President and his team.

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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


02/11/03: Islamists' White House gatekeeper
02/04/03: The Powell report
01/28/03: Bush's finest hour
01/14/03: North Korean scorecard
01/07/03: Nuclear meltdown
12/17/02: Serious about defending America
12/03/02: Defining 'regime change'
11/26/02: With friends like the Saudis...
11/19/02: The Jayna Davis files
11/12/02: Could Israel die of thirst?
11/04/02: Against us
10/22/02: Too clever by half?
10/17/02: 'Drain the swamps'
10/08/02: The temptations of George Bush
10/01/02: Return of the San Francisco Dems
09/24/02: The next crusader?
09/17/02: It is no accident that advocates of coercive inspections have opposed prez's goal of regime change
09/10/02: A model for Iraq
08/27/02: Beware 'consensus leadership'
08/20/02: To Iraq or not to Iraq?
08/13/02: Trading with the 'enemy'
07/30/02: Who's trashing Ashcroft?
07/23/02: Wall Street's 'poisoned apples'
07/16/02: Back on the China front
07/09/02: See no evil?
07/02/02: Rethinking peacekeeping
06/25/02: Political moment of truth on defense
06/19/02: Inviting losses on two fronts
06/12/02: Make missile defense happen
06/04/02: The next 'Day of Infamy'?
05/29/02: Bush's Russian gamble
05/21/02: The 'next war'
05/15/02: Ex-presidential misconduct
05/07/02: When 'what if' is no game
05/02/02: Careful what we wish for
04/24/02: The real 'root cause' of terror
04/02/02: First principles in the Mideast
03/26/02: 'Renounce this map'
03/20/02: The inconvenient ally
03/12/02: Adults address the 'unthinkable'
03/05/02: The Saudi scam
02/26/02: Rumsfeld's 'now hear this'
02/19/02: Where's the outrage?
02/12/02: Post-mortem on 'Pearl Harbor II'
02/05/02: Spinning on the 'Evil Axis'
01/29/02: A challenge for the history books
01/22/02: Who pulled the plug on the Chinese 'bugs'?
01/15/02: No 'need to know'
01/08/02: Sentenced to de-nuclearize?
12/18/01: Missile defense mismanagement?
12/11/01: Is the Cold War 'over'?
12/04/01: A moment for truth
11/29/01: Send in the marines -- with the planes they need
11/27/01: 'Now Hear This': Does the President Mean What He Says?
11/20/01: Mideast 'vision thing'
11/13/01: The leitmotif of the next three days
11/06/01: Bush's Reykjavik Moment
10/30/01: Say it ain't true, 'W.
10/23/01: Getting history, and the future, right
10/16/01: Farewell to arms control
10/05/01: A time to choose
09/25/01: Don't drink the 'lemonade'
09/11/01: Sudan envoy an exercise in futility?
09/05/01: Strategy of a thousand cuts
08/28/01: Rummy's back
08/21/01: Prepare for 'two wars'
08/14/01: Why does the Bush Administration make a moral equivalence between terrorist attacks and Israel's restrained defensive responses?
08/07/01: A New bipartisanship in security policy?
07/31/01: Don't go there
07/17/01: The 'end of the beginning'
07/10/01: Testing President Bush
07/03/01: Market transparency works
06/27/01: Which Bush will it be on missile defense?
06/19/01: Don't politicize military matters
06/05/01: It's called leadership
06/05/01: With friends like these ...
05/31/01: Which way on missile defense?
05/23/01: Pearl Harbor, all over again
05/15/01: A tale of two Horatios
05/08/01: The real debate about missile defense
04/24/01: Sell aegis ships to Taiwan
04/17/01: The 'hi-tech for China' bill
04/10/01: Deal on China's hostages -- then what?
04/03/01: Defense fire sale redux
03/28/01: The defense we need
03/21/01: Critical mass
03/13/01: The Bush doctrine
03/08/01: Self-Deterred from Defending America
02/27/01: Truth and consequences for Saddam
02/21/01: Defense fire sale
02/13/01: Dubya's Marshall Plan
02/05/01: Doing the right thing on an 'Arab-Arab dispute'
01/30/01: The missile defense decision
01/23/01: The Osprey as Phoenix
01/17/01: Clinton's Parting Shot at Religious Freedom
01/09/01: Wake-up call on space
01/02/01: Secretary Rumsfeld
12/27/00: Redefining our Ukraine policy
12/19/00: Deploy missile defense now
12/12/00: Sabotaging space power
12/05/00: Preempting Bush
11/28/00: What Clinton hath wrought
11/21/00: HE'S BAAAACK
11/14/00: The world won't wait

© 2001, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.