Blind to Terror: The U.S. Government’s Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on U.S.
Middle East PolicyMiddle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 17, No. 2 (Summer 2013) 3
President Obama’s strategic plan to combat“violent extremism” to expand outreach
tothese same terror-tied groups, the presentadministration seems intent on compoundingthe disaster wrought by previousadministrations.
Prior to the September 11attacks, there were two prime examples of
how the government’s Muslim outreach policy
failed spectacularly: Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi and Sami al-Arian.Al-A
case is perhaps the bestexample, because he was the conduit throughmuch of the U.S. government outreach thatwas conducted following the 1993 WorldTrade Center bombing. Not only was he asked by the Clinton administration to help train andcertify all Muslim military chaplains (hisorganization being the first to certify such),
he was later appointed by the StateDepartment in 1997 as a civilian goodwillambassador to the Middle East, making sixtaxpayer-funded trips.
Further, with the assistance andencouragement of then-First Lady HillaryClinton, al-Amoudi arranged the first WhiteHouse Iftar dinner in 1996, personally hand- picking the attendees.
Thus, he was regularlyinvited to the White House during both theClinton and Bush (II) Administrations. In1992 and 1996, al-A
AmericanMuslim Council hosted hospitality suites at both the Democratic and Republicanconventions.
It is fair to say that during this period, Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi was themost prominent and politically connectedMuslim leader in America.As is now known, and the U.S. governmenthas admitted, at the time that he was beingcourted by Democrats and Republicans alike,he was a major fundraiser for al-Qa
daaccording to the Department of the Treasury.
it isn’t as if the U.S. government
was not aware of al-A
attachments. Asfar back as 1993, a government informant toldthe FBI that al-Amoudi was funneling regular payments from Usama bin Ladin
to the “BlindSheikh”
Omar Abdel Rahman, who wasconvicted for authorizing terror attackstargeting New York landmarks.
In March 1996, al-A
associationwith Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook wasexposed in the pages of the
Wall Street Journal
Two years later, the StateDepartment came under fire by the
New York Post
for inviting al-Amoudi to official eventsdespite his known statements in support of terrorism and terrorist leaders.
Even then the
noted the problem with the government’s
policy of reaching out to the wrong Muslimleaders:The problem is that such groups have been legitimized--both by governmentand the media--as civil-rights groupsfighting anti-Muslim discrimination andstereotyping. Unfortunately, their definition of such discriminationconsists of anyone who writes about theexistence of--or tries to investigate--radical Islamic terrorist groups and their allies on these shores.
A more embarrassing episode occurred inOctober 2000, when al-Amoudi appeared at ananti-Israeli rally where he was cheered by thecrowd for his support for terrorists. "I have been labeled by the media in New York to bea supporter of Hamas. Anybody supportHamas here?
he asked the crowd three timesto the roar of attendees.
Hear that, BillClinton?
We are all supportersof Hamas. I wish they added that I am also asupporter of Hezbollah. Does anybody supportHezbollah here?
” Again, he was met with the
cheers of the crowd.Al-Amoudi
wasn’t so bold the following
day when asked about his comments byreporters from the
New York Daily News
, whohad a videotape of the rally to counter his
initial claim that he wasn’t even there
In a phone interview yesterday, Alamoudi at firstchallenged the account of his Saturday speech,which
reviewed on videotape.
You better check your Arabic,
he said. Told hehad given the speech in English, Alamoudireplied,
It was in English? Oh my God, Iforgot!
He then deferred any further mediainquiries about his comments to his attorney,who appealed to the fact that he worked for