Report Details U.S. Government’s ‘Disastrous Muslim Outreach’

Elizabeth Harrington | June 7, 2013 | 7:47am EDT
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American-born radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was linked to more than a dozen terror plots around the globe. (AP File Photo)

( - A new report documents the failures of Muslim outreach conducted by the U.S. government before and after the Sept. 11 attacks, faulting both Republican and Democrat administrations for reaching out to known terrorist funders and leaders.

Published by the Israel-based Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center by Patrick Poole, a counterterrorism consultant and investigative reporter, the 14,000-word exposé details the federal government’s “long-standing policy of engaging extremists.”

Among the many examples, Poole cites government leaders inviting radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki to the Pentagon, just months after one of his spiritual disciples had flown a plane into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

The report, “Blind to Terror: The U.S. Government’s Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on U.S. Middle East Policy,” finds that a “campaign of political correctness”  has been ingrained in government, hindering investigations and resulting in culturally sensitive policies towards Islam, such as guidelines that required FBI agents to remove their shoes before raiding a mosque that financially supported the Taliban.

According to the report, President Obama issued a directive in August 2011 ordering law enforcement to engage “community partners” to help combat “violent extremism.”

“One example of the effect of this new policy are the Shari’a-compliant guidelines that federal law enforcement officials must now comply with when conducting raids related to Islamic leaders or institutions,” Poole explains.  “This was exhibited in May 2011, when the FBI raided a South Florida mosque and arrested its imam and his son for financially supporting the Taliban.”

The rules required law enforcement officials to remove their shoes before entering the mosque and dogs were barred from property, Poole said.  “The common sense of these new rules undoubtedly would have been put to the test had the subjects tried to flee, to be pursued by shoeless federal agents.”

The report also reveals that numerous leaders linked to terrorism have been used as conduits for the Muslim community since the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.

Poole points to Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, who was a regular visitor to the White House under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who asked him to help train Muslim military chaplains.  He made six taxpayer-funded trips as a civilian goodwill ambassador to the Middle East for the State Department beginning in 1997.

But throughout his time working with the government, al-Amoudi was a major fundraiser for al-Qaeda.

Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born Imam who was killed in Yemen by a drone strike authorized by Obama in 2011, was also a go-to community partner for the U.S. government.

“One of the first Muslim leaders that the government turned to was Anwar al-Awlaki,” says Poole, “the al-Qa’ida cleric who was in direct contact with at least three of the September 11 hijackers.”

“As the cleanup from the terrorist attack on the Pentagon continued, Awlaki was invited by the Pentagon’s Office of Government Counsel to speak at a lunch in the building’s executive offices as part of the government’s new Muslim outreach policy,” Poole writes.  “Ironically, one of the September 11 terrorists who had helped hijack American Airlines Flight 77 that was flown into the Pentagon had described Awlaki as ‘a great man’ and his ‘spiritual leader.’”

Awlaki had ties to terrorist suspects dating back to 1999, and continued to support terrorism, including email exchanges with Ft. Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan.

In another example, Shaykh Kifah Mustapha, a long-time supporter of Hamas who was caught on video singing the terrorist group’s praises—“calling for violence against Jews as children danced around him carrying guns”—was given a guided tour of top-secret FBI facilities in 2010.

In November 2010, under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s leadership, U.S. Ambassador to Britain Louis B. Susman visited the East London Mosque, a “longtime hotbed of extremism.”  The year before, the mosque hosted a conference where Awlaki phoned in.  Weeks before Susman’s visit, the mosque chairman said Awlaki’s involvement was an act of “fairness and justice.”

“The U.S. government…failed to even acknowledge the blunder, let alone attempt to reconsider its long-standing policy of engaging extremists,” he added.  “In fact, the American Embassy issued a statement explaining that the visit was ‘a part of President Obama’s call for a renewed dialogue with Muslim communities around the world.’”

As a result of that dialogue, several terrorists have been invited to the Obama White House, affecting U.S. foreign policy, Poole argues.

“In 2012, Hani Nour Eldin, a known member of the Egyptian al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (a U.S.-designated terrorist group), was invited to Washington, D.C.” the report says.  “Eldin was escorted into the White House to meet with Obama’s national security staff.”  At the meeting Eldin demanded the release of the Blind Sheikh, currently in federal prison for masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

An “even more egregious” example is Nafie Ali Nafie, a Sudanese war criminal and architect of genocides in the Nuba Mountains and in Darfur, who was invited by the State Department to a Sudanese Delegation in May 2012.

“As these examples demonstrate,” Poole writes, “the U.S. government’s ignoring the terrorist support of its Muslim outreach partners has had a slippery-slope effect in its foreign policy by inviting members of terrorist groups and war criminals to Washington, D.C. for ‘dialogue.’”

“The legacy of the U.S. government’s Muslim outreach programs since the 1990s is a monument of failure by any measure,” Poole concludes.  “With more American lives and body parts strewn across American streets once again in Boston, these outreach partners threaten the health and legitimacy of our constitutional republic with their demands.

“It is clearly past time for Congress to ask whether this long since failed experiment should come to an immediate end.”

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