The Council on American-Islamic Relations is demanding Congress investigate US Airway's removal last week of six imams from one of its flights. The Muslim-rights group claims the imams, who were behaving suspiciously, posed no threat.
It's "very, very inappropriate to treat religious leaders that way," a spokesman fumed.
According to CAIR, imams are as harmless as Buddhist monks and deserve no less respect. Tell that to flight attendant Kimberly Banducci.
According to police reports I've obtained, the Delta Air Lines veteran was assaulted by a Muslim cleric in a bizarre attack aboard a flight from Miami International Airport three years ago. The wild scene, which involved federal air marshals and local police, was never reported in the media.
Here's what happened: On Oct. 23, 2003, Sheikh Ahmed Hamman Mahmoud Hamman claimed he needed assistance as he boarded Delta Flight 1586. Banducci, who was flight coordinator that day, escorted the Egyptian imam, dressed in a flowing robe, to his seat. As she helped him get seated, Hamman remarked in heavily accented English how good she smelled and asked her name.
As she began to recoil from the bearded man's passes, he suddenly grabbed her face with one hand and wouldn't let go. Banducci told him he was hurting her and asked for help from passengers in the immediate area. She was able to pull away, but then His Most Holiness grabbed both her breasts and again would not release his grip. Banducci yelled at him to let go, but he refused, squeezing even harder. Only after she screamed for help and two air marshals broke cover did the man back down.
As authorities questioned him, Hamman acted like he couldn't speak any English. The Miami-Dade Police Department took him into custody where he was booked the next day for felony battery, the police report says. Delta did not press charges, however, and kept the incident from the press.
US Airways, which has been flooded with positive calls from customers for its stand against the six obnoxious imams, is poised to take over Delta in a proposed merger, making it the nation's largest carrier.
A local Muslim leader bailed the violent groper sheikh out of jail. Authorities say a man named Sofian Abdelaziz (aka Sofian Zakout, aka Sofian Abdelaziz-Zakout, aka Sofian Zakkout) representing the American Muslim Association of North America, or AMANA, posted bond for the 35-year-old Hamman, who was visiting Florida during Ramadan. Abdelaziz-Zakkout, a Kuwaiti native, was his trip sponsor.
He's also a radical Islamic activist who is a close personal friend of the notorious Shukrijumahs of South Florida, a Saudi family whose son, Adnan, is an al-Qaida operative thought to be in line to head an encore attack on America. The FBI calls him "the next Mohamed Atta." His late father was a local Wahhabi imam on the Saudi payroll.
Not surprisingly, Abdelaziz-Zakkout recently defended an accused al-Qaida confederate of Adnan Shukrijumah at his trial. He also opposed the U.S. strikes on Afghanistan after 9/11, and the U.S. assassination of al-Qaida terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq.
Back to the Saintly Six imams kicked off US Airways Flight 300. Their ringleader Omar Shahin whined, "What happened to us is terrible." No, what happened on 9/11 is terrible, and airlines and their passengers will be damned if they'll tolerate any more treacherous tricks from packs of truculent Muslim men on board their flights.
Shahin knows of such shenanigans. At his former mosque in Tucson, Ariz., he ministered to two college students removed from an America West flight after twice attempting to open the cockpit. The FBI suspected it was a "dry run" for the 9/11 hijackings, according the 9/11 Commission Report. One of the students, Hamdan al-Shalawi, had trained for attacks in Afghanistan, the report says. The other, Muhammed al-Qudhaieen, became a material witness in the 9/11 investigation.
Even so, the pair filed racial-profiling suits against America West, now part of US Airways. Defending them was none other than Shahin, the public face of the Slighted Six imams who returned to the US Airways ticket counter at the Minneapolis airport to scold agents before the cameras, and then staged a protest at Reagan International Airport in Washington.
In an "Arizona Republic" interview after the 9/11 attacks, he acknowledged once supporting Osama bin Laden through his hardline Saudi-backed mosque in Tucson. FBI investigators believe bin Laden operated a cell there. Hani Hanjour, the hijacker who piloted the plane that hit the Pentagon, attended the Tucson mosque along with bin Laden's one-time personal secretary, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. Bin Laden's former chief of logistics was president of the mosque before Shahin took over.
"These people don't continue to come back to Arizona because they like the sunshine or they like the state," said FBI agent Kenneth Williams. "Something was established there, and it's been there for a long time." And Shahin, a native of Jordan, appears to be in the middle of it.
Shahin now heads the North American Imams Federation, which is affiliated with the innocuous-sounding American Open University, where he teaches Islamic studies. The radical Islamic school, known by law enforcement as "Wahhabi Online," has raised a number of red flags at the FBI, including the fact that:
-- It's founder and chairman, Jaafar Idris, is a Sudanese radical on the Saudi payroll who was recently deported for visa fraud and spreading extremism in America.
-- A co-founder, Salah As-Sawi, is a professor at Al-Azhar in Egypt, a bastion of the dangerous Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, American Open University is a fully accredited satellite campus of Al-Azhar. As-Sawi worked with Idris at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Sciences in Washington, a propaganda center set up by the Saudi Embassy to spread Wahhabism in America. It was raided after 9/11 and is still under surveillance by federal authorities.
-- Alumni of the "university" include convicted members of the Virginia Jihad Network.
-- The school has received funding from a suspected al-Qaida front that has expressly advocated suicide attacks and using airliners as weapons. The Islamic Assembly of North America, or IANA, is bankrolled by the Saudi religious minister who stayed at the same Washington-area hotel as the hijackers the night before they attacked the Pentagon. (He feigned a heart attack when FBI agents tried to question him and was subsequently evacuated with other Saudi officials on White House-approved escape flights after 9/11.)
A former CAIR official, Bassem Khafagi, headed IANA. He pleaded guilty to terror-related charges and was deported.
CAIR, which is listed as a partner organization to Shahin's North American Imams Federation, insists American imams are peace-loving "patriots."
Oh? Would that include Omar Abdul-Rahman, the blind sheikh serving life for plotting to blow up several New York landmarks? Or Imam Ali al-Timimi, a native Washingtonian, also behind bars for soliciting local Muslims to kill fellow Americans? Or fugitive cleric Anwar Aulaqi, the U.S.-born imam who prepared some of the 9/11 hijackers for martyrdom?
How about imams Mohammed al-Hanooti and Siraj Wahhaj (a CAIR and NAIF board member), both unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing conspiracy?
Perhaps CAIR is referring to other imams in New York who were recently busted for buying shoulder-fired missiles. Or the one in Lodi, Calif., who planned to build an al-Qaida terror camp there, and on and on.
Yup, they all wear halos all right. Or is that orange jumpsuits? Oh, that's right, they're all so misunderstood and mistreated. Boo-hoo, somebody call the wha-a-a-a-ambulance.
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