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Dark Days for North American Islamist Organizations By: Daniel Pipes
DanielPipes.org | Friday, October 03, 2003


(Daniel Pipes' Weblog, Visit http://www.danielpipes.org)

Dark Days for North American Islamist Organizations? The Islamist establishment in the United States and Canada must be wishing that September 2003 never happened.

Evan McCormick shows in "A Bad Day for CAIR" how on a single day, Sept. 10, the Council on American-Islamic Relations took three blows: "It ran away from testifying before an influential Senate panel that heard a barrage of incriminating evidence about the group and its connections. It saw one of its former officials plead guilty to terrorist-related crimes in Federal Court. And, it was stood up by two Department of Justice officials at an immigration symposium in Florida."

September also witnessed the likely collapse of long-standing efforts to infiltrate Islamist chaplains into the military, thanks to the arrest of James ("Yousef") Yee. The American Muslim Council and its affiliates may have suffered a mortal blow with the arrest of Abdurahman Alamoudi; that Soliman Biheiri of AMC's advisory board was accused of being "the Muslim Brotherhood's financial toehold" in the United States did not help either.

And September was a time for anti-Islamists to answer back. In Canada, Irshad Manji did so from a Muslim perspective in her iconoclastic book, The Trouble with Islam: A Wake-up Call for Honesty and Change. In the United States, Robert Spencer exposed their ideology in Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West.

For those of us worried about militant Islam, these could be signs that a corner has been turned for the better. (September 30, 2003) Permalink


United States of America v. Abdurahman Muhammad Alamoudi. A U.S. district court made public today the "affidavit in support of criminal complaint" concerning Abdurahman Alamoudi, the Islamist political leader most closely associated with the American Muslim Council. The nearly eight-thousand word document contains many fascinating details that the media will likely not get around to reporting. A few items:

  • James Bond-style drama: "It was arranged for him to receive a sizeable cash donation during his stay at the London Metropole Hotel, Edgware Road, London between August 11, 2003, and August 16, 2003. Alamoudi told Special Branch [for National Terrorist Financial Investigations Unit, United Kingdom] officers that on the morning of Wednesday, August 13, 2003, he received a telephone call to his room from someone who spoke Arabic with a Libyan accent, informing him he had ‘something' for him. The individual arrived at Alamoudi's room and handed him a small ‘Samsonite' style briefcase. Alamoudi said there was no conversation and the visitor abruptly left Alamoudi's room. Upon opening the case he discovered $340,000 of United States currency."
  • Mickey Mouse-style drama: Just yesterday, when Alamoudi returned to Dulles airport outside of Washington, D.C., from a seven-country, month-long trip, he tried to hide his travel to five of those seven countries in the most primitive way. He used a U.S. passport for England and Saudi Arabia; and a Yemeni passport for travel to Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, and Libya. When he arrived at Dulles, Alamoudi was questioned by Senior Customs and Border Protection Officer Wesley Hartman. During that questioning, Alamoudi was twice asked what countries he had visited on this trip. Both times he responded that he only visited England and Saudi Arabia. After the CBP Officer began to review his three passports, they again asked what countries he had visited on this trip. Alamoudi stated that he had also visited Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen during this trip. He concealed the fact that, after visiting those countries, he had also visited Libya and Egypt."
  • Speculation on Alamoudi's continued connection to the AMC: "Although Alamoudi is not named on the corporate records for AMC beyond 2000, I [the Immigration and Customs Enforcement who wrote the complaint] have probable cause … to believe that Alamoudi remained in a leadership capacity with AMC."
  • Insight into the foreign funding of Islamist organizations in the United States: The complaint paraphrases what Alamoudi wrote to Mohamed Ahmed Al-Sharif, head of Libya's World Islamic Call Society in a March 2003 letter. Alamoudi announces in it that he was "able to buy a building in May 2002 to be a permanent quarters for the AMC, the AMF [American Muslim Foundation] and the Hajj Foundation. The purchase price was $2.5 million dollars and the value of the real estate in March 2003 was described as $3.5 million. According to the letter, the building was acquired by three loans two of which, from Islamic Development Bank and SEDCO (Saudi Economic Development Co.) were interest-free. The third loan was interest free for six months. The letter solicited Al-Sharif to assist in paying the loan which would bear interest or taking an equity stake in the realty."
  • The "constant struggle" of funding an Islamist organization: Having sugar-daddies like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Libya would seem to be proof against financial worries, but Alamoudi suggested otherwise when asked by British law enforcement on August 11, 2003: "Alamoudi was interviewed by officers of the Special Branch. He stated that he is the President of the AMF and that financing the organization's work is a constant struggle."

Having now glimpsed the inner workings of Alamoudi's small empire of institutions makes this observer wonder the more intensely what might be going on at the other Islamist organizations. It may not be too long before we have a chance to find out. (September 29, 2003) Permalink


CAIR and the IAP. For anyone who doubts the tight connection between the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Association for Palestine, go to http://iap.org and note what turns up: a blank page with the title "CAIR List Server." But go there quickly, as IAP will no doubt eliminate this page shortly. Then, to find out what the IAP is, go to http://www.iap.org (September 26, 2003) Permalink


Assessing the Islamic Society of North America. Two news items concerning the Islamic Society of North America point to the deep inconsistency of the U.S. government vis-à-vis militant Islamic groups.

Actually, this inconsistency represents progress, as organizations like ISNA were until a few months ago viewed uncritically; now, at least, some branches of the government realize the danger they present. (September 23, 2003) Permalink


Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.


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