The media is engaged in a jihad against Rep. Peter King - a jihad in defense of Islamist extremists.
King, a Long Island Republican, has warned his constituents that some leaders of the Islamic Center of Long Island have "publicly stated that the CIA or the 'Zionists' may have been behind the attacks" of 9/11.
The record backs him up. Indeed, the center's leadership has a long history of extremism. But both Newsday and CNN chose to ignore the facts and smear King.
Last week's CNN report was one of the most dishonest pieces of reporting I have ever observed in my entire 27-year career. In attacking King, CNN reporter Jason Carroll claimed the congressman had said the members of the Long Island mosque were "part of an Islamic threat that could cause another 9/11."
King has said no such thing; the red herring simply distracts from the real issue - the center's history of employing extremists and defending terrorists.
Ghazi Khankan was an ICLI officer until two years ago, director of both interfaith affairs and communications. Shortly after 9/11, he told the New York Times that the U.S. government hadn't proven Osama bin Laden's role in the attacks: "We need to have proof. We need to have facts. If there is something wrong, let's get together through the United Nations, not act as a lynch mob."
His rant at a fund-raiser in Virginia that October was recorded: "Why is it assumed that Muslims were behind the attack? . . . We know at least three people assumed to be hijackers who are still alive in the Middle East. The question is, who is impersonating these Muslim names? Who benefits from assuming Muslims are behind this tragedy and who benefits from this tragedy?"
That same month, Khankan gave Newsday his view on who had really perpetrated the atrocities: "What about the world Zionist network? Why are you in the media not looking at them?" Years earlier, he had questioned the verdict against Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric who masterminded the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
Newsday shrugs off Khankan's views because he's no longer with the center. Yet Faroque Khan is the mosque's immediate past president of the Islamic Center and remains a permanent member of its board of trustees. And he has a record of his own.
For example, when Freedom House issued a report that documented the widespread presence of extremist hate literature in American mosques, he complained at an Islamic conference, "The intention pretty much is that everybody is out to smear Muslims."
Just this August, Khan was offering the Hezbollah line on the fighting in Lebanon, saying "Lebanon's beef is that it still has land occupied by Israel since 1982" - a patent untruth. More, he advised, "You need to start talking to the key players the leaders of Hamas, the leaders of Hezbollah, the leaders of Muslim Brotherhood" - the most radical Islamic terror groups in the Middle East.
King has rightly expressed dismay that Khan issued no public condemnation of Khankan's statements in the wake of 9/11 - or of those by another mosque leader, Safar Chadda, who repeated "a rumor" that the Mossad (the Israeli intelligence agency) was involved in the attacks.
Then, too, the center's Web site has served for years as the launching pad for campaigns in behalf of accused terrorists. For example, it posted several petitions decrying U.S. judicial actions against Musa Abu Marzook - a top terrorist leader of Hamas - and demanding his release from custody.
To bolster his attack on King, CNN's Carrol presented Nihad Awad as an aggrieved man of the cloth, lamenting that a "member of the U.S. Congress [would] exploit anti-Muslim prejudice . . . to get a few more votes and some money."
In fact, Awad is head of the Council on American Islamic Relations - an "Islamic advocacy" group that has championed terrorists. At least three of its top officials have been convicted of terrorism-related offenses. It has sponsored events where jihadists have called Jews "the sons of pigs and monkeys."
The Islamic Center's history shows that the congressman is very much on target. Both Newsday and CNN owe Peter King an apology.
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