“[I]f they don’t trust the security, this is their problem, not our problem.”
- Omar Shahin, teleconference about imam lawsuit
On November 20, 2006, when six imams were removed from a plane headed for Phoenix, Arizona, little was known about them. All that could be determined was that they were Muslim and that they were acting in a way that was deemed suspicious – the two things at an airport that sound the loudest alarms in our post-9/11 world. Who they were and why they were in Minnesota were things yet to be determined. However, knowing what we know today, given the venue that they were coming from, given at least some of their extremist pasts, given whom they ally themselves with, and given the fiasco that took place at the airport and its carefully produced aftermath with a known terror front, it’s safe to say that it was probably a mistake to allow them to board the plane to begin with.
Omar Shahin and NAIF
The North American Imams Federation (NAIF) held its 2006 annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Attending the three-day event were one newly elected Congressman – Keith Ellison – and a surplus of Islamist radicals masquerading as holy men. They included Siraj Wahhaj, an individual whose name is found on the U.S. Attorney’s list of “unindicted co-conspirators” of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, and Mazen Mokhtar, an Al-Qaeda web designer that has used the internet to proclaim his support for Hamas and suicide bombings. In fact, all three of the aforementioned are pictured on the same page of the NAIF conference program, side-by-side one another.
The President of NAIF (and one of the removed imams) is Omar Shahin. Before NAIF’s founding in 2004, Shahin was the imam and President of the Islamic Center of Tucson (ICT), a mosque that represented one of Al-Qaeda’s main hubs in America, prior to the ‘93 attack. One of Shahin’s predecessors at the mosque was Wael Hamza Julaidan, a former colleague of Osama bin Laden and bin Laden’s mentor, Abdullah Azzam. Shahin, himself, has admitted to once supporting bin Laden.
Throughout his time with and after leaving ICT, Shahin was involved in terror financing organizations. He was the Arizona Coordinator for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a Hamas charity whose funds were frozen by the U.S. government soon after 9/11. Under his leadership, thousands of dollars were raised for HLF through ICT. As well, Shahin was a representative for KindHearts, another Hamas charity that was shut down by the U.S. (February 2006). In both cases, Shahin walked free.
As ICT’s imam, Shahin has used his pulpit to target Jews and Christians, even with death. During his October 4, 2002 sermon, he stated, “Allah almighty has described his servants with a precise description in order for us to follow in their footsteps. Allah Almighty started by saying ‘the slaves of (Allah) Most Gracious’ as an indication to their real loyalty… What an honor for any one to be called by Allah ‘the slaves of (Allah) Most Gracious.’ Allah has dignified those alone among all humanity. Because of them, Allah will also dignify the whole Islamic Nation. Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him said: ‘you will keep on fighting with the Jews until the fight reaches the east of Jordan river then the stones and trees will say: oh Muslim, oh (servant) slaves of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him…’”
During his December 20, 2002 sermon, he stated, “We should invite them [Christians] to investigate the religion of Islam especially nowadays we should give them the right information about Islam. And now let us open our hearts to what our great prophet said: Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said: You would tread the same path that was trodden by those before you span by span and cubit by cubit (inch by inch and step by step) so much so that if they had entered into the hole of the lizard, you would follow them in this also. We said: Allah's Messenger, do you mean the Jews and the Christians (by your words)? He said: Who else (than those two religious groups)?”
Another of the flying imams is Marwan Sadeddin, the Coordinator of the Imams Council of Arizona. Soon after the incident, Sadeddin discussed the matter of being ejected from the plane, on KFYI-Phoenix. When the host of the show confronted him about Omar Shahin’s involvement with Hamas-related charities, he responded by defending Hamas. He stated, “Hamas has nothing to do with [the] United States. Talk about Al-Qaeda only, because this is [sic] where they hit America. Hamas never said, ‘We are against America.’ They extend their hand many times to America, but America consider[s] it – the foreign policy of America consider[s] Hamas – as a terrorist. That’s their business.” Just as recently as December of 2006, Hamas has threatened attacks on the U.S.
NAIF has a Board of Trustees comprised of seven individuals, including Shahin. One of them is Siraj Wahhaj (mentioned earlier). Another is Mohamad Mwafak Algalaieni, the imam of the Grand Blanc Islamic Center, located in Grand Blanc, Michigan. In December of 2001, Algalaieni showed up in support of terror charity head Rabih Haddad, at Haddad’s INS hearing. Haddad was deported, after having been arrested for his leadership role in the Global Relief Foundation (GRF), an organization that was shut down by the U.S. government for raising millions of dollars for Al-Qaeda and Hamas.
A third trustee is Johari Abdul-Malik, the imam of Dar Al-Hijrah, located in Falls Church, Virginia. On his radio show, in September of 2004, discussing the impact of 9/11 on the Muslim community, Abdul-Malik took the opportunity to laud one of his congregants, Ismael Selim Elbarasse, who had just been arrested for videotaping structural parts of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Elbarasse, who has been described as a “high-ranking Hamas operative,” held a joint bank account with Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook for the purpose of financing the terror group. Another congregant, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, in March of 2006, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for providing material support to Al-Qaeda, whilst plotting to assassinate President Bush. About the charges against Abu Ali, Abdul-Malik stated, “Our whole community is under siege.”
In addition to a Board of Trustees, NAIF has an Executive Committee. One of the committeemen is Ashrafuzzaman Khan, the former Secretary General (President, Amir) of the Islamic Circle of North America (see below). Prior to coming to the States, Khan was located in Bangladesh – then Eastern Pakistan. To this day, he stands accused of being a death squad leader for Al-Badr, the Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan’s (Jamaat-e-Islami’s) former paramilitary wing, during the 1971 massacre that led to Bangladesh’s independence, personally responsible for the murders of numerous individuals.
On the NAIF website, one finds many pictures from past events. Two of the pictures contain Ibrahim Dremali, the imam of the Islamic Center of Des Moines (Iowa). Shortly before 9/11, Dremali was the contact for a group that was telling its followers to provide material support to a website that was raising funds and recruiting fighters for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda related groups. At an October 2000 rally, amidst burning Israeli flags and shouts of “Zionist blood will wet the sand,” Dremali told a crowd “not to be sad for those who were martyred and to not be afraid to die for what they believe in.”
Three of the pictures contain Wagdy Ghoneim, who, in January of 1999, was denied entrance into Canada for being a member of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and who, in January of 2005, was deported from the United States. In a November 2006 essay, Ghoneim stated, “We must all equip ourselves, and be prepared for jihad at any moment… and to constantly renew the intention [for jihad]… We must all strive in praying that Allah - the Exalted and Majestic - have revenge on the damned Jews and to weaken them, them and their allies, helpers, and those who aid them…”
One more pic contains Zulfiqar Ali Shah, the Imam of the Islamic Center of Milwaukee. Prior to it being shut down, Shah was the South Asian Director of KindHearts. In June of 2001, he is quoted as saying, “If we are unable to stop the Jews now, their next stop is Yathrib (The Prophet's city of Medina), where the Jews used to live until their expulsion by Prophet Muhammad (SAW). That's the pinnacle of their motives.”
According to its website, “NAIF seeks establishing relationships with Islamic organizations (IOs) that are licensed to operate in North America.” The site states that this relationship is “collaborative, complementary, and cooperative.” These “partner organizations” include:
- The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), an umbrella organization for South Asian-oriented mosques and Islamic centers that was established, in 1971, to emulate the Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan, Jamaat-e-Islami
- The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an umbrella organization for Arab-oriented mosques and Islamic centers that was co-founded, in 1981, by convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami Al-Arian
- Life for Relief and Development (LIFE), a Michigan-based “charity” that was raided, in September of 2006, by federal agents from the Joint Terrorism Task Force and has been linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood
- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a defense mechanism for terrorists that was created, in June of 1994, by leaders of the now-defunct American propaganda wing of Hamas, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP)
CAIR and the Choreography
The last organization mentioned, CAIR, and another group, the Muslim American Society (MAS), have played large roles in the saga of the six flying imams. MAS, which led a “pray-in” for the imams at Reagan Washington National Airport on November 27, was created as a Muslim Brotherhood activist organization in June of 1993.
According to an officer in the police report concerning the November 20 affair, both he and a U.S. Federal Air Marshal “agreed the seating configuration, the request for seatbelt extensions, the prior praying and utterances about Allah and the U.S. in the gate area and the seating configuration chosen among the traveling group was suspicious.” [A U.S. Airways official added that three of the six only had one-way tickets and no checked luggage.] The officer then states that an FBI Agent “requested we detain the six passengers until he could arrive and interview the six individuals on their suspicious behavior.” The report later goes on to say that the imams were escorted off the plane and detained for further investigation. The removal took place sometime after 5:30 p.m.
After the removal, the magnified role of CAIR took form. According to a spokesperson for the airport:
- The imams contacted CAIR that evening.
- The imams spent the night at a CAIR members’ home.
- The next morning CAIR put out a press release.
- Following the pr, CAIR accompanied the imams to the airport and appeared with them on camera.
In Shahin’s own words: “Since minute one of this incident, I then contacted Ibrahim Hooper and brother Nihad Awad, and we arranged everything…. [W]e already coordinate with them everything, and we update each other every once [in] a while, every two hours, three hours. And everything is being coordinated with CAIR and with MAS. Even today, I asked MAS-Arizona chapter, please, whatever you want to do, just let brother Nihad Awad and Ibrahim Hooper know about it before you [do]. That’s what we are doing, and we are going to do that in the future. Inshallah.”
In addition, within days, Congressman Keith Ellison asked for a meeting with executives from U.S. Airways and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), and Congressman John Conyers drafted a House resolution giving Muslims special civil-rights protections.
Now, the imams have filed a legal complaint against US Airways and MAC, and they are looking to sue individual passengers from the flight, those who alerted authorities, as well. The lawyer for the imams is Omar Mohammedi, the President of CAIR-New York, who is currently representing the Al-Qaeda-linked World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), in a 9/11 lawsuit for the murders of 3000 people, in which CAIR is also named a defendant.
While there is no mention of it in the NAIF program, CAIR is said to have participated at the NAIF conference. As well, pictures of CAIR’s National Executive Director, Nihad Awad, speaking at previous NAIF events are found on the NAIF website.
All of the above leads towards the question: Has all of this been pre-planned – some grand scheme to make those in society hesitant about reporting activity which they deem to be suspect in nature?
Considering the fact that all of those concerned, in some way, shape or form, have been involved in extremist pursuits, the answer may very well be yes. Of course, if that is the case, that makes those that spoke out and those that took action unwilling partners to an unsuspected crime. Regardless of the answer, though, the fact that these imams are radicals, in itself, suggests that they should not have been permitted on the plane and, instead, should have been placed on a “no-fly” list. It is measures, such as this, that need to be taken, in order to ensure that our nation is protected from those that wish to destroy us from within… and above.