Upon entering the FBI building in Omaha, Nebraska, a visitor is greeted by a plaque on the wall to the left, containing the following inscription:
MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL
AMERICAN MUSLIM ASSOCIATION
HONOR AND PAY TRIBUTE TO
OUR FALLEN HEROES OF THE
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 ATTACKS
For someone unfamiliar with MPAC, the memorial may very well appear innocuous. But once one understands the true nature of this group and its leaders’ storied history of defending terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, the harmful implications of its embrace by some in our government will be made immediately apparent.
On June 14th, United States Representative Jane Harman (D-California), chaired a House Homeland Security, Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment Committee hearing titled ‘Assessing and Addressing the Threat: Defining the Role of a National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism.’ For the hearing, she assembled a three man panel, of whom she stated, “All of the witnesses on this panel are very well known to me, and I commend them for not only the excellent testimony they’ve submitted for today’s hearing, but for the work they do in their day jobs on these issues.”
One of the three on the panel was the Executive Director of MPAC, Salam Al-Marayati. Indeed, Representative Harman did know Mr. Al-Marayati, as she had previously shared the stage with him, during a February 2006 press conference held at the office of Los Angeles County Sheriff, Lee Baca. A picture of the event is found on Representative Harman’s website.
Also on the stage, next to Harman at the press conference, was Al-Marayati’s colleague, the Communications Director of MPAC, Edina Lekovic. This past May, Lekovic was confronted on national television, by counter-terrorism expert Steven Emerson, with proof that she (Lekovic) had been the Managing Editor of a publication – the July 1999 issue of al-Talib – that lauded Osama bin Laden as a “great Mujahid,” a “philanthropist” and a “freedom fighter.”
A third on the stage was Muzammil Siddiqi, the ex-President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that was recently named by the U.S. government as a co-conspirator in the financing of Hamas. Siddiqi, less than a year before 9/11, threatened the United States by saying, “America has to learn... If you continue doing injustice, and tolerate injustice, the wrath of G-d will come.”
When Al-Marayati got his chance to speak at the Congressional hearing, he did so by stressing what he believed to be a need of the government to “partner” with leaders of the Muslim American community, in his words, “as a key to countering extremism and radicalization.” He did this throughout his time on the panel. What he failed to mention to the Representatives listening, though, was his own problems with extremism and radicalization.
Hours after 9/11, Al-Marayati went on the radio and suggested that Israel had the most to gain by the attacks and should be considered the chief suspect. In November of 1999, when questioned about Hezbollah, Al-Marayati described the group as a “liberation movement” offering “legitimate resistance.” And in April of 1997, Al-Marayati issued his own warning to United States. He stated, “Where Israel goes, our government follows... What is important is whether the American people are aware of and ready for the consequences... America is much more vulnerable than Israel and has much more to lose.”
When Al-Marayati was appointed to a National Commission on Terrorism by former Congressman and House Minority Leader, Richard Gephardt (D-Missouri), Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC), were outraged. According to Morton Klein, the President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Al-Marayati has a “long record over many, many years of rationalizing and justifying terrorism.”
Congressman Gephardt rescinded the appointment. Yet Representative Harmon – someone that was also appointed to the same commission by Gephardt – made the conscious decision to embrace Al-Marayati for her panel to assess and address the threat of terrorism. And not only did she embrace him, but in the course of the hearing, she looked to him for positive reinforcement, as well, with regards to her use of language and her refusal to apply the adjective “Islamic” to describe the radical behavior of those that commit Islamic-oriented or Islamic-motivated terrorism. When Al-Marayati brought up the word “Jihadi,” Harmon chimed in, smiling, as if proud of herself, while looking toward him for his approval, “You’ll note, I did not use that term.”
Near the completion of the hearing, Representative Harman announced that she had to leave. But before she did, she made the following assessment: “I just want to observe that this is one of the best panels we have ever had and that what you have just said will directly influence a legislative proposal, which we are working on now – to set up a national commission. But not only that – perhaps some other legislative initiatives which I believe this committee, on a unanimous basis... will embrace, and for once... we might actually shed some light on a very serious set of problems. So I just personally want to thank our witnesses and our members for an enormously productive hour and a half.”
What did the Congressmen learn in that hour and a half? They learnt that labels for Muslims that commit acts of terror need to be politically correct, a message agreed upon by all three panelists. They learnt that “mainstream” and “moderate” Muslims must be supported by and be better utilized by our government, even though the mainstream and moderate Muslims that Al-Marayati was talking about are probably just as radical as he is. Essentially what the Representatives got out of this hearing was the crux of MPAC’s and Al-Marayati’s agenda, minus the hatred.
There are those in our government that want only to denounce the terrorists (i.e. those that strap on bombs), but when it comes to condemning the terrorist support network (i.e. MPAC and CAIR), they go silent. Six years after the worst terror attack on American soil, there are those in our government that still don’t get it.
If you are concerned about the Islamist threat, contact Congresswoman Harman, and ask her why she insists on embracing America’s enemies. And afterward, be sure to ask the Omaha FBI to remove the plaque, which makes a mockery of the agency’s mandate.