Last Monday, Ohio freshman US Senator Sherrod Brown (D) probably had no idea that when he met with a group of Columbus-area Somali leaders that they were being led by one of the most vocal Western supporters of the Somali al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU).
That oversight is forgivable, considering that Abukar Arman, one of my Hilliard, Ohio neighbors, regularly operates among the political elite of the state of Ohio, though as I discovered in my extensive investigation, Abukar Arman’s powerful friends will go to great lengths to promote and protect their Somali terror apologist friend. Arman’s position overseeing Central Ohio’s homeland security (discussed further below) is an example of how his politically powerful friends have worked hard to position him at the top of the governmental and educational hierarchy in the area.
Abukar Arman is one of the most prominent public defenders of the al-Qaeda-backed ICU terrorist organization in the West, having published numerous articles in print and online defending the group prior to their violent takeover of Somalia last summer, during their campaign to impose shari’a on the Somali population during brief time in power, and following the ICU’s expulsion late last year by Ethiopian troops to restore the UN-backed Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and to defuse the threats made by the ICU to conduct terror operations inside Ethiopia.
Back this past December, Arman called the ICU takeover of Somali “the best thing that happened to Somalia in the past 16 years”:
And internally, ICU, with its various shortcomings, is the best thing that happened to Somalia in the past 16 years. And due to a severe shortage of technocrats and civil servants, the courts suffer from lack of capacity in areas of diplomacy and overall governance; as such, they ought to be supported...(“Iraqization of Somalia Could Widen the Divide between West and the Islamic World,” California Chronicle, December 11, 2006)
Three days after Arman made this announcement, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer described al-Qaeda’s operational control over the ICU:
The Council of Islamic Courts is now controlled by al-Qaida cell individuals, east Africa al-Qaida cell individuals. The top layers of the courts are extremist to the core. They are terrorists and they are in control. They are creating this logic of war, and that’s a problem. (David Gollust, “US Says al-Qaida Elements Running Somali Islamic Movement,” Voice of America, December 14, 2006
The ICU, headed by Hassan Dahir Aweys, who is listed by the US government as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, has partnered with al-Qaeda to set up terrorist training camps to wage jihad all over Africa. According to a Reuters report, as many as 4,000 foreign jihadists had been trained and were fighting as part of the ICU’s front against the TFG. The ICU has also given shelter to three al-Qaeda terrorists directly responsible for the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. (For more info on the ICU’s background, see Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Bill Roggio’s article, “A New Terrorist Haven”.)
Lest I be accused of falsely imputing to him a position of support for the ICU, despite all of this prior evidence, I would note that Arman published an article in July 2006, at the very time that the ICU’s armed takeover of the country and imposition of Taliban-like shari’a was occurring, entitled, “Somalia: Why the International Contact Group Should Support the Islamic Courts Union”, describing the al-Qaeda-backed ICU takeover of Somalia as a “spontaneously formed popular uprising”. And as recently as last month, Arman was continuing his public apology for the ICU (“Ungovernable Somalia and the Imminent Collision of External Interests”), and advocating for “dialogue” with the terrorist group, which is still conducts assassinations and suicide bombings against Somali civilian targets despite being pushed out of power.
Abukar Arman doesn’t reserve his support for Islamic terrorism just to the ICU, however. In an article for the International Herald Tribune (owned by the New York Times), he railed against prominent secular Muslims and former Muslims, calling them “Islam bashers”. But when he gave examples of who he believed were representative of “moderate Muslims”, he identified:
…widely respected moderate Muslim scholars like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who made a career campaigning against extremism and radical literalism. (“Who is the ‘moderate’ Muslim”, International Herald Tribune [November 11, 2005])
Of course, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who was listed by the US government as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist even before 9/11, is no moderate nor has he ever campaigned against extremism. The spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Qaradawi was one of the first clerics to authorize the use of suicide bombings against civilians in Israel, which was responsible for unleashing an unparalleled torrent of violence, terror and death.
Qaradawi also said in 2004 that resistance against US troops in Iraq was the duty of every Muslim and he issued a fatwa in October of that year authorizing the abduction and killing of American civilian contractors in Iraq. (Moderation, you say, Mr. Arman?) These are just a few of the reasons why the Anti-Defamation League issued a report in August 2005 on the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood cleric, appropriately entitled, “Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi: Theologian of Terror”.
In his public writings, Abukar Arman has also adopted the extremist language of grievances that is regularly used to justify terrorism against Westerners and non-Muslims all over the Middle East. In an article earlier this year, he takes it upon himself to weigh the grievances resulting from “Islamophobia” and anti-Americanism, and predictably concludes that the victims of “Islamophobia” are the winners of the grievance game:
Analysts both in the Muslim and the Western world by and large agree that “fear” and lack of objective dialogue are the root cause of Islamophobia and anti-Americanism. And while the debate on which one of the two ignited the other is still ongoing, one fact remains irrefutable: more people were victimized as a result of Islamophobia than the other way around. (“Overblown Threat and Islamophobia”, Online Journal [January 26, 2007])
Again, this is the moral equivalency used by al-Qaeda and every other anti-Western terrorist organization to justify their terrorist activities. Not to dismiss the injuries and wrongs suffered by anyone as the result of Islamophobia (whatever definition one wants to give it), but Mr. Arman should recall that on 9/11, 3,000 innocent civilians were murdered in a single day by Islamic terrorists for the sole reason that they were Americans, and the vast majority of deaths currently in Iraq and Afghanistan are not at the hands of Coalition Forces, but the very Islamic terrorists driven by the ideology that he has taken to defend.
It is for these extremist views held by Abukar Arman and his vigorous public defense of terrorists and terrorist organizations that makes his appointment to the Franklin County Criminal Justice Planning Board in March 2005, which is responsible for overseeing homeland security for Central Ohio, particularly troubling in several respects (he has since been reappointed to the board for another term).
First, for an organization that is responsible “for the development and evaluation of projects and programs operating in accordance with the Franklin County Comprehensive Strategic Justice Plan and the Homeland Security Strategy” (a confidential document), Mr. Arman’s extremist views and praise for some of the very groups that directly threaten our homeland security make him an obvious security risk. What exactly were the Franklin County Commissioners thinking when they made the original appointment and later re-appointment?
Secondly, sitting on the board with Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, city council members, a county commissioner, several county and city judges, the county prosecutor, the city attorney, officials from multiple local law enforcement agencies, Arman is the sole representative for the Columbus Public Schools. According to the school district, he is a full-time employee as an adult education instructor (making a hefty $32.73/hour). Exactly how is it that out of the tens of thousands of Columbus Public School employees that Abukar Arman was chosen to be the sole representative for the largest school district in the state of Ohio to give input on and oversee the Homeland Security situation in Central Ohio? And who on the school board or in the district administration made the call for Arman to sit on the Planning Board on behalf of the Columbus Public Schools?
This, of course, is certainly where Abukar Arman’s politically powerful friends have surely come into play. Arman is a friend and business partner to Ahmad Al-Akhras, one of Mayor Coleman’s closest advisors, who sits on a number of government commissions and boards (see my recent article, “Hometown Jihad: Getting By with a Little Help From His (terrorist) Friends”), and also serves as the national vice-chairman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was recently identified by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in the current HAMAS terror finance trail in Texas (see, “CAIR Fingered by Feds”). It was undoubtedly Al-Akhras that was responsible for recommending Arman as a prospective member of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s (MORPC) Citizen Advisory Committee. Al-Akhras is a full-time employee of MORPC.
And it very well may have been his Somali friend, business partner and fellow CAIR-OH board member, Abdinur Mohamud, a high-ranking official of the Ohio Department of Education, that assured Abukar Arman’s appointment to the Ohio State Board of Education’s Foreign Language Advisory Board at their March 13, 2007 meeting, in addition to his position with the Ohio State University Office of International Relations Educational Advisory Committee. Mohamud is a consultant to the Ohio Department of Education’s Lau Resource Center and listed as the Ohio Title III State Director by the US Department of Education.
The same questions apply here to Abukar Arman’s appointments to these important educational board and committee as they did to his oversight of Central Ohio homeland security: who exactly was responsible for recommending Arman for these positions; and exactly where did the professional review and background check process break down in his case?
Another of Arman’s friends, Salah Sultan, the international Muslim Brotherhood operative, Qaradawi protégé, and HAMAS apologist and fundraiser that I have repeatedly profiled here at FrontPage (most recently, “Hometown Jihad: The HAMAS Connection”; in fact, Arman published a defense of Sultan, “The Trilogy that Muffles the Moderate Muslims”, following my initial “Hometown Jihad” article, likening me to Joseph Goebbels and denouncing the “Goebbelian excercise [sic] of freedom of speech”), told an audience at the April 2004 Muslim American Society-New York conference:
Da'wah [conversion] work can never succeed unless Muslims embed themselves within the very marrow of American society.
The Central Ohio extremist triumvirate of Ahmad Al-Akhras, Abukar Arman, and Abdinur Mohamud are proving Salah Sultan’s point by having infiltrated the upper echelons of political and civic institutions in Central Ohio and beyond. Protected by powerful political patrons in our city and state (extending all the way to Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland’s offices), they continue to rise further and penetrate deeper into the marrow of our civil society seemingly without the slightest impediment, fulfilling Salah Sultan’s vision.
Will anyone of our local or state leaders finally give a moment of pause to look at the rapidly mounting evidence for the Hometown Jihad that is presently escalating here in the heart of Ohio? At this point, we are left with little more than hope.