Just a week after I revealed that an event is currently scheduled to be held at the Ohio State Capitol later this month featuring a known HAMAS operative with multiple immediate connections to designated terrorists (“HAMAS in the House”), new details have emerged that not only are taxpayers partially footing the bill for the event, but yet another speaker at the event also has multiple terror ties.
According to a flier for the “Many Faces of Islam” conference (a copy of which is posted at Central Ohioans Against Terrorism), the event is being co-sponsored by the Ohio Humanities Council (OHC), an organization that receives virtually all of its funding through government grants. According to the group’s most recent IRS Form 990, it received $903,715 from direct government contributions and only $27,819 from private sources during the 2005 fiscal year. OHC receives most of its funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as the state affiliate of the national organization. Inquiries about how much taxpayer money OHC is providing for the “Many Faces of Islam” event have not yet received a reply.
As I reported last week, one of the featured speakers at “The Many Faces of Islam” conference to be held on October 28th in the Ohio Statehouse atrium is HAMAS operative Anisa Abd El Fattah. Fattah is past president of the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR). According to a February 1993 New York Times article, convicted HAMAS terrorist operative and former UASR employee, Mohammed Salah, told federal authorities that UASR served as “the political command of HAMAS in the United States,” and UASR was founded by Specially Designated Global Terrorist Mousa abu Marzook. Fattah also co-authored two books with current HAMAS spokesman Ahmed Yousef, and served as a longtime consultant to convicted terror leader Abdurahman Alamoudi’s American Muslim Council (AMC).
Another speaker, Robert D. Crane, also held positions with UASR and Alamoudi’s AMC, in addition to the International Institute for Islamic Thought, which provided initial funding for convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian’s World Islam and Studies Enterprise (WISE) at the University of South Florida.
But according to other press reports yet another listed speaker for the upcoming conference, Dr. Zilfiqar Ali Shah, has also worked for organizations that have been closed by the U.S. government for terrorist support activities. Shah is the past president of the Islamic Circle of North America and the former Southeast Asia director for KindHearts, a Toledo, Ohio-based charity closed by federal authorities in February 2006 for financing terrorist organizations.
In his role as Southeast Asia director for KindHearts, Shah established a partnership with the Al-Khidmat Foundation, the charitable arm of the Jammat-i-Islami in Pakistan. But Al-Khidmat also played a critical role in the formation of Al-Qaeda, as Steve Schippert of TheatsWatch explains:
While the al-Khidmat Foundation is described as a “welfare organisation run by the hard-line Islamist party Jamaat-i-Islami,” it is far from that. It is the Maktab al-Khidmat, the group founded in 1980 by Usama bin Laden’s mentor and ideological inspiration, Abdullah Azzam. Its primary purpose was then and is now to serve as “a support organization for Arab volunteers for the jihad in Afghanistan” and elsewhere today. Usama bin Laden financed this group from its inception. It is from this group that al-Qaeda sprang to life in 1989.
And as Joe Kaufman has reported here at FrontPage, “The Two Faces of Zulfiqar Ali Shah,” an event organized by Khan for his Universal Heritage Foundation, which ostensibly was dedicated “to promote a greater understanding and respect for and among people of all faiths, colors, and gender,” for its inaugural event he invited Shaikh Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais, the chief cleric of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, who had called for the murder of “Jews, Christians, and Americans.” Al-Sudais had also described Jews as “the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the killers of prophets, and the grandsons of monkeys and pigs.” Due to Kaufman’s exposure of the event, Al-Sudais’ appearance was cancelled.
Shah has also has made his own shocking statements that question his pretended “interfaith” image. As reported by IslamOnline (run by Specially Designated Global Terror Yousef Al-Qaradawi), during a June 2001 meeting of Muslim leaders in Chicago, Khan said:
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. That's the pinnacle of their motives.
Kaufman notes elsewhere that in his position with KindHearts, Khan promoted their efforts and conducted fundraising in association with groups operating openly with Al-Qaeda:
Prior to the organization's closure, Shah went on a ten day KindHearts tour - through more than ten cities - with members of Tablighi Jamaat, a Pakistani organization that The New York Times described as a "recruitment" center for Al-Qaeda. The Tablighi members were Junaid Jamshed and Saeed Anwar. During this tour, KindHearts claimed to have raised $1.5 million.
After the shuttering of KindHearts, Khan took up a new position with the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, which prompted the local establishment media to investigate his background. In a May 2006 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Questions arise about Muslim scholar,” Khan defended his statement about Jews wanting to take over the city of Medina as a “joke” and denied knowing the extremist statements of Al-Sudais prior to inviting him to speak and the terror connections to KindHearts – connections that Khan himself helped establish.
With at least three of the four speakers scheduled to appear at the “Many Faces of Islam” event at the Ohio Statehouse having multiple connections to extremism and terrorism, it’s hard to believe that the primary sponsoring organization, the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio (IACO), was unaware of the highly controversial backgrounds of these individuals. In fact, it seems they were especially chosen for their very narrow understanding of Islam, which raises the question of why a publicly-funded organization like OHC would lend its weight and financial support to such an event. Because of the highly partisan nature of the speakers, it is highly doubtful that the conference will better help anyone better understand of Islam.
It seems more appropriate that the October terror-fest at the Ohio Statehouse should be renamed, “The Many Faces of Islamic Extremism.”