Norquist's Muslim Protégés
By: Paul Sperry
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, June 03, 2008
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That appears to be the strategy of GOP powerbroker Grover Norquist in his wicked project to dress Islamists up as patriotic Republicans so they can infiltrate the government.
While he's managed to get some of his Muslim proteges jobs in the Bush administration, getting them elected to public office has been another story. Voters aren't buying their makeover.
Last November, his crony Faisal M. Gill lost a bid for a seat in the Virginia state legislature. Now another protege, Kamal M. Nawash, has lost his third political race in seven years. Republicans in Virginia's most affluent county last month overwhelmingly rejected Nawash as their party leader.
Gill and Nawash failed despite the ringing endorsements and behind-the-scenes maneuvering of Norquist, who founded the Islamic Institute (where he met his Palestinian wife) with the express purpose of promoting such Muslims into positions of power.
Take Nawash, who also happens to be Palestinian. In 2003, Norquist hosted a fundraiser for him at his Capitol Hill townhouse to launch his campaign for the Virginia state senate. And Norquist's partner Khaled A. Saffuri kicked in $1,279 to help build his war chest.
Nawash made for a strange Republican candidate. As an immigration lawyer he defended Arab criminals against deportation, and as legal director of the extremist American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, he fought to deny law enforcement key anti-terror tools.
A month before the election, Nawash rushed to the defense of a prominent Islamist leader and political donor, who was arrested on terrorism charges. His crony, Abdurahman Alamoudi, was no dimestore terrorist. It turned out that Alamoudi, according to the Treasury Department, acted as one of al-Qaida's top fundraisers in America -- all the while pumping more cash into Nawash's campaign than any other individual contributor.
Nawash argued the case against Alamoudi was baseless and politically motivated, according to the Islamist internet site IslamOnline.net, which identified him as Alamoudi's lawyer.
"He is just a liberal Muslim, who wants more Muslims to be involved in the U.S. military and politics," Nawash said of his longtime friend, client and donor.
That "liberal" Muslim is in fact a longtime leader in the radical Muslim Brotherhood who's now serving 23 years in federal prison for plotting terrorism.
When Nawash's opponent in the race used his quotes against him, Nawash denied Alamoudi was a client. He said IslamOnline.net erroneously identified him as the terrorist's lawyer, even though Nawash's own brother worked for the website.
Documents put the lie to Nawash's denial.
For starters, Nawash's signature appears at the bottom of a "Power of Attorney" affidavit for Alamoudi at the Fairfax Circuit Court of Virginia. In that 2003 document, Nawash swears: "I am attorney-in-fact for Abdurahman M. Alamoudi."
What's more, one of his then-law partners, May Shallal Kheder, shows up in court filings as a member of Alamoudi's criminal defense team.
Nawash's old law firm, Hanania Kheder & Nawash PC, kept an office in Falls Church, Va., in the same building as the Saudi-backed Muslim Students Association, which was founded by the Brotherhood. The Saudi-based World Assembly of Muslim Youth, which sponsors jihad camps that teach boys not to be "miserly with your blood," also was a tenant at one time.
Nawash lived nearby in the Skyline Towers, known by law enforcement as the "Taliban Towers." Since 9/11, the FBI has paid numerous visits to the apartment complex, which erupted in cheers as the hijackers attacked America.
During his campaign, Nawash put up signs at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center where some of the hijackers received aid and comfort. Dar al-Hijrah is run by the pro-jihad Brotherhood.
Ultimately, his bid to become the first Muslim in the Virginia assembly failed. Nawash garnered just 30 percent of the vote, while his opponent, Democrat Mary Margaret Whipple, took 70 percent. The defeat matched his unsuccessful run for the Virginia House of Delegates in 2001, also bankrolled by Alamoudi and his radical Brothers.
Bitter, Nawash blamed his 2003 drubbing on Whipple's tactic of focusing on his ties to a suspected terrorist. "She is a mean-spirited racist," he said.
The ambitious Nawash and his mentor Norquist were not deterred, however. What the protege needed was a little makeover, along with a little time to allow memories to fade.
The next year, Nawash for the first time gave money to the GOP (a measly $200 to the Republican Party of Virginia), and proceeded to wrap himself in the American flag.
Repositioning himself as a hawk in the war on terror, he set up a moderate nonprofit group called the Free Muslims Coalition to promote "a modern secular interpretation of Islam which is peace-loving, democracy-loving and compatible with other faiths and beliefs."
Suddenly, the man who socialized with and defended radical jihadists was attacking extremism and terrorism "unambiguously," as he trumpets on his website.
Even as his Free Muslims movement at the same time defends Islam against "the venomous attacks by the Christian Taliban," it has won over many skeptics, including some it's counted among the so-called Christian Taliban.
But it wasn't enough to win over rock-ribbed Republicans.
Earlier this year, Nawash announced he was running for chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee in Virginia. He campaigned on a platform of change and diversity -- that is, broadening the tent to include more Muslims like him.
"We have to attract new people and improve our image," he said. "We will welcome new people."
He lost the election by another wide margin. Nawash garnered just 30 votes out of 219 at the convention, held last month.
Faisal Muhammad Gill
Another ambitious Norquist protege, Faisal Muhammad Gill, has suffered a similar fate.
Gill, a Republican in name only, is still sulking over his humiliating political defeat last November. Following in Nawash's footsteps, the Islamic Institute alumnus lost a bid for a seat in the Virginia state legislature.
He, too, blames dirty Democrat politics for his Virginia assembly race loss. But like Nawash before him, he has only himself to blame.
Gill's ties to Muslim Brotherhood front groups and known and suspected terrorists turned off not just Democrat voters, but also Republican voters. Doubts arose in spite of heavy lobbying and fundraising by Norquist, who continues to act as an agent of influence for Islamists and their subversive interests in Washington. (The normally stingy Norquist even chipped in $200 of his own money for Gill, while also attending his campaign kickoff.)
In fact, it was concerned Republicans -- resentful of Norquist foisting a flawed candidate on them -- who circulated a flier around Northern Virginia's 51st district warning voters about Gill's terrorist connections.
"Faisal Gill worked with Abdurahman Alamoudi at the American Muslim Council," the flier read. "Alamoudi is a supporter of al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups."
That's no exaggeration. Here's what Treasury had to say about him in 2005:
"Alamoudi had a close relationship with al-Qaida and had raised money for al-Qaida in the United States."
The flier didn't even mention the thousands of dollars in campaign donations Gill hauled in from a still-active Alamoudi-tied network of suspected terror fronts raided by federal agents after 9/11.
Virginia state records show that Mena Investments, Reston Investments and Sterling Management Group Inc. gave a combined $3,000 to Gill. The Herndon, Va.-based entities are part of the so-called Safa group, a pro-jihad Islamist network which remains under active federal investigation for tax fraud, money laundering and terror financing. (Even Democrat lawmakers in past elections have had to return Safa's terror-tainted gifts. But Gill, an alleged Republican, had no problem keeping his.)
All three entities are run by M. Yacub Mirza, who like Gill is a native of al-Qaida hotbed Karachi, Pakistan. (Many of the supporters Gill packed into the nominating convention spoke Urdu, the language of Pakistan, while others spoke Arabic, some even shouting "Allah Akbar" as Gill spoke.) Mirza is said to act on behalf of Saudi millionaire and al-Qaida financier Yassin al-Qadi, and also was closely associated with al-Qaida bagman Alamoudi.
Mirza hasn't been charged with any crimes, but his financial activities recently raised red flags at Wachovia Bank. After he funneled $150,000 to a shady Muslim charity, Wachovia closed the charity's bank accounts due to suspicious activity related to possible money laundering.
This is who helped underwrite Gill's campaign last year.
And there may be more to that story. While Gill and his campaign were raking in cash from the Safa group, his own personal fortune escalated rapidly. The source of his newfound wealth remains a mystery. At the time, the 35-year-old Gill had just opened a law practice with a partner fresh out of law school, and the firm had no bankable revenue stream.
Yet within 18 months of hanging a shingle, Gill managed to shell out some $25,000 in political contributions, and buy a Washington Redskins skybox adjacent to the owner's box. Such suites cost upward of $200,000 a year.
What's more, he purchased a new home for about $730,000. His wife doesn't work and stays at home with his kids, who are enrolled in private schools. His lavish lifestyle includes membership in the exclusive Capital Society.
It's plain that Gill has some powerful and deep-pocketed patrons. And they've also contributed heavily to Nawash, who state records show received thousands from Safa during his 2003 campaign -- including $4,000 from Reston Investments and a whopping $7,000 from the International Institute of Islamic Thought, or IIIT, another Safa cut-out accused of funneling money to terrorist groups. (In fact, former IIIT official Tarik Hamdi is said to have even personally delivered a battery for a satellite phone used by Osama bin Laden to coordinate and order the African embassy bombings.)
Gill blames Democratic opponent Paul Nichols for distributing the flier linking him to Alamoudi. He maintains he was "attacked just because I am of the Islamic faith."
"Nichols is the only one who benefits from this," Gill charged.
In fact, Nichols, who easily won the race, refrained from even raising the issue in his debates with Gill.
It's the citizens of Virginia, and all Americans, who benefit from Gill's political demise. The man simply cannot be trusted.
In an effort to hide his ties to Alamoudi, Gill omitted his past employment as a lobbyist for Alamoudi from not only his campaign website but his current resume. As you'll recall, the omission landed him in hot water at the high-level job Norquist finagled for him at the Department of Homeland Security (in fact, Gill used Norquist as a reference).
In 2001, Gill worked for Alamoudi's American Muslim Council as governmental affairs director. While there, he helped AMC lobby Congress to repeal the Justice Department's use of undisclosed evidence against suspected Mideast terrorists in deportation proceedings. He also joined now-confessed terrorist Sami al-Arian in lobbying the White House.
Gill also served as AMC's official spokesman, and had several meetings with Alamoudi.
That paid stint has been bleached from his current bio, just as it was from the job application form that Gill filled out to obtain his DHS position as senior adviser to the department official in charge of intelligence and infrastructure protection, and to obtain a security clearance covering top secret and sensitive-compartmented information.
Although Gill resigned from the department under an ethical cloud, he insists he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
"All these allegations are false and have been proven to be false," he claimed.
However, the DHS inspector general didn't exactly exonerate him. He concluded only that he could find no evidence that Gill had "falsified" relevant information or "intentionally" omitted it.
In fact, former DHS Inspector General Clark Kent Ervin -- the official whose office investigated Gill -- was troubled by Gill's ties to Alamoudi, and now questions why he was ever hired for such a sensitive post in the first place.
"Should anyone even remotely connected to terrorism be employed by Homeland Security in any capacity, especially the ultrasensitive area of intelligence and infrastructure protection?" Ervin said regarding Gill in his book, "Open Target."
Indeed, this former lobbyist for a known al-Qaida terrorist had access to top secret U.S. intelligence involving not only border security, but cyber-security, including new data-sharing programs integrating terrorist watch lists. Actually, Gill still has access to such intelligence. His TS/SCI clearance was never revoked.
The government may want to review his clearance based on other ethical lapses that have come to light since he left the government. Gill has shown a pattern of omission and deception.
After leaving DHS, Gill immediately got into more hot water when he threatened to sue a Virginia blogger critical of a friend who was running for office in Virginia. Gill, who was working as spokesman for his pal's campaign, in May 2006 fired off a letter from what appeared to be a phony law firm -- Gill & Gallinger.
For starters, the letterhead contained a typo: "COUNSLEORS AT LAW." The fax number listed for the firm's Washington, D.C., office had a northern Virginia area code -- (703) versus (202) for the district -- and its "New York" office listed in the letter's footer did not even exist.
What's more, the law firm was not registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. And Gill was not even licensed to practice in Virginia.
In other words, he misrepresented himself. His letter threatening legal action under Virginia defamation law was calculated to intimidate the blogger.
Gill is, however, a registered agent for something called Sapentia LLC in Tysons Corner, Va. -- which only raises more ethical questions.
Gill's partner in the lobbying firm is one Asim A. R. Ghafoor. The two go way back, having previously worked together at both Gill & Ghafoor and AG Consulting Group before Gill landed a job in the Bush administration.
None of these partnerships show up on Gill's resume -- for good reason.
Ghafoor is a Saudi lobbyist who has been caught up in U.S. counterterrorism investigations.
According to lobbying disclosure records on file at the Senate, he has lobbied on behalf of Specially Designated Terrorist Organizations including the Saudi-owned al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, which the Treasury Department says has acted as a charitable front for al-Qaida. In fact, Ghafoor lobbied Treasury to take al-Haramain and one of its U.S.-based directors off its blacklist and unfreeze their assets.
That director, Saudi national Soliman al-Buthe, was blacklisted as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist after his conversations with Ghafoor were tapped by the U.S. government.
Ghafoor has also represented Saudi billionaire Saleh Abdullah Kamel, head of the Dallah al-Baraka Group, a suspected al-Qaida banker.
It should come as no surprise then that this longtime partner of Gill is a self-proclaimed sharia-law advocate.
Once, in an Islamic forum, Ghafoor beseeched Muslims to Islamize America. "We are here for a purpose," he said. "We are here not to just be nice to people, but to bring Islamic ways to this country."
Regarding the U.S. system of government, he also stated: "I believe it's our duty that that is minimized and, Insha'allah (Allah willing), one day eliminated."
Ghafoor's entreaty echoes that of Alamoudi, the now-jailed godfather of the Muslim mafia in America, who once told a Muslim audience: "Either we do it now or we do it after a hundred years, but this country will become a Muslim country. If we are outside this country, we can say, 'Oh, Allah, destroy America.' But once we are here, our mission in this country is to change it."
It was Alamoudi who originally bankrolled Norquist's Islamic Institute -- long before authorities busted Alamoudi trying to smuggle a suitcase full of $340,000 in cash into the U.S. from the Middle East. No doubt other suitcases made it through customs, begging the question: Who really supplied the seed capital for Norquist's project? Who are his other silent partners?
Both Ghafoor and Gill have worked with Norquist at his institute in Washington. Gill, in fact, served as his director of governmental affairs, another position missing from his resume. (Interestingly, Norquist now omits the Islamic Institute from his own resume, even though he founded the lobby group.)
Don't be surprised if Gill tries, with Norquist's help, to reinvent himself again, and shows up on another ballot. But don't be fooled. He says he believes in "patriotism" and the "American dream," but he's betrayed not only by the company he keeps, but his own words.
Within months of the 9/11 attacks, Gill gave a seminar to young Muslims gathered in Washington for the annual conference of the Muslim Students Association, which was founded by leaders of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. The topic: "Muslims in North America: Political Activism." Gill gave the youth there tips on how to "cultivate the society for Islam."
Does this sound like a patriot who believes in the American dream?
Expedient duplicity shows up elsewhere, as well. On his campaign website, Republican Gill vowed to "crack down on illegal immigration."
"We need to secure our border, cut off benefits to illegals, and enter into agreements to allow state and local police agencies to enforce immigration laws," he said.
But while he was talking tough on immigration, he and his law firm were soliciting illegal immigrant clients to defend.
"Even if you or your loved one is already in the process of being removed from the U.S., we can help you qualify for protection from deportation," Gill has advertised on his firm's website.
He and his partner Ghafoor also help secure R-1 religious workers visas for Muslim clerics from Pakistan and other al-Qaida hotspots.
Early last decade, the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in America wrote an 18-page manifesto, titled "General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America." Their secret plan was to form legitimate-sounding Muslim NGOs like the MSA and AMC and use them to infiltrate and subvert the U.S. political system. Translated from Arabic, the document reads in part:
"(Our) work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
Another document in Arabic found on the home computer of al-Arian states:
"Our presence in North America gives us a unique opportunity to monitor, explore and follow up. We should be able to infiltrate the sensitive intelligence agencies or the embassies in order to collect information."
In other words, their goal is to infiltrate the U.S. political system and undermine it from within.
Scandalously, they have in Norquist a powerful inside-the-Beltway friend who's still helping them run influence operations against the government - now under the cynically patriotic guise of GOP candidacy.
We have implemented a new commenting system. To use it you must login/register with disqus. Registering is simple and can be done while posting this comment itself. Please contact gzenone [at] horowitzfreedomcenter.org if you have any difficulties.
blog comments powered by