Readers of this column were not surprised by the news article that led the front page of Wall Street Journal last Wednesday. They are already aware that a number of Arab- and Muslim-American organizations and representatives that support Hamas and other militant Islamic (or “Islamist”) terrorist groups have gained unwarranted access to the White House and top Bush Administration officials.
The Journal quoted yours truly as warning that “‘Allowing these sorts of organizations to meet with the president and his senior subordinates is a very bad idea,’ says Mr. Gaffney. While the administration now is cracking down on terrorism abroad and at home, Mr. Gaffney says [such contacts] could still lend legitimacy and ‘undesirable influence over policy’ to individuals and groups hostile to American interests.”
Even those who have followed this story on these pages and elsewhere, however, might have been surprised at the response Karl Rove, President Bush’s top political advisor, gave the authors of the Journal article: “‘What's the evidence’ of undesirable influence? he says. ‘There's no there there.’”
Actually, the evidence of undesirable influence is unmistakable to anyone willing to look for it. Past and present leaders of the American Muslim Council (AMC), the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the American Muslim Alliance, for example, have publicly expressed support for those engaged in “armed struggle” against Israel and the United States.
Even as President Bush stresses his opposition to such terrorist organizations as Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, their advocates and/or apologists in this country with ties to Saudi Arabia’s radical Wahhabi sect (dubbed the “Wahhabi Lobby”) are routinely turned to when the Administration seeks to reach out to Muslims. Worse yet, such “outreach” usually excludes those representing the majority of Muslims who are not Islamist sympathizers. That is undesirable influence.
In addition, the American Muslim Council-created National Islamic Prison Foundation have been allowed to proselytize in U.S. prisons. Another Wahhabi-associated organization, the Graduate School for Islamic Social Sciences (raided by Operation Green Quest for suspected ties to terrorism) has been allowed to select, train and certify imams for the U.S. military chaplain corps. That is undesirable influence.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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